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Translators as Storytellers

A Study in Septuagint Translation Technique


John A. Beck

In the third century B.C.E., translators began retelling the stories of the Hebrew Bible in Greek. The Septuagint was born but its analysis had just begun. To date, most Septuagint translation technique analysis has focused on the linguistic sensitivity of these translators, but there is more to storytelling than linguistics. Translators as Storytel lers addresses the literary sensitivity of the translators, thus, expanding the tradition of translation technique analysis to include the translator’s replication of characterization, time, the patterning play of words, and the artful use of geography.


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Chapter Four: The Storyteller and Narrative Geography 165


~ CHAPTER FOUR The Storyteller and Narrative Geography By expanding the traditional form of translation technique analysis to include the traditional categories of narrative criticism, we were able to see the techniques of the Greek storyteller more clearly. We may refine our view of the translator's literary sensitivity even further when we inspect the handling of the more challenging dynamic we call narrative geography. This chapter will explore the artful use of geography within Hebrew narrative and search out its replication by the Greek storyteller. First, we will build a firmer bridge between the study of geography and narrative analysis. Here we will see that geography has been incorporated into the analysis of secular fiction and make the case for expanding such analysis into the realm of biblical narrative criticism. We will define a method for such analysis and apply that method both to the parent and receptor texts of Numbers 13, Judges 4 and Ruth 1. In the end, our view of the translator as storyteller will be sharpened as we inspect the replication, elimination or changes imposed on the narrative geography. Introduction to Narrative Geography The association of geography1 and biblical studies is not new in itself. Geography has long been used as a light with which to illuminate 166 The Storyteller and Narrative Geography biblical history. As early as 1896, George Adam Smith's monograph, The Historical Geography of tlze Holy Land, observed the influence of geography on biblical events.~ In this light, Aharoni has observed "geography and history...

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