Revista Studii Teologice


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"O scurtă introducere în critica textuală: mărturii directe şi indirecte ale textului Septuagintei"

A brief introduction to textual criticism: direct and indirect testimonies of the Septuagint

Autor(i): Alexandru PRELIPCEAN

Romanian Biblical Theology has paid rather little attention to the important research undertaken by textual criticism. Unfortunately, our knowledge of text analysis and its investigation methods is acquired only via the study of Occidental materials. This is the main reason that prompted us to address the topic of textual criticism in our paper. The direct and indirect testimonies brought by the text of the Septuagint (LXX) are extremely important, as they self-evidently speak of the inspiration of LXX, often questioned within the Roman-Catholic and Protestant pale, although this theological belief has resulted in numerous transcriptions and the perpetuation of this Greek form throughout the centuries.
For the study of Biblical theology, textual criticism plays a major role. Namely, the investigation of text history, both of the Hebrew version of the Old Testament (MT), and its Greek version (LXX) still raise many questions, despite the numerous studies on this difficult topic. On the other hand, most contemporary researchers consider that LXX was based on a „proto-LXX”, that is, a single original text from which derived all the manuscripts we now know. Certainly, LXX text has undergone physical and (in)voluntary alterations. Remarking the differences in the Greek text, some Jewish scholars, such as Aquila, Simah and Theodotion, attempted what in modern terms we may call a „revision” or, rather, an „ameding” of this text. In the 3rd century A.D., the great scholar Origen as well as Lucianus became the main „agents” of this textual „revision”. We may say that these revisions either brought the Greek version closer to the Hebrew one, or distorted it. However, we must point out that these textual „emendations” also had positive consequences. Which were they? Firstly, the intervention on the text must not be seen as a distortion but, on the contrary, as a means or a primary source of knowledge of those times’ exegetical activity. Another important benefit are the secondary elements, which can highlight the Judaic mentality in a Hellenized space, because it was not hard to learn the language in which the texts had been written, but on the contrary, it allowed the studying, learning and analyzing, beyond the literal approach, of the peculiar thinking of every nation, as it was reflected by the writing, the elements which the text itself stresses.
The editors of the LXX devised various notation systems that often differ, alt-hough they concern the same manuscripts, interpolations, subdivisions, etc. For a correct analysis of these testimonies, we have investigated the papyruses, the uncial codices, the foreign versions of the LXX text (the „daughter” versions), as well as the Patristic quotations which, on the one hand, refer to LXX, its text and the way it was passed down, and on the other hand speak of its inspiration. We then present the above-mentioned Judaic revisions (Aquila, Simah, Theodotion), as well as the Christian revisions (those of Origen and Lucianus, as well as Hesychius).
Our presentation does not claim to be exhaustive, but it is intended as a concise presentation of the topic approached, as accurately as possible, and also as an investigative instrument for Romanian textual criticism, which unfortunately has yet to be employed by Biblical theology, much more used to commenting on a particular topic of the Old and New Testament than discussing the „technicalities” of a text.
LXX is not merely a book we all know as the Holy Scripture. It is also a text, with a long, peculiar history, with versions and revisions. What the present study highlights, is the importance of knowing these direct and indirect testimonies of the sacred text. A few concluding remarks are necessary: 1. The manuscripts and papyruses are not merely materials to be examined and analyzed, but also „eye witnesses” of the process embodied by the LXX; they are living, unquestionable testimonies of the text we now use so extensively; 2. The translations from, or based on, the text of LXX highlight the importance of the sacred text. Each nation wanted to have the divine message in its own language, in order to make it accessible to the people who would not be concerned with philological-theological controversies, but simply wanted to know the message conveyed by God; 3. Patristic quotations have a double role: firstly, to render the LXX text and secondly, to provide arguments about the inspiration of LXX; 4. Judaic revisions best reflect the activity of the Jews who, since the very beginning, undertook numerous revisions of the sacred text in order to bring it closer to the remote original; 5. The Christian emendations were not intended to create a new sacred text, but on the contrary, to provide a text as close to the original as possible. The versions produced by Origen and Lucianus (maybe Hesychius, too) were the texts most frequently used in liturgical practice and on other occasions, in the Christian Church, after the 3rd century.
Given all the above-mentioned remarks, we may assert that the philological and theological history of LXX text is tantamount to the theological and philoogical history of what the entire world now generically calls the Bible or the Holy Scripture.

Pagini: 7-54