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Which is the best rendering of Gen 25:27b?

Posted: Mon May 14, 2018 7:02 pm
by Mark Lightman
וְיַעֲקֹב אִישׁ תָּם

1. LXX: Ἰακὼβ δὲ ἄνθρωπος ἄπλαστος.
2. Graecus Venetus: ἰακῶβος δ' ἀνὴρ τέλειος.
3. Tanakh Ram: וְיַעֲקֹב הָיָה אִישׁ יָשָׁר


If you put a gun to my head, I say number 3.

Re: Which is the best rendering of Gen 25:27b?

Posted: Tue May 15, 2018 12:42 am
by kwrandolph
Mark Lightman wrote:וְיַעֲקֹב אִישׁ תָּם

1. LXX: Ἰακὼβ δὲ ἄνθρωπος ἄπλαστος.
2. Graecus Venetus: ἰακῶβος δ' ἀνὴρ τέλειος.
3. Tanakh Ram: וְיַעֲקֹב הָיָה אִישׁ יָשָׁר


If you put a gun to my head, I say number 3.


The word תם comes from the root (not all nouns come from verbal roots, but this one does) תמם which has the basic meaning of completion, making perfect. But it has a wider semantic range in that a person who is completed, made perfect is one who is pure, innocent. It also has the idea that if a person does an injury or damage unintentionally בתמו that that is not the same as an intentional act.

So while #2 captures the main idea conveyed by the Hebrew, it misses the full semantic range of the Hebrew that includes the idea of innocence, that the perfected man is also an innocent man. I think the LXX reading misses the mark. While #3 captures the idea of innocence, the Hebrew of תם seems to indicate much more than just the moral aspect. So now it comes down to, which is closest?

Just my 2¢, and remember that my 2¢ could be wrong.

Karl W. Randolph.

Re: Which is the best rendering of Gen 25:27b?

Posted: Tue May 15, 2018 8:44 am
by Kirk Lowery
I generally agree with Karl. In the larger context, the two brothers (twins) are being contrasted: Esau was the outdoorsman, on the move, away from home. Jacob, in direct contrast, was a "homebody", staying at home. I don't think "innocence" in the moral sense is intended here. I conclude that none of the three renderings really "get it".

Also my $0.02.

Re: Which is the best rendering of Gen 25:27b?

Posted: Wed May 23, 2018 6:47 pm
by Mark Lightman
kwrandolph wrote:I think the LXX reading misses the mark.

Then you probably would not like Acquila's ἁπλοῦς.
Kirk Lowery wrote:I don't think "innocence" in the moral sense is intended here.

Then you probably would not like Symmachus' ἄμωμος.
Kirk Lowery wrote:I conclude that none of the three renderings really "get it".

I'm inclined to agree. Let's assume for the moment that תָּם was a haplax with no semitic cognates. If you based the meaning just on the context of this passage, what Hebrew synonym would come closest?

My initial response would be נָבוֹן but that is not quite right either.

.