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Twenty translations of Job part 2: abbreviations

January 11, 2012

Here are a list of abbreviations used in my series on different translations of Job.  I will try to update the list of abbreviations to include all abbreviations used in my series.

I will not analyze all of these translations – the translations I will compare are listed here.

11QtgJob = Targum Job from Qumran – 11QtgJob.

4QtgJob = Targum Job from Qumran – 4QtgJob.

AB = Anchor Yale Bible.

Alter = The Wisdom Books.  (May also refer to the author, Robert Alter.)

ASV = American Standard Version.

BHS = Biblia Hebraic Stuttgartensia.

BJ = La Bible de Jérusalem.

CEB = Common English Bible.

Driver = A Critical and Exegetical commentary on the book of Job: Together with a new Translation.  (May also refer to the author, Samuel Rolles Driver.)

Eisemann = Iyov:  A New Translation with a Commentary Anthologized from Talmudic, Midrashic and Rabbinic Sources.  (May also refer to the author, Moshe Eisemann.)

Gordis = The Book of Job:  Commentary, New Translation and Special Studies.  May also refer to the author, Robert Gordis.)

Gordis65 = Book of God and Man:  A Study of Job.

Gordis78 = The Book of Job: Commentary, New Translation and Special Studies.

HSB = HarperCollins Study Bible, 2nd edition.

IBFET = The Inclusive Bible: The First Egalitarian Translation.

JB = Jerusalem Bible.

JPS1917 = Jewish Publication Society Version (1917).

JSB = (Oxford) Jewish Study Bible.

KJV = King James Version.

LRCSB = Little Rock Catholic Study Bible.

MSG = The Message.

Mitchell = The Book of Job.  (May also refer to the author, Stephen Mitchell.)

MT = Masoretic Text.

NAB91 = New American Bible (1991).

NABRE = New American Bible Revised Edition.

NASB = New American Standard Bible (1995).

NCEEB= Norton Critical Edition:  The English Bible, King James Version: The Old Testament.

NEB = New English Bible.

NEB-OSE = Oxford Study Edition (New English Bible).

NET = New English Translation.

NETS = New English Translation of the Septuagint.

NISB = New Interpreter’s Study Bible.

NIV11 = New International Version (2011).

NIV84 = New International Version (1984).

NJB = New Jerusalem Bible (full edition).

NJPS = New Jewish Publication Society Tanakh.

NOAB-RSV = New Oxford Annotated Bible (1977)

NOAB4 = New Oxford Annotated Bible, 4th edition (2010)

NRSV = New Revised Standard Version.

Pope = Anchor Bible:  Job, 3rd edition.   (May also refer to the author, Marvin Pope.)

REB = Revised English Bible.

REB-OSB = Oxford Study Bible (Revised English Bible)

RSV = Revised Standard Version (1977).

RV = Revised Version.

Scheindlin = The Book of Job.  (May also refer to the author, Raymond Scheindlin.)

TNIV = Today’s New International Version.

WB = The Wisdom Books.

Y-H = The Tetragrammaton.  (May also refer to the Tetragrammaton as it is written out in romanization.)

Ziegler = Vol. XI, 4: Iob. Vetus Testamentum Graecum. Auctoritate Academiae Scientiarum Gottingensis editum.

10 Comments leave one →
  1. January 11, 2012 5:19 pm

    LXX = Septuagint?

  2. January 11, 2012 8:12 pm

    No, I don’t use that abbreviation (because it is non-specific — there are many Septuagints). But you notice that I do have a reference to Ziegler.

  3. Suzanne McCarthy permalink*
    January 11, 2012 10:42 pm

    Did you lose Brenton?

  4. January 11, 2012 11:04 pm

    Well, that’s a reasonable question, because I made a typo.

    I meant to write in this comment:

    “Further, I think you may have missed one of the points of why I wanted to analyze Cox (and not, for example, Brenton.) The NETS is specifically modeled to be comparable to the NRSV.”

    but when I typed it in, I left out the “not.” I’ve fixed that.

    I think NETS is interesting to analyze because it is specifically designed to be parallel to the NRSV. The Brenton edition doesn’t really have the relationship with any existing translation, so when reading Brenton, one does not know whether a decision is more motivated by the NRSV text or by Brenton’s writing style.

    Frankly, I’ve never spent a lot of time with the Brenton edition, so I cannot really judge it; but I have heard a fair amount of criticism of it. One thing that Brenton does have going for him is that his work was published in diglot form.

