An Hebrew Literary Parallel Posited by Franz Xaver Wutz
'The Transcription Theory'
During the year I served with the British Army in Cyprus, 1 August 1954 – 1 August 1955, I kept my journal in the English "language" written in the Greek "text." I did it for no other reason than as a personal fad. It was accessible to all that could read Greek characters and understand the English language.
I am indebted to Daniel L Edwards’ book “A Key to the Old Testament,” Collins, Glasgow, 1976, 1989 edition, also, Fount Paperbacks, London, 1989 for the information on page 150 of this eminently readable and exceedingly well researched book from which I quote directly.
“From its Assyrian occupation the adjacent territory became known forever as ‘Syria.’ After the arrival of the Assyrians, the ex-Israelites (whether in exile or in their homes) began using Aramaic, not Hebrew, as their everyday language.
explanation is that the Assyrian empire, and later its Babylonian and Persian successors, found it convenient to use this international language which might be called a sister, but never a daughter, of Hebrew. Previously it would have been the case that while the ambassador of the Assyrian emperor could speak Aramaic, as could the leading officials in the court of Jerusalem, ‘the people of the city wall’ (2 Kings 18:26) would have known only Hebrew.
But after the Assyrian conquest even Hebrew, preserved for sacred purposes, was now written in a new way, using the Aramaic square script. After the arrival of the Babylonians, the Jews took to using Babylonian names of the months, beginning the new year in the spring instead of the autumn.”
Thus, writing Hebrew in Aramaic script introduces us to Reformed Hebrew. Those that could read only Paleo-Hebrew would, naturally, be confused by the appearance of what is referred to as Square Hebrew script, which is the adopted Aramaic character set. All pre-Aramaic doc uments from ancient Israelites was written in a Paleo-Hebrew Character Se, including early Hebrew Scriptures.
We are thus introduced to Reformed Hebrew characters which demonstrates that changes or re-form-ations in ancient language using the character sets of other languages is far from being far-fetched. Yet there is even more information about this subject.
Whilst poring over Professor Harrison’s “Introduction To The Old Testament,” [Eerdman’s Publishing Co, Grand Rapids, MI, (1969)], I came across a paragraph on page ? discussing the LXX that attracted my attention.
“While the evidence from Qumran [FM Cross, BASOR [Bulletins of the American Schools of Oriental Research], No. 132 (1953), pp. 15ff., No. 141 (1956), pp. 9ff., 1B, XII (1957), pp. 655ff.) makes it obvious that the LXX (Septuagint) had a long and involved prehistory, it seems unlikely that underlying the LXX there was a rendering of the Hebrew into Greek letters, as Wutz proposed (see: FX Wutz, ZAW [Zeitschrift für die alttestamentliche Wissenschaft], XLIII (1925), Die Psalmen textkritisch untersucht (1925), Die Transkriptionen von der Septuaginta bis zu Hieronymous (1933), and Systematische Wege von der LXX zum Hebräischen Urtext (1937).”
“Undoubtedly there were in existence transliterations of the Hebrew text into the Greek alphabet, analogous to the Samaritan Pentateuch, as an initial step towards helping Hellenistic Jews who could not follow the Hebrew script to understand the portions that were read aloud in the synagogues.
“While the LXX does in fact employ Greek transliterations on occasions, particularly in the case of names, it is improbable that the LXX utilized such transcriptions to any significant extent.”
Although Wutz does not suggest that the Greek characters were modified or re-formed, he does posit that a text in one language character set could be rendered in the character set of another language, as was the case of Reformed Ægyptian in the origianl plate-text of the Book of Mormon.
These scholarly explanations show that writing Hebrew in a modified Egyptian script, that is not claimed to be a 'language' except by ill-informed critics was clearly not an alien notion in the Ancient Near East.
"The Transcription Theory" (O. G. Tychsen, F. X. Wutz)
The theory that the translators used a Hebrew text transliterated into Greek characters underlies the so-called ‘Transcription Theory,’ associated in modern times with the name of Franz Xaver Wuts (1883-1928) of Eichstätt. His concern with Septuagint origins arose from his early work on Jerome’s translation of the Hebrew Onomasticon of Eusebius, involving as it did the transcription of the Hebrew Proper names. His belief that this branch of study might throw light on the original Hebrew found expression in a paper, ‘Ist der hebräische Urtext wieder erreichbar?’ delivered at Munich in October 1924 and published the following year in the Zeitschrift für die Alttestamentliche Wissenschaft. In the same year appeared the first of his three studies on the text of the Septuagint, in which, together with those of 1933 and 1937 his ‘transcription theory’ of the Greek Old Testament is developed and illustrated. [Source: Sidney Jellicoe, The Septuagint and Modern Study, p. 70]
Sidney Jellicoe was Professor and Dean of Divinity at Bishop's University from 1952 until his death in 1973. He was the last of a long line of internationally -known Deans of Divinity at Bishop's, as a leading Septuagint scholar of this generation (the Septuagint (LXX) being the Greek version of the Hebrew Scriptures used by Jews dispersed in the ancient world since pre-Christian times ).
"His book, The Septuagint and Modern Study, published by Oxford's prestigious Clarendon Press, is now a standard text set beside Swete's Introduction to the Old Testament in Greek, and Ottley's Handbook to the Septuagint. Its publication in 1968 led to Dean Jellicoe's appointment as Grinfield Lecturer at Oxford for two successive two-year terms. Wherever Septuagint studies continue, his name will be forever remembered. "The Dean" was indeed a Scholar among scholars." (Bishop's University Alumni Magazine, Winter 1974)
© 2017 - Ronnie Bennett-Bray – may be used by others providing that the complete item is used without changes, additions, or comments that change the text in any way.
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