The Curious Case of צמח and ἀνατολή: An Inquiry into Septuagint Translation Patterns

September 2015
Journal of Biblical Literature;Fall2015, Vol. 134 Issue 3, p505
Academic Journal
Two main arguments have been proposed to explain the peculiar LXX use of the typically light-related ἀνατολή to render the familiar messianic צמח of Jer 23:5, Zech 3:8, and Zech 6:12. (1) The translators simply made a mistake or switched metaphors, or (2) the translators were using ἀνατολή to highlight the "glow" half of the alleged "glow/grow" semantic field of צמח. This article argues against both views by undertaking a comprehensive semantic analysis of both the Hebrew and the Greek lexical groups, paying particular attention to their literal and metaphorical uses across a broad range of Jewish literature. The analysis demonstrates that the translators' use of ἀνατολή is a semantically appropriate gloss that captures the underlying sense of the metaphor: the emergence or arising of a deliverer figure.


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