Thoughts on Rahlfs Emendation on Psalms of Solomon 17.32

In 1935, Alfred Rahlfs published his Septuaginta. Id Est Vetus Testamentum grace iuxta LXX interpretes, 2 vols (Stuttgart:Wurttembergische Bibelanstalt). In his massive volume, he included the emendation to Psalm 17.32’sχριστὸς κύριος to be χριστὸς κυρίου. He did so on the basis of Lamentations 4.20 which he counted as scribal error adopting an older suggestion by A. Carriére[1]. In doing so, he failed to consider Luke 2.11 which reads as the unchanged text as does the Syriac. M. de Jonge speculated that it was of the addition of a later Christian scribe[2], but this view was well challenged by Robert Hann[3]. Horbury[4] presents a concise argument against the emendation. He argues that later Christian copyists ‘would not necessarily be impelled to alter the form with -ou when writing out Old Testament books. Probably, then, Christians used kyrious as a royal title which was already associated with the Messiah’. The perceived ‘error’ in Lamentations 4.20 could be a particular translation choice, or only the start of the error which carried over into the Psalms of Solomon; however, based on Luke 2.11, I would have to challenge the emendation as it presents a starting point for the association of the divine title with Christ, especially given the fact that the 17th Psalms already presents enough pre-Christ fertilization for Messianic Expectation.


[1] De Psalterio Salmonis disquistionem historic-criticam scripsit, Strasbourg

[2] M. de Jonge, ‘The Expectation of the Future in the Psalms of Solomon’, Jewish Eschatology, Early Christian Christology and the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs, Leiden: Brill 1991

[3] Robert Hann, Christos Kyrious in PsSol 17.32: “The Lord’s Anointed’ Reconsidered”, New Testament Studies (1985), 31 : 620-627 Cambridge University Press

[4]Horbury, 144-145

Post By Joel Watts (9,928 Posts)

Joel L. Watts holds a Masters of Arts from United Theological Seminary with a focus in literary and rhetorical criticism of the New Testament. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, working on the use of Deuteronomy in the Fourth Gospel. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).

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2 thoughts on Thoughts on Rahlfs Emendation on Psalms of Solomon 17.32

  1. I always did rather mistrust emendations. Just doesn't seem right to change parts of a book to make it say what you think it ought to. I'm with you on this one.

  2. I think that Ralfh was being overly zealous in trying to present a critical text of the Septuagint. Fine, but he should have taken into account the NT and remembered that in certain places, the LXX and the Hebrew MT are too far different to worry about translator's errors.

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