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  • Textual Criticism and Literary Criticism in Joshua 1:7 (MT and LXX)1

    Michael N. van der Meer

    Abstract: In this paper the relationship between textual and literary criticism in the book of Joshua is examined with the plus in MT vis-à-vis LXX of the words rmnrr'PD in Josh.1:7 as a special case. The background of this exami- nation is provided by recent theories of E. Tov, A. Rofé and others, who hold that variant readings from the oldest textual witnesses of Joshua (the LXX and 4QJoshab) (may) reflect an edition of this book that precedes the edition attested by MT. These theories give rise to a number of methodological questions concerning the evaluation of the character of the Greek translation and the question of priority as far as the methods of textual and literary criticism are concerned. It is argued that a theory concerning the literary development of the book based on textual data should be preceded by both a literary-critical study of the MT on its own terms and a study of the Greek text within its own, context. Applied to the case in Josh 1:7, a literary-critical analysis of the MT leads to the conclusion that all of verses 7 and 8 are a secondary nomistic (DtrN) addition. The absence of a rendering of these words in the LXX does not point to yet another stage in the development of the Hebrew text, but is the result of a specific interpretation by the Greek translator of vv 1-9.

    1. Introduction

    In the eighth chapter of the revised edition of The Text-critical Use of the Septuagint Emanuel Tov discusses a number of Biblical

    'I would like to thank prof. A. van der Kooij (Leiden), dr. K. Spronk (Kampen /Amsterdam), mr. C. de Vos (Groningen), prof. E. Noort (Groningen), mr. S. Sipilä (Helsinki) and prof. A. Rofé (Jerusalem) for their valuable comments on previous drafts of this paper. The present contribution is part of my research on the redaction of the book of Joshua in the light of the oldest textual witnesses (LXX and 4QJosha). See my forthcoming dissertation "Formation and Reformulation. The Redaction of the Book of Joshua in the Light of the Oldest Textual Witnesses" where I deal with this passage (Josh 1:7) in section

  • 356 van der Meer

    passages in which the Septuagint can be used for redaction-critical purposes. For example in the case of the book of Jeremiah, the Septuagint version with occasional support from two Qumran scrolls reflects a stage in the process of literary formation of that book preceding the edition that has become the authoritative version as we find it in MT.2 Besides this well-known example, Tov mentions the Septuagint version of the book of Joshua which shares the two main features of the Septuagint to Jeremiah: variation in order of the passages, and a large number of pluses in the MT vis-à-vis LXX throughout the book which in his view should not be regarded as individual interpolations3 but as elements of a comprehensive re-edition of that book.4 A convincing example of how textual and literary-critical or redaction-critical data may overlap is posed by the longer version in MT of Joshua 20 in which Deuteronomistic (as well as Priestly) prescripts concerning the cities of refuge are added to a purely Priestly descriptive text re- flected in LXX.5

    2E. Tov, The Text-critical Use of the Septuagint in Biblical Research (2nd ed.; Jerusalem: Simor Ltd, 1997), 237-263, and his Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible (Minneapolis: Fortress, Assen, Maastricht: Van Gorcum, 1992), 313-349.

    3E. Tov makes a distinction between interpolations defined as exegetical additions to the main body of the text and glosses defined as "marginal or interlinear interpretations of difficult or obsolete words," to which the short phrases explaining geographical names in Josh 15:8 and 18:13 may be reckoned, "Glosses, Interpolations, and Other Types of Scribal Additions in the Text of the Hebrew Bible," in: S. E. Balentine, J. Barton, eds, Language, Theology, and The Bible. Essays in Honour of James Barr (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1994), 40-66.

    4Tov, Text-critical Use, 245-249. See also his article "The Growth of the Book of Joshua in the Light of the Evidence of the LXX Translation," in: S. Japhet, ed., Studies in Bible, Scripta Hierosolymitana (Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 1986), 321-339, and his Textual Criticism, 327-332, as well as the (unpublished Hebrew) dissertation carried out under his supervision by L. Mazor, The Septuagint Translation of the Book of Joshua (Hebrew University Jerusalem, 1994), of which an English abstract has appeared in BIOSCS 27 (1994) 29-38.

