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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Luke 4:18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me ...”

Luke 4:18 πνεῦμα κυρίου ἐπ᾿ ἐμὲ ...
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me ...”
Isaiah 61:1a MT רוח אדני יהוה עלי
“The Spirit of the Lord HaShem is upon me”

When Jesus stands up to read in synagogue in his home town of Nazareth, his opening words (Luke 4:18a) from Isaiah 61:1 do not match the reading found in the Masoretic Text (MT). Jesus’ opening words match the Greek (LXX) version of Isaiah. In Isaiah we see a pattern, where the MT reads אדני יהוה “Lord HaShem” the LXX reads κύριος (alone) with one exception Isa. 25:8 which reads ὁ θεὸς (alone). Elsewhere in the Greek versions of the hebrew prophets we find אדני יהוה translated with two words, e.g. Jeremiah 4:10 δέσποτα κύριε “Master HaShem” or κύριος κύριος in Jeremiah 44:26(51:26 LXX) but also κύριος (alone) in Jer. 7:20. Isaiah LXX is more consistent than Jeremiah.   

Isaiah 61:1a MT רוח אדני יהוה עלי
“The Spirit of the Lord HaShem is upon me”
Isaiah 61:1a 1QIsa-a  רוח יהוה עלי
“The Spirit of the HaShem is upon me ...”

In Isaiah 61:1, the Great Isaiah Scroll (1QIsa-a) supports the Greek version of Isaiah in regard to the omission of אדני “Lord” from אדני יהוה “Lord HaShem.” In other words, where the LXX reads κυρίου (alone) 1QIsa-a reads  יהוה (alone). A close look at the sources[1] indicates that 1QIsa-a only supports Isaiah LXX in about seven out of seventeen readings[2]. This qualified support from 1QIsa-a for Isaiah LXX is complicated by a number of factors. The most obvious factor is the pattern in Isaiah LXX of never using a double formula like we find in Jeremiah δέσποτα κύριε “Master HaShem” or κύριος κύριος. In other divine name patterns e.g. Is. 7:11 יהוה אלהיך “HaShem your God” Isaiah LXX uses κυρίου θεοῦ σου “HaShem your God.” A massive study of the translation habits demonstrated in Isaiah LXX[3] would be required before one could say anything substantive about habits. However, speculating on what I have observed, I would guess that there is more going on with Isaiah LXX reading κύριος (alone) for  אדני יהוה than simply a different hebrew manuscript.    

[1] I compiled these from three sources, a transcription of 1QIsa-a, photo images of 1QIsa-a and E. Tov’s MT/LXX The Parallel Aligned Text of the Greek and Hebrew Bible which includes notes about readings in 1QIsa-a. This was a difficult project, the transcription and images are indexed primarily by column numbers, locating a chapter and verse takes a little time particularly with images. The style of Hebrew script used by the scribe of 1QIsa-a takes some getting used two. I wanted to cross check the notes in E. Tov’s MT/LXX since my experience with critical texts has taught me that looking at the raw data is much more enlightening than reading an apparatus.

[2]  1QIsa-a reads יהוה “HaShem” (alone) in support of  the LXX in Isa. 28:16(?), 28:22, 30:15, 49:22, 52:4, 61:1, 65:13. 1QIsa-a reads אדני יהוה “Lord HaShem” where the LXX reads κυρίου (alone) in Isa. 10:24, 22:5, 40:10, 48:16, 50:4,7,9, 56:8, 61:11, 65:15.  The question mark after 28:16(?) doubtful a doubtful reading where there appears in the image of 1QIsa-a a word above the line but the transcription and E. Tov’s note indicate support for the LXX reading .  

[3] Almost certainly this “massive study” has been done. 


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