This article deals with the question of the nature of and scholarly approaches to studying Greek syntax in the Septuagint. The concrete point of departure is the publication of A Syntax of Septuagint Greek by T. Muraoka (Leuven: Peeters, 2016). The author discusses Muraoka’s work, while touching upon general trends in Septuagint scholarship, and reviews the book in a detailed manner. The author’s theoretical considerations are illustrated by two case studies that demonstrate the problems associated with Muraoka’s approach to syntax in the Septuagint. By way of conclusion, the author reflects on future directions in research on the Septuagint and its language usage.
While all agree that the language of the Septuagint does not represent a Jewish dialect, scholarship has nevertheless struggled to find ways of discussing the language of the Septuagint without implying a similar idea. Just as the notions of “biblical Greek” and “Jewish Greek” have rightly come under scrutiny, so also must scholars carefully reconsider “Septuagint Greek” and similar sobriquets. While admittedly helpful shorthand, such terminology may unintentionally license—or surreptitiously import—prescriptivist approaches to language that are now widely abandoned in linguistic scholarship. This article presents the ancient historical background to such approaches and surveys problematic terminology common within contemporary scholarship to illustrate its links (or lack thereof) with developments in general linguistics. More up-to-date frameworks, particularly from sociolinguistics, provide better concepts and terminology for discussing the language of the Septuagint. Attention is also given to evaluating the absence of external evidence and matters of style.
The article studies and compares how Philo authorizes παρρησία in Quis rerum divinarum heres sit and Quod omnis probus liber sit. After critically evaluating the scholarly literature on παρρησία in Philo, I go beyond the limitations of this literature by situating Philo’s views on παρρησία within the context of the ancient conventions of παρρησία, as well as in the changing socio-historical context of Philo’s writings. I argue that Philo creatively adapts the conventions of παρρησία to authorize that the Jews can have παρρησία towards God, as well as towards human beings within the Roman Empire. Their παρρησία is not authorized by citizenship, nobility of birth, good family reputation, and wealth, but by their conscience of having said and done everything to the benefit of God and their virtuous behavior according to Mosaic law.
While a finding of pig remains has often been regarded in Iron Age archaeological studies as an indication of the inhabitants’ identity, several recent zooarchaeological studies have shown that the archaeological record is more complex, and that pig remains cannot serve as an identity marker. The textual evidence analyzed in this paper supports this direction and suggests a multistage development process leading up to various expressions of the pig taboo in ancient Israelite belief. While in the Pentateuch pigs are mentioned alongside other impure animals and are not accorded excessive impurity amongst them, the textual sources indicate that pigs received a special status and became an identity marker only from the Greco-Roman period onwards. This paper also shows that during this period even the word “pig” became taboo in certain instances, as seen from three texts preserved in LXX of Samuel-Kings (1–4 Kingdoms) but missing from MT.
Plutarch’s portraits of leaders in the Lives reflect a careful blending of incidents from a hero’s personal life and his political and military career, which together provide exempla to guide readers in cultivating moral character and effectiveness in managing public affairs. Designing these portraits required being selective about the details of a person’s life. As Plutarch indicated at Cimon 2.4–5, a representation had to retain the undesirable elements of a man’s character without giving them undue prominence. On this basis, it seems reasonable that Plutarch might have omitted key incidents which, if included, would have over-emphasized one virtue or vice. Similarly, a balanced portrait of a man’s successes and failures in managing political or military matters might also necessitate selective exclusion of episodes described by historians. Against this backdrop, the question arises: to what extent can Plutarch’s omission of key incidents from a Life be viewed as purposeful fine-tuning of his narrative to clarify certain lessons in leadership? This issue is here investigated in the context of the Alcibiades, Agesilaus and Fabius Maximus. It will be shown that Plutarch’s silences and omission of well-known episodes impact the ethical and pragmatic lessons in these Lives, and serve to sharpen the focus on the specific lessons in leadership that each Life was designed to convey.