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The Quarterly Journal of St. Philaret’s Institute

ISSN: 2658-7599 (print)
2713-3141 (online)

“Or Physicians Will Raise Up…”(Ps 87:11; Isa 26:14): a Septuagint Polemic against the Hellenistic Cult of Asclepius?

Alexey Somov, Ph.D. in Theology, Associate Professor, Department of Holy Scripture and Biblical Studies, SFI; Translation Projects Consultant, Institute for Bible Translation (Moscow)
pp. 138–157
In the LXX version of Ps 87:11 and Isa 26:14a, Hebrew rǝphāʾim (“the spirits of the dead”) is translated as iatroi (“healers”), while yāqûmû (“will rise up”) as anastēsousin/anastēsōsin (“will raise up”). It looks like for the translators of the LXX the direct connection of rǝphāʾim with the otherworld was lost, since they never translate it as such. It seems they understood it in the context of Ps 87:11 and Isa 26:14 as rōphǝʾim (healers), and rendered the verb qûm in a different way. This article demonstrates 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.
Keywords: Bible, Septuagint, Psalms, Isaiah, Rephaim, physicians, Asclepius.

Last Issue2024. Volume 16. Issue 2 (50)

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