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Book chapter

The Meaning of ἀνατολή in the Septuagint and the Papyri

P. 398-406.

The main focus of the paper is on the meaning and use of the Greek word ἀνατολή (usually translated as “sunrise”, “east”) in the Septuagint in comparison with the Classical and early Christian literature, as well as the language of the papyri. This word was used by the translators of the Septuagint as an equivalent for the Hebrew צֶמַח (“sprout”, “growth”) in three messianic prophecies (Jer 23:5, Zech 3:8, 6:12).

Important observations considering this issue were made by Gregory Lanier (JBL 134, no. 3 (2015): 505-527), who confronts common views that the translators simply made a mistake or that their choice could have been influenced by the Aramaic meaning of the root צמח “to shine”. From Lanier's point of view the translators’ use of ἀνατολή captures the general sense of the metaphor: arising of a deliverer figure.

In contrast to this hypothesis, as well as to the previous scholarship, it is argued in my paper that the meaning “sprout”, “shoot” for ἀνατολή can be considered as standard for the Hellenistic Koine (at least for the Hellenistic Koine of Egypt), which is demonstrated by the papyrological material (P.Tebt. 3 .1 703, 51; P. Lond; 7 2008, 23; P. Ryl. Gr. 4 583, 17; SB 3 7188, 19).