Sunday, August 4, 2013

Septuagint Studies Soirée

Abram K-J, blogger, is announcing a soirée. To use his words precisely, he's "Announcing the Septuagint Studies Soirée." In "the" party, he's announced the "four Septuagint-related blogs" that he knows of.

All men authored, these four. Which was some the point of this little blog, Septuagint-related as it was from the get go.

I'm interested in readings of the Septuagint. In readings as the Septuagint. In what translation has done, in what Greek has done, in what Jewish people have done with their own Scriptures when confronted in legend with what the goyim leaders commanded of them, in what men have done.

Evelyn Underhill paraphrases the man Dante. She says, and I quote her directly:

"Dante warned the readers of the Divine Comedy that everything in it had a fourfold meaning.... This, which is indeed true of the Comedy, is far more true of the great statements of the Christian religion."

Underhill ignores the fact that Dante was writing literally to another man. She sidesteps the issue that he was actually writing to him concerning how to read, the meanings available from, the following:

In exitu Israel de Egypto, domus Iacob de populo barbaro, facta est Iudea sanctificatio eius, Israel potestas eius

Now, most readers who don't even read Latin will recognize the fact that the above is a mere translation. It is not an original. Or, at least, literally we might all concede that it is not "the" original. It's a Soirée.

That may well be what the Septuagint is.

If we step back from the man Dante writing for another man, and if we consider the translation called the Septuagint, by men for other men, then we don't really know what to do with it.

I don't. I did try to read the Greek translation once upon a time as poetry. I struggled with whether the first line should begin “In the ExOdus of…”

Interpretive spins and literary sparks, perhaps, is one way to focus on what turns out of the Septuagint as "the" Psalmoi. So here I've been doing a series of blogposts on that, for example, here.

If we men will not concede that we are barbarians kept out of this translation called the Septuagint (or kept out by this translation), then I'm not sure how good our logic is.

Going back to the particular Hellene version of the particular bit of Psalm Dante troubled over in four-fold and Christian ways in Latin, I think we all might concede it talks about us, but not in the ways we necessarily want it to. It calls us Barbarians, and rightly so:

ἐν ἐξόδῳ Ισραηλ ἐξ Αἰγύπτου οἴκου Ιακωβ ἐκ λαοῦ βαρβάρου

I think "the" ExOdys is a key to positioning who is reading the scriptures as whom and how. If you "understand" the Greek, then maybe the point of that Greek is that you cannot really "get" it. (Sometimes that understanding, those misunderstandings, deserves a quick post. Other times it requires an entire blog on the Septuagint, or now "the Septuagint Studies Soirée.")

So I'm just going to end this little post by recalling how the first post of this blog ended. It's a little four-paragraph history of the Septuagint melded with my little history of a soirée. Who knows when it will end? At midnight? With the rosy-fingered dawn? I don't even think I was invited to the party, unless you rightly call me a barbarian, an outsider to the Septuagint, if also a man.

1. Jewish men began translating their Hebrew text into the Hellene mother tongue in Alexander the Great's Alexandria, Egypt in around 246BCE.

2. In many fascinating ways, this act of translating into Hellene opens up the text. It opens the text up into the debates over how Greek males (such as Alexander's teacher Aristotle) may control the Greek language for elite educated men of the Academy. The language control was to exclude not only women but also sophists, rhetoricians, ancient epic poets, more contemporary poets, colonists such as those in Soli who committed "solecisms" in writing, and BarBarians who spoke in foreign barbarisms.

3. The intended or unintended wordplay in the newly-translated Greek Jewish Bible (or ἡ βίβλος), and how such translatings allow women, or wombmen, to overhear the text as outsiders, are some of the focuses of this blog. In this blog, I'm also going to look at the New Testament (or new covenant) written by Jewish men using the Hellene mother tongue as their male text.

4. So it's "The womBman's Bible: an outsider's perspective on the Hebrew male's Hellene book."

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