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Converse Translation in Peshitta Ezekiel1

Jerome A. Lund

Comprehensive Aramaic Lexicon
Hebrew Union College, Cincinnati


1. In his influential monograph on the versions of Ezekiel, C. H. Cornill characterized the Peshitta as a very free translation, by which he meant that it took great liberties with its Hebrew source text (Cornill 1886: 151-153).2 The most egregious example of the liberty the Peshitta took with its Hebrew source text, according to Cornill, was to change the meaning of a verse into its opposite meaning by the addition or omission of the negation.3 In the opinion of Cornill, these changes were made consciously by the translator; they were not in his Hebrew source text. Largely on this basis, he profiled the translator of the Peshitta of Ezekiel as loose, free and even capricious in his translation technique.4

2. In a significant article, M. L. Klein has identified and exemplified the technique of converse translation found in the Aramaic targums to the Torah (Klein 1976: 515-537).5 He succeeded in his goal of demonstrating that "contradictive rendition is not uncommon in the various targumim to the Pentateuch" (Klein 1976: 516). Klein described four subtypes of converse translation: (1) the addition or deletion of the negative particle; (2) replacement of the verb; (3) resolution of the rhetorical question by a declarative statement; and (4) the addition of the negative particle )ld meaning "lest." The following selected cases will serve as examples and are relevant to our discussion of Peshitta Ezekiel.

3. Example 1. In the Song of Lamech (Gen 4:23), Lamech declares according to the MT: ytirFb@uxal; dleyEw: y(icpil; yt@ig:rAhf #$y)i yk@i  (NRSV: I have killed a man for wounding me, a young man for striking me). Tg. Onqelos renders the Hebrew conversely by the addition of the negation: y(rz ycyt#y hylydbd tylybx )mylw( )l P)w Nybwx lybs )n) hylydbd tyly+q )rbg )l, "I have not killed a man on whose account I bear sin nor have I destroyed a youth on whose account my seed will be annihilated." How can this be? Tg. Onqelos interprets the Hebrew yk@i as a rhetorical interrogative, that is, it interprets the MT as a question: "have I killed ... ?" with the expectation of a negative reply.6 In order to clarify matters for the reader/hearer, Onqelos converts the perceived question into a declarative statement by the addition of the negative particle. So, what appears to be contrary to the meaning of the peshat on first blush is in reality a serious attempt at exegesis in the context, to wit the Aramaic translator attempts to harmonize this verse with the following verse in view of his perceived meaning of the Hebrew. If Cain was granted sevenfold protection (cf. Gen 4:15), then Lamech deserves seventy-sevenfold protection, since Lamech's offense was far less than Cain's. According to Tg. Onqelos, Lamech does not confess to murder. Rather, he seems to deny committing such a dastardly deed. The addition of the negation, then, is the result of serious contextual exegesis of the Hebrew and is not an arbitrary insertion by the translator.

4. Example 2. As the angels go on their way to destroy Sodom, Abraham argues with the Lord about whether He should destroy Sodom or spare it. In his plea, Abraham asks the question (Gen 18:25) +p@f#$mi h#&e(JyA )lo CrE)fhf-lk@f +p'#$ohj (NRSV: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just?). It is a rhetorical question presuming a positive answer: of course the Judge of all the earth will do right. Tg. Onqelos transforms this rhetorical question anticipating a positive reply into a positive statement: )nyd dyb(y Mrb )(r) lk Nyyd "The Judge of all the earth will only execute justice." Tg. Onqelos eliminates the interrogative he and replaces the Hebrew negation )lo by the affirmative particle Mrb, so as to retain a one-to-one correspondence of words. Tg. Onqelos resolves the rhetorical question with negation in the MT by a positive statement. The meaning is not altered; only the form by which that meaning is expressed is altered.

5. Example 3. In the song celebrating the destruction of the Egyptian enemies in the Reed Sea (Exod 15:11), the singers laud their God: ... #$dEq@ob@a rd@F);nE hkfmok@f ymi hwFhy: Mli)'b@f hkfmokf-ymi (NRSV: Who is like you, O Lord, among the gods? Who is like you, majestic in holiness ...?). Tg. Onqelos converts this rhetorical question anticipating a negative answer into a negative statement: ... )#$dwqb ryd) t) )ly) tyl ywy )hl) )wh t) Knym rb tyl "There is none apart from you; you are God, the Lord. There is none but you, majestic in holiness ...." Tg. Onqelos freely renders the Hebrew by converting the rhetorical question anticipating a negative reply into a negative statement and by eliminating the reference to other gods. The addition of the negation tyl does not contradict the underlying meaning of the Hebrew; it only alters the surface mode of expression.

