Cutting-edge work in LXX Greek

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Jonathan Robie
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Cutting-edge work in LXX Greek

Post by Jonathan Robie » February 2nd, 2016, 8:45 am

In the Theology on the Web Facebook Group, Rob Bradshaw quotes an essay by William Ross that responds to Did Jesus Speak Greek: The Emerging Evidence of Greek Dominance in First-Century Palestine by G. Scott Gleaves:
...the most conspicuous and least understood factor in scholarly accounts of the “language” of the NT is the Septuagint, and by extension the under-studied corpus of nonliterary Koine Greek. Although many will point to the NT authors’ familiarity with the Greek OT per se, few will account for the massive socio-religious influence that it was on balance with the natural linguistic developments that it preserves. It is in the current scholarly discussion of the Greek of the LXX that one finds so much helpful material on the development and nature of the Koine in general. There is cutting-edge work going on here (e.g., Lee, Joosten, Aitken) that needs to be related to study of the Greek of the NT in the future.
I'd like to hear more about this aspect from those of you who have deeper knowledge of the Septuagint. Can you describe this cutting-edge work, and what we should be learning from it? Can you tell me about Lee, Joosten, and Aitken?

By the way, here is an excerpt of the Gleaves book Did Jesus Speak Greek? The Emerging Evidence of Greek Dominance in First-Century Palestine.
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

Jonathan Robie
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Re: Cutting-edge work in LXX Greek

Post by Jonathan Robie » February 2nd, 2016, 12:17 pm

A number of James Aitken's articles are on academia.edu.
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

Jonathan Robie
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Re: Cutting-edge work in LXX Greek

Post by Jonathan Robie » February 2nd, 2016, 12:20 pm

ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

RandallButh
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Re: Cutting-edge work in LXX Greek

Post by RandallButh » February 3rd, 2016, 4:55 am

Jonathan Robie wrote:In the Theology on the Web Facebook Group, Rob Bradshaw quotes an essay by William Ross that responds to Did Jesus Speak Greek: The Emerging Evidence of Greek Dominance in First-Century Palestine by G. Scott Gleaves:
...the most conspicuous and least understood factor in scholarly accounts of the “language” of the NT is the Septuagint, and by extension the under-studied corpus of nonliterary Koine Greek. Although many will point to the NT authors’ familiarity with the Greek OT per se, few will account for the massive socio-religious influence that it was on balance with the natural linguistic developments that it preserves. It is in the current scholarly discussion of the Greek of the LXX that one finds so much helpful material on the development and nature of the Koine in general. There is cutting-edge work going on here (e.g., Lee, Joosten, Aitken) that needs to be related to study of the Greek of the NT in the future.
I'd like to hear more about this aspect from those of you who have deeper knowledge of the Septuagint. Can you describe this cutting-edge work, and what we should be learning from it? Can you tell me about Lee, Joosten, and Aitken?

By the way, here is an excerpt of the Gleaves book. Did Jesus Speak Greek? The Emerging Evidence of Greek Dominance in First-Century Palestine.
Thank you, Jonathan, for the link to a download of the first chapter of the book by Gleaves. It is always good to see what is going on.

On the other hand, not everything new is reliable or even conversant with the data. Gleaves is almost totally out of touch with scholarly Mishnaic Hebrew studies. He seems to represent a continuing stream within NT studies of those who are operating out of an echo chamber of the 19-early20th century paradigm of Aramaic and Greek. For Gleaves, he updates the Greek evidence, but doesn't seem to know about the two-register existence of Hebrew, a low, spoken, popular register of Hebrew, and a high, literary Hebrew, nor the data and mistakes surrounding old accounts of EBRAISTI. For some updates and a fuller perspective on the complete evidence, consult the various chapters of The Language Environment of First Century Judaea (Brill 2014), ed. Buth and Notley. Several of the chapters are available on my website www.biblicallanguagecenter.com ("Introduction", "Ebraisti", "Distinguishing Hebrew from Aramaic behind Greek", "Cry from the Cross"). Additional articles from the volume on the inscriptional evidence and history of the Aramaic hypothesis are must reading and the article on the history of the Galilee is recommended, too. A person should not be publishing in this field without covering these data.

And again, that nagging, provocative question: What language(s) was used for teaching Jewish parables in antiquity up through the talmudic era?
NT scholars have simply ignored the data rather than address the question and have not provided plausible discussions on the language(s) of the parables.

aaah, ma la`asot? τί δυνάμεθα ποιεῖν;

Jonathan Robie
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Re: Cutting-edge work in LXX Greek

Post by Jonathan Robie » February 3rd, 2016, 6:45 am

RandallButh wrote:Thank you, Jonathan, for the link to a download of the first chapter of the book by Gleaves. It is always good to see what is going on.

