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Access to the source: Cicero, Ben Sira, the Septuagint and their audiences

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Chapter Summary

This chapter examines three different examples of ancient translation and asks some questions about how the relationships between translation, source text and anticipated readership operate in each one. This scholarly attention given to translation from Cicero onwards and the relative inattention paid to translations made before the late Hellenistic period are the result of several factors. The three examples selected for the chapter provide different contexts in which we can investigate the relationships among translation, source language and audience. These three provide varying degrees of information about their attitudes to translating. Cicero writes a fair amount about translation; Sirach has a prologue where the grandson reflects on the translator's task and his own reasons for making the translation; the origins of the Septuagint and its translators' approaches to the work are obscure and still very much an object of scholarly debate.

Keywords: Ben Sira; Cicero; Septuagint; Sirach



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