Footnote forays: Job 41.18

Posted: 18th November 2008 by ElShaddai Edwards in Uncategorized

One of the most interesting new acquisitions for my bookshelf has been a copy of the New English Bible (NEB) Old Testament Library Edition (OTLE) to go along with my NT Library Edition and Apocrypha Library Edition. Yes, I have other copies of the NEB, but the Library Editions are something different. They expand on the footnotes in the “standard editions” with the addition of even more textual variant notes, explaining where and sometimes why the NEB translators departed from the base text, which for the OT was Kittel’s Biblia Hebraica Third Edition (1937). Given the NEB’s proclivity toward textual freedom, this is not a bad thing to have documentation on. The NRSV is the only non-study edition translation I’ve seen with a depth of translators’ notes that approach the NEB OTLE, other than the NET of course.

All of which has nothing to do with the purpose of this post, other than to explain my current offline forays into footnotes. In reviewing the texts about Leviathan and Behemoth in Job 41, I noticed a footnote for Job 41:18 that read:

Lit. eyelids of the morning.

Cool image! But what did they translate that as in the NEB text?

His sneezing sends out sprays of light,
and his eyes gleam like the shimmer of dawn.

Urk. Am I guilty of functional heresy to prefer the literal idiom? Preserved in the KJV, NASB, ESV, NRSV et al., the personification of “the early beams of the dawn as the cover of night lifts” (NET tn), works well with the depiction of the mythological Chaos as a crocodile (or hippo, if you so prefer). Don’t you think?

  1. Nathan Stitt says:

    Would you mind posting or linking the ISBN for those three library volumes please? Actually, maybe just email them to me. I like the NEB even more than the REB and I’d like to have a look around for those three volumes. Thanks.

  2. Good to hear from you, Nathan. There are actually no ISBNs listed on the volumes I have in my hand, but I was able to dig these up through various searches:

    OT: ISBN 0521503868
    Apocrypha: ISBN 0521503876 or 0191800112
    NT Second Edition: ISBN 0521503884

    Note that the 0521 numbers are Cambridge ISBNs; there would be corresponding 0191 Oxford numbers for all volumes as well. Also note that these are the 1970 texts and not the 1972 corrected impressions, if such things matter to you.

    Don’t forget about eBay – I picked up my OT on eBay for $0.99! You just have to be patient… one or the other shows up every few weeks or so, and sometimes an entire set.

  3. It could be someone’s lucky day… there’s a complete three-volume set on eBay right now!

  4. Nathan Stitt says:

    thanks. i found some one used as well, just need to wait for the right timing i think.

  5. Cool – I’ll be interested to get your thoughts when you pick one up.

  6. Nathan Stitt says:

    I posted some NEB and REB verses from Psalm 70 in my last post. It’s another instance where I find myself enjoying the NEB more than the REB. Perhaps the REB is a safer translation, but the NEB is just so refreshing!

  7. I agree, at least enough to give up 4 1/2″ of my bookshelf to these NEB Library Editions… that’s the biggest Bible I have!