6. R. P. Gordon has identified a number of cases of converse translation involving the addition or omission of the negation in the Old Testament Peshitta (Gordon 1999: 3-21, esp. 7-11; cf. Weitzman 1999: 34). A convincing case appears in Deut 29:11, where the Peshitta stands alone7 among the other ancient versions in its addition of negation:

MT: ... K1yhelo)v hwFhy: tyrIb;b@i K1r:b;(fl;
P: ... nwKhL) )YrMd hMYQ l( nwrB(t )Ld
The translator of Peshitta Deuteronomy was unaware of the unique use8 of the Hebrew verb rb( meaning "enter (into a covenant)." He understood it to mean "transgress" and so added the negation to make proper contextual sense.

7. What is important for the present study is that converse translation motivated by a perceived exegetical problem is known elsewhere in the Old Testament Peshitta, in a book probably translated prior to Ezekiel. The translator of Peshitta Deuteronomy attempted to render what he understood to be the true meaning of the Hebrew in light of the context.

8. Now what about Cornill's examples of converse translation and how do they shape our view of the translator of Peshitta Ezekiel? Cornill offers four cases of converse translation in Peshitta Ezekiel as evidence for a capricious, whimsical translator, apparently unconcerned about his Hebrew source text. It is our purpose here to reexamine the evidence put forth by Cornill and reevaluate his conclusion regarding the translator of Peshitta Ezekiel. The four cases he cites are as follows:

Case 1: Ezek 1:14


MT: qzFb@fha h)'rmak@; bwO#$wF )wOcrF twOy,xahaw:
P: )tQYzd )wzX kY) ywh8 oYNPt8M )Lw ywh8 o+hD8 )twY*Xw
(And the living creatures were running but were not returning like the appearance of a lightning bolt)
G: omit the verse
V: et animalia ibant et revertebantur in similitudinem fulguris coruscantis

10. The Hebrew infinitive absolutes )wOcrF and bwO#$ form the predicate of the subject twOy,xaha along with their adjuncts and function like participles. The Hebrew words )wOcrF and qzFb@f are hapax legomena. The Peshitta renders the infinitive absolutes by periphrastic constructions indicating progressivity and understands )wOcrF as a form of the verb Cwr "run" and qzFb@f as )tQYz "lightning bolt." By contrast, Jerome emended )wOcrF to )wOcyF "go out." Furthermore, he does not add the negation.

11. The reading of the Peshitta ywh8 oYNPt8M )Lw for Hebrew bwO#$wF, because of its formal addition of negation, was regarded by Cornill as a free translation of the Hebrew. There are, however, two very different possible explanations for the reading of the Peshitta, either that its addition of the negation is the result of textual corruption or that it is the product of exegesis on the part of the translator.

12. As a first possible explanation, contextual harmonization could have produced the reading with the negation either in the Hebrew source text of the Peshitta or as an inner-Peshitta development. Verses 9, 12 and 17 state that the creatures went straight ahead and did not turn (Nt@fk;leb@; w%b@s@ayI )lo / ywh8 oKPh8tM )Lw). Someone studying the text noticed this seeming discrepancy, despite the difference of verbs, and glossed the negation )l / )Lw in the margin or between the lines of verse 14. A later copyist added the reading )l / )Lw to the main text. It is here that Jerome's disparaging remark on the LXX, which omits verse 14, bears consideration. In his commentary on Ezekiel, Jerome accuses the LXX of omitting verse 14 deliberately because verse 14 appears contradictory to what has previously been stated about the living creatures in verses 9 and 12 (Hieronymus 1964: 17). The point is that ancient students of the text were aware of the context and aware of a seeming discrepancy in the Hebrew text which could have led to its "correction" as postulated above. It is less likely that the addition of the negation arose as an inner-Peshitta corruption, in my opinion, since no variant appears in any extant MS of the Peshitta.

