R Althann


The oracles of Jeremiah, who prophesied in the 7th-6th century B.C., offer a great challenge to the translator. The elliptic poetic style of the Biblical poets continues to puzzle scholars who, faced with a limited quantity of classical Hebrew literature, frequently have recourse to the Old Greek or Septuagint translation, made in the 3rd-2nd century B.C. at a time when Hebrew had ceased to be the ordinary language of the chosen people. How well, then, was classical Hebrew poetry understood? Archaeological discoveries of the 20th century, especially those at Ras Shamra-Ugarit, have disclosed a considerable corpus of texts written in languages closely related to ancient Hebrew. This has greatly improved our understanding of Biblical Hebrew grammar and poetic techniques. While current scholarly opinion tends to maintain that the shorter oracles of Jeremiah found in the Septuagint translation more faithfully reflect those of the prophet, careful analysis of the standard Hebrew version of Jeremiah’s words in the light of the wider Northwest Semitic literature discloses finely constructed, artistic poetry whose grammatical and stylistic features were frequently missed by the Old Greek translators. 


Oracles of Jeremiah; Elliptic poetic style; Biblical poets; Old Greek; Septuagint translation; Classical Hebrew poetry; Ras Shamra-Ugarit; Biblical Hebrew grammar; Northwest Semitic literature

Full Text:




  • There are currently no refbacks.

ISSN 2305-445X (online); ISSN 0254-1807 (print)

Attribution CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Powered by OJS and hosted by Stellenbosch University Library and Information Service since 2013.


This journal is hosted by the SU LIS on request of the journal owner/editor. The SU LIS takes no responsibility for the content published within this journal, and disclaim all liability arising out of the use of or inability to use the information contained herein. We assume no responsibility, and shall not be liable for any breaches of agreement with other publishers/hosts.

SUNJournals Help