Veneta Versio

Veneta Versio The Library of St. Mark's, at Venice, is in possession of a MS. containing a Greek version, by some unknown author in the Middle Ages, of various books of the Old Test. — namely, the Pentateuch, Proverbs, Ruth, Canticles, Ecclesiastes, Lamentations, and Daniel. The Pentateuch was edited by Ammon (Erlang. 1790-91,3 vols.); the other parts by John Casp. d'Ansse de Villoison (Strasb. 1784, 1 vol. 8vo). There is no evidence that Holmes even used it in his edition of the Sept. De' Rossi, in his Varice Lectiones, has given some readings of it; but so long as the whole was not published, no certainty as to its merits or demerits could be given. Since 1875 the entire version has been given to the public in the edition published by Gebhardt. From the introduction of the editor, and the preface by Delitzsch, we see that the translation was made in the 14th century by a certain Elissseus who lived at the court of Murad I at Brusa and Adrianople. The translator was a Jew, perhaps a Jewish convert, as Gebhardt thinks. SEE GREEK VERSIONS.

The internal character of the version shows that it was made directly from the Hebrew. It is slavishly literal, word for word of the original being rendered into Attic Greek. In the Chaldee sections of Daniel the Doric is used. As it is impossible to adhere with rigid exactness to the words of the original, and at the same time present the elegancies of the Attic Greek, it is obvious that gross barbarisms must pervade the diction. That the Masoretic text was the basis of the translation cannot be denied. No important readings have been discovered in it which are not in existing Masoretic MSS., nor any peculiar to it which are preferable to the common text. A great many variations may be traced to the confusion from the similarity of letters, others to the grammatical ignorance of the translator. Whether the MS. he used was divided throughout, like our modern copies, by accents, or furnished throughout with the present vowel system, since there are many departures from the accents and vowel-points, cannot be stated with certainty. That the translator consulted the Sept. and other Greek versions has been shown beyond a shadow of doubt by Gebhardt. Above all, he followed David Kimchi's Liber Radicum, ספר השרשים, which he consulted in the interpretation of words, and to which, as Gebhardt states, "paene omnia que Venetae versidnis propria sunt in textu Hebraico interpretando originem trahunt." Now, as D. Kimchi flourished in the 13th century, Davidson's statement that "the version must be placed after the 9th century" must be given up. Whether the copy in the Library of St. Mark's was copied from another much older as Davidson thinks, or whether it is the original as presented by cardinal Bessarion in 1468, who, according to Delitzsch, was a pupil of Plethon, better known as Georgius Gemistus, a pupil and friend of Elissaeus the translator, will depend solely upon the fact as to who the author of the version was Delitzsch himself calls his hypothesis a conjecture, or, to use his own words, "Jam animum despondebam, quum in conjecturam incidi, quam modeste, ut decet, arbitrio legitimorum existimatorum committo." He then goes on to show the probability of Elisseus, who lived in the 14th century, being the translator. Dr. Frankl, in reviewing Gebhardt's edition in Gratz's Monatsschrift, 1875, p. 372 sq., thinks that Shemaria of Negroponte was the author of the version.' Now, admitting this quidpro quo, the version would still belong to the 14th century, and the probability is against Davidson, that the copy preserved in St. Mark's was copied from another much older.

For the interpretation of the text and the history of hermeneutics the Veneta is very important. As for the linguistic peculiarities of this version, it contains a great many words not found in dictionaries; thus:

ἀγκυρίς=קרם, Ex 26:6,.11, 33; 35:11. αγριαλεκτορίς=דוכיפת, De 14:18. ἀγριόβους=תאו, De 14:5. ἀκρόποσθος=ערל. Ge 17:14. ἀναθημάτισις= הרמה, Nu 21:3. ἀποφλοίωσις=מחשוŠ, Ge 30:37. βραχύθυμος=קצר אפים, Pr 14:17. γνωστότης=מודעת, Ru 3:3. δεκαμέδιμνος=חמר, Le 27:16. ἐπιπλέγμα=צמיד, Nu 19:15. εὐωνυμίζω=השמאיל, Ge 13:9. ζηλοτυπόω=הקניא, De 32:16,21. κάθεδρος=ישב, Ge 19:25. λιθόσωρος=יגר, Ge 31:47. μαρτύοησις--,תעודה Ru 4:7. μητροπόρπη=כומז, Nu 31:50. νεανισκότης=בחורות, Ec 11:9; Ec 12:1. ὀλίγωμα=מעט, Le 25:16. περίξυστος=חטוב, Pr 7:16. ξάντιστρον=מזרה, Ex 27:3; Ex 38:3. συγγνωμόνημα=כפר, Nu 35:31. ταλαροθετέω=סלסל, Pr 4:8. ὑποψοία=כסל, Le 3:4,10. φορυτώματα = ֶלּלֶּלּלּלּגלולים Le 26:30. χαλαζωτός ברד, Ge 31:10. ψάχνιμα = מספחת, Le 13:7, S. ωσμα = מדחה, Pr 26:28. ὠτοθετέω = האזין, Ge 4:23..

Besides these words, the number of which could greatly be increased, there are peculiarities in the pronunciation of the Hebrew alphabet, especially of proper nouns. Thus א is pronounced like a spirsitus lenis, but, when followed by an ל, like a spiritus asper. Thus אלישה is = ἑλίσας ; אלסר= ἑλαξάρης. ב, ג, ד are like β, γ, δ.

ה is mostly like a spiritus lenis, very seldom like a spiritus asper.

ו is generally = υ rarely = β; thus חוילה = χαυιλά; חוה = χαβά.

