Philo, Questions on Genesis

LCL 380: vi-vii

Go To Section
Go To Section


Philo’s Quaestiones et Solutiones in Genesin et Exodum presents a special problem of translation because all but a small portion of the Greek original—less than ten per cent if we disregard the paraphrastic citations in late writers—has been lost and because for the bulk of the work we must depend upon the ancient Armenian version published by Aucher in 1826.a This edition is based chiefly upon three mss., all of them from the thirteenth century, and in part upon two others of about the same date. The Armenian version itself seems to have been made in the fifth century.b

For various reasons we can be reasonably sure that the Armenian version has faithfully preserved Philo’s meaning except in a few cases where the Greek text used by the translator was corrupt or ambiguous or unusually obscure. In the first place, the Armenian language is singularly well designed to reproduce the word-order, word-compounds and many of the idioms of Greek. In the second place, the literalness and consistency of the Armenian version are shown by the correspondences between it and the original Greek in several treatises of Philo which are extant in both languages. The same is true of the correspondences between the Armenian Quaestiones and the Greek fragments which are not paraphrastic. A third check on the accuracy of the Armenian version is to be found in the Armenian-Greek equivalents given by Avedikean, Siurmelean and