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Hanhart, Robert


Text und Textgeschichte des 2. Esrabuches.


Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht 2003. VIII, 414 S. gr.8° = Abhandlungen der Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Göttingen. Philologisch-Historische Klasse. Dritte Folge, 253. Lw. EUR 99,00. ISBN 3-525-82525-0.


James C. VanderKam

This volume of the Mitteilungen des Septuaginta-Unternehmens, like the others in the series, supplies the technical analysis that underlies the text edition in the Göttingen Septuagint. The text edition had appeared under Hanhart’s editorship in 1993 as vol. VIII, 2 Esdrae liber II. Although 2 Esdras, the relatively late translation of Ezra-Nehemiah, has perhaps not been a center of text-critical research, it presents interesting issues because of the nature of the material in the text (e. g., parallel passages, repeated names) and its extensive overlap with 1 Esdras. H. maintains that, despite the considerable amount of shared material, 1 and 2 Esdras are essen­tially independent translations; agreements between their texts arose at a secondary stage in the history of their transmission. Yet, 2 Esdras, in its original and recensional forms, was transmitted in a way closely related to that of 1 Esdras in the sense that the earliest form and the familiar recensions are to be found largely in the same groups of manuscripts. For H., the postulate of an original, independent form of 1 and 2 Esdras followed by recensional revisions, through which original readings in one of the books could enter the other (especially by the criterion of agreement with the Hebrew/Aramaic Vorlage) is the only appropriate foundation for a proper understanding of the text and text history of each work.
The witnesses to the text of 2 Esdras are aligned in the following divisions, and almost of all these witnesses attest the same text forms for 1 Esdras.
1. An old text form relatively untouched by recensional activity survives in the old uncials B A V S, with some minuscules (especially 55) and secondary translations (especially the Ethiopic).
2. The Lucianic recension can be found in minuscules 19 108 (= 19’) and in ms. 93 (which at times, where 19’ has erroneous readings, preserves genuine Lucianic readings); it is also present in the fragments of the Gothic translation; while ms. 121, which belongs to the a recension (see below), is also strongly influenced by the Lu­cianic recension.
3. There are two additional text groups which can be designated recensions because of their secondary elements: recension a (71– 74–106–107–120–121–130–134–236–314–370–762 [71–106–107 offer at times a shorter text]) and recension b (46–64–98–243–248–381–728–731).
4. There are also codices mixti, that is, manuscripts influenced by the uncials and the recensions but not genuine witnesses of any particular recension (58.119).
H. identifies two items worthy of particular investigation. The first is La121 which is closely related to the Lucianic recension but retains a peculiar character in that its agreements with the MT go much farther than in the other Lucianic witnesses. Second, unlike the textual history of 1 Esdras, the two hexaplaric witnesses for 2 Esdras (the corrector of codex Sinaiticus and the Syro-hexaplaric fragments) are transmitted only partially. In this respect, there is little help to be gained from the indirect tradition in Josephus (who mostly uses 1 Esdras) or in the church fathers (who rarely refer to 2 Esdras).
As he deals with the criteria to be used for reconstructing the orig­inal text, H. comes to an important conclusion. On the basis of a mass of detailed evidence, he argues that, as an external criterion, the agreement of the two recensions a and b, which are largely independent of each other, is a stronger argument for originality than attestation by the B text which has undergone some recensional influence. This is the point at which H.s work with the text of 2 Esdras differs most strikingly from that of A. Rahlfs who relied more upon the support of B as an indication of the original text. Regarding the internal criterion for the original character of the translation, one must seek a differentiated law of translational technique, with some consistently executed rules of morphology, syntax, and word equivalence. Determining the text character of the recensions and the witnesses that are relatively free of recen­sion­al influence is the presupposition for the decision (according to the external and internal criteria) regarding the original text in the disputed cases.
As a result, a large part of the book is devoted to the text forms of the recensions and uncials (with related minuscules). In the manner one expects from the Mitteilungen, H. documents his arguments with copious details drawn from the witnesses. First the Lucianic recension receives his attention. Among the problems trea­ted are its relation to the hexaplaric and Old Latin tradition, corrections according the MT, corrections taken from the original text of 1 Esdras, its way of transcribing names, and the character of the doublets in this tradition. The chapter on the Hexaplaric recension deals with its relation not only to the Lucianic but also to the Old Latin; the text form of La 123 in relation to the recensions and traditions likewise receives attention. In addition, H. includes an analysis of the text forms found in the non-hexaplaric and non-Lucianic tradition. And of course he discusses the a and b recensions and the uncials.
His reconstruction of the text history is based on what he takes to be the only certain criterion: agreement by some witnesses with the text as transmitted in the MT is a recensional principle, while a free rendering of the Hebrew/Aramaic original in other witnesses is an indication of the original translation. The foundational principle for reconstructing the history of the textual tradition is, as with other LXX works based on the Hebrew/Aramaic text from Palestine, the coordinates of the Origenic-Palestinian tradition and the Lucianic-Antiochene tradition. Since the Hexaplaric recension has been transmitted only in fragmentary form for 2 Esdras, one must examine the text-critical relation of the two. The evidence shows that the Lucianic tradition has frequently taken over material from the Hexaplaric. The most reasonable hypothesis is that at first there was a period when the two were open to influence from each other; later came a time (beginning in the early fourth century) when they became fixed as distinct recensions and developed according to their own principles.
The final chapter entitled »Der ursprüngliche Text« proceeds on the principle that one may find the way to the oldest form of the text through examining the commonalities in translation tradition from book to book. The chapter, which explains many readings in the text edition including a number in which H. disagrees with Rahlfs, contains three major sections: Word (the ways in which names and appellatives are transcribed), Sentence and Syntax, and Addition or Omission (especially the B text is often shorter than the MT). In the first section, he admits there is little certainty but was, for example, able to determine that transcribing Hebrew/Aramaic ז as ζ is a significant argument for originality. In the second and third sections he arrives at some readings that seem paradoxical but follow from the principles that he has accepted. So, for instance, at 2 Esdras 23:28 (= Neh 13:28), where the MT is ambiguous whether the high priest Joiada himself was charged with marrying Sanballat’s daughter or one of his sons, H. notes that Greek, with its case endings, requires the translator to make a decision about the re­ferent of »the son in law of Sanballat«: if the genitive case is original, the referent would be Joiada, while the nominative would entail one of his sons. Since the nominative form νυμφίος is transmitted only in the Lucianic tradition, one might think it secondary. H., however, adopts it in his text because of the syntax that would be contrary to the translational technique of 2 Esdras. Rahlfs had read the genitive. In the final section a good example figures in 2 Esdras 22:22 (= Neh 12:22) where the unit καὶ Іωά in a list of high priestly names is transmitted by all the witnesses except the Lucianic and Hexaplaric ones which, by lacking it, agree with the MT. Rahlfs did not read it in his edition. H. retains the name and appeals to knowl­edge of an additional historical source reflected in a Hebrew base text which has been reproduced in most of the Greek witnesses. In this case, however, his decision to retain the reading is unconvinc­ing. It is unlikely that familiarity with a tradition such as the one preserved in Josephus, Antiquities 11.297–301 regarding a murder in the high-priestly family led to the expunging of a name originally in the list. As H. himself notes, one could easily explain the extra name as a dittography.