ז is ζ, בוז = βοῦζος.

ִח is generally = χ, often also=spiritus asper, as חמת ῟ἁμάθη.

ט is τ. י is ἰ, but ἱ before ר, as ירושלם = ἱερουσαλάμη.

כ is κ and χ.

ל, מ, נ῟λ, μ, ν. ס is 10, as סדמ=ξεδόμη, יסŠ=ἰωξέφης.

ָע is either spiritus lenis or asper, but omitted when in the middle of a word.

פ is π and φ, as פישון=πισών ; פוט=φούτης.

צ is σ.

ק is κ and χ.

ר is ρ.

ש is σ, in a few cases like ξ.

ת is θ and τ.

Some peculiarities may also be observed in the pronunciation of the vowels. Thus:

אּ are expressed by e and a.

= α, ο, ω.

= ε, α, αι. = ε, η, α, αι, ει.

or י = Ι, ε, υ, η, ει, οι.

וֹ or =ω, ο, ου.

וּ o =ο, υ, ω.

It will be seen that no definite rules can be laid down. Thus בַּרשִׁע is βιρσάος, but מַריָם is μεριάμη; אִשׁורַּם is ἀσσύριοι, but פִּתרֻסַים is παθρῶξοι. The Versio Veneta does not comprise all the books of the Old Test., but only the Pentateuch, Proverbs, Ruth, Canticles, Ecclesiastes, Lamentations, and Daniel. Gebhardt's Graecus Venetus contains in the introduction all the necessary information, and whatever we read on this version in the so-called introductions to the Old Test. must be supplemented from the same. To give the reader an idea of this version, we subjoin the following specimens, placing in juxtaposition, by way of contrast, the same passages from the Sept.:

Veneta. GE.. 2, 4 sq. Septuagint. 4. Αἱδὶ γεννήσεις τοῦ οὐρανοῦ Αὕτη ἡ βίβλος γενέσεως οὐρα καὶ τῆς γῆς ἐν τῷ ἐκτίσθαι νοῦ καὶ γῆς. ὅτε ἐγενετο· ῃ σφε, ἐν ἡμέρᾷ τὃν ποιεῖν τὸν ἡμέρᾷ ἐποίησε Κύριος ὁ θεὸς ὀντωτὴν τὸν θεὸν γῆς ὀυρα τὸν οὐρανὸν αὶ τῆν γῆν καὶ 5. νόν τε, καὶ πάντα χόρτον τοῦ πᾶν χλωρὸν ἀγροῦ πρὸ τοῦ ἀγροῦ πρὶν ὑπάρξειεν ἐν τῆ γενέσθαι ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς, καὶ πάν γῇ καὶ πᾶσαν βοτάνην του τα χόρτον ἀγροῦ πρὸ τοῦ ἀνα ἁγροῦ πρὶν φύσειεν· οὐ γὰρ τεῖλαι· οὑ γὰρ ἔβρεξεν ὁ θεὸς ἔβρεξεν ὁ ὀντωτὴς ὁ θεὸς ἐπὶ ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν, καὶ ἄνθρωπος οὐκ τῆς γῆς, καὶ ἄνθρωπος οὐκ ἠν ἐργάζεσθαι αὐτήν. ην ὡς ἐργάζοιτο τὴν γῆν. 6.νεφέλη δ᾿ ἀναβαίνοι πρὸς Πηγὴ δε ἀνέβαινεν ἐκ τῆς γῆς, τῆς γῆς καὶ ἄρδοι ξύμπαν τὸ καἰ ἐπότιζε πᾶν τὸ πρόσωπον πρόσωπον τῆς γῆς. τῆς γῆς. DAN...V. 1. Βελτεσασὰρ ὁ βασίλευς ἐποί- Βαλτάσαρ ὁ βασιλεὺς ἐποίηησεν ἑστίασιν μεγάλαν τοῖσι σε δεῖπνον μέγα τοῖς μεγιμεγιστἀνεσσιν ευ χιλίοις, ἐνώ- στᾶσιν αὐτοῦ ἀνδράσιν χιλίοις, πιόν τε τῶν χιλίων ἄκρατον καὶ κατέναντι τῶν χιλίων ὁ οἰἔπινε. νος, καὶ πίνων. 2. βελτεσασάρος ἔφα ἐν γεύσει Βαλτάσαρ ειπεν ἐν τῇ γεύσει τῷ ἀκράτῳ ἐνεγκεῖν ἄγγεα τὰ τοῦ οἴνου, τοῦ ἐνεγκειν τὰ σκεύη χρύσεα τὰ τ᾿ ἀργύρεα, τάπερ τὰ χρυσᾶ καὶ τὰ ἀργυρᾶ, § ἐχήἐξήνεγκε νεβουχαδνεσάρος ὁ νεγκε Ναβουχοδονόσορ ὁ πατήνω πατὴρ ποτὶ τῷ νεö τῷ ἐν τὴρ αὐτοῦ ἐκ τοῦ ναοῦ τοῦ ἐν ἱερουσαλαμᾷ, καὶ πίνοιεν ἐν ῾Ιερουσαλὴμ, καὶ πιέτωσαν ἐν αύτοῖς ὁ βασίλευς οἵ τ᾿ αὐτῶ αὐτοῖς ὁ βασιλεὺς καὶ οἱ μεγιμεγιστᾶνες, ἃ ἄκοιτίς οἰ χἀ στᾶνες αὐτοῦ καὶ αἱ παλλακαὶ παλλακά οἱ. αὐτοῦ καί αἱ παράκοιτοι αὐτοῦ. (B. P.)

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