On the other hand, not everything new is reliable or even conversant with the data. Gleaves is almost totally out of touch with scholarly Mishnaic Hebrew studies. He seems to represent a continuing stream within NT studies of those who are operating out of an echo chamber of the 19-early20th century paradigm of Aramaic and Greek. For Gleaves, he updates the Greek evidence, but doesn't seem to know about the two-register existence of Hebrew, a low, spoken, popular register of Hebrew, and a high, literary Hebrew, nor the data and mistakes surrounding old accounts of EBRAISTI.
William Ross's response to Gleaves was equally critical, which is the main point of the quote I provided. In that quote, Ross mentions Lee, Joosten, and Aitken as examples of "cutting edge work" in LXX study, the kind of information Ross thought Gleaves should have been familiar with. I'm not (yet) familiar with their work, and was hoping someone might be able to summarize.
RandallButh wrote:For some updates and a fuller perspective on the complete evidence, consult the various chapters of The Language Environment of First Century Judaea (Brill 2014), ed. Buth and Notley. Several of the chapters are available on my website http://www.biblicallanguagecenter.com ("Introduction", "Ebraisti", "Distinguishing Hebrew from Aramaic behind Greek", "Cry from the Cross"). Additional articles from the volume on the inscriptional evidence and history of the Aramaic hypothesis are must reading and the article on the history of the Galilee is recommended, too. A person should not be publishing in this field without covering these data.
Thanks, that's helpful too.
RandallButh wrote:And again, that nagging, provocative question: What language(s) was used for teaching Jewish parables in antiquity up through the talmudic era?
NT scholars have simply ignored the data rather than address the question and have not provided plausible discussions on the language(s) of the parables.

aaah, ma la`asot? τί δυνάμεθα ποιεῖν;
What resources would you recommend for that question?
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

RandallButh
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Re: Cutting-edge work in LXX Greek

Post by RandallButh » February 3rd, 2016, 7:34 am

Jonathan Robie wrote:
RandallButh wrote:And again, that nagging, provocative question: What language(s) was used for teaching Jewish parables in antiquity up through the talmudic era?
NT scholars have simply ignored the data rather than address the question and have not provided plausible discussions on the language(s) of the parables.

aaah, ma la`asot? τί δυνάμεθα ποιεῖν;
What resources would you recommend for that question?
The data themselves (and the articles mentioned just above from The Language Environment of First Century Judaea [recent bibliography and inscriptions are cited throughout]).

Perhaps read the collections of Tannaitic (rabbis from pre-third-century CE/AD) parables. All the tannaitic parables have been collected recently by Zeev Safrai and conveniently published in a small Hebrew volume (which I have) and these have been translated in a small English volume by Steve Notley (which I don't have). The Hebrew edition is called משלי חז"ל האוסף השלם (Parables of the Sages, the Complete Collection, Ze'ev Safrai and R. Steven Notley, [Jerusalem: Carta, 2011]). The fact of parables being exclusively in Hebrew, despite both Hebrew and Aramaic being used in rabbinic literature in most genre including real-life narratives, was already mentioned by MH Segal in 1908 and again in the introduction to his Grammar of Mishnaic Hebrew (Oxford, 1927). For example, Segal, 1927:4-5: "Even the later Amoraim, and even in Babylon, used MH [Mishnaic Hebrew--rb] exclusively [bold mine--rb] for the following purposes: statements of the formulated halaka; homiletical expositions of the Scriptures; parables, even in the middle of an Aram. conversation (cf. e.g. BQ 60b; Ta`a. 5b); and prayer."
The facts are out there.
What would I recommend? Maybe NT students and scholars could read them, all 417, and weep. (Weeping is optional, tongue-in-cheek for a colloquial English idiom.)
Then build a more consistent world view out of ALL the data, high Hebrew (like most compositions, but not all, from Qumran), low Hebrew (some DSS docs, inscriptions, and mishnaic Hebrew), Aramaic, and Greek.

Jonathan Robie
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Re: Cutting-edge work in LXX Greek

Post by Jonathan Robie » February 3rd, 2016, 9:31 am

RandallButh wrote:What would I recommend? Maybe NT students and scholars could read them, all 417, and weep. (Weeping is optional, tongue-in-cheek for a colloquial English idiom.)
Well, you could, I couldn't. They are in Hebrew. So that's probably would weep ... I guess I could read the translation.

I assume the English idiom translates the Greek Ἀναγνοὺς, κλαῖε! Or was this originally Hebrew? ;->
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

James Spinti
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Re: Cutting-edge work in LXX Greek

Post by James Spinti » February 3rd, 2016, 11:20 am

Jonathan,

The English translation is available via CBD for a substantial discount. Or, if you look at Worldcat.org, you can find a library near you (or use interlibrary loan).
Here's Worldcat:
https://www.worldcat.org/title/parables ... ef_results
and here's CBD:
http://www.christianbook.com/parables-o ... vent=ESRCG

HTH,
James
Proofreading and copyediting of ancient Near Eastern and biblical studies monographs

Jonathan Robie
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Re: Cutting-edge work in LXX Greek

Post by Jonathan Robie » February 3rd, 2016, 11:39 am

Thanks, James. I just ordered it from CBD.
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

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