13. As a second possible explanation, the addition of the negation could have been due to the translator, as assumed by Cornill. It could be that the translator, who understood the Hebrew hapax legomenon qzFb@f as a "lightning bolt," allowed his visual image of a lightning bolt to shape his translation. As a lightning bolt travels rapidly in one direction, so the living creatures did the same: "they ran and did not return." If this be so, it must be that the translator took this from an existing exegetical tradition known to him, perhaps from a Jewish midrash. J. Heinemann regarded converse translation as reflective of pre-Tannaitic exegesis in Jewish texts (Klein 1976: 516, n. 6). In light of the Mishnaic dictum hbkrmb Ny#$rwd Ny) (mH9ag 11), we may have such exegesis preserved here. Alternatively, M. P. Weitzman argues that the Jewish community responsible for the Peshitta was one estranged from the Rabbinic movement (Weitzman 1999: 246; 258-262) and so the Mishnaic dictum would be meaningless to them. Contextual harmonization as in the first possible explanation could have motivated the translator too. But, unless one can detect a pattern of such activity throughout the given translation--in this case Peshitta Ezekiel--it is less likely that a translator of a sacred text would deliberately alter the text without precedent.

14. Personally, I am inclined to regard this as a case of a variant Hebrew source text created by textual harmonization with verses 9, 12 and 17. If this be so, this piece of evidence offered by Cornill is invalid and should be ignored in shaping one's view of the translator of Peshitta Ezekiel.

Case 2: Ezek 7:13


MT: w%qz%Fxat;yI )lo wOty,Fxa wOnwO(Jb@a #$y)iw: bw%#$yF )lo h@nFwOmhj-lk@f-l)e NwOzxf-yk@i Mtfy,Fxa Myy,Ixab@a dwO(w: bw%#$yF )lo rk@fm;m@ih-l)e rk'wOm@ha yk@i
P: nwhYY*XB )YX8 tYL bwtw )NNBzM l( kP[h )L )NwBzw
yhwY*X oSMXN )L hLw(B )rBGw nwhNYNQ hLK l( kwPhN )L )wzXd l+M

(And the buyer does/will not return to the seller, while there is not still life in their life, because the vision will not return upon all their substance9 and a man in his iniquity will not retain his life)
G: dio/ti o( ktw&menoj pro\j to\n pwlou=nta ou0ke/ti mh\ e0pistreyh|10 kai\ a!nqrwpoj e0n o0fqalmw~|11 zwh=j au0tou= ou0 krath/sei
Tg12: Nwhtywbg Nwnddy Nyyx Nwny)d d(w bwty )l hynbzl )nnbwzm yr)
Nypqtm )l )bwytb Nymyyq Nwn)d d(w N(rtm hy#pn ybwxb rbgw Nybyt )lw Nwht#wgrt) lk l( Nbntm )yybn yr)

16. The Hebrew of this verse is difficult for any translator ancient or modern. The translator of Peshitta Ezekiel apparently did not understand a Jubilee year background of the seller (rk'wOm@ha) returning to the thing sold (rk@fm;m@iha) (cf. Lev 25:13). In view of the following "their life" (Mtfy,Fxa), the translator may have substituted the sequence )NwBz ... )NNBzM "buyer ... seller" for the sequence rk'wOm@ha ... rk@fm;m@iha "seller ... thing sold." The "buyer" and "seller" are mentioned in the previous verse, howbeit with different lexemes, namely the sequence )NQ ... oBzM (Ezek 7:12):

nwhNYNQ hLK l( )zGwrd l+M hL )rKt )L oBzMdw )dXN )L )N{Qd )MwY brQw )NBz y+M
"The time has arrived and the day has approached that the buyer will not rejoice and the seller will not suffer ill, because of the wrath upon all their substance."
The only other place the sequence )NwBz ... )NNBzM is attested in the Old Testament Peshitta is in Zech 11:5. In the considered opinion of M. P. Weitzman, the same Syriac translator was responsible for both the Peshitta of Ezekiel and the Peshitta of The Twelve (Weitzman 1999: 186).

17. Did, then, the translator add the negation in the phrase nwhYY*XB )YX8 tYL bwtw? If so, was this a mere arbitrary decision, a whim of the moment, or was he constrained by what he considered was the true meaning of the passage? Cornill may be right in alleging that the Peshitta translator here added the negation without textual support from the Hebrew. But, if so, one would expect that the decision to add the negation came from a desire to make sense out the verse. Or, alternatively, did the translator read a different Hebrew text?

