An Interview With Karen Jobes
Q: I’d like, if I could, to get right to the point. You have a new book coming out this Fall – Discovering the Septuagint: A Guided Reader. What is this book about and who are its intended readers?
Discovering the Septuagint: A Guided Reader, is forthcoming from Kregel. Its intended readers are students or anyone who has had at least three semesters of NT Greek, and who would like to dip into the Septuagint (the ancient Greek Jewish Scriptures). It provides selections from several books of various genres along with notes about parsing and syntax.
Q: You also have another book coming out around the same time, a second edition of your Invitation to the Septuagint. Is it substantially different than