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L’étude des titres des Psaumes : questions de méthode

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image of Vetus Testamentum

In the titles of the Psalms, G Dorival explains the qualitative differences between the Hebrew and the Greek by positing, for the Greek version, a substratum different from the MT, sometimes shared by Aquila, Theodotion or rabbinic texts. However, both the revisions and the rabbinic texts consistently reflect a substratum which is identical to the MT. Dorival assumes that the wording of the titles of the Psalms was modified in the MT, since the original formulation - reflected, he believes, in the Greek version - raised issues in the context of the debate with Christianity which the Rabbis preferred to suppress. There is no known case in the history of the Bible where redactional activity was inspired by such a doctrinal debate. To assume that the revisers of the Hebrew text introduced a hapax in order to remove a clear reference to the Church is to call into question the basic rules of textual criticism and, in particular, the superiority of the lectio difficilior. The Greek version of the titles of the Psalms, far from being based on a substratum which is different from the MT, often makes choices which are attested in rabbinic exegesis. From a methodological perspective, it is not possible to put the Greek Bible on a par with the Masoretic Text, as Dorival does, so as to consider the MT as a version of an original Hebrew text. So long as the recensional character of the MT has not been proven, it remains the best witness of the Hebrew original. In the titles of the Psalms, the close relationship between the wording of the Greek Bible and the interpretative play of rabbinic exegesis renders highly dubious the idea that the Masoretic formulation is the manifestation of an anti-Christian textual revision.

Affiliations: 1: Université Paris Sorbonne


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