18. The last half of the verse is a straightforward translation in the Peshitta. The Peshitta translator understood the Hebrew NwOmhj in its meaning "wealth, abundance" as in verse 12 and in Ps 37:15 Myb@irA My(i#$fr: NwOmhjm' qyd@Ic@ala +(am;-bwO+ (P: )(Y$D8d ))YGS )NYNQ oM )QYdzL lYLQ xQP). In addition, the attached pronoun in the form h@nFwOmhj was altered to the masculine plural either in the Hebrew source text or by the translator. Peshitta Ezekiel shares this reading with the targum which may point to the translator rather than to a variant Hebrew text as its source. What is remarkable is that the translator of Peshitta Ezekiel, if he were capricious as alleged by Cornill, did not substantially alter the phrase bw%#$y )lo h@nFwOmhj-lk@f-l)e NwOzxf-yk@i but represented it as is, even though it is confusing and cries out to be corrected. Modern scholars readily emend NwOzxf to NwOrxf as in the preceding verse and a number regard bw%#$yF )lo as dittography. To give the phrase credible meaning, the targum explains it by expansive paraphrase: Nwhtywbg Nwnddy Nyyx Nwny)d d(w. It is difficult to understand why a free spirited translator concerned about clarity would leave such a confusing phrase stand while altering the previous phrase Mtfy,Fxa Myy,Ixab@a dwO(w:, if that is indeed what he read. Then, too, Peshitta Ezekiel probably read a Hebrew variant, either the hiphil plural w%qyzIxjyA or the hiphil singular qyzIxjyA for the hithpael plural w%qzFxat;yI of the MT, a reading which makes better sense than that of the MT.

19. While the translator may have added the negation for some reason unknown to us, it may be that it stood already in his Hebrew source text. This is a strained case upon which to build a profile of the translator of Peshitta Ezekiel.

Case 3: Ezek 16:43


MT: hl@e)'-lkfb@; yli-yzIg%:rt@iwA K7yIrAw%(n: ym'y:-t)e [Q: t@;r:kazFyt@ir:kazF-)lo r#$e)j N(ayA
K7yItfbo(JwOt@-lk@f l(a hm@fz%Iha-t)e
 [Q: ty#&i(fytiy#&i(f )low: hwIhy: ynFdo)j M)un: yt@itanF #$)rob@; K7k@'r:d@A )h' ynI)j-MgAw:
P: oYhLK oYLhB yNYtzGr)w yKtwYL+d )tM8wY ytrKdt) )Ld l(
)twYNzw )twPN+ ytdB(d l( )twD8M )rM rM[) yK$YrB yKtXD8w) t([rP )h )N) p)

(Because you have not remembered the days of your youth and have angered me with all these things, as for me, here I have recompensed your ways on your head, says the Lord of Lords, because you committed abomination and prostitution)
G: a)nq' w{n ou0k e0mnh/sqhj th/n h(me/ran th=j nhpio/thto/j sou kai\ e0lu/peij me e0n pa~si tou/toij kai\ e0gw_ i0dou\ ta_j o9dou/j sou ei0j kefalh/n sou de/dwka le/yei ku/rioj kai\ ou3twj13 e0poi/hsaj th\n a)se/beian e0pi\ pa&saij tai=j a)nomi/aij sou

21. The problematic phrase for Cornill is the alleged free rendering of Hebrew K7yItfbo(JwOt@-lk@f l(a hm@fz%Iha-t)e [Q: ty#&i(fytiy#&i(f )low: by Syriac )twYNzw )twPN+ ytdB(d l(, particularly the omission of the negation. However, this appears to be a case of the conversion of a rhetorical question of the Hebrew source text into a declarative statement in the Syriac translation, along with its subordination to the preceding main clause. The translator of the Peshitta regarded the Hebrew as a rhetorical question anticipating a positive answer and, so, omitted the negation in his translation. Thus, the question "have you not ...?" anticipating the answer "yes" becomes the declarative statement "because you have ...."

