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hnvwv of the Canticle(*) One of the many sayings of Jesus which will be familiar to anyone who has read the Gospels is: “And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin; yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these”. (Mt 6,28-29; cf. Lk 12,27-28). Generally these flowers ta; krivna tou' ajgrou are understood as “the lilies of the field”, and the references to these “lilies” appear only twice i
  (*) I am grateful to Prof. Alviero Niccacci for careful reading of the first draftof this essay. His and Prof. Othmar Keel’s remarks helped me to strengthen someof the weak points.( 1 ) BDB, 1004, defines this noun as “usually lily, probably any kind of lily-like flower”; KBL 3 IV, 1454-1455: “lily”, “the flower of the lily” or “lotusblossom”. E.D. Klein translates only with “lily”. Klein reports that some scholarsidentify the word with the Egyptian lotus s ππ  n , s π  n (Coptic π  ô πˇ n ), the others to  Ranunculus asiaticus , still others to Cyperus papyrus . According to others theword goes back to Akkadian π  u π  u (six-sided);  A Comprehensive Etymological Dictionary of the Hebrew Language for Readers of English (Jerusalem 1987)647. The Greek souson and Latin Susanna are therefore, according Klein, theSemitic loan words. P. R EYMOND ,  Dictionnaire d’hébreu et d’araméen bibliques (Paris 1991) 380: “lys”, “lotus” (in the Temple architecture), and an unknownmusical instrument (in the Psalms); L. A LONSO S CHÖKEL ,  Diccionario bíblicohebreo-español (Madrid 1994) 755: “azucena, lirio”.  hnvwv  of the Canticle(*) One of the many sayings of Jesus which will be familiar to anyonewho has read the Gospels is: “And why are you anxious aboutclothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neithertoil nor spin; yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was notarrayed like one of these”. (Mt 6,28-29; cf. Lk 12,27-28). Generallythese flowers  t    τ   a     α   ;k    κ    r    ρ  i   ι   v  n     ν   a     α t    τ   o    ο   u    υ   'a     α   j  g    γ    r    ρ   o    ο   u    υ are understood as “the lilies of thefield”, and the references to these “lilies” appear only twice in the NT,whereas in the LXX this same lexeme   k    κ    r    ρ  i   ι   v  n     ν   o    ο   n     ν occurs more often. Thedominant use is noticed in the Song of Songs where it renders thesrcinal  hnvwv  . The aim of this paper is to revisit the lexeme  hnvwv  andits meaning, primarily in the Hebrew text of the eight chapters-longCanticle which is ascribed to Solomon (1,1). After a short presentationof how the LXX manages to translate the occurrences of   hnvwv  (part I),attention will be paid primarily to the term itself. The etymology isstill not unanimously accepted (part II). Searching for its meaning, weexamine the three somewhat different uses of this term, focussingmainly on its occurrences in the Song where it features prominently(part III). This may be regarded as a test case itself for the meaning of   hnvwv  ( 1 ).  I.   K     Κ   r    ρ  i   ι   v  n     ν   o    ο   n     ν in the LXX translation1. The understanding of   k  κ   r  ρ   i  ι  v  n  ν   o  ο   n  ν  as “lily” The ambience in which the first Church was born was stronglylinked to Graeco-Roman culture and to the Greek language( 2 ).Therefore, for the first Christians the flower which the Greek labelledas   k    κ    r    ρ  i   ι   v  n     ν   o    ο   n     ν –– well known in Asia Minor, as well as it is in the botanicalworld today –– meant “lily”, in its basic species of   Lilium candidum .The purpose of this paper is not to examine whether Jesus’sayingrefers to  Lilium candidum or  Anemone coronaria , or to anotherspecies, since my aim is to explore the word  hnvwv  in its context of theHebrew Bible( 3 ).Even if the first Christians did not understand the word   k    κ    r    ρ  i   ι   v  n     ν   o    ο   n     ν tobe some species of the lily flower, later generations certainly assumedthis, as the Vulgate and other translations show. The fact was that theLXX was the Bible of the Early Church( 4 ). Only in the context of theLXX some lexical and theological concepts of the NTmay be wellexplained( 5 ). Besides the NTwriters there were Philo and Josephuswho often quoted the Greek text as the Greek and Latin fathers did( 6 ).It may be concluded with some certainty that when the writers andreaders of early Christianity encountered the word   k    κ    r    ρ  i   ι   v  n     ν   o    ο   n     ν in the LXX,they thought of a lily. This understanding had an incisive impact on   476Bla Ω ej ∏ trba ( 2 ) Cf. R. P ENNA ,  L’ambiente storico-culturale delle srcini cristiane. Unadocumentazione ragionata (Bologna 3 1991) 97-173; G. S EGALLA , Panoramastorico del Nuovo Testamento (LoB 3,5; Brescia1984) 13-71; N. F ERNÁNDEZ M ARCOS ,  La Bibbia dei Settanta. Introduzione alle versioni greche della Bibbia(IsBS 6; Brescia 2000) 315-317, 322-325.( 3 ) For further discussion about the “lilies of the field”, see H.N. M OLDENKE – A.L. M OLDENKE , Plants of the Bible (ChBo 28; New York 1952) 41-46, 116;M. Z OHARY , Plants of the Bible. A complete handbook to all the plants with 200full-color plates taken in the natural habitat(Cambridge 1982) 170.( 4 ) Cf. F.C. H OLMGREN , The Old Testament and the Significance of Jesus. Embracing Change – Maintaining Christian Identity (Grand Rapids, MI –Cambridge, UK 1999) 47-52. ( 5 ) Cf. D.M. S MITH , “The use of the Old Testament in the New”, The Use of theOld Testament in the New and Other Essays. Studies in Honor of William FranklinStinespring (ed. J.M. E FIRD ) (Durham, NC 1972) 3-65; I D ., “The Pauline Litera-ture”,  It is Written: Scripture Citing Scripture. Essays in Honor of Barnabas Lin-dars, SSF (eds. D.A. C ARSON – H.G.M. W ILLIAMSON ) (Cambridge 1988) 265-291. ( 6 ) Cf. M.K.H. P ETERS , “Septuagint”,  ABD V, 1093-1104; Y. ‘A MIR , “Laletteratura giudeo-ellenistica: la versione dei LXX, Filone e Giuseppe Flavio”,  Lalettura ebraica delle Scritture (ed. S.J. S IERRA ) (Bologna 1996) 31-58.  the understanding of its Hebrew srcinal  hnvwv  which had been labelledas “lily”. Nobody seriously questioned this labelling except recentlysome scholars like Loretz( 7 ), M.H. Pope( 8 ) and especially O. Keel. Hestates that behind the Hebrew term  hnvwv  lies the Egyptian flowerlotus( 9 ).2.  K  Κ   r  ρ   i  ι  v  n  ν   o  ο   n  ν   – the translation of   hnvwv  The LXX reads   k    κ    r    ρ  i   ι   v  n     ν   o    ο   n     ν in all occurrences where  hnvwv  refers to aflower. Only in the superscription of the psalms, the LXX translatesthe lexeme in a completely different way:  t    τ   w     ω   '  n     ν a     α   j  l    λ   l    λ   o    ο  i   ι   w     ω  q    θ  h    η   s    σ   o    ο   m    µ  e    ε   v  n     ν   w     ω   n     ν , Pss45[44],1; 60[59],1; 69[68],1; 80[79],1. In one instance, 1 Kgs 7,22,the LXX does not have a translation at all.On the other hand, the LXX employs   k    κ    r    ρ  i   ι   v  n     ν   o    ο   n     ν in some otherinstances where the Hebrew term  hnvwv  does not appear (Exod 25,31-40; Num 8,4). The MTinterestingly employs in this description of thetop of the lamp-stand the more general term  jr  p, . The LXX seeminglyimplies the word  hnvwv  as its rendering   k    κ    r    ρ  i   ι   v  n     ν   o    ο   n     ν in these instancesreveals, Exod 25,31( 10 ).33.34. In v. 33 of the MTthe first descriptiveclause is repeated twice but in the LXX this repetition is minus( 11 ).More intriguing is that the LXX in the description of the manufactureof the lamp-stand in Exod 37,17-24 does not use   k    κ    r    ρ  i   ι   v  n     ν   o    ο   n     ν anymore,although in both Exod 25,33 and Exod 37,19 the phrases in question  hnvwv    of the Canticle477 ( 7 ) O. L ORETZ , Studien zur althebräischen Poesie 1. Das althebräischeLiebeslied. Untersuchungen zur Stichometrie und Redaktionsgeschichte desHohenliedes und des 45. Psalms (AOAT 14; Kevelaer – Neukirchen-Vluyn 1971)13, considers that “Wahrscheinlich ist der in der Kunst berühmte blaue Lotus(  Nymphaea caerulea Sav. ) gemeint”. Yet, in his translation he opts for “lily”.( 8 ) M.H. P OPE , Song of Songs. A New Translation with Introduction andCommentary(AB 7C; New York 1977).