Preparing an Edition of 2 Samuel: An Interview

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The Göttingen Academy of Sciences appointed Kauhanen to prepare the leading critical edition of the Septuagint – the world’s first translation of the Bible produced in Alexandria – of 2 Samuel.

”When finished, our edition will be the best way to reach the text of 2 Samuel as it left the hands of the original Greek translator. It is an essential tool for those who want to discern the earliest possible Hebrew textual form of 2 Samuel.” A critical edition of the Septuagint is not only a prerequisite for the work carried out by scholars, but also valuable for Bible translators and thus for the wider audience.

”Without a critical edition one would have to go into different libraries around the world to read the texts from antiquity – with white gloves and a magnifying glass! There are tens of manuscripts representing important texts from antiquity, and all of them differ from each other. The earliest textual form can only be achieved through comparing these manuscripts and choosing the best textual variant or reading. The end result is a textual form which can not be found in any single manuscript as such – they all contain mistakes! – but which probably is closest to the earliest text form in most instances. In addition, we will create an apparatus which lists all of the significant differences between manuscripts. In a typical page of a critical edition of the Septuagint, there are usually half a dozen rows of texts and 40 rows of apparatus!”

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