The paper discusses several unusual features that characterize the language of the Fourth book of Maccabees. This Judeo-Hellenistic work played a major role in the formation of Christian theology: the doctrine of Redemption, of martyrdom, of supernatural forces given to the devotee etc. Introduction of new concepts required innovative vocabulary. The author creates a series of new stem-compounds that did not exist in Greek to designate specific Jewish religious concepts that have no parallels in the Greek mental repertoire such as miarofagia or hieropsychos. He also re- interprets the inner form of existing Greek words contrary to the estab- lished Greek usage: Eunomia designates not the state with good laws and lawful citizens, but instead an adherence to the Torah, as the Torah is transmitted in the LXX as Nomos; similarly, photagogos does not mean a window for light, but is applied to mystagogy. The author claims his own superiority over the Greeks in the mastery of Greek language, postulating that Jewish pious ratio (eusebes logos) surpasses the ratio of pagan thinkers.
The article is devoted to the analysis of the semantics of the word stereoma. The Septuagint as it was understood by a Greek rhetorician: Pseudo-Longinus and στερέωμα. The paper deals with the first (and only) quotation from the Bible in the classical Greek literature: a quotation from the opening chapter of Genesis in a treatise on eloquence, Περὶ Ὕψους, written presumably in the first century CE by an anonymous Greek author, commonly referred to as Pseudo-Longinus. One can see at a gl ance that the wording of the quotation differs considerably from that of the Greek Genesis. We suggest that the difference is due to the wrong understanding of Gen 1:6 by the author of Περὶ Ὕψους. The present paper attempts to reconstruct how a Greek rhetorician, experienced in classical literature but not versed in the Bible, could understand and interpret the biblical account of the creation of the Heavens, especially the word στερέωμα “solid body” used in the Greek Bible (Gen 1:6) in the meaning “heaven”. This meaning is a neologism coined by the authors of the Septuagint. The paper shows, with a reference to the classical literature and Basil the Great (Hexaemeron), that the word στερέωμα would seem to a Greek rhetorician as a much more appropriate designation for the Earth than for the Heaven. It also shows that what was said about the στερέωμα in Gen 1:6 would also point in the same direction. The biblical Στερέωμα ἐν μέσῳ τοῦ ὕδατος – “a solid body in the midst of the waters” – could not have been understood by a Greek philosopher or rhetorician as “the Heaven”. One may rather suppose, it must have been understood as “the Earth”. If we assume that Pseudo-Longinus borrowed the quotation of Gen 1:6 from some source without knowing its wider context, we shall be able to explain how the wording of Περὶ Ὕψους emerged from that of the Septuagint: as a result of misreading caused by linguistic and cultural differences between the world of the Greek-speaking Jews and that of classical antiquity.
The article discusses the semantic difference between the singular and the plural forms of the word νόμος (law) in the Second Book of the Maccabees. In Greek translations of books of the Hebrew canon, the plural νόμοι is used extremely rarely; normally νόμος is used in the singular (there is only one Law of Moses in the same way as there is one God and one Temple). In classical Greek, on the contrary,νόμοι is a standard designation for a legislative corpus. In the Apocrypha both singular νόμος and plural νόμοι are used, but, except in 2 Macc, no system has hitherto been proposed. The present article argues that 2 Macc shows a theologically important semantic opposition between what was the norm for the Septuagint (νόμος as, primarily, the unique Law of Moses) and what was the norm in classical Greek usage (νόμοι as the corpus of traditional laws).
The Hebrew Bible often uses anthropomorphic imagery with regard to God. In some verses of the Septuagint these antropomorphic images seem to be eliminated or downplayed. In the present paper we shall deal with just one of the “anthropomorphisms” of the Hebrew Bible that used to be discussed in the scholarly litrature, namely with the Hebrew semipreposition בעני “in the eyes of” with regard to God. The question we try to answer may be formulated as follows: is it true that the translation of this semipreposition in a given LXX text depends in a statistically significant way on whether the expression refers to God or to man?
The article compares two interpretations of God’s self-definition in Exodus 3:14, namely (a) the traditional “ontological” interpretation (“I am the One Who really is”), which is represented in the Septuagint and patristic exegesis, as well as in the standard Russian (so-called Synodal) translation, and (b) the “apophatic” interpretation (“I am what I am”), which is predominant in modern exegesis and modern translations. Analysis of the Hebrew text suggests that the “apophatic” reading reflects the original understanding of Exodus 3:14 in its pre-Hellenistic context. The Septuagint rendering of the Hebrew text is often regarded as influenced by the Greek philosophy, but it may well be explained as a translator’s attempt to deal with the difficult text, namely to retain the parallelism between two halves of the verse Exodus 3:14 without violation of the norms of the Greek grammar. If this is the case, the LXX translators did not invent the “ontological” understanding of this verse, but rather involuntarily prepared the way for it.
The Slavonic Bible was translated from Greek revealing textual correlations to the Septuagint. However in the majority of East Slavic manuscripts one can also observe indubitable Hebrew influences: there are numerous Hebraisms missing in the Septuagint while manifesting direct Slavic- Jewish contacts; they are introduced to correct the traditional Slavonic translation of the biblical text. These Hebraisms are based on the collation of the Slavonic Bible both with the Hebrew Torah and with the Aramaic Targums. The treatment of the Divine names (preserved in the Targums in their original, Hebrew form) allows us to demonstrate that borrowings from the Torah could be translated in the Slavonic Bible, whereas borrowings from Targums were reproduced in the Slavonic text in the original (Hebrew) form. The revision of the Slavonic Bible had several stages and was a long process. The author attempts to define a chronological stratification of different data related to this process.