22. The resolution of morphologically marked Hebrew rhetorical questions by declarative statements is known in Peshitta Ezekiel. The following examples demonstrate this point:

  1. Peshitta Ezekiel resolves a rhetorical question expecting a negative reply by a negative statement (Ezek 17:15):
    MT: hl@e)' h#&'(ohf +l'm@fyIhj xlfc;yIhj
    NRSV: Will he succeed? [expected answer: No, he will not.] Can one escape who does such things? [expected answer: No, he cannot.]
    P: dB( )NKhd oM[ )cPtN )Lw r$KN )L
    (He will not succeed and the one who does thus will not be delivered.)
    Here Peshitta Ezekiel adds the negation due to the conversion from a rhetorical question into a declarative statement.

  2. Peshitta Ezekiel resolves a rhetorical question expecting a negative reply by a negative statement (Ezek 17:10):
    MT: xlfc;tihj hlfw%t#$; hn%"h@w:
    NRSV: When it is transplanted, will it thrive? [expected answer: No, it will not.]
    P: r$Kt )L )L) )BYcN )h
    (Here it is transplanted, but it will not thrive.)
    Here Peshitta Ezekiel adds the negation due to the conversion from a rhetorical question into a declarative statement.

  3. Peshitta Ezekiel resolves a rhetorical question expecting a positive reply by a positive statement (Ezek 17:10):
    MT: #$bfyt@i h@xfmci tgOrU(J-l(a #$boyF #$bayt@i MydIq@fha xAw%r h@b@f t(agAk; )wOlhj
    NRSV: When the east wind strikes it, will it not utterly wither, wither on the bed where it grew? [expected answer: Yes, it will.]
    P: h[tY(wMd )rdMB )$BY{ )Bw$d )Xwr h[B t$BYd )Mw
    (And when the sultry wind blows on it, it will dry up on the soil of its sprouting.)
    Here Peshitta Ezekiel omits the negation because of the conversion from a rhetorical question into a declarative statement.
Resolution of rhetorical questions by declarative statements is a common technique of translation not only in targumim to the Torah, but also in Peshitta Ezekiel. This does not indicate a whimsicalness on the part of the translator but rather a desire to express the perceived meaning of the text clearly to his readers. This case demonstrates a thoughtful, careful translator, not a whimsical one as Cornill alleges.

Case 4: Ezek 32:27


MT: Mylir"(Jm' MylipnO MrIwOb@g%I-t)e w%bk@;#$;yI )low:
P - Leiden: )LD8w( oM oYLPNd )D8BYG m( nwBK$N )L
(They will not lie down with the warriors who fall of the uncircumcised)
P - Mosul14 [influence of the Vulgate?]: )LD8w( oM oYLPNd )D8BYG m( nwBK$N )L
P - Lee15: )LD8w( oM oYLPNd )D8BYG m( nwBK$N
G16: kai\ e0koimh/qhsan meta_ tw~n giga&ntw~n17 to=n peptwko/twn a)po\ ai0w~noj18
V: et non dormient cum fortibus cadentibusque et incircumcisis
NRSV: And they do not lie with the fallen warriors of long ago
NIV: Do they not lie with the other uncircumcised warriors who have fallen ...? [rhetorical question anticipating a positive reply]

24. Cornill's fourth piece of evidence has to do with the supposed omission of the negation )lo in the Peshitta. Cornill was mislead by basing his knowledge of the Peshitta on the poor quality text of the printed editions available in his day instead of on the better quality text of MS 7a1 and other early MSS which serve as the basis of the new Leiden edition. In a recent article, M. J. Mulder, the editor of Leiden Ezekiel, has criticized Cornill on this point with reference to this specific case (Mulder 1986a: 463-470, esp. 467).19 Mulder's criticism bears repeating here because W. E. Barnes had offered the same criticism on the very same case some 89 years earlier (Barnes 1897: xxv) and his sound rebuttal of Cornill's approach went unheeded for generations! The omission of )lo apparently came about in the Peshitta text by the relatively late influence of the LXX via the Syrohexapla on late Peshitta MSS. None of the extant MSS of the Peshitta from the 6th-12th centuries AD omit the negation.

25. What is especially alarming is the fact that Karl Elliger, editor of BHS Ezekiel, and J. A. Bewer, editor BHK Ezekiel, before him, followed by Walther Zimmerli, author of the Ezekiel commentary in the Biblischer Kommentar Altes Testament series = the Hermeneia series, and G. A. Cooke, author of the Ezekiel volume for the International Critical Commentary series, before him, blindly follow Cornill in accepting the text of prints as the text of the Old Testament Peshitta, despite Barnes' penetrating criticism of Cornill's views at the end of the 19th century. Apparently, Cornill himself repudiated his negative view of MS 7a1 in private communication with Barnes but never revised his monograph accordingly (Barnes 1897: x). The scholars who produced our modern critical tools have blindly followed the erroneous views which Cornill published.

