There are two dimensions to the argument offered in this article, both of them pertaining to
methodological issues. The first is that of distinguishing textual criticism from redactional
criticism, especially with recourse to the critical apparatus of the Stuttgart Hebrew Bibles.
Secondly, the danger of over-emphasising
the sound distinction between so-called ‘literary’
modes into an unsound separation between them. Proposals for
the emendation of the text in Proverbs 2:18 are used as an example of both issues at once. It is
advanced that a historical enquiry into the origin of the text can shed light on an analysis
the text ‘as it stands’, which undermines the reading of the ‘final text’ as an exercise that can,
and may, have nothing to do with enquiry into the growth of that text. This article endeavours
to advance its argument by means of a practical contribution to solving the perceived textual
problems of the crux interpretum, rather than indulging in the kind of theoretical skirmishes
that characterised South African debates at the end of the previous century.