Tuesday, February 28, 2017

The Slavonic Bible

This post on the recent issue of The Bible Translator (see here with other links) considers the article on the Slavonic Bible. This is the last article I'll post on from this issue of the journal. All of these posts are gathered together at the bottom of my Canon Studies page.

Lénart J. de Regt, "Canon and Biblical Text in the Slavonic Tradition in Russia," The Bible Translator 67.2 (2016): 223–39.

I do not know much about the Slavonic Bible, so this article was helpful to me.

Opening statement:
In the Russian Orthodox Church, the Bible includes non-canonical as well as canonical books.
This article focuses especially on the Old Testament, so the issue has to do with the role of the LXX in the Orthodox churches.

De Regt says that there are eleven "non-canonical" books in the Bible of the Russian Orthodox Church, not collected together but scattered throughout the OT. These books are:

  1. 1 Esdras
  2. Tobit
  3. Judith
  4. Wisdom of Solomon
  5. Sirach
  6. Epistle of Jeremiah
  7. Baruch
  8. 1 Maccabees
  9. 2 Maccabees
  10. 3 Maccabees
  11. 4 Ezra
Also, some non-canonical sections of canonical books: additions to Daniel, Esther, Psalms (Psalm 151), and Chronicles (Prayer of Manasseh)--indicated with square brackets (p. 235). 

"In, for example, the Russian Synodal Translation [...] they are marked as non-canonical by an asterisk and a note" (224). 

De Regt briefly reviews canon history, then asserts that the canon was never fixed in the East (224–27). 

Then he turns to the text of the books, and shows that traditionally the LXX has been highly regarded in Russia, though the LXX was not canonized. The Slavonic Bible is a hybrid, based largely on the LXX, but not completely. The earliest full Slavonic Bible contains several books translated from the Vulgate (de Regt, pp. 229–30). 

For more, see this book, often cited by de Regt. 

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