Peshitta Forum

Full Version: Question about Habakkuk 2:11, Theodore of Mopsuestia
You're currently viewing a stripped down version of our content. View the full version with proper formatting.
Shlama,

Does anyone have any thoughts on this particular passage in Habakkuk 2:11? and why Theodore may have rejected the Peshitta rendering of this particular verse? I have to admit that I'm not totally familiar with Theodore's background. I have a couple of books supposedly written by him.

Theodore of Mopsuestia is quoted by J.P. Migne as saying/writing, "Some have said that the Syrian version reads 'peg'; but it would be nonsense to disregard the voice of the Hebrew -- in which the prophets spoke and which the Seventy with their own translation have made clear to us, for they were notables and perfectly knew that language -- and pay attention to the Syrian who has altered the voice of the Hebrews into that of the Syrians. Besides he often wants to raise his own mistakes to a linguistic law, without knowing what he is talking about."

Theodore's reference to "the Seventy" is the Septuagint. It appears by this comment that Theodore is rejecting the Peshitta text over that of the Septuagint (for this particular passage at least) which says "beetle" while the Peshitta says "peg" or "nail".

From Aramaic: For the stone shall implore from the wall, and the nail from the wood shall respond. (or a different tense: For the stone has implored/called out from the wall, and the nail from the wood has responded.)

Lamsa: For the stone shall cry out from the wall, and the nail in the wood shall answer it.

Jewish Publication Soc. (1917): For the stone shall cry out of the wall, and the beam out of the timber shall answer it.

Jewish Publication Soc. (modern edition): For a stone shall cry out from the wall, and a rafter shall answer it from the woodwork.

Brenton's Septuagint: For the stone shall cry out of the wall, and the beetle out of the timber shall speak.
I don't know how a beetle makes any contextual sense here. It looks like the Peshitta translates closer to the original Hebrew than the LXX does.

Were the Seventy immune from translation error? The translators of the Peshitta were Jews, too. Looks like the latter got this one right.
Shlama,

Thanks for your thoughts in this Paul.
Hello,

I just read the full commentary, as fortunately it has been discovered... <!-- sSmile --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/smile.gif" alt="Smile" title="Smile" /><!-- sSmile -->

Theodore writes:

"...translator from Hebrew into Syriac... being in my view a man who didn't understand at times what it(Hebrew text) is saying, and used 'peg' for the 'beetle' that very commonly lurks in walls so that the expression might seem to retain some sense. Actually it doesn't make much sense to say that peg gives voice from the wood, since while it is admissible to say 'from the wall', but not from the wood: it is not the case that just as wall is made of stones, as wall is made of pegs. Furthermore, since the prophet has said the accusation was being made against him both from the walls and from the things within it, he was right to proceed:"

And then cites the next verse.

He is regarded as interpreter 'par excellence' in Syriac Churches, but here it seems he crumbled... <!-- sSmile --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/smile.gif" alt="Smile" title="Smile" /><!-- sSmile --> He just tries to prove Septuagint is best at all costs... <!-- sSmile --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/smile.gif" alt="Smile" title="Smile" /><!-- sSmile -->

But it seems Christian Church Fathers who used Septuagint favored reading as "scarab", which is same as beetle...

Same is with Milchom/their kings when it comes to Amos 1:15 and Zephaniah 1:5, but to his irony, his criticism of Peshitta is in vain, as Lamsa's Bible writes "Milchom", which is the word Theodore is eagerly defending... While Septuagint version is against Theodore... <!-- sBig Grin --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/happy.gif" alt="Big Grin" title="Happy" /><!-- sBig Grin -->
I'd be curious to know why Theodore thought that "the seventy" were behind the greek of Habakkuk.
Generally it's thought today that "the seventy" only produced a Greek translation of the first five books.

<!-- m --><a class="postlink" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Septuagint">http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Septuagint</a><!-- m -->