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Greek rendering of לדוד


Tony Pyles
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Beginning with Ps 3 we get superscriptions, yay! It is immediately interesting to me that לדוד is rendered as a dative construction, τῷ δαυιδ. I wondered if that was always the case, so I played around with MT-LXX. Looks like the answer is no, but almost…

 

Pss 26–28[OG 25–27], 37[36] have a corresponding genitive construction, τοῦ δαυιδ. (So does 132[131], but it isn't actually part of the superscription.)

 

122[121], 124[123] have no counterpart to לדוד (but cf. the apparatus—they have τω δαυι(ε)δ in Sinaiticus).

 

Here's how I have the search set up in MT-LXX (with Show Text As paragraphs, Add Titles):

 

post-29437-0-84479700-1420607868_thumb.png

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Tony, nice setup (and search). I take it those other tabs are keyed to the MT-LXX Parallel, too, to show you so-called pluses and minuses? (Is that what people are still calling them these days?)

 

If so, I'd love to have a gander at that workspace, though I know it's not too hard to set up.

 

On the point you raise--my understanding is that we can interpret that Hebrew preposition with some ambiguity... it doesn't necessarily intend to say these are Psalms written by David, but could mean something like in the Davidic way or tradition... yes?

 

If so, does the Greek dative carry the same ambiguity? And if the answer to that is yes, does the genitive, too? And, one more, what might explain the difference in case in those couple spots? Poetic variation? Higher confidence in attributing the Psalm to David himself? An empty scribal coffee pot that morning?

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The rest of that workspace is just my MT-LXX workspace which was open at the time (all tied together, but not to the search on לדוד. Although I could probably run it with constructs. It would be interesting to do so and see to what extent the Greek text in MT-LXX differs from the Göttingen edition, now that I think of it…

 

I think it very unlikely the translator thought of the superscription as indicating anything other than authorship (check out the variants gone wild on Ps 72[71] for לשלמה to see why I think so!), though modern interpreters find a lot of flexibility there (some of which may have been operative for the editors of the Psalter).

 

On the last bit, I don't know. But I think every scribe should have an AeroPress! After another coffee or two, maybe it's worth tackling why the genitive in those specific places…

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  • 1 month later...

Have you considered the explanation put forth at the Chriistian-Thinktank.com I think from Waltke/O'Conner to the effect that the possessive cannot be expressed with the construct when the first noun is indefinite, but the 2nd is definite as in "A psalm [indefinite] of David [definite].  Could it be that  possessive lamed (like possessive dative in Greek, e.g., ὄνοµα αὐτῷ) may be the standard syntax in such a situation?  see

http://christianthinktank.com/nothe.html

 

 


"Hebrew cannot use a construct with a definite article in such circumstances (tn: trying to say 'A son of THE king') but rather resorts to a periphrastic genitive with lamed." 

 

So, the phrase 'a psalm of David' (with David as a name being definite, obviously) has to use a lamed preposition to 'distance' the definite 'David' from the indefinite 'psalm'.

Edited by Enoch
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When Waltke's name was mentioned I remembered he wrote an article on Superscripts in the Psalms: Bruce K. Waltke, "Superscripts, Postscripts, or Both" JBL 110 (1991): 583-97.

 

I know the primary thrust is arguing for the originality of the superscripts, but can't recall if there is specific discussion on the syntax; I imagine there is.

Edited by Rick Bennett
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