I'm going to present the information graphically in two forms: one with the book of Job included and one without. The reason for that is that because Job is such an extreme outlier in the way it includes the article with Kyrios and Kyriou that it reduces the visual impact of the variations across the other books. So here, first then, is my current data set (excluding Ezekiel, which will be integrated when I provide the full data set with the prophetic books):
So we can observe that the pattern of excluding the article for Kyrios and Kyriou established in the Pentateuch (Genesis through Deuteronomy) seems to continue relatively without change until we get to Job, at which point the rule book is completely thrown out of the window! Job has 26 relevant occurrences of Yahweh translations, and 22 of them include the article. This makes for a huge spike, but note how the orange line tracing the rates of articles does not immediately sink back to its typical levels - both Psalms and Proverbs seem significantly higher than before, just below the 20% mark.
What else do we know about Job that could account for such a wildly different approach to the Kyrios translation? NETS, the critical and publically available Greek translation into English thus far does not integrate this astonishing statistic nor help us in attempting to understand it. It does help characterise it, however, with the following observations:
- "OG Iob is one of a kind in the Septuagint corpus: ... the least literal, both in its attitude to abbreviating the parent text and in the way the translator worked with that portion of the text." (NETS, p. 667)
- It consciously abbreviates the parent text at an increasing rate as you go through the book, with the overall text being significantly shorter than the Hebrew.
- Except, I note, in 1:21, the translator does not opt for the usual "and it came to pass" Hebraism translation (καὶ ἐγένετο) of וַֽיְהִי and states simply "And when" (καὶ ὡς) - however, I could only find three occurrences of that translation in Job for the 8 occurrences of וַֽיְהִי .
- The translator inserts a lot of particles: 'as Kitto says, "Greek is well stocked with little words, conjunctions that hunt in couples or in packs, whose sole function is to make the structure clear. They act, as it were, as signposts". This seems to be the translator's intent in Iob, i.e., to give the rather loosely linked Hebrew text a connectedness. So the translation is heavily salted with particles: "and," "but," "now," "because," "for," "really," "on the on hand ... on the other," "however," "therefore," "rather," "again," "or" and others." (emphasis mine, NETS p. 668, Kitto citation taken from D. F. Kitto, The Greeks (Harmondsworth, Middlesex: Penguin, 1973 (1951; revised ed., 1957))
- The translator may have been borrowing techniques from other translated books in the Septuagint: NETS cites research comparing 4.21a to Isaiah 40.24b, 34:13 to Psalm 24:1 and 34:15 to Gen 3:19.
Whatever the relationship, we can note the following progression through the three language groups:
Hebrew Name Yahweh throughout the OT ("anarthrous")
--> Greek Name/Title KYRIOS ("anarthrous")
--> Greek Title HO KYRIOS in Job ("arthrous")
--> modern European language title throughout the OT THE LORD/L'ETERNEL/o SENHOR/il SIGNOR/El Señor/der HERR, etc. (also "arthrous").
Could Job, then, be our "missing link"?
Job, despite its extreme position, is not our only outlier. We have discussed Psalms at various points over the course of my postings on this topic, and in my next post, we'll zoom in a bit further by removing Job from the picture and see where the other contours lie. Sneak preview:
Of course, I will also be cataloguing the remaining prophetic material to complete the survey. However, we can expect few surprises there, the prophets I think are very on board with the anarthrous rule. So expect the brown line to come back down and stay very low.