Translation technique in the Peshitta to Jeremiah
This discussion is based on a word by word comparison of the source document and the translation throughout the 1364 verses of the book. The conclusions drawn are: 1. the translator's main aim was to present the sense of his Hebrew Vorlage without change, and to do so in a readily accessible presentational style. The evidence on which this conclusion is based is the presence of two co-existing forms of translation throughout: (i) almost always literal, in presentation of the sense. The few points at which the sense is modified almost all pertain to the theme of the movement from the Temple- and sacrifice-based pre-exilic religion to a prayer-based religion compatible with exile; (ii) often non-literal, stylistically, in pursuit of the precise and intelligible presentational style. When the translator wished to add lexical items, breaking the constraints of quantitative literalism so as to increase the precision of expression, he did so. 2. Comparison of earlier with later mss. shows that these characteristics are to be found not only in the work of the translator, but also in the work of later editors: evidently those editing the Peshitta mss. valued the presentational style sufficiently to impose it on the text even though they knew that by so doing they were likely to lessen the correspondence between that text and the Hebrew Vorlage. 3. The Vorlage was probably a document almost but not quite at the end of the process of recension which led to the formulation of MT: a group of minuses in which LXX and the Peshitta agree against MT, occurring at points of the Hebrew text where textual criticism suggests some underlying problem, constitute the evidence on which this conclusion is based. 4. The translator's approach to the choice of lexical equivalents is that of one who enjoyed exercising literary initiative. 5. There is no evidence that more than one translator was involved. 6. Future work, assessing the literary style of the Peshitta as a whole, is suggested to throw light on the puzzle of the incompatibility of the Peshitta to Isaiah and to Psalms with the classification of the other books of the Peshitta according to the characteristics of the translation technique.