end of the 2nd century. His version was commended by Jerome as giving the sense of the original, and in that respect it forms a direct contrast with that of Aquila. Indeed Dr Swete thinks it probable that “he wrote with Aquila’s version before him, (and that) in his efforts to recast it he made free use both of the Septuagint and of Theodotion.”
As in the case of Aquila, our knowledge of the works of Theodotion and Symmachus is practically limited to the fragments that have been preserved through the labours of Origen. This writer (see Origen) conceived the idea of collecting all the Origen’s ‘Hexapla.’ existing Greek versions of the Old Testament with a view to recovering the original text of the Septuagint, partly by their aid and partly by means of the current Hebrew text. He accordingly arranged the texts to be compared in six parallel columns in the following order:—(1) the Hebrew text; (2) the Hebrew transliterated into Greek letters; (3) Aquila; (4) Symmachus; (5) the Septuagint; and (6) Theodotion. In the Septuagint column he drew attention to those passages for which there was no Hebrew equivalent by prefixing an obelus; but where the Septuagint had nothing corresponding to the Hebrew text he supplied the omissions, chiefly but not entirely from the translation of Theodotion, placing an asterisk at the beginning of the interpolation; the close of the passage to which the obelus or the asterisk was prefixed was denoted by the metobelus. That Origen did not succeed in his object of recovering the original Septuagint is due to the fact that he started with the false conception that the original text of the Septuagint must be that which coincided most nearly with the current Hebrew text. Indeed, the result of his monumental labours has been to impede rather than to promote the restoration of the genuine Septuagint. For the Hexaplar text which he thus produced not only effaced many of the most characteristic features of the old version, but also exercised a prejudicial influence on the MSS. of that version.
The Hexapla as a whole was far too large to be copied, but the revised Septuagint text was published separately by Eusebius and Pamphilus, and was extensively used in Palestine during the 4th century. During the same period two other Hesychius, Lucian. recensions made their appearance, that of Hesychius which was current in Egypt, and that of Lucian which became the accepted text of the Antiochene Church. Of Hesychius little is known. Traces of his revision are to be found in the Egyptian MSS., especially the Codex Marchalianus, and in the quotations of Cyril of Alexandria. Lucian was a priest of Antioch who was martyred at Nicomedia in A.D. 311 or 312. His revision (to quote Dr Swete) “was doubtless an attempt to revise the κοινή (or ‘common text’ of the Septuagint) in accordance with the principles of criticism which were accepted at Antioch.” To Ceriani is due the discovery that the text preserved by codices 19, 82, 93, 108, really represents Lucian’s recension; the same conclusion was reached independently by Lagarde, who combined codex 118 with the four mentioned above. As Field (Hexapla, p. 87) has shown, this discovery is confirmed by the marginal readings of the Syro-Hexapla. The recension (see Driver, Notes on the Hebrew Text of the Books of Samuel, p. 52) is characterized by the substitution of synonyms for the words originally used by the Septuagint, and by the frequent occurrence of double renderings, but its chief claim to critical importance rests on the fact that “it embodies renderings not found in other MSS. of the Septuagint which presuppose a Hebrew original self-evidently superior in the passages concerned to the existing Massoretic text.”
Latin Versions.—Of even greater importance in this respect is the Old Latin version, which undoubtedly represents a Greek original prior to the Hexapla. “The earliest form of the version” (to quote Dr Kennedy) “to which we can assign a definite date, namely, that used by Cyprian, plainly circulated in Africa.” In the view of many authorities this version was first produced at Carthage, but recent writers are inclined to regard Antioch as its birthplace, a view which is supported by the remarkable agreement of its readings with the Lucianic recension and with the early Syriac MSS. Unfortunately the version is only extant in a fragmentary form, being preserved partly in MSS., partly in quotations of the Vulgate. Fathers. The non-canonical books of the Vulgate, however, which do not appear to have been revised by Jerome, still represent the older version. It was not until after the 6th century that the Old Latin was finally superseded by the Vulgate or Latin translation of the Old Testament made by Jerome during the last quarter of the 4th century. This new version was translated from the Hebrew, but Jerome also made use of the Greek versions, more especially of Symmachus. His original intention was to revise the Old Latin, and his two revisions of the Psalter, the Roman and the Gallican, the latter modelled on the Hexapla, still survive. Of the other books which he revised according to the Hexaplar text, that of Job has alone come down to us. For textual purposes the Vulgate possesses but little value, since it presupposes a Hebrew original practically identical with the text stereotyped by the Massoretes.
