Testament of Job

Provenance and Cultural Setting

Original Language

The Testament of Job was most likely composed in Greek (so Spittler, 830, 833). It shows no obvious signs of being translated from a semitic language, and no evidence has been found of versions in Hebrew, Aramaic, or Syriac.

Date of Composition

The Testament of Job was composed some time prior to the 5th century CE, when the earliest surviving fragments were copied. Since that 5th century evidence preserves a Coptic translation, the original Greek composition would probably have been made at least several decades earlier. It may have been composed in the first century BCE or first century CE (so Spittler, 833).

Social Setting

The Testament of Job has generally been viewed as a Jewish composition, free in its present form from any extensive Christian editing (Spittler, 833-34; see Brock, 8). James Davila has recently dissented from this consensus and argued that the document is a Christian composition, or at least that an origin in early Christian circles cannot be ruled out.

Current State of the OCP Text

All of the surviving Greek witnesses to the Testament of Job are presented here, along with the eclectic Greek texts compiled by Sebastian Brock and Robert Kraft (see below for publication information). The versification follows the system of Brock (based on ms P), rather than the newer system of Kraft (adjusted to mss S V), since it is this older system which has been popularized through the English translation in the Old Testament Pseudepigrapha.

Brock's text is essentially a corrected transcription of the oldest Greek witness (P), dated to the 11th century CE. Kraft's text is more eclectic, but is not intended to be a reconstruction of the "original" contents of the document. Rather, Kraft's intention was to provide an approximation of the archetype behind the branch of the textual tradition represented by manuscripts S and V (Kraft, 13). Although manuscript S (dated 1307-1308 CE) is more recent than manuscript P, and is very unstable in its orthography, Kraft believes that it has not been affected by some of the editorial work which has coloured the P branch of the tradition.

The Coptic evidence preserved in P.Köln 3221, dating from the 5th century, is much older than any of the Greek witnesses and promises to help in the construction of a truly eclectic edition of the Testament of Job which approximates an early form of the text. In the meantime, however, readers are encouraged to use the texts of Brock and Kraft in tandem, remaining aware that neither version represents the "original" wording of the document and that the relative value of these two textual streams (P and S-V) is not yet clear. Together, the texts of Brock and Kraft (along with the transcriptions provided here of the extant manuscripts) allow us to see the kind of textual development which must be taken into account whenever we appeal to TJob as a witness to Jewish thought in the first-century CE. This is particularly important to remember, since the translation of Spittler (OTP, 1:829-868) is essentially a translation of Brock's text (and so of the P tradition).

Every effort has been made to reproduce the eclectic texts of Kraft and Brock exactly as they appear in the print editions. I have not, however, reproduced Kraft's technique of marking direct speech by indenting lines. Instead I have adapted Kraft's text to use the more familiar convention of introducing direct speech with a Greek semicolon. The present edition also does not represent the paragraph breaks which appear in the two eclectic texts. In order to preserve the different patterns of capitalization adopted by Kraft and Brock, I have sometimes presented two versions of the same word (one capitalized and the other not capitalized) as if they were different variant readings. Readers should be aware, however, that these differences in capitalization are only editorial and do not reflect differences in the underlying manuscript tradition.

The text published here of the surviving Greek manuscripts (P S and V) is dependent on the printed apparatus in Brock's edition, supplemented by Kraft's textual notes. Work is underway to check these transcriptions against images of the manuscripts themselves. Until this checking has been done, it is not clear how much punctuation or capitalization is present in the manuscripts themselves. Hence in this edition of the transcriptions all punctuation, accentuation, and capitalization should be treated as editorial additions. In any case, the original Greek composition, following conventions current around the turn of the era, is unlikely to have employed any punctuation or capitalization. Brock also reports that his apparatus, which is generally complete, does not represent every orthographic idiosyncrasy of the manuscripts (6-8). Readers should thus be aware that in some cases (particularly in ms S) the present transcriptions may be regularized to a more standard pattern of spelling. Finally, readers will also notice that the transcriptions of P S and V have been accented only sporadically. This is because the Grammateus Reader constructs each transcription in part from words shared with the texts of Brock and Kraft, texts which are fully accented. No effort has been made, however, to accent the remainder of these transcriptions until it can be determined how much accentuation is present in the manuscripts themselves.

The very fragmentary Coptic evidence has not yet been included in the OCP edition. The Slavonic evidence is represented only where Brock notes its agreement or disagreement with the Greek mss.

The text which appears here as the default is the text of Brock. Brock's text varies only very slightly from the text of ms P and is the basis for R. P. Spittler's translation in The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha.


