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Different Literary Editions in 2 Sam 10–12?
A Comparative Study of the Hebrew and Greek Textual Traditions

Mod.: R.P. Stephen Pisano, S.J.

The many differences between MT and LXX sometimes amount to varied literary editions of a book or a story of the OT. This studydiscusses the possibility of different literary editions in MT and the OG of 2 Sam 10–12, the chapters on the war against the Ammonites, by combining the traditional methods of textual criticism and the study of the narrative technique of each textual tradition.

In order to compare the Greek and Hebrew narratives, it was first necessary to reach the OG in 2 Sam 10–12, which can be obtained in those chapters only through the study of the translational or recensional features of καίγε and the Lucianic text. In the section devoted to textual criticism not only MT, καίγε and the Lucianic text were compared. The testimony of 4QSama, though fragmented, and the witnesses to the Vetus Latina received much attention. The Targum, the Peshitta, Flavius Josephus’ Jewish Antiquities and, in the parallel passages, the Greek Chronicles were also taken into account.
This study has shown that many differences between the OG and MT of 2 Sam 10–12 can have theological or ideological implications that deserve attention. However, these variants cannot be grouped under a specific and consistent tendency in the OG or MT. On the other hand, many differences between the Greek and Hebrew narratives indicate that the story in the OG is clearer, less ambiguous than MT’s. Logical steps are filled in and a more definite path of interpretation is given to the reader. This is particularly evident in the way the references to the battle against the Ammonites in 2 Sam 11,15-24 are harmonized and the apparent contradictions or incongruities of MT’s telling are eliminated. The OG also displays an interest in making the narrative more similar to the accounts of Greek historians thus more easily identifiable to the Greek audience. This was obtained through the skillful manipulation of the Greek verbal system.

The above conclusions do not mean that MT’s version is older in every respect in 2 Sam 10–12. This thesis has discussed instances where the OG is to be preferred. Furthermore,  it was not always possible to decide whether it is the OG or MT that preserved the oldest reading. General statements concerning the priority of the OG or MT in these chapters should be avoided, for both versions bear later modifications to the story just as original elements.

This work intends to be a contribution to the process of rediscovery of the Septuagint and its value found in biblical scholarship in recent decades. It also showed that reading the books of Samuel as a polyglot text is a fruitful exercise for biblical research.