The 18th World Congress of Jewish Studies

The Kaige Revision within the Hellenistic Jewish Schools of Hasmonean Jerusalem

Kaige is an elusive revision of the Septuagint which displays rigorous adherence to the proto-Masoretic Text and is marked by ‘mechanical’ isomorphic translations, such as וְגַם with καί γε. Among witnesses to the revision is one Dead Sea scroll (8ḤevXIIgr) and Samuel-Kings in the Greek Uncial manuscripts. I situate kaige revision of the Septuagint within the educated Hellenistic Jewish elite in Jerusalem. These Jewish schools for teaching Hebrew to the Greek-speaking children provide the ideal environment for kaige revision. I argue kaige revision, began primarily for education needs as a teaching devise which adopted standard translation equivalents for each Hebrew word. This goes against common – but less plausible – suggestions such as: (1) kaige fits proto-Rabbinic exegesis (Barthélemy); or (2) kaige was driven by a developed theological of scripture that attaches significance in each Hebrew word as the word of God (Brock); or (3) was occasioned by the standardisation of the Masoretic Text (Tov).

Structurally, in this lecture, I argue against these three common explanations for kaige revision, before situating kaige revision within the Hellenistic Jewish schools in Jerusalem. I provide background to Jewish pedagogy in the Second Temple period and draw conclusions on bilingualism, education, and sociology in the period. I date kaige revision and the schools to Hasmonean Palestine. This furthers our understanding of Greek pedagogy, the Hasmonean linguistic and social environment, and variety within the complex world of Septuagint manuscripts.