Reviews of

Romanian Septuagint Project, vol. 6/II: Iezekiel, Sousanna, Daniel, Bel and the Dragon

In Dan Batovici, Florica BECHET, Ioana COSTA, Polirom, Septuagint on November 9, 2010 at 4:18 pm

2010.11.07 | Septuaginta, vol. 6/II: Iezechiel, Suzana, Daniel, Bel și Balaurul, eds. C. Badiliță, F. Băltăceanu and M. Broșteanu with I.F. Florescu. Translation and notes by Florica Bechet and Ioana Costa. Bucharest / Iassy. NEC / Polirom, 2008. 565 p. ISBN 978-973-46-0886-7. Hardback.

Reviewed by Dan Batovici, University of St Andrews.

This is the pre-print version of the review published in Sacra Scripta 7.2 (2009), pp. 241-2.

This volume is the last issue of the Romanian translation of the Septuagint Project, hosted by New Europe College (Bucharest). It has been published however before 5 and 6/I.

The edition translated throughout the already completed project is the one established by Rahlfs. The two authors who sign the translations and the commentaries are members of the Faculty of Classics at the University of Bucharest. Within the Septuagint project, single-handedly or in collaboration, Prof. Florica Bechet, Head of the mentioned department, worked on 1 and 2 Kings (vol. 2), Odes 3, 7 and 8 (vol. 4/I), while Dr. Ioana Costa on Deuteronomy (vol. 1), Judges and 4 Kings (vol. 2), Ode 2 and The Ecclesiast (vol. 4/I).

Iezekiel is introduced and translated by I. Costa. The introductory study (13-40) is a rather dense presentation of scholarly discussions concerning, on the one hand, the dating of the events described in the book, the main character and his mission, and, on the other hand, the transmission of the text and its contents. After a short comparison with other prophets and an account of Patristic commentaries on Iezekiel, the introduction concludes by stressing the importance of W. Zimmerly and J. Lust’s works on Iezekiel. The issues outlined in the introduction are, however, treated at length in the notes added to the Romanian translation. Varying in quantity, there are nearly one thousand and six hundred notes offering a wealth of information on – among many other topics – lexical particularities of the Greek text, textual variants of LXX, Romanian variants of translation, historical, geographical and philological issues. A particular emphasis is placed on the comparison with the Hebrew versions, as one can find here comprehensive discussions on the differences between the readings of LXX and those of the Masoretic Text. Although they are not absent from regular notes, verse-by-verse commentaries of Gregory the Great and Origen on Iezekiel are grouped in a complementary section of notes, extended on forty pages (247-87), consistent with the general emphasis of the project on the Patristic commentaries on LXX.

Sousanna, Bel and the Dragon, and Daniel are introduced, translated and annotated by F. Bechet. For all the three texts there are offered, on two columns, parallel translations from both LXX and Theodotion. Each introduction of Daniel’s additions, Sousanna (291-302) and Bel and the Dragon (521-6), contain a comparison of two versions – developed furthermore in the notes to each translation – followed by discussions on the canonicity of the texts, their original language, date and place of composition. The introduction to Daniel (325-62) is opened with a discussion of its canonicity and its additions. An extended survey of the scholar question of literary unity (327-35) is followed by further discussion on the date of composition and authorship. Literary considerations then treat genres, style and sources. An analysis of the books contents is prefaced by a presentation of the two versions of Daniel, LXX and Theodotion. Some eight hundred rich notes are added to the translation, treating punctually and extensively issues mentioned above.

As a whole, the reader is benefiting from the fact that two experienced translators accomplished this work. This profit is increased further by the presence of numerous variants of translations in the notes. Less fortunate in the present reviewer’s view, however, is the editorial decision to limit the number of references in the introductory studies, where scholarly opinions are sometime listed without reference (15, 25, 328, 334), perhaps in order to avoid the overburdening of one already complex work. While a selective bibliography is present (545-63), it may not be at hand to work your way through searching for mentioned opinions. Also, additional indexes might have increased the usability of the volume, as there is only one, listing names that appear in translations (539-43). The notes form perhaps the most consistent part of the book and at least an index rerum might have helped. Nevertheless, the volume provides an extensive commentary and a good survey on the scholarship devoted to the four LXX texts, and certainly a valuable tool in Romanian biblical studies.

Dan Batovici
University of St Andrews
db47 [ at ]


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