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The Syriac Version of Ezra-Nehemiah

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altBalzaretti Claudio

“Biblica et Orientalia” 51

2013, pp. XII-420



Manuscripts and Editions,

Translation Technique and Its Use in Textual Criticism



 The Syriac Version of Ezra-Nehemiah seems to be based on an original Hebrew text that is partly different from the one transmitted in the Masoretic tradition. This study seeks explain how the Syriac translator understood the Hebrew text. The author firstly examines the manuscript traditions and provides a critical apparatus to the Syriac text. He then investigates the translation technique and shows the translator’s efforts to solve the difficulties in the original by offering a more coherent and clearer new text. This monograph also discusses questions concerning the translator and his community. In sum, the Syriac version constitutes a stimulus and a call to read the Old Testament afresh. «Despite the fact that the Syriac version of the book of Ezra and Nehemiah presents some notable differences in comparison with the Hebrew Text, there has been no exhaustive research on this book». «The history of the research has shown the persistence of certain opinions which a more careful analysis has demonstrated to be problematic. As this point, we can put forward two presuppositions of our research: in the history of the canon does not allow us to make deductions as to the history of its translation and transmission». «From the rhetorical point of view, we have recognised various phenomena which can be summarised in a few words: the translation provides a clearer and more consistent presentation of the original Hebrew, even at the cost of sacrificing some redundant expressions of the Vorlage, but with the aim of producing a well-ordered arrangement of the text by means of the technique of repetition».

Claudio Balzaretti (1956) studied biblical exegesis at the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome (SSL 1983, SDD 2013) and classical literature at the University of Turin. He has also published commentaries on the historical books of the Old Testament.




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