On kaige

As most SBLHS users know, the handbook includes a list of capitalization and spelling examples in section 4.3.6. The purpose of the list is not to specify that some forms of common terms are correct and all others incorrect; rather, SBLHS 4.3.6 records SBL Press’s preferred spelling and formatting of common terms so that anyone searching across our publications can look for a single form of a term and not have to hunt for a variety of alternate forms. Our goal is to promote consistency that enhances a reader’s use of the text; correctness often has nothing to do with our choice.

Of course, SBLHS 4.3.6 is not comprehensive. For example, last year SBL Press published two volumes in our Septuagint and Cognate Studies, both of which made reference to the kaige recension or sections of certain biblical books. For the sake of consistency, we had to settle on a particular spelling and formatting of this term.

The term itself arises from the observation that certain sections within the Septuagint are clearly characterized by their consistent use of Greek καίγε to translate Hebrew גם or וגם (see further Jobes and Silva 2000, 160–61, 284–87; Tov 2001, 145). This raises the question of how to refer to this phenomenon or the sections or recensions to which the label applies. A survey of scholarly literature uncovered five leading options:

  • kaige
  • Kaige
  • καίγε
  • Kaige
  • kaige

In the end, we decided on the final option for several reasons. First, a form using Latin characters is generally easier for readers to enter into a search screen than one using Greek characters, so we excluded the middle option from consideration. Second, SBL Press generally prefers a down style (4.3.2.3), so we eliminated the second and fourth options. Third, the term often appears with the prefix non, which SBL Press generally does not hyphenate (e.g., noncanonical, nonnative; see 4.3.2.2). This consideration led us to choose the roman form of the word, since using the italicized form would force us into the typographical oddity nonkaige or insert a hyphen (contrary to our standard practice) to produce non-kaige.

Our decision, it should be evident, was driven by principle and practicality. This is not unusual, since most style decisions reflect the application of basic publishing principles to specific texts with their own individual demands. Style is not always a matter of simply being correct.

Works Cited

Jobes, Karen H., and Moisés Silva. 2000. Invitation to the Septuagint. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic.

Tov, Emanuel. 2001. Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible. 2nd ed. Minneapolis: Fortress; Assen: Van Gorcum. (See now the 3rd edition, 2011.)

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