    (I do not understand why NETS has not yet been fully published in diglot form — only the Psalms have appeared in diglot form, and been contrasted to the MT/RSV. One might say that diglots have been superseded by Bible software which can easily produce polyglot editions, but NETS is not available for Logos, the Bible software package I know best.)

    (Of course, I understand that NETS has a problem because part of its text is based on Rahlfs, and part is based on the Göttingen edition, and further there are copyright issues with the Göttingen edition. Moreover, it is not clear that the Göttingen edition will actually be completed in our lifetimes. Fortunately, in studying Iob, that problem does not occur — we have Göttingen Iob as well as the later corrections to Göttingen by Pietersma and Gentry.)

  5. January 12, 2012 6:42 am

    Yes, when reading NETS, I’ll often open up Brenton because, being in a diglot format, there’s the Greek to read. Fortunately each NETS translator is careful to describe the Greek text in general terms — sometimes with specific book-peculiar or Greek-text-unique characteristics noted.


    I must apologize for glossing over something you’d said in that earlier comment you now link to here. I should have asked my question with more explanation, with more reason if you will. What I asked so baldly wasn’t clear; and you were clear:

    I am annoyed whenever someone refers to the “the LXX” as if it were a single, definite object. It is a little bit like saying “the English dictionary.” As we all know, there are many, many English dictionaries and they vary tremendously. The same is true of the many Septuagint texts.

    Thus, my question to you now in retrospect really seems annoying. “LXX = Septuagint?”

    However, here in this post I note that you are establishing a set of abbreviations. Isn’t this like symbolic variables for algebra?

    Even Pietersma and company call their work the “NETS: New English Translation of the Septuagint” in which “S = Septuagint.” Granted, within NETS, the individual translators, such as Cox translating “Iob” does well to distinguish the various Greek texts of the Septuagint — or, of “the many Septuagint texts,” if you must — but here we come to the convenience of your abbreviations. Such allow your readers the algebra of variables so that you don’t have to keep qualifying again and again. Cox allows himself to characterize the Greek texts he’s chosen as “Old Greek,” and we allow him to use “OG” thereafter. But even this focused and selected “text” — if we must — is somewhat a creation of Cox himself. I’ve already tried to point that out in my comment that you were responding to. There is no published OG text from which translator Cox is rendering; no, it’s his construct, a literal one, a reasonable collection, a carefully described and particularly chosen set of texts I insist. It may not be “the English dictionary” and isn’t as varied as “the Septuagint” but Cox’s “Old Greek” isn’t a pre-fab entity. And yet OG is not annoying. In fact, let me just say that when describing the textS for the Greek Iob (or shall we say the Greek IobS plural), Cox discusses this multifacted plural (and not just the narrower OG) as “one of a kind in the Septuagint corpus.”

    Now “one of a kind in the Septuagint corpus” is and is not the same as your “many Septuagint texts.” Cox is careful to describe the various texts within the possible Greek versions of Iob, for example; and you want us all to realize that Septuagint is a place-holder name for a collection of inconsistent Greek texts. But Cox is saying that the plural IobS Greek texts is “one” and is “one of a kind in the [one] Septuagint corpus.”

    That he says “corpus” is similar to how we talk of Aristotle’s writings and how we talk of the Hebrew Bible (not just the MT) and how we talk about the New Testament. Likewise, Robert Alter refers to “the Septuagint” and to “the Hebrew Bible” as respective, single, definite objects, doesn’t he? And don’t the NETS translators themselves use the abbreviation LXX (as S. Peter Cowe does as quoted here)?

    Which of these (the Septuagint corpus, the corpus of Aristotle, the Hebrew Bible texts set, the New Testament manuscript collection) has more variation? And at what point must we stop referring to any one of these as “one”?

  6. January 12, 2012 1:18 pm

    Kurk, to the contrary, Cox has a fixed text from which he works, namely Ziegler (with emendations by Pietersma and Gentry. So Cox’s Iob is different from Brenton’s Iob, and from Rahlf’s Iob. And those differences are not just minor variations. They variation in the LXX, for instance, is much larger than those in the New Testament.

    As a crude example, we cannot even agree on what the Septuagint is — which books it encompasses. And in many places in NETS, the authors end up translating multiple parallel texts.

    In the case of the Hebrew Bible, we almost always do mean the Masoretic text, and the variations among different MT manuscripts are relatively minor. We do not call the Dead Sea Scroll “the Hebrew Bible.” In the case of the New Testament, we have had to establish defacto authorities (Erasmus, Nestle-Aland, United Bible Societies) to establish definitive NT texts for us. If I were writing about the New Testament, I would likely have an abbreviation NA27, and not GNT (for Greek New Testament).