Syriac Versions.—The Peshito (P’shitta) or “simple” revision of the Old Testament is a translation from the Hebrew, though certain books appear to have been influenced by the Septuagint. Its date is unknown, but it is usually assigned to the 2nd century A.D. Its value for textual purposes is not great, partly because the underlying text is the same as the Massoretic, partly because the Syriac text has at different times been harmonized with that of the Septuagint.
The Syro-Hexaplar version, on the other hand, is extremely valuable for critical purposes. This Syriac translation of the Septuagint column of the Hexapla was made by Paul, bishop of Tella, at Alexandria in A.D. 616–617. Its value consists Syro-Hexaplar. in the extreme literalness of the translation, which renders it possible to recover the Greek original with considerable certainty. It has further preserved the critical signs employed by Origen as well as many readings from the other Greek versions; hence it forms our chief authority for reconstructing the Hexapla. The greater part of this work is still extant; the poetical and prophetical books have been preserved in the Codex Ambrosianus at Milan (published in photolithography by Ceriani, Mon. Sacr. et Prof.), and the remaining portions of the other books have been collected by Lagarde in his Bibliothecae Syriacae, &c.
Of the remaining versions of the Old Testament the most important are the Egyptian, Ethiopic, Arabic, Gothic and Armenian, all of which, except a part of the Arabic, appear to have been made through the medium of the Septuagint.
Authorities.—Wellhausen-Bleek, Einleitung in das alte Testament (4th ed., Berlin, 1878, pp. 571 ff., or 5th ed., Berlin, 1886, pp. 523 ff.); S. R. Driver, Notes on Samuel (Oxford, 1890), Introd. §§3 f.; W. Robertson Smith, Old Testament in the Jewish Church (2nd ed., 1895); F. G. Kenyon, Our Bible and the Ancient MSS. (London, 1896); T. H. Weir, A Short History of the Hebrew Text (London, 1896); H B. Swete, Introduction to the Old Testament in Greek (Cambridge, 1900); F. Buhl, Kanon u. Text des A.T. (English trans., Edinburgh, 1892); E. Schürer, Geschichte des jüdischen Volkes (3rd ed., 1902), vol. iii. § 33; C. H. Cornill, Einleitung in das alte Testament (4th ed., 1896), and Prolegomena to Ezechiel (Leipzig, 1886); H. L. Strack, Einleitung in das alte Testament, Prolegomena Critica in Vet. Test. (Leipzig, 1873); A. Loisy, Histoire critique du texte et des versions de la bible (Amiens, 1892); E. Nestle, Urtext und Übersetzungen der Bibel (Leipzig, 1897); Ed. König, Einleitung in das alte Testament (Bonn, 1893); F. Field, Origenis Hexaplorum quae supersunt, &c.; A. Dillmann and F. Buhl, article on “Bibel-text des A.T.” in P.R.E.³ vol. ii.; Ch. D. Ginsburg, Introduction to the Massoretico-critical edition of the Bible (London, 1897) and The Massorah (London, 1880–1885). (J. F. St.)
3. Textual Criticism.
The aim of scientific Old Testament criticism is to obtain, through discrimination between truth and error, a full appreciation of the literature which constitutes the Old Testament, of the life out of which it grew, and the secret of Distinction between Textual and Higher Criticism. the influence which these have exerted and still exert. For such an appreciation many things are needed; and the branches of Old Testament criticism are correspondingly numerous. It is necessary in the first instance to detect the errors which have crept into the text in the course of its transmission, and to recover, so far as possible, the text in its original form; this is the task of Textual, or as it is sometimes called in contradistinction to another branch, Lower Criticism. It then becomes the task of critical exegesis to interpret the text thus recovered so as to bring out the meaning intended by the original authors. This Higher Criticism partakes of two characters, literary and historical. One branch seeks to determine the scope, purpose and character of the various books of the Old Testament, the times in and conditions under which they were written, whether they are severally the work of a single author or of several, whether they embody earlier sources and, if so, the character of these, and the conditions under which they have reached us, whether altered and, if altered, how; this is Literary Criticism. A further task is to estimate the value of this literature as evidence for the history of Israel, to determine, as far as possible, whether such parts of the literature as are contemporary with the time described present correct, or whether
- Introduction to the Old Testament in Greek, p. 51.
- Hence the name Hexapla. In some books, especially the poetical, the columns were increased to eight by the addition of the Quinta and Sexta, but the Octapla, as the enlarged work was called, was not apparently a distinct work. The Tetrapla, on the other hand, was a separate edition which did not contain the first two columns of the Hexapla.
- Lagarde’s projected edition of the Lucianic recension was unfortunately never completed; the existing volume contains Genesis–2 Esdras, Esther. It may be noted here that the Complutensian Polyglott represents a Lucianic text.
- Hastings’s Dict. of the Bible, iii. pp. 54 ff.