[B-Greek] Ps. 82 (81 - LXX)

Albert Pietersma albert.pietersma at sympatico.ca
Sat Mar 18 11:22:12 EST 2006

Dear Michel,
First off, though one would label the Hebrew composition (Ps 82) a poem 
and its author a poet, one cannot, it seems to me, transfer those 
labels to its translation into Greek. The Greek is not written in a 
manner that Greek listeners/ readers would recognize as poetry. 
Furthermore,  the Greek translator does not use Greek as though he were 
writing a new composition. In other words, Ps 81 does not reflect 
straightforward (compositional) use of the Greek language.

In v. 5, the Hebrew source text, for the two verbs in question, reads 
so-called perfects. Since  for such verbs the translator's default 
gloss is the Greek aorist, there is no reason to assume that the 
translator is exegeting his source. Instead, he is simply representing 
what according to his system of defaults matches the Hebrew. In other 
words the  aorist should  be read as a (normal) aorist. So much for the 
Greek text AS PRODUCED.

The Greek text AS RECEIVED may or may not abide by reading the aorist 
as a normal aorist.  Since, as you note, Greek usage knows a so-called 
gnomic aorist, it is quite possible that the aorists of Ps 81:5 be 
re-figured/re-articulated as gnomic aorists. To find out one needs to 
study the reception history of Ps 81.

On Mar 18, 2006, at 10:39 AM, J.M. Pauw wrote:

> Hello,
> In studying Ps 81 LXX (about God in the assembly of gods) I was 
> wondering why the poet used the aorists EGNWSAN en SUNHKAN instead of 
> the present of these verbs. Are they to be treated as a gnomic aorist 
> or does anybody else have another explanation?
> Thanks in advance!
> Michel Pauw
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> website: http://dhost.info/jmpauw
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Albert Pietersma
Professor of Septuagint and Hellenistic Greek
Near & Middle Eastern Civilizations
University of Toronto
Home: 21 Cross Street,
Weston ON Canada M9N 2B8
Email: albert.pietersma at sympatico.ca
Homepage: http://www.chass.utoronto.ca/~pietersm

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