[b-hebrew] Re: Documentary Hypothesis - OT translations

Joe Baker joebaker at cygnus.uwa.edu.au
Sat Jun 5 23:34:39 EDT 2004

Hi All

These days the DH is confined to Genesis-Deuteronomy only. (And IMO J and E
are really one author bringing different traditions together). But, as most
of you know (and accept), every other books has clear evidence of multiple
sources and different authors (ie like the three Isaiahs).

In regard to the OT translation thread. Yes I understand why MT is (for the
most part) the primary document. But, in regard to Jeremiah, LXX clearly is
the "more primary source". From an historical view point, if LXX were closer
to the primary document, then it is easy to explain the MT additions. On the
other hand if MT were closer to the primary source it is difficult to
explain the "omissions" in the LXX text. The very existence of two versions
of Jeremiah is evidence for the validity of a documentary hypothesis
approach - for in (the ultimate source of) LXX Jeremiah we have a document
which later was considerably expanded to produce (the ultimate source of) MT

Jeffrey Tigay has edited an excellent book (Empirical Models for Biblical
Criticism) which illustrates how very early biblical documents (I am talking
of LXX, MT, Samaritian, Josephus, etc) contain large chunks of additions and
omissions. It shows how even the "superior" MT version is not always the
"primary" document.

One example comes from the book of 1 Samuel. When compared to the MT, the
LXX omits a large chunk of information dealing with the rise of David. This
omission is not a single section but consists of scattered verses and
phrases, ie 
17:12-31, 48b, 50, 55-58; 18:1-5, 8b, 10-11, 12b, 17-19, 21b, 29b-30.
Just looking at this break up reminds one of the charts produced by modern
scholars when they break down Genesis-Deuternomy into primary sources.

Yet this "omitted material" in 1 Samuel 17-18, read on its own, is a small
fully self contained story. It is internally consistent unit, but in some
parts it contradicts the main narrative. Again it is easy to see how this
material could be edited into an LXX type text to produce the MT version,
but it is extremely difficult to understand how, if it were once part of a
fuller (ie MT type) text, it was so selectively edited out to produce the
LXX version.

IMO, and I do agree that the MT version of 1 Samuel is the "more primary"
version, this parallel story (with its contradictions) was not part of the
original version of the book but was added to MT sometime after the LXX and
MT split during the Persian period.

Joe Baker ===========\
Perth                |
Western Australia ===/

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