Carl W. Conrad cwconrad at artsci.wustl.edu
Sat Oct 20 08:29:01 EDT 2001

At 7:45 AM +0200 10/20/01, Iver Larsen wrote:
>> No doubt this IS from the LXX of Gen 4:24, but hEBDOMHKONTAKIS hEPTA does,
>> in fact, mean 70 x 7 = 490. It was not the English translator that made an
>> error here but rather, it would seem, the LXX translator; the
>> Hebrew of Gen
>> 4:24 reads SHIV'IM WeSHIV'A, 70 + 7 = 77; the LXX text doesn't have any
>> conjunction KAI between the two numerals corresponding to the Hebrew We.
>How do you know that the LXX is in error? How would one express 77 times in
>Greek at that time if not like the LXX? I have not been able to find any
>examples of a compound number with -KIS similar to the one in Gen 4:24
>anywhere else in the LXX or the NT. There may be instances other places, but
>I need a bit of convincing to accept that the LXX was in error. Are there
>examples from Classical Greek sources of such a construction? I am not sure
>the KAI is needed.
>It is also possible that these constructions changed over time, I don't

I confess that I DON'T know that LXX is in error (any more than I know that
the English translators are in error), nor can I find sufficient evidence
to prove the case one way or the other. Apparently there are two other
Hellenistic Jewish texts (Test. XII, Pat. Benj. 7:4 that have the reading

>Without taking time to check now, I would guess 70 x 7 times would be

or possibly even hEBOMHKONTAKIS hEPTA (depending upon how one understands
the "fronting" in this instance)?  After consulting BDAG, BDF, ATR, etc.,
I do find a preponderance of views in favor of reading hEBDOMHKONTAKIS
hEPTA = 77--but no definitive conclusion. I am amused to observe L&N on
this question perched firmly on the fence:

60.74 hEBDOMHKONTAKIS: seventy occurrences - 'seventy times.' hEWS
hEBDOMHKONTAKIS hEPTA¿ 'up to seventy-seven times' Mt 18:22. For another
interpretation of hEBDOMHKONTAKIS in Mt 18:22, see 60.77.

60.77 hEBDOMHKONTAKIS: seventy multiples of a quantity - 'seventy times.'
hEWS hEBDOMHKONTAKIS hEPTA¿ 'seventy times seven' (a total of 490 times) Mt
18:22. One should not, however, interpret hEBDOMHKONTAKIS hEPTA¿ as
referring to a specific number, such as 490, but simply an unusually large
number with symbolic significance of being totally adequate or complete.8
For another interpretation of hEBDOMHKONTAKIS in Mt 18:22, see 60.74.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Emeritus)
Most months: 1647 Grindstaff Road/Burnsville, NC 28714/(828) 675-4243
cwconrad at artsci.wustl.edu OR cwconrad at ioa.com
WWW: http://www.artsci.wustl.edu/~cwconrad/

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