View Full Version : Verse numbering and linking issues in "Additions" to Esther

03-09-2013, 05:32 PM
I've just discovered some problems in the cross-version linking of the material in the book of Esther that is present in the LXX but not in the MT. The treatment of this in English Bible translations that include the Apocrypha is confusing, to say the least. The NRSV, for instance, translates the entire Greek text of Esther, so that the "additions" can be read in their original contexts, rather than as detached and isolated objects. However, they retain the King James chapter and verse numbering of the "additions," which derives from the Vulgate's placing of them after chapter 10, the end of the Hebrew text. Thus the opening verse of the Greek Esther is numbered 11:2 in NRSV. The numbering continues through 11:12, and then 12:1-6. In LXX, however, this material forms verses 2-18 of chapter 1 of Esther, and in the printed NRSV 11:2-12:6 are printed before 1:1.

In BibleWorks, NRS Esther is, of course, linked to the Hebrew text (WTT). However, NRS also includes, among the Apocrypha, "Ester (Greek)," i.e., the NRSV rendering of the Greek Esther, including the "Additions." The latter are present in BW as chapters 11-16, appearing (as in the Vulgate) in bulk at the end of the book. That, however, does not reflect what the printed NRSV actually has. Nor do these verses display in connection with the corresponding verses in LXX when using the Browse Window in multi-version mode with NRS and BGT or LXT selected. Moreover, when BGT is selected as the search version, in single-version mode its text appears with the proper LXX numbering, but when one tries to select a chapter and verse using the drop-down menus, only the 10 chapters of MT Esther appear, and the verses go to the English verse numbers, not the LXX ones.

I hope this is at least somewhat clear. Try it yourself (and budget some time to do it!) to see how it works, or doesn't. I can't imagine it would be easy to straighten this out and appropriately number LXX verses in Esther and link them to English versions such as NRS and NAB that include the "additions." But I hope some way can be sought and found to do this. Anyone trying to study Esther in the Greek as well as the Hebrew form is going to have a difficult time, more difficult than even the confusing situation of the texts requires.

Jim Wert
03-10-2013, 05:55 PM
Yes, this is a complicated thing to deal with.

BW versions are inconsistent in how they handle it.

NJB (New Jerusalem) presents the text (with additions) in reading order, by treating each addition as a verse, or part of a verse.
CEB (Common English Bible) does the same as NJB.
BGT/LXT do the same as NJB. (David, if you look carefully at BGT in single version mode you will see in Est 1:1 the numbers 1-19 in square brackets within the text, then you have verse 2, etc. So there are 19 of Rahlfs' verses in the first BW verse.)
NABO (New American Bible 1991) does the same as NJB.
NAB (New American Bible 2010) has the additions as chapters 41-46
Some other versions with Greek Esther, or the additions, have them as chapter 11-16, sometimes with 10:4-13.

The above list is not exhaustive; I got confused while trying to compile it.

I have taken two approaches to making Esther more usable.

My preferred English version is NRS, so I prepared a verse map file for Esther which maps the Greek Esther (Esg) verses to the NRS Est verses. When search version is NRS, and browse mode is multiple version, stepping through NRS Esther displays the Greek Esther verses right below it, much like NJB, CEB, NABO. (Actually, I think, this is how the alternate texts (like Jsa) are displayed in BGT/LXT)
For use in the Parallel Versions window I exported NRS Greek Esther, renamed the book to Est, and changed the chapter & verse numbers to correspond to the Hebrew book. (again, looking like NJB, etc.) I then compiled it as version NRSG.

There are similar problems wherever there are alternate texts within a version. Case: Rahllfs.
Some time ago I began trying to find a way to make them easier to use. I have, via export and recompile, created form and morph versions of just Rahlfs' alternative texts (Jsa, etc.) renamed to the regular book names (Jos, etc). When I get back to it I intend to create the same for Rahlfs without the alternative texts. Two advantages to this approach are that words would not be double counted, and the Parallel Versions window works better. (I know, there are also some disadvantages to this scheme.)

Any approach that involves custom verse map files or new modified versions leaves one vulnerable to verse map updates. I try to remember to back up all my verse maps before applying each new verse map update, but ...
And I'm not too good at keeping my customized versions' verse maps up to date.

Anyone who wades through the above and climbs out the other side with some understanding deserves a prize.:)


03-11-2013, 10:52 AM
Well, I'll claim that prize. :D At any rate, I've got the general idea. If I were actually working on Esther (I can't at this moment remember how I stumbled onto this yesterday), I'd ask you for your verse maps. I just tried using NJB instead of NRS, and it does indeed work much more clearly. That's what I'll do if I need to do some study on Esther later on. The whole business makes me glad to be a NT scholar. :)

One question: with your verse map, or in your NRSG, do the "additions" continue to be numbered as chapters 11-16? IOW, does the NRSV version of Greek Esther appear in BW as it does in the print edition, with these chapters "11-16" interspersed throughout chapters "1-10"? Or is it impossible to force chapters to appear out of numerical sequence?

BTW, just as a side note, it's interesting that the ecumenical-but-mostly-Protestant NRSV kept the confusing Vulgate chapter and verse numbering (because the KJV had done so), while the Roman Catholic NJB and NAB abandon the Vulgate numbering and follow the Greek text, perhaps because the longer version of Esther is (deutero-)canonical for them, and the LXX numbering makes it more accessible.

Mark Eddy
03-12-2013, 10:41 PM
I took a different path from what Jim did. I exported the LXT and BLM texts, took out all the sections where LXX and WTT correspond, added back in verses where there are LXX variants, and broke up the long, subdivided verses in LXT, adding verse numbers within the same chapter for Esther, but obviously not corresponding to the Hebrew verse numbers. At the end of each verse I have the location in LXT, but the English book abbrviations and verse numbers do not display correctly in these files. The morphology version for the LXX variants is not complete (I mentioned this in another thread), but the morphology for the apocryphal books is the same as BLM, and so it is fully functional. I made a verse map file for these two files which makes it unnecessary to change the verse map files for any other version.
Using my files you can view individual verses of the additions to Esther together with the appropriate translations. However, if you want to read it in the order in which it occurs in the LXX, you still need to use the LXT or BGT.
I would be willing to share my files, such as they are. I have been using them and improving them for many years without problem (except that I cannot yet get bracketed materials--mentioned above--to display properly)
E-mail me, and I can send you the zipped files.
God willing, later this year I might get the morphology version completed for the variants as well.
Mark Eddy

03-13-2013, 11:10 AM
Bless your heart, Mark (as they say around here). I'm in no real need of the files -- this was just a difficult problem that I randomly stumbled into the other day. Clearly those who have actual work to do in Esther have a steep hill to climb.