Monday, October 14, 2013

Article: Religious Provenance of Aquila's Genizah Manuscripts

My article on the Aquila fragments from the Cairo Genizah has just been published in the Journal of Jewish Studies. I reproduce the absract below. I was sent a PDF of the article and was told that I could send the PDF to anyone who wants it but I could not post it online. So, the article wont be appearing full-text on my page as normal. But, if anyone wants to ask for it by email, I'd be happy to send it to you.

This is an article, by the way, that began life as a blog post. Or, rather, a(n unintentional) series of posts. The question I was seeking to address is whether Jews actually used Aquila's translation. While I think there is some good evidence to answer this in the affirmative--much of this evidence is associated with Nicholas de Lange's work--I am no longer sure that the Genizah manuscripts of Aquila provide such evidence. But when I began posting on the issue, I thought that they did, and the evolution in my own thinking is revealed in the series (1, 2, 3).

Abstract: The Cairo Genizah yielded two palimpsest manuscripts of Aquila’s Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible. For more than a century, scholars have commonly assumed, often without argument, that these manuscript fragments derive ultimately from Jewish circles. This in turn has led to citations of them in arguments regarding the Jewish reception of Greek scripture in Late Antiquity and the origins of the system of contractions known as nomina sacra . However, the opinion that these are Jewish manuscripts cannot claim universal scholarly assent, though doubts in this regard have not often been noted. This article surveys the use of these Genizah manuscripts in arguments concerning the Jewish use of Greek scripture and the nomina sacra and then examines the evidence to hand regarding their religious provenance. It concludes that the general assumption of a Jewish provenance remains unproven.