Sunday, September 2, 2007

The Zebach Toda in Hebrews 13

In discussing Hebrews 13 the other day in class, Fr. Swetnam discussed reading the chapter in light of the Mass, and more specifically the zebach toda (Sacrifice of Praise). I won't go into the full lecture, but rather something I found really interesting. I'm dealing specifically with Heb. 13:15. Here is the Greek:

δι αυτου αναφερωμεν θυσιαν αινεσεως δια παντος τω θεω τουτ εστιν καρπον χειλεων ομολογουντων τω ονοματι αυτου

While translating the Hebrew texts for the Septuagint, the translators had to dabble in a little neologism for the word αινεσεως because an appropriate word did not yet exist for the Hebrew idea of a sacrifice of praise.

Now, one of my arguments for Luke being Paul's amanuensis for the letter to the Hebrews is the use of the Septuagint. Paul generally prefers to quote from the Hebrew, while the Gospel writers prefer the Septuagint. The letter to the Hebrews only contains one Hebrew OT reference (10:30), and every other OT reference is from the Septuagint. Perhaps the use of the Septuagint was to point the readers in the direction of the zebach toda in the OT as a precursor to the Eucharist. This strange phrase (θυσιαν αινεσεως) would've clicked with Hebrew readers who were familiar with the Septuagint and familiar with the way the LXX translators translated zebach toda.

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