Double Literary Editions of Biblical
Narratives and Reflections on
Determining the Form to Be Translated
The issues — theological, religious, political, historical, textual, philological, hermeneutical, and so on — that require consideration and decision before attempting a translation of the Bible are numerous and of so many different types that even to attempt to list them and their subdivisions, much less discuss them, would consume too much space.
In this study I wish to explore simply one aspect of Bible translation, an issue which plays an important role in Bible translation but is seldom discussed, at least as an issue and not just an ad hoc instance. I wish to explore the issue of double literary editions of biblical texts, in the hope of shedding some light on the criteria for determining which textual form of the biblical text should be selected for a translation of the Bible when there are two or more alternative forms.1
1. Terminology is unfortunately inadequate. When I use “Bible” in this paper I am generally meaning, and focusing on, the Hebrew Bible, or Tanak, or the Old Testament, but on none of these terms precisely with their particular connotations. That is, by “Hebrew Bible” I do not mean to exclude witnesses to the Hebrew text preserved only in Greek, Aramaic, Syriac, Latin, etc. Nor do I necessarily mean to exclude or include ancient Jewish writings in Greek that were considered sacred and authoritative but not accepted into the Rabbinic canon. And though my attention is on Tanak or the Old Testament, I do not think that all my remarks will be unrelated to the principles underlying a translation of the New Testament.