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"...using different names, as Zeus and Dis" (Arist 16). Concepts of "God" in the letter of Aristeas

Please always quote using this URN: urn:nbn:de:bvb:20-opus-137671
  • The “Letter of Aristeas” recounts the translations of the Hebrew Bible into Greek. Probably originating in the 2nd century BCE1, the book tells a legend of how the translation of the Torah into Greek came into being. This shows that translating a holy, canonical text or the first time needed explication. Notably, the translation of the godly nomos (Arist 3) comparatively takes up little space (Arist 301–307). And it has to be noted, that “God” is seldom a topic in the Book of Aristeas. The word (ὁ) θεός “God” is found in only three contexts: inThe “Letter of Aristeas” recounts the translations of the Hebrew Bible into Greek. Probably originating in the 2nd century BCE1, the book tells a legend of how the translation of the Torah into Greek came into being. This shows that translating a holy, canonical text or the first time needed explication. Notably, the translation of the godly nomos (Arist 3) comparatively takes up little space (Arist 301–307). And it has to be noted, that “God” is seldom a topic in the Book of Aristeas. The word (ὁ) θεός “God” is found in only three contexts: in the dialogue between king Ptolemaios and Aristeas (Arist 15–21), in the dialogue of the high priest Eleazar and Aristeas (Arist 121–171; above all 128; 130–141; 155–166; 168) and in the question-and-answer-speech during the symposium at the Ptolemaic royal court between the king and the Jewish scholars (Arist 184–294). In analysing the different statements regarding God, the frame of the narrative is of decisive importance: In the Book of Aristeas, “Aristeas” (Ἀριστέας), who writes in Greek, presents himself as the author, but he is also part of the story. Accordingly, Aristeas is the narrator, who tells the story from his own point of view, and at the same time, he is a character in the ‘world’ of the text. This Aristeas presents himself as a Greek and a Non-Jew (Arist 16; 121–171), who already wrote a book (Arist 6) and plans further publications (Arist 322). In the double-role as narrator of the text and protagonist in the text, Aristeas has to be differentiated from the (real) writer/author of the Book of Aristeas, who possibly was Jewish. That means that the (real, probably Jewish) author of the Book of Aristeas presents (or invents) “Aristeas” and gives him the role of the narrator of his text.3 The author portrays Aristeas as a Greek, non-Jewish character, who is a servant of the royal court. This differentiation between narrator and writer/author is of crucial importance for the question of the different conceptions of God in the Book of Aristeas.show moreshow less

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Metadaten
Author: Barbara SchmitzGND
URN:urn:nbn:de:bvb:20-opus-137671
Document Type:Book article / Book chapter
Faculties:Katholisch-Theologische Fakultät / Institut für Biblische Theologie
Language:English
Parent Title (English):Die Septuaginta - Orte und Intentionen
Editor: Siegfried Kreuzer, Martin Meiser, Marcus Sigismund
Year of Completion:2016
Publisher:Mohr Siebeck
Place of publication:Tübingen
Source:Siegfried Kreuzer / Martin Meiser / Marcus Sigismund (Hg.), Die Septuaginta – Orte und Intentionen (WUNT 361), Tübingen 2016, 703-716.
Dewey Decimal Classification:2 Religion / 22 Bibel / 220 Bibel
GND Keyword:Gott; Aristeas 〈Epistolographus, ca. v3. Jh.〉
Tag:Aristeas-Brief
Release Date:2017/06/27
First Page:703
Last Page:716
Licence (German):License LogoDeutsches Urheberrecht