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Review of Biblical Literature Blog

Anatomical Idiom and Emotional Expression: A Comparison of the Hebrew Bible and the Septuagint
Thomas, Angela

Sheffield: Sheffield Phoenix, 2014 pp. 392. $120.00

Series Information
Hebrew Bible Monographs, 52

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Description: The Hebrew Bible abounds in imagery linking feelings and emotions with various parts of the body. These vividly painted word pictures capture the imagination, and the reader can identify physically as well as emotionally with what is being expressed. But this colourful imagery, with its forthright and earthy language, is rather less apparent in modern English translations. Such substitutions are not just common in English translations, but are also found in the first authorized translation of the Hebrew Bible, the Septuagint. Can the changes to body imagery found in English translations be explained as part of a process that began with the Greek text, which often gave a more muted picture than the Hebrew original? This study explores these questions by making a detailed comparative analysis of anatomical idioms (body imagery) associated with the emotions of distress, fear, anger and gladness in the Hebrew Bible and the Septuagint. Differences are identified through literal translation into English from both Hebrew and Greek and the results are categorized, discussed and analysed, and detailed statistical information is presented. The data offer a rich resource for further research, and the analysis provides fascinating insights into the minds of the Greek translators and findings that are surprisingly complex.

Subjects: Bible, Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, Septuagint, Literature, Methods, Literary Approaches

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Review by Benjamin M. Austin
Published 7/9/2015
Citation: Benjamin M. Austin, review of Angela Thomas, Anatomical Idiom and Emotional Expression: A Comparison of the Hebrew Bible and the Septuagint, Review of Biblical Literature [] (2015).

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