The Library Basement
Reading under ground

Short Goliath

For my master's thesis I wrote "Short Goliath: The Old Greek and the Masoretic Text of 1 Samuel 17-18". Below is the first part of the introduction:

The story of David and Goliath is among the most loved of all Bible stories. It is ubiquitous in our culture, from being a staple of children.s Sunday school curricula to being employed as a popular and poignant metaphor for the struggle of the disadvantaged against a seemingly invincible foe. It is a prime example of a passage which is valued much more for its affective qualities than for its scholarly nuances.

Yet very few readers are aware that there is a fascinating textual situation underlying this beloved story which defies any easy explanation. The Old Greek (OG) text of the David and Goliath pericope, which is comprised of 1 Samuel 17-18, is dramatically shorter than the version found in the Hebrew Masoretic Text (MT), which is the basis for most translations of the Hebrew scriptures. The most noteworthy instance is the absence of any Greek text corresponding to the Hebrew of verses 12-31 of the seventeenth chapter. The differences in this section are not a consequence of translation style or occasional, accidental omissions. Rather, significant portions of the story are missing in the OG.

Read on . . .