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Title: 'Physicians' in LXX Ps 87:11 and Isa 26:14
Subtitle: The Septuagint Rendering as a Polemic against the Hellenistic Cultural-Religious Environment
Author(s): SOMOV, Alexey
Journal: Journal of Septuagint and Cognate Studies
Volume: 52    Date: 2019   
Pages: 145-156
DOI: 10.2143/JSCS.52.0.3287098

Abstract :
In the LXX version of Ps 87:11 (MT 88:11) and Isa 26:14a, the Hebrew rǝphā᾿im ('the spirits of the dead') is translated as iatroi ('physicians'), while yāqûmû ('will rise up') is rendered as anastēsousin/anastēsōsin ('will raise up'). It appears that for the translators of the LXX the direct connection of rǝphā᾿im with the otherworld was lost, since they never translate it as such. In the context of Ps 87:11 and Isa 26:14, they understood it to be pointed as rōphǝ᾿im ('healers'), and rendered the verb qûm as a transitive verb. This article argues that the reason for this rendering is connected with the controversy between the Jewish community in Alexandria and the pagan cult of Asclepius and the Hellenistic medical practices related to Asclepius, which flourished in this city.

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