Just a brief post this afternoon relaying two bits of good news for those involved in Septuagint scholarship. [UPDATED 10/11/21]
A Recent Dissertation by Mambelli
I received a message from Eberhard Bons — who is (among other things) editor of the first volume of the HTLS — relaying some good news. Today, one of Eberhard’s doctoral students, Anna Mambelli, passed her doctoral examination and (I am told) did so with flying colors. Mambelli’s work was co-directed between the University of Strasbourg and the Fondazione per le Scienze religiose of Bologna.
The dissertation itself deals with the Old Greek text of Daniel 2 and 4 and is entitled “The Course of History Revealed through Dreams and Visions.” Here is an English abstract:
The doctoral dissertation of Anna Mambelli focuses on the Hellenistic context and the meaning of the dream reports in Dan 2 and 4 in its two complete Greek versions, known respectively as the Old Greek (OG) and Theodotion. This joint PhD dissertation (cotutelle) is supervised by Luca Mazzinghi, Professor of Old Testament at the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome, and Eberhard Bons, Professor of Old Testament at the University of Strasbourg and editor of the Historical and Theological Lexicon of the Septuagint (Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen), a FSCIRE research project coordinated by Anna Mambelli and Daniela Scialabba. The main question that the dissertation intends to answer is whether it is possible to identify, in either or both of the ancient Greek versions of Daniel, intentional changes and innovations in the dream vocabulary that can be attributable to the translator(s) alone and that have narrative, exegetical and even theological consequences. This key issue explains why the careful philological and linguistic analysis of Dan 2 and 4 in its Greek versions and the constant comparison between each of them and the Aramaic Vorlage are constantly accompanied by the exegetical and historical investigation. Not only does this study reveal the Greek linguistic sensibility and the vast literary and rhetorical culture of the OG translator: it also reveals the latter’s sarcastic vein and the historical-theological perspective he intends to convey. The OG does not betray the Aramaic text of Daniel but gives it a specific literary profile and actualises its message making it accessible to “new” recipients, i.e. the Alexandrian Jewish community to which the translator himself belongs. The specific meaning that OG attributes to Nebuchadnezzar’s dreams, as well as to the characters and symbols that populate those dreams, are illuminated in this dissertation by repeated comparisons with texts of archaic, classical and Hellenistic Greek literature, Greek papyri from Ptolemaic Egypt and other extra-biblical sources.
A New Monograph by Angelini
The second piece of good news came in a message from Anna Angellini of the University of Zurich, and one of my new collaborators with the SBL Biblical Lexicography program unit. Anna relayed the good news that her new monograph is now published and (even better) it is open access.
The book has been published by Brill in the JSJSup series and is entitled L’imaginaire du démoniaque dans la Septante. Here is the description:
This book offers a thorough analysis of demons in the Hebrew Bible and Septuagint in the wider context of the ancient Near East and the Greek world. Taking a fresh and innovative angle of enquiry, Anna Angelini investigates continuities and changes in the representation of divine powers in Hellenistic Judaism, thereby revealing the role of the Greek translation of the Bible in shaping ancient demonology, angelology, and pneumatology. Combining philological and semantic analyses with a historical approach and anthropological insights, the author both develops a new method for analyzing religious categories within biblical traditions and sheds new light on the importance of the Septuagint for the history of ancient Judaism.
Congratulations to Anna for this excellent accomplishment! I will add this to my slowly-accumulating LXX Bibliography.