[b-hebrew] Re: Emendations, was: Deut 32:5 SHiCHeT
shaih at post.tau.ac.il
Mon Jan 27 20:19:17 EST 2003
> Let's look at the options:
> 1) The text is fine; deal with it as it stands. Many texts are like this,
> there's not much to argue about. Of course, we're only dealing with text
> critical issues here.
> 2) The text is problematic, but it can be understood as it stands and is
> probably not corrupt. Especially in poetry, I think we have to consider
> viable option. We can't expect the language to stay within the bounds of
> normal prose usage, and it's probably ultimately impossible to define
> enough rules to pass judgment on whether a passage is corrupt or just
> creative. There's going to be subjectivity in the text-critical treatment
> poetry. There's no question about that. But personally I like to start by
> considering all the possible angles from which the text could be left
> 3) The text is corrupt, and should probably read such-and-such. If I find
> misspelled word, or if two words are reversed for obvious reasons, or some
> other problem explainable on relatively mechnical grounds, or anything
> the particular critic wants to put in this category, it might be fairly
> to see where the problem is and what should really be read.
> 4) The text is corrupt, but I have no idea how it should read. Sometimes
> sense can be made of a text whatsoever, and no likely emendations present
> themselves. Now, in such a situation one might allow for the possibility
> it's not really a corrupt text, but we simply lack the philological data
> come up with a plausible reading. But I'm talking about a scenario where
> critic judges the text to be corrupt and has no idea what to do with it.
> this point, there's not much to be done. One option for the translator,
> I seem to remember seeing in several NRSV footnotes, is to choose the
> of an ancient version and translate that.
Only a comment:
I have the feeling that you decide whether a text is corrupt based on your u
nderstanding of it. If so, this is methodologically wrong. A text can be
corrupt but perfectly understandable, and a text can be totally
ununderstandable, but genuine.
You must rely firstly on *evidence* (just like in court), otherwise - your
opinion (or mine) isn't worth more than my 5-years-old brother's guesses.
The idea that the text in Dt. 32:5 is corrupt is based on the *facts* that
many good and old witnesses display different versions: the samaritan hebrew
version, some aramaic translations and the LXX (See BHS). But when there
are less witnesses for another version, the case for corruption weakens (I
remind you our little discussion about Hosea 13:14).
Understanding relies on grammar and lexicon; but both grammar and lexicon
were made based on understanding! It's a vecious circle. You must have an
"archimedian point", an outside testimony, to decide whether a text is
corrupt, you cannot use intterpretation - at least not if you want your
articles published in good periodicles :)
P.S. Sorry if I'm too harsh - i'm frustrated about the results of the
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