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Hebrew Studies 41 (2000) 281 Reviews NOTES ON THE GREEK TEXT OF NUMBERS. By John William Wevers. SBL Septuagint and Cognate Studies 46. pp. xlviii + 653. Atlanta, GA: Scholars Press, 1998. Cloth, $54.95. As many other reviewers of his work agree, Professor Wevers is the preeminent scholar of the Septuagint Pentateuch, whose works include the critical edition of each book, their textual history, and, with the appearance of this work, notes on the Greek text now comprise a third complete set. In this volume, Wevers provides verse by verse commentary not on the text of Rahlfs, but on the Gottingen text of the Septuagint. The latter is a state of the art eclectic text which is based on all the relevant texts available . As mentioned above, Wevers prepared the critical edition of Numbers as well as its text history. A scholar's first and often tricky task when embarking on anything Septuagintal is to establish the text. In the case of books whose Gottingen text has been prepared, this primary task has been made far simpler and in some cases unnecessary. After having compiled the notes, Wevers proposes in Appendix A some additional changes to the critical text. Briefly, the content of Notes on Numbers consists of five sections. The first is a 34-page introductory statement in which he outlines the character of the Numbers translation. Although he finds the translator at times to be "careless," "inadequate," and "incompetent" and one who is prone to use bad grammar, he nevertheless describes him as someone who at times makes quite astute judgments in the process of translating a sacred book. The second is a thirteen-page characterization of this volume. The intended readership is not professional Greek scholars but rather "serious students of the Pentateuch who want to use the LXX text with some confidence" (p. xxxv). Such students would need help in understanding the Greek over against the Hebrew. This is where Wevers's approach differs from that of the La Bible d'Alexandrie series, whose intention is to let the Greek speak on its own, and not as understood vis avis the Hebrew. Their work is directed in the first place at scholars of Hellenistic Greek rather than at biblical Scholars. As in Wevers's other notes, no parallel translation into English is given and no comment is made about the reception of the LXX text by later users, for example, Josephus and the patristic literature. This deliberate omission has been lamented by M. HarJ, one of the editors of LBA who feels, quite justifiably, that Wevers is more qualified than anyone else to undertake such an enterprise. Wevers's response is that he would not want to duplicate the f'me work produced by Dorival (p. xxxvi). There is Hebrew Studies 41 (2000) 282 Reviews of course, an English translation of the G6ttingen text under preparation, and P. Flint is responsible for Numbers. The third section, the verse-byverse notes comprise no less than 607 pages. Needless to say, there is no room for any additional information except what Wevers wishes to offer us, which is "how the translator...interpreted the text" (p. xxxvi). The fourth is an appendix of suggested emendations to the text (pp. 608-609). The fifth section provides detailed indices of Greek words, Hebrew words and Grammatical and Textual Items (pp. 610-653). The richness of the notes will strike the reader immediately. Wevers draws on his enormous knowledge of the Hebrew and Greek of the other books of the Pentateuch, as well as his command of Greek grammar to come to reasoned conclusions on what the translator intended from verse to verse. Frequent references to important secondary sources and the other ancient versions are also informative. One criticism of the work is directed at Wevers's approach to semantics. Septuagint lexicographers have long grappled with whether the meaning of Hebrew words may inform the meaning of the Greek. Wevers is somewhat injUdicious in his use of the term "calque" which refers to a Greek word with a Hebrew meaning. Too easily he makes statements like "thus what is meant is" and then infers the Hebrew meaning for the Greek. This goes...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2158-1681
Print ISSN
0146-4094
Pages
pp. 281-283
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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