    Thus, in my abbreviations above, I have 11QtgJob, 4QtgJob, MT, and BHS. These are specific and responsible. I also have a reference to a specific Greek text (Ziegler) and a specific English translation of it (NETS). What I do not have is a reference to HB = Hebrew Bible or DSS = Dead Sea Scrolls or another vague reference.

    So why would I want to add a reference to LXX, an equally non-specific collection?

  7. January 12, 2012 2:57 pm

    Fair enough, Theophrastus. Hope you won’t mind my comments to your posts where I reference the LXX Greek of Iob (and I promise to be as specific as needed as to whether it’s Cox’s OG or some other Iob — i.e., Brenton’s and Rahlf’s). I certainly don’t want to hijack what you’re doing or to belabor what the Greek adds or loses in translation.

    Sometimes I fear that, because of all the negative views of “the many Septuagint texts,” the great and small impacts of the Hellene translations of the Hebrew are overlooked. One little influence of the LXX texts, for example, is shown in your list of table of names. Eisemann, Peterson (The Message), Mitchell, NIV11, and (least surprisingly) NETS all make בני האלהים into “angels.” And where do they (consciously or unwittingly) get that “English” from? From the Greek translation of the Hebrew, of course: οἱ ἄγγελοι τοῦ θεοῦ. (Similarly, the English words Pentateuch, Genesis, Exodus, Deuteronomy, Ecclesiastes, Psalms, prophets, Jesus, and the like are really much more Greek than they are Hebrew – the exception in this list being “Jesus” which is an English transliteration of the LXX transliteration of a Hebrew name that Moses supposedly gives to a son of Nun.)

  8. January 12, 2012 4:37 pm

    You are correct that angel is a Greek rendering for b’nei ha-elokim. One way it can be justified is through reference to Greek renderings. You’ll notice that the NJB justifies it on that basis. Others justify it through Ugarit or Nachmanides or through other Hebrew Bible references; and some feel the entire idea traces back to pre-monotheistic origins (thus Scheidlin’s shocking “the lesser gods.”)

    So, the question with the Greek reading is:

    (1) is it the source of our current understanding of the Hebrew?
    (2) is it a witness to ancient understanding of the Hebrew, which was also transmitted through other traditions?
    (3) is it a parallel interpretation of the Hebrew, which was made independently of later interpretations, but was made in a parallel fashion.

    I don’t know. Do you have any thoughts?

    However, I think that I find Greek Iob interesting for different reasons than you. I think you are interested in literary effects and how ancient translators dealt with the problems faced today even by modern translators.

    In contrast, I am partly interested in Greek Iob precisely because it is so different than other Septuagintal texts, which tend to often be rather literal translations. Cox says:

    The point is that OG Iob stands as a clear foil to the interlinear paradigm of translation…. It has sometimes been suggested that Greek Iob is based upon an equally shorter Hebrew parent text. However, on the basis of what we can establish about the translator’s techniqe, i.e., his rather free, even paraphrastic approach, it seems more likely that the shorter text is to be attributed to the time of translation. The usual categories of categorizing a translation fail us when we asses Iob. It is not just free or paraphrastic, it is also something of an epitome of the longer and often difficult original. OG Iob is one of a kind in the Septuagint corpus. We can typify it as among the least literal, both in its attitude toward abbreviating the parent text and in the way the translator worked with that portion of the text for which we have a translation.

    Assuming that Cox’s assessment is correct, then it would clearly be unfair to generalize from Iob to other Septuagintal texts. On the other hand, it is a fascinating example of an early interpretation of Hebrew Iyov. Thus, Iob is interesting for the same reason that say, Josephus’s rendering of Biblical events interesting or many of the targumim are interesting — because it is not a strict translation but an early interpretation.

    As to your observations about Pentateuch, Genesis, Exodus, Deuteronomy, Ecclesiastes, Psalms, prophets, Jesus, I would like to break those down one by one.

    “Jesus” is a bit of an odd case, because most (but not all) English translations translate from the Hebrew as “Joshua.” Since we have the NT in Greek, it is not surprising that a rendering from Greek was used.

    “Pentateuch” is a technical term, and much more specific than any Hebrew term. “Torah” is vague (does it mean a sefer torah (Torah scroll), or does it refer to a broad category of spiritual thought (e.g., the oral torah), or does it refer to the Pentateuch, or the entire Hebrew Bible, or ….) and also carries considerable judgmental values in its term. “Chumash,” in English, at least, has largely come to mean a sefer chumash (Chumash book), so it is also not so good. We could say “Five Books of Moses” but that applies a very specific interpretation that not all scholars would accept. “Five Books” is not very specific, since it could also mean the Megillos (Songs, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, Esther). However, I am not certain that the proverbial “man/woman in the street” knows what “Pentateuch” means.