( 9 ) O. K EEL ,  Deine Blicken sind Tauben. Zur Metaphorik des Hohen Liedes(SBS 114/115; Stuttgart 1984) 63-78; I D .,  Das Hohelied  (ZBK 18; Zürich 1986).For the symbolism of love in the Canticle in the context of Near East, see his“Hoheslied”,  NBL II (1995) 183-191 and “Le Cantique des cantiques: parallèleslittéraires”,  MoBi 128 (2000) 38-43.( 10 ) Symmachus has   a     α   [  n     ν  q    θ  h    η “bloom, blossom” instead of    k    κ    r    ρ  i   ι   v  n     ν   a     α , whereasAquila has  b    β   l    λ   a     α   s    σ  t    τ   o    ο  i   ι   v a literalism from  jr  p, (to sprout, to bud); cf. J.W. W EVERS ,  Notes on the Greek Text of Exodus (SBLSCS 30; Atlanta, GE 1990) 405-407.( 11 ) M.L. Wade explains that “there is no ‘loss’ of meaning, but rather theMT communicates this organizational meaning more explicitly, i.e. by repeatingit”, whereas the LXX communicates the same meaning more implicitly, i.e.without repeating it; Consistency of Translation Techniques in the Tabernacle Accounts of Exodus in the Old Greek  (SBLSCS 49; Atlanta, GE 2003) 181, n. 61.  have identical Hebrew wording. C.L. Mayer explains that the phrase  jr  p, w:rTo p] K' is a hendiadys( 12 ). This suggestion gives credit to the LXX38,15 for its adequate rendering, yet, M.L. Wade admits somepotential ambiguity in that phrase( 13 ). Moreover, Mayer’s suggestionsdo not solve the problem of LXX 25,33. Exod 25,33  jrpwrtpkdjahhnqb  …  jrpwrtpkdjahhnqb  LXX 25,33  e    ε   j  n     ν t    τ   w     ω   /  'e    ε   J  n     ν  i   ι   ;k    κ    a     α   l    λ   a     α   m    µ  i   ι   v  s    σ   k    κ    w     ω   /  s  σ   f  φ   a  α   i  ι  r  ρ   w  ω   t  τ   h  η  v  r  ρ  ( 14 )   k    κ    a     α  i   ι   v  k  κ   r  ρ   i  ι  v  n  ν   o  ο   n  ν  Exod 37,19  jrpwrtpkdjahnqb  …  jrpwrtpkdjahhnqb  LXX 38,15  e    ε   j  k    κ  t    τ   w     ω   '  n     ν k    κ    a     α   l    λ   a     α   m    µ  i   ι   v  s    σ   k    κ    w     ω   n     ν a     α   u    υ   v t    τ  h    η   '      ς o    ο  i   ι   J  b  β   l  λ   a  α   s  σ   t  τ   o  ο   i  ι  v  I can see two possible explanations for the different LXXrenderings of the Hebrew phraseology. It could be a clear deliberatechoice of the LXX, the reasons for which would be very difficult totrace, if possible at all. Another option is to assume the subsequentchange –– that is later than the LXX translation –– had taken place inthe MT( 15 ). The LXX would be a witness to the Hebrew Vorlage . Thesecond explanation seems to be more plausible, since the fact is thatthe whole of Exod 25 comes from the late period( 16 ). The MTNum   478Bla Ω ej ∏ trba ( 12 ) C.L. M EYERS , The Tabernacle Menorah. A Synthetic Study of a Symbolfrom the Biblical Cult (ASORDiss. 2; Missoula, MO 1976) 25.( 13 ) W ADE , Consistency , 219.( 14 ) This translation is unique in the whole of the LXX. It occurs once more,in Gen 14,23, where it renders  Ërc] a part of sandal.( 15 ) F.M. Cross’s theory about the srcin of the Pentateuch postulates threetextual families of the different geographical srcins: Egypt (the Vorlage of theLXX), Palestine and Babylonia. Among several of his studies, see “The Historyof Biblical Text in the Light of Discoveries of the Judean Desert”,  HTR 57 (1964)281-299; I D ., “Some Notes on a Generation of Qumran Studies”, The Madrid Qumran Congress. Proceedings of the International Congress on the Dead SeaScrolls Madrid 18-21 March 1991 (eds. J. T REBOLLE B ARRERA – L. V EGAS M ONTANER ) (STDJ 11,1; Leiden – New York – Köln – Madrid 1992) I, 1-14. Butseveral theories about the srcin of the MT and the LXX reflect the complexity of the problem in this field; cf. F ERNÁNDEZ M ARCOS ,  La Bibbia ,79-94; H.-J. F ABRY ,“Die griechischen Handschriften vom Toten Meer”,  Im Brennpunkt: DieSeptuaginta. Studien zur Entstehung und Bedeutung der Griechischen Bibel(Hrsg. H.-J. F ABRY – U. O FFERHAUS ) (BWANT 153; Stuttgart – Berlin – Köln2001) 131-133.( 16 ) According to A.F. C AMPBELL – O’B RIEN , Sources of the Pentateuch. Text, Introductions, Annotations (Minneapolis, MN 1993) 44, n. 56, 55, n. 67;J.L. S KA ,  Introduzione alla lettura del Pentateuco. Chiavi per l’interpretazionedei primi cinque libri della Bibbia (CBi; Roma 1998) 165, Exod 25 is of P srcinand chapters 33-39 are secondary.

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