P Paris BN gr 2658, fols. 72r-97r (complete, 11th century CE)
For ms information see F. Halkin, Manuscrits grecs de Paris: Inventaire hagiographique (Subsidia hagiographica 44; Bruxelles: Société des bollandistes, 1968), 235. The editions of James and Brock (see below) are essentially corrected transcriptions of this manuscript. Brock holds that P is "in many ways the best witness to the text of this work" (7; cf. 15-16), though he recognizes that the other Greek mss sometimes preserve superior readings (15).
P2 Paris BN gr 938, fols. 172v-192v (copy of P, 16th century CE)
For ms information see F. Halkin, Manuscrits grecs de Paris: Inventaire hagiographique (Subsidia hagiographica 44; Bruxelles: Société des bollandistes, 1968), 92. Since this ms is evidently a copy of P (so James, lxxiii; Brock, 5, 10) it has no independent value as a witness and not been included in the OCP edition.
S Messina San Salvatore 29, fols. 35v-41v (complete, 1307-1308 CE)
This manuscript was held by the Basilian monastery of San Salvatore in Messina, Sicily. When the monastery was closed, its manuscripts are reported to have been transfered to the Université degli Studi di Messina. So far, though, my attempts to locate the manuscript in the university's collections (or elsewhere in Italy) have failed. This ms has never before been published in running form. Brock reports that the orthography of S is extremely unstable and vowels, in particular, are often substituted in apparently arbitrary ways (see Brock, 8-9). Kraft departs from Brock's preference for P and argues that S betrays fewer indications of "self-conscious recensional work" than does P (Kraft, 5-7). Even Brock, however, acknowledges that in places the S form of the text is likely closer to the original (Brock, 15).
V Rome Vat gr 1238, fols. 340r-349v (complete, 13th century CE)
The transcription of V published by Mai in 1833 (see below) was the first publication of the Testament of Job. Mai's edition is reasonably accurate, but not without significant errors. This ms has not been published since in running form, and the partial transcription by F. C. Conybeare in 1901 (see below) is less accurate than that of Mai. Manuscript V is closer to S in the form of its text than to P, so that S and V appear to represent a common textual trajectory distinct from that represented in P (Brock, 14; Kraft, 9-10). Nevertheless, V does not appear to be directly dependent on ms S. V is generally agreed to depart further than P or S from the early form of the Greek text, and it includes many periphrastic expansions (Brock, 9; Kraft, 5).
Coptic Papyrus Cologne 3221 (fragmentary and incomplete, 5th century CE)
This ms has been published just recently in Gesa Shenk, Der Koptische Kölner Papyruskodex 3221: Teil I: Das Testament des Iob (Paderborn: Schöningh, 2009). Prior to this C. Römer and H. J. Thissen published a preliminary report in 1989 (see below) which includes several readings from the ms.
Slavonic This designates the MS published by G. Polívka in Starine 24 (1891): 135-55, together with the variants provided there from two other mss: Belgrade National Library, no. 149 (incomplete) and Moscow Rumjancov Museum, no. 1472. The Slavonic tradition is only marginally useful in the reconstruction of the early text of TJob since the translation is evidently very free and periphrastic (Brock, 7, 10-14). Many of its periphrastic expansions parallel the kind of editorial work evident in ms V. Nevertheless, the Slavonic tradition is not clearly derived from either the P or the S V textual traditions, but seems to translate a Vorlage which included readings characteristic of both streams of textual transmission (Brock, 14-15).


Greek Text

Slavonic Text

Coptic Text

For further bibliography see DiTommaso, Bibliography, 565-74.


9.5 Kraft has accidentally omitted the words καὶ ἐπιδιδόναι τοῖς ἀδυνάτοις καὶ τοῖς ὑστερουμένοις which appear in mss P and S (and partially in V). Kraft did include equivalents for these words, however, in the parallel translation: "and distribute to the helpless and to the unfortunate." After consultation with Kraft the words have been re-inserted here into his text.
47.6 περιεξωσάμην should be περιεζωσάμην

Sigla Used in the Text

( ) Parentheses:These are used primarily to indicate conjectural English or Greek quivalents of the Slavonic text, for the benefit of readers who do not have direct access to the Slavonic.
< > Angle brackets: In Kraft's text these are used to mark uncertain readings.
** ** Double asterisks: In Brock's text these are used to mark text in which all of the extant readings are judged to be corrupt. In Brock's print edition this is indicated by the dagger symbol (†), but this siglum has a different significance in OCP editions.
{ } Curled brackets: These are used to indicate that certain words are written in a manuscript above the main line of text. These intra-linear words are most likely scribal corrections, made either by the same scribe who copied the main text or by a second corrector.

The text of the extant Greek witnesses to the Testament of Job transcribed in the OCP (that is, mss P, S, and V) is in the public domain. The eclectic text of Brock is used here by permission of Brill Academic Publishers and may not be re-used or re-printed without the copyright holder's express permission. The eclectic text of Kraft is used here by permission of the Society of Biblical Literature and may not be re-used or re-printed without the copyright holder's express permission. Before using this or any other OCP text for another purpose, please click on the "copyright and permissions" link below to read the policy on re-use and re-publication.