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A lexicosyntactic study of the Septuagint (Old Greek) versions of the Books of Kingdoms
thesisposted on 2022-03-28, 18:18 authored by Samuel Hendrick Wessels
The Greek language undergoes numerous changes during the Koine period, which runs from the third century BCE to the sixth century CE. Written during the earlier part of this period, the Greek version of the Hebrew Bible, the Septuagint, represents one of the largest surviving corpora of Koine Greek. Nevertheless, while it has undergone considerable translation-technical and text-critical study, the relationship of its language to historical developments in Greek has received little scholarly attention. This is particularly true for the extra-Pentateuchal books. Following the approach of writers such as Thackeray, Lee and Evans, this thesis aims to identify and illustrate features of the Greek language characteristic of the Koine period in the Old Greek sections of the Septuagint books of Kingdoms. This process contributes to the linguistic contextualisation of these books. The translation style of Old Greek Kingdoms is generally considered to be highly 'literal' and 'isomorphic'. The naturalness of their language and the degree of Semitic influence is therefore of primary interest to this thesis, particularly as it relates to the emergence of Koine Greek features. These aims are approached through close study of the verbs πολεμῶ, ἐντέλλομαι and the pair ἔρχομαι and πορεύομαι, each of which undergo or display linguistic developments characteristic of the Koine period. Comparison is made between Old Greek Kingdoms and contemporary Greek writings drawn from documentary sources, both papyrological and epigraphic, and, to a lesser extent, Greek literature. The analysis focuses variously on the syntactic relationships into which these words enter, their semantics and morphology, and on patterns of lexical usage. This thesis demonstrates that Koine period linguistic developments are identifiable in the language of Old Greek Kingdoms, despite some degree of influence from the source text. Moreover, it also shows that these books offer valuable evidence for linguistic developments otherwise poorly attested in the history of the Greek language.