Academic journal article Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society

The Alpha-Text of Esther: Its Character and Relationship to the Masorectic

Academic journal article Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society

The Alpha-Text of Esther: Its Character and Relationship to the Masorectic

Article excerpt

The Alpha-Text of Esther: Its Character and Relationship to the Masoretic Text. By Karen H. Jobes. SBLDS 153. Atlanta: Scholars, 1996, 256 pp. + appendices, $29.95.

In this publication of her Westminster Theological Seminary Ph.D. thesis (1995), Jobes seeks to understand the relationship of the MT to the variant Greek text of Esther known as the Alpha Text (AT).

The author's starting point is a detailed syntactical study of the nature of the AT Greek, using criteria developed by Raymond A. Martin. Foundational to her thesis is the conclusion that the AT is a translation of a Hebrew Vorlage rather than a recension. That Vorlage, she finds, is similar to the MT, and the major plus and minus differences between the two texts are explicable in terms of the Tendenz of the AT. Responsibility for this Tendenz is placed by Jobes at the feet of a subsequent Greek editing in which "Mordecai's stature overshadowed Esther's" (p. 220). A comparison of the AT with the LXX in the six major additions finds no consistent affinity between the versions. Throughout, Jobes shows an awareness of recent scholarly interest in the AT and responds explicitly to the work done by Moore, Tov, Clines and Fox.

Perhaps the most helpful feature of this volume is the methodological interaction with Martin's syntactical criteria for distinguishing translation Greek and compositional Greek. …

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