How to treat the insertions of the versions has been a puzzling question. Substitutions of other readings for those of the Masso retie text should obviously be given in the original Greek, Latin, or Aramaic, in order that students may judge of their textual value; but the long additions of the versions are not translations from Hebrew, and, therefore, no good reason appears Why they should be inserted in the original languages. For the ordinary reader a translation is more serviceable, and the specialist will have no difficulty in referring to the originals whenever this is necessary. Accordingly, I have given all the additions in English, making in each case a new translation from the best critical editions. Any one Who is curious to see the originals and the textual variants in the Greek will find them in my article, A text-critical Apparatus to the Book of Esther, in Old Testament and Semitic Studies in Memory of W. R. Harper ii. Pp. 1 - 52. In the revision of this article I had the valuable help of Professor G. F. Moore of Harvard University, one of the editors of the Memorial Volume, and his suggestions in connection with this preliminary piece of work have been no small help in the preparation of the commen tary. Many of the additions of the Midrashim are Similar in character to those of the Targumim, and it would have been inter esting to have included them also in this volume; but, with the limits of Space imposed upon me, this was impossible. I hope presently to publish them in a volume entitled The Story of Esther in the Bible and in Later Tradition.
Where to place the additions of the versions in the commentary has also been a problem. As textual amplifications, they seem to belong with the other textual apparatus in the critical notes. As secondary elements that interrupt the progress of the Hebrew text, they might conveniently be relegated to footnotes or appendixes; and, by using small type, much space might be saved for other matters. Practically, however, these additions are commen taries on the Hebrew text, and are interesting and valuable only as they are read in the same connection in which they were placed by the ancient versions. Accordingly, I have decided to insert them in square brackets in my translation of the Hebrew text at the same points where they are inserted in the originals. Thus they can be read in the way in which they were meant to be read by their authors. Let no one suppose that the matter in brackets is regarded as an integral part of the text. It is only the earliest ex tant commentary that I have interwoven with the text in the same manner as my own annotations. The Hebrew original is dis criminated from the amplifications by the fact that its translation is given in italics. Ordinarily I have inserted the additions with out note or comment, Since a commentary on them would have carried the volume beyond the prescribed limits; but whenever the versions seem to preserve a reading that has been lost by the Hebrew, I have called attention to this fact.
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