The objective of this study was to establish and define the theological alterations made to the Masoretic Text of the biblical book of Esther (MTE) by the translators of the Septuagint (LXX) and the Josephus (J) texts, focusing on the explicit references made to God in these texts. This objective was reached by means of three working objectives: a. Comparing key passages from the MTE with the LXX and J texts; b. Indicating differences and similarities between the various accounts; and<p c. Making some inferences about the theological implications of these insertions. The comparison of the texts was introduced by an excursion into the reconstruction of the Esther text. The texts that were compared were divided into two groups, namely canonical insertions (2.20; 4.8, 14; 6.1, 13; and 7.10), and non-canonical additions (add. A, C, D and E). From this comparison, differences and similarities became apparent, and especially those that were theologically explicit were investigated. The conclusion was reached that the LXX and J texts’ theological alterations limit the theological creativeness and open-endedness of the MTE. The depth and strength of the MTE’s theological silence about the activity of God have been removed in these translations to make space for a more ‘traditional’ theology. The investigation serves to caution modern translators of the book of Esther to refrain from translating the book in a way that is theologically more explicit than the source document, since this would damage the communicative potential of the book.
Dissertation (MA (Ancient Languages and Culture))--University of Pretoria, 2007.