What is it about?

It has often been said that the Alexandrian Jewish translators of the Torah translated their Hebrew source text segment by segment (in segments of 2-7 words). And that sounds very reasonable. But what did that working method entail for the outcome of their work, and how is is related to the functioning of the human brain?

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Why is it important?

Many scholars say that segmentation played a role in the Greek translation of the Pentateuch. But they take it for granted or do not know what to do with it. That is because Soisalon-Soininen, who discussed segmentation in an important article, was the first to treat it at length. But his pioneering article contained mental leaps and methodological shortcomings. I now give a definition of segmentation, dismantle it in various factors, and connect it to cognitive processes, mainly brain capacity overload. In this way, I could now explain how segmentation affected both the working process and the outcome, on a cognitive basis.


I have always been fascinated by Soisalon-Soininen's segmentation hypothesis, and saddened by its mixed reception. I enjoyed revisiting the topic, and having put it on a more solid methodological footing - I hope.

Dr Theo van der Louw
Summer Institute of Linguistics

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This page is a summary of: The Dynamics of Segmentation in the Greek Pentateuch, June 2020, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht GmbH & Co, KG,
DOI: 10.13109/9783666564871.65.
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