26. It is in place to briefly sketch the history of the printed editions of Peshitta Ezekiel prior to the watershed publication of 1985, to wit the Leiden edition by M. J. Mulder. This rehearsing of the history will underscore how one poor quality 17th century MS became nearly the sole basis of all prints before 1985. The first edition of the Peshitta Old Testament in Europe was made by a Maronite named Gabriel Sionita who edited the Paris Polyglot of 1645, using MS 17a5 (=BN Syr. 6) as the base text. Gabriel Sionita often "corrected" the text himself without any MS basis. Goshen-Gottstein describes the Peshitta text of the Paris Polyglot as "an unreliable reproduction of one of the worst possible manuscripts" (Goshen-Gottstein 1960: 2). Subsequently, Brian Walton based the London Polyglot of 1657 on the Paris Polyglot. Then, Samuel Lee based his 1823 edition for the British Foreign Bible Society largely on the London Polyglot. In 1852, the American Protestant missionary the Rev. Justin Perkins produced the Urmia edition,20 based primarily on the edition of Lee. In the opinion of Goshen-Gottstein, the Urmia text is "the most reliable printed edition available" (Goshen-Gottstein 1960: 5, n. 21). In 1887-91, the Dominicans of Mosul produced a Peshitta edition for Catholics, based on Lee and Urmia, but corrected by the Hebrew, Latin and Greek according to one of the collaborators, Mgr. Rahmani (Bloch 1920-1921: 142). These five printed editions are "practically reducible to one edition" (Ibid.). So, for some 340 years, Western scholars used a text of the Old Testament Peshitta built on a poor foundation. It's time that this house built upon the sand be swept away.

27. To return to our specific case, the Leiden edition of the Peshitta reads nwBK$N )L, omitting only the connective waw of the MT. This case, then, is a case where the later editions of the Peshitta, based on an inferior MS, formed the basis of Cornill's work and where twentieth century scholars followed his lead without even questioning the evidence, with the exceptions of Barnes and subsequently Mulder.


28. The four pieces of evidence offered by Cornill, from which he extrapolated that the translator of Peshitta Ezekiel took great liberties with his Hebrew source text, fail to convince.

29. One piece of evidence is bogus, being based on a false text of Peshitta Ezekiel (32:27). Having entered the 21st century, we need to progress beyond the ill-based research of Cornill and base our critical texts and critical commentaries on the Leiden edition of the Peshitta. The current critical tools of BHS and BKAT = Hermeneia misrepresent Peshitta Ezekiel, being guided by Cornill. Let's hope that BHQ and subsequent tools will do far better.21

30. Two other pieces of evidence are of dubious value because they may be products of a variant Hebrew source text or explained by serious contextual exegesis (1:14; 7:13). It is ill-advised to profile the translator on the basis of problematic cases such as these.

31. The fourth piece of evidence has to do with legitimate translation technique, namely the transforming of a Hebrew rhetorical question into a declarative statement (Ezek 16:43). This is not a free rendering of the Hebrew source text, but rather a faithful rendering of its intent - at least in the view of the translator. Rather than pointing to a loose, free spirited, capricious translator, this piece of evidence points to a thoughtful, careful one.

© TC: A Journal of Biblical Textual Criticism, 2001.


1This study is a revision of an essay read at Syriac Symposium III on June 19, 1999, at the University of Notre Dame. My thanks go to Dr. Joseph P. Amar for the challenge to present an essay on this topic and to Dr. Lucas Van Rompay for his valuable critical comments which led to its improvement.

2Cornill's views of the Peshitta of Ezekiel shaped the views of subsequent scholars. For example, G. A. Cooke states: "The characteristic features of the Versions of Ezekiel have been so thoroughly investigated by Cornill in the Prolegomena to his Commentary that there is no need to restate them" (Cooke 1937: xl; cf. Haefeli 1927: 52-53). The presentations of the Peshitta in the modern critical tools BHK3 (Bewer, ed. 1932) and BHS (Elliger, ed. 1971) as well as the ICC commentary of Cooke (Cooke 1937) and the BKAT/Hermeneia commentary of Walther Zimmerli (Zimmerli 1979 = Zimmerli 1969a; Zimmerli 1983 = Zimmerli 1969b) are largely shaped by Cornill.

