Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Tischendorf LXX - First Edition

Yesterday, I received my long-awaited first edition Tischendorf's Vetus Testamentum Graece (1850).  This is an epic book buy for me as I build my library.  It is a very rarely found book.

As many know, Daniel Wallace possess a notable theological library filled with antique and collectable theological books.  He was very helpful in our conversations concerning this volume, and thus in my search for the volume and nailing down the right price for the volume. 

Lobegott Friedrich Constantin von Tischendorf is most known for the Indiana Jones-esque discovery and recovery of the famed and early manuscript (4th century AD) Codex Sinaiticus which he found in Saint Catherine's Monastery on Mount Sinai.  His best known published work is his, 1849, Novum Testamentum Graece; and the "great edition" of this work that appeared from 1869-72. He was the noted decipher-er of the Codex Ephraemi Rescriptus (5th century AD).  Additionally, his rules for critical textual study are now well-know, though not always agreed with:

Basic rule: "The text is only to be sought from ancient evidence, and especially from Greek manuscripts, but without neglecting the testimonies of versions and fathers."

  1. "A reading altogether peculiar to one or another ancient document is suspicious; as also is any, even if supported by a class of documents, which seems to evince that it has originated in the revision of a learned man."
  2. "Readings, however well supported by evidence, are to be rejected, when it is manifest (or very probable) that they have proceeded from the errors of copyists."
  3. "In parallel passages, whether of the New or Old Testament, especially in the Synoptic Gospels, which ancient copyists continually brought into increased accordance, those testimonies are preferable, in which precise accordance of such parallel passages is not found; unless, indeed, there are important reasons to the contrary."
  4. "In discrepant readings, that should be preferred which may have given occasion to the rest, or which appears to comprise the elements of the others."
  5. "Those readings must be maintained which accord with New Testament Greek, or with the particular style of each individual writer."
His Septuagint is not one of his works that stood the test of time, though valuable for reference and study - and its just pretty!  Unlike his Greek NT, his Vetus Testamentum Graece did not receive many improvements over subsequent years.  Here is an electronic version of his LXX for reference.

Since I have received it, I have noticed a few interesting characteristics about this LXX edition:

1) It has NT references in the inside margin.  I am forgetting at the moment if Rahlfs LXX does this.  I assume it does, but it is always interesting to see how textual critics identify these citations in their respective editions (cf. photo of Joel three, above right).

2) Tischendorf also lists the alternate verse and chapter numberings between the MT and the LXX.  See the Joel 3 photo again to see how Tischendorf even titles Joel 3 as III (IV).  The form of this numbering is interesting to me how it is edited into the text block. 

3) Additionally, Tischendorf or the printer decided that at the end of preposition that began a verb the terminal sigma  would be used.  This is not a normal thing to observe in any printed Greek volume (cf. the pic to the left: prosopou, middle of the page [pardon my sketchy transliterations, but hopefully they communicate]).

4) Finally, there are two volumes that this one book consists of, but even at the beginning they were bound together; only later were they divided.  Which leads to the question, why two volumes?

This entry is not, of course, and intro of this edition of the LXX, but these were some interesting notes thus far in my study of it.  

For more on Tischendorf, here is a reasonably short intro to his life and works that I have found to be reliable. 

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