Saturday, November 27, 2010

Following the Hexapla of Origin

The Peace Weekly introduces us to Fr. Lee, a priest-scholar with a doctorate in Old Testament studies from the Catholic University of Paris. He is preparing a multivolume, multilingual  edition of the Bible. Each double-page spread will have, in parallel columns, texts in Korean (a modern translation), Latin Vulgate, Greek, English, and a traditional Korean translation, ending with the Hebrew text; when there is space a French translation will be included.

The Old Testament will be published in 21 volumes and the New in five volumes, with a production cost of about  $2,500 per volume. It's a massive undertaking but the priest feels it to be necessary. During his days in the seminary in Korea his professor would have to mimeograph the Hebrew text for the students to use in their studies. Now, there will be no need to have six or seven books to make an in depth study of the Scriptures.

Fr. Lee used the Hexapla of  Origin (185-254) as the model for his own work. The Hexapla is made up of six columns of parallel texts: Hebrew text, Hebrew transliterated into  Greek, the Greek version of Aquila, the Greek version of Symmachus, the Greek version of Theodotion, and the Septuagint. It was Origin's intention to correct the corruption of the texts in his time by putting all that was known about the Old Testament into one volume.

Six volumes of the Old Testment are now finished, to be followed by 15 more volumes of the  Old Testament and five volumes of the New, which will complete the Bible in 26 volumes. In all, there will be 100 copies made. 10 copies of the finished work will go to each of the seven seminaries, and the remaining 30 copies will go to those who have helped sponsor the work. 

In his work of running a parish and teaching Scripture, Fr. Lee found the lack of easy access to the original texts a problem. Now those interested in deepening their knowledge of the Scriptures will benefit greatly by this effort. He hopes the Church will take an interest.

And for the last 40 years the Church has shown a greater interest in the study of Scripture. Many programs are now being offered in many different parishes and organizations to encourage more interest in this area of study. With Bible Week this year, the Church has provided another stimulus to assist those who want to use the Scriptures for living a more mature faith.

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