Isaiah again…

Still working with Isaiah 53, trying to think through all of the text critical problems that the text presents.  Isaiah 53:2 presents a classic text critical problem:

In all of the extant witnesses to the Greek tradition of Isaiah 53:2 opens with:

ἀνηγγείλαμεν ἐναντίον αὐτοῦ ὡς παιδίον*

which one might render roughly as “We have reported before (or against?) him as a child.”  Compare this to the MT:

וַיַּ֨עַל כַּיּוֹנֵ֜ק לְפָנָ֗יו וְכַשֹּׁ֙רֶשׁ֙ מֵאֶ֣רֶץ צִיָּ֔ה

which one might render roughly as “And he went up like a shoot/branch before him.”  (Note the NASB follows MT alone here and throughout Isa 53).**

Joseph Ziegler, who edited the Göttingen LXX volume for Isaiah has a fairly lengthy discussion in his intro regarding this problem (second half of p. 99).  He suggests that the text be emmended here to read ἀνατεῖλeι μεν ἐναντίον αὐτοῦ ὡς παιδίον.  The trouble is, this is nowhere attested by manuscripts, versions, or tradition (i.e. quotations).  But, as he suggests in this discussion, there is considerable internal evidence in Isaiah where both ἀνατεῖλeι and ἀνηγγείλαμεν are attested and the preferable reading is ἀνατεῖλeι.  He points to Isa 42:9, 43:19, 45:8, and 47:13, as examples of this preference for ἀνατεῖλeι.

This stands, however, against the general preference in text criticism for the more difficult reading.  The more difficult reading is preferred because it is easy to see how one might emend the text to make it more sensible or to make it follow a more commonly found pattern or collocation.  Of course, the preference for a more difficult reading doesn’t extend to readings that are incomprehensible garbage, but that doesn’t seem to be the case here.  Tov (in his LXX/MT parallel) has no explanation for the Greek variant apart from an alternative text tradition.  So both Ziegler and the NASB are countermanding one of the standard principles of text criticism.

What seems most likely to me is that the LXX represents a different Vorlage (that is, a different underlying Hebrew tradition) than the Massoretic tradition.  I don’t even have a guess at which Vorlage, the MT or LXX, is the more original reading in this case.  I just can’t see a clear reason why either text would produce the other.  Any suggestions?

* Sorry, having trouble with my Greek fonts.

**Just in case anybody’s curious, both 1QIsa a and b follow Codex Leningrad in this case, as does Aleppo.

Fiddling, and The Servant Song…

Still fiddling with the new WordPress features.  I like this theme much more than the last and I think I’ll stick with it for a while.  Points to whoever can name the document in the header pic.

I’ve also been fiddling with the text-critical issues in Isaiah 53.  I’ve never troubled to read the LXX translation, and now I know I was the poorer for it.  There are some fascinating changes, but the one that’s really piqued my interest is the LXX reading that clearly indicates a taw at the end of verse 8, thus producing the translation εἰς θάνατον. I’m not reading any secondary literature on the subject at the moment (part of the assignment) and I still have lots of other texts to finish reading, including both Isaiah scrolls from Qumran and a quick look over the Vulgate (as much as my non-existent Latin can manage at least), but what seemed at first like a clear case of later Christian interpolation does not seem so clear-cut to me now.  More anon.

Also, what did I do to my back!?  I’m like a friggin cripple here!