    For the names of books “Genesis”, “Exodus”, etc.; those names come to us from the Vulgate, which by tradition took many of the names from the Septuagint. In Jewish contexts, I am used to hearing reference instead to “Bereishis,” “Shemos,” etc. However, it is difficult to say — for example, little “g” “genesis” in English actually means something some what akin to bereishis.

    Properly speaking, “prophet” is not a English rendering of navi. They have overlapping but different meanings. Prophet can be applied in some ways more broadly than navi (for example, we can call Rachel Carson a “prophet.”) But the Neviim includes books that most Christians think of as “Historical Books” (Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings).

  9. January 12, 2012 5:38 pm

    Your questions are wonderful! And I’ll be asking them for a long time, I suspect. You might imagine these are things that I’ve been wondering about. I don’t have (full) answers.

    You’re right that I’m very curious about “literary effects and how ancient translators dealt with the problems faced today even by modern translators.” It’s also the rhetorics (the persuasive measures of the text which may seen differently from literary effects) that are of interest. The other thing you said — how ancient translators dealt with the problems faced today even by modern translators — is just fascinating to me. Today, we barely understand, I believe, what the LXX translators were up to. We focus, instead, on the mismatches between Greek and Hebrew, the additions, the amendments, and the like, as if they were, yes, they just had to be, all mistakes. When, in fact, there’s so much play in the Greek (anti-Aristotelian stuff I imagine) that we might, today, come up with new ways of talking about, and theorizing, and doing translation — if we’d look into this a bit more.

    Nonetheless, therefore?, your interest in Cox’s claims about the uniqueness of Iob – as a translation – in the Septuagint translations of other Hebrew works is something that is fasinating indeed. That there’s unevenness is one thing (and we see this in the Greek-original Prologue of Ecclesiasticus and the ostensible translation of the Hebrew text of Jesus itself — one is smoother than the other; the other is more translationese. [Yes, sometimes aka Joshua ben Sirach or Yeshua ben Sira). So Iob, in Greek, is a translation that’s — as you put it — “not a strict translation but an early interpretation.” (Some of that we may also see with the Greek Esther, as we’ve discussed with Adele Berlin’s readings of that.)

    On the names of the books, our English may indeed be transliterations of the Latin (i.e., Vulgate appropriations from the LXX names), but this Latin is a transliterating of the Greek — Γένεσις, Ἔξ Oδος, Δευτερο Nόμιος, Ἐκ Kλησιαστὴς, Ψαλμοὶ. I’m tempted to believe, and one could reasonably speculate, that Greek is more primary than is Latin for our English appropriations. Whether it was by the Roman military or the emperors themselves or the philosphers such as Cicero and Quintilian, the efforts to make myths and language of and from the Greeks into Latinized versions was a challenge. I think it’s no accident that Paul wrote to his compadres and compatriots in Rome using Greek and not Latin. Did the early Latin Fathers of the church prevail over the early Greek Fathers in their Christian scripture commentaries? Whose to say? And what does it matter, except the LXX comes before the Vulgate and the NT was never superceded in the least by any Latin translation of its Greek. It’s the Greek interpretation — and/ or translation — of the Hebrew, both the language and the texts of the Hebew Bible and their names, that we cannot do without in order now to use and /or to fully understand the extant Hebrew. This is quite an aside from your post on Job translations in English, and yet, “angels” and “camels” [κάμηλοι] and “wine” [οἶνον] and “lions” [λεόντων] are there finding their way into English as if from the Hebrew, among Genesis and Exodus and Deuteronomy — Greeky words and sounds and names — and Ecclesiates and the Psalms.

  10. January 12, 2012 6:04 pm

    Well, I think it is safe to say that in the West (and in particularly for English speakers), the Latin Church and the Reformation (which was primarily a Western, not Eastern, movement) is more important historically than the Greek Church.

    So, in the same way that the West largely has learned about Judaism through Christianity, the West largely has learned about Greek Christianity through Latin Christianity.

    I don’t think that anyone would argue that Hellenistic thought has had enormous impact on the West. I thought you were arguing something different here — that Hellenistic thought has had impact on Judaism. I think that the broad intellectual consensus (at least outside fundamentalism) is that it has. The question, of course, is the degree of influence.

    For that argument, I think you might be better served by finding Greek transliterations in the Mishnah (and, to be honest, there are a lot of them) rather than Greek transliterations in English.

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