This chapter examines the Pentateuchal optative, reassessing its relationship both to the Hebrew and to the usage of non-translation Greek. The use of the optative mood, showing delicacy in the adaptation of Hebrew context to bring out special Greek nuances, provides clear evidence of independent verbal syntax in the Greek Pentateuch. Only the volitive function is directly motivated by features of the Hebrew text. Yet it is always employed idiomatically and can be regarded as exhibiting bilingual interference only in terms of its frequency comparative to the optative's other functions. The general vigour of the optative mood in the Pentateuch points towards early Koine composition. Though an insufficiently sensitive guide for precise dating, it suggests the period of the 3rd to 2nd century BC and is certainly compatible with the consensus view that the Pentatetich was translated in the 3rd century BC.
Keywords: Pentateuchal optative; Greek optative; Ptolemaic papyri; optative mood; Greek Pentateuch
Chapter. 9974 words.
Subjects: Biblical Studies
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