Interesting text criticial issues in Wisdom Literature

A while back I posted asking if anyone knew of interesting text critical issues in the Wisdom Literature that I could use in my class.  I got no response other than Tim being surprised at how text critically inept we must be.

At any rate, here are some of the texts that I ended up using:

  1. Proverbs 11:30 “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, but [violence] (Greek, Syriac)/ [a wise man] (Hebrew) takes lives away.
  2. Proverbs 13:11 “Wealth [hastily gotten] (Greek Latin)/ [from vanity] (Hebrew) will dwindle, but those who gather little by little will increase it.”
  3. Proverbs 13:15 “Good sense wins favor, but the way of the faithless is [their ruin] (Greek, Syriac, Latin, Aramaic)/ [is enduring] (Hebrew).”
  4. Proverbs 14:24 “The crown of the wise is their [wisdom] (Greek)/ [riches] (Hebrew), but folly is the garland of fools.”

I identified these text critical notes by looking at the notes in the NRSV.  Text critical notes are one of the reasons I really like the NRSV.  This was super easy using the Kindle edition.  Then, I showed the class translations in parallel to see how different translations handled the issues.

Then, as an exercise, I had the students try to think through what might be the better reading based on the principle that the more difficult reading is to be preferred.  Obviously, this wasn’t meant for coming to hard and fast conclusions about which text was to be preferred since most of the students wouldn’t have the requisite language tools to make that kind of determination.  For that, I told them that they would need to look at a good commentary.  But, it was mainly to gain an appreciation of some of the principles that text critics use and to teach them where to look to read about text critical issues.  I also wanted to help them understand as well that when reading a translation a lot of decisions are being made for them.

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