    5See A. Rofé, "Joshua 20: Historico-Literary Criticism Illustrated," in: J. H. Tigay, ed., Empirical Models for Biblical Criticism (Philadelphia: Uni-

  • Textual Criticism and Literary Criticism in Joshua 1:7 357

    Whereas this second edition of Joshua 20 is easily recogniz- able because of the relative length and the distinctive vocabulary of the plus in MT, most of the other elements that constitute Tbv's second edition of the book of Joshua pertain to short elements added to the first edition of the book as reflected by LXX in its original form.6 However, reconstructing a penultimate editorial layer on the basis of these smaller elements is a complicated and problematic matter, and it is this issue I want to address in this paper. For one thing, the LXX of Joshua reflects not only a number of obvious scribal errors,7 but also a significant number of readings that reflect exegesis and reorganization of the Hebrew text on the part of the Greek translator8

    Unlike the textual evidence in the case of the book of Jere- miah, the other oldest textual witnesses of the book of Joshua, i.e.,

    versity of Pennsylvania Press 1985), 131-147. Compare also J. Hollenberg, Der Charakter der alexandrinischen Übersetzung des Buches Josua und ihr text- kritischer Werth (Wissenschaftliche Beilage zu dem Oster-Programm des Gym- nasiums zu Moers: J.C. Edner, Moers, 1876) 15, and A. van der Kooij, "Zum Verhältnis von Textkritik und Literarkritik," in: J. A. Emerton, ed., Congress Volume. Cambridge 1995, SVT 66 (Leiden: Brill, 1997), 185-202.

    6I consider Rahlfs' manual edition to be the best approximation of the original Greek text, pending the more definitive Göttingen edition which is being prepared by U. Quast. The well-known masterful edition of M. L. Margolis, The Book of Joshua in Greek (Paris: Gruether 1931[-1938], Phila- delphia: Annenberg Research Institute, 1992; Part V ed. E. Tov) has been consulted throughout (as well as the diplomatic edition of A. E. Brooke, N. McLean, The Old Testament in Greek I/IV [Cambridge: At the University Press, 1917]), but this edition unfortunately contains many conjectural reconstructions of the original Greek text on the basis of MT, see, e.g., C. G. den Hertog, Studien zur griechischen Übersetzung des Buches Josua (dissertation Gießen: Köhler KG, 1996) who also offers a valuable discussion of all differences between the two eclectic editions.

    'Some generally accepted sizeable variants resulting from parablepsis are the omissions in LXX-Josh 14:2a and in MT(-Leningradensis) of Josh 15:59a and 21:36-37.

    8See Tov, Text-critical Use, 45-50, as well as his earlier article "Midrash- type Exegesis in the LXX of Joshua," in RB 85 (1978). J. Moatti-Fine, Jésus (Josué), La Bible d'Alexandrie 6 (Paris: Cerf, 1996) makes many interesting observations about the rich vocabulary employed by the Greek translator.

  • 358 van der Meer

    the fragments of the two scrolls of the book from the fourth Qum- ran cave, do not unequivocally support the quantitative diver- gencies between MT and LXX. With the final publications of the Qumran scrolls of Joshua,9 it has become clear that as far as the position of MT Josh 8:34-35 in 4QJosha before Josh 5:2 is con- cerned,10 there is now incontestable proof for editorial reworking of the book of Joshua on the Hebrew level. However, as far as the presumed minor expansions are concerned,11 with the possible exceptions of Josh 8:11-17 in 4QJosha 12 and Josh 4:1-3 in 4QJoshb 13 the text of the two scrolls can hardly be held to be "systematically 'Septuagintal' in character" as Cross once claimed.14 Besides that, the scrolls have been preserved in a very fragmentary state15 and

    9See E. Ulrich, "4QJosha" and E. Tov, "4QJoshb," Qumran Cave 4.IX. Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Kings (eds. E. Ulrich, F.M. Cross, S. W. Crawford, J. A. Duncan, P. W. Skehan, E. Tov, J. Trebolle Barrera; DJD XIV; Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1995), 143-160. See also my forthcoming dissertation "Formation and Reformulation" (fn. 1), section II.3.C.

    '"See E. Ulrich, "4QJoshua" and Joshua's First Altar in the Promised Land," and A. Rofé, "The Editing of the Book of Joshua in the Light of 4QJosha," in: G. J. Brooke, F. Garcia Martinez, eds., New Qumran Texts and Studies (STDJ 15; Leiden: Brill, 1994), 89-104 and 73-80.

    "See L. J. Greenspoon, "The Qumran Fragments of Joshua: Which Puzzle are They Part of and Where Do They Fit ?," in: G. J. Brooke, B. Lindars, eds., Septuagint, Scrolls and Cognate Studies (Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1992) 159-194, and K. Bieberstein, Lukian und Theodotion im Josuabuch. Mit einem Beitrag zu den Josuarollen von Hirbet Qumran, Biblische Notizen Beiheft 7 (München: K. Urlaub, 1994).

    12See Ulrich, "4QJosha" (DJD XIV) 145, 150, Tov, Text-critical Use, 245, and especially L. Mazor, "A Textual and Literary Study of the Fall of Ai in Joshua 8," in: S. Japhet, ed., The Bible in the Light of Its Interpreters (Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 1994) 73-108 (Heb.).

    13See Tov, "4QJoshb" (DJD XIV), 156-157. 14F. M. Cross, The Ancient Library of Qumran and Modern Biblical

    Studies (2nd ed.; New York: Doubleday, 1961), 151. For similar conclusions see Green