3Cornill states dogmatically: "Ja sogar die denkbar grösste Freiheit, durch Hinzufügen oder Weglassen der Negation den Sinn in sein directes Gegentheil zu verkehren, hat sich S ihrer Vorlage gegenüber wiederholt erlaubt" (Cornill 1886: 153).

4Cornill uses the words "Ungebundenheit," "Willkur" and "Frieheit" in describing the translation technique of the translator of the Peshitta of Ezekiel (Cornill 1886: 148 and 153).

5Klein credits Elias Levita as the earliest to identify this technique of translation in the targums (Klein 1976: 516, n. 5). Cf. Smelik 1995: 98.

6Michael L. Klein shows that the masorah to Onqelos was aware of this unusual rendering of Hebrew yk@i (Klein 1997: 73).

7R. B. ter Haar Romeny has argued that the addition of the negation by some early MSS of the Peshitta in Gen 8:7 is a secondary reading, having entered the Peshitta MS tradition under the influence of the LXX (Harr Romeny 1997: 276). If he is correct, then Y. Maori is incorrect in attributing the addition of the negation in this verse to the direct influence of rabbinic exegesis on the translator (Maori 1995:108-109).

8The use of rb( in the sense of "enter (into a covenant)" attested in Qumran Hebrew (1QS I 16, 18, 20, 24; II 10) is drawn from this biblical passage and so has no independent value in determining the meaning.

9The translation of this phrase by George M. Lamsa (Lamsa 1985), "for catastrophe will not spare any of their possessions," is not justified.

10G omits bw%#$yF )lo h@nFwOmha-lk@f-l)e NwOzxf-yk@i Mtay,Fxa Myy,xab@a dwO(w:. One could account for this by homoioteleuton, that is the jumping over the first bw%#$yF to the second. Alternatively, one could view MT as expansive, the phrase h@nFwOmhj-lk@a-l)e NwOzxf-yk@i coming from the preceding verse (NwOzxf being a corruption of NwOrxf) and bw%#$yF )lo the result of dittography.

11G reads Ny(b in place of MT wOnwO(Jb@a.

12"For the seller will not return to what he has sold; and while they are still living, they will be judged in their bodies [i.e. through exile]. For, the prophets prophesy against all their tumult but they do not repent; but each man desires his own sins; and until they stand in repentance they will not be strengthened." The text is per Sperber 1962.

13G reads hkw in place of )lw.

14The correspondence of Mosul with Leiden in this case is due to the Vulgate. As M. H. Goshen-Gottstein remarks, the Mosul edition was corrected at times by the Vulgate (Goshen-Gottstein 1960: 5, n. 22.

15Since the text of Lee was the basis of both BHK3 and BHS, they falsely record " S om )lw" (Bewer, ed. 1932: 864, first apparatus; Elliger, ed. 1971).

16G: and they are laid with the giants who fell of old.

17G here renders rwOb@g%I as gi/gaj as in vv. 12 and 21.

18G reads MlfwO(m' (a)po\ ai0w~noj) instead of Mylir"(Jm' due to the influence of Gen 6:4 (MlfwO(m' r#$e)j MyrIb@og%Iha = oi9 gi/gantej o9i a)p' ai0w~noj).

19Mulder remarks that the Syrohexapla reads )lw bracketed between an asterisk and a metobelos (Mulder 1986a: 467). Cf. Mulder 1988 and Mulder 1986b.

20The Konkordanz zur Syrischen Bibel: Die Propheten edited by Werner Strothmann is based on the Urmia Bible and the Syriac text of the London Polyglot (Walton, ed. 1655-1657; cf. Strothmann, ed. 1984: VII), which also omits )l.

21The Peshitta text of Biblia Hebraica, Editio Quinta (BHQ) is supposed to be based on the Leiden edition. The Hebrew University Bible, of which Isaiah (Goshen-Gottstein, ed. 1995) and Jeremiah (Rabin, Talmon, and Tov, eds. 1997) have been published so far, correctly employs MS 7a1 (as over against the prints) as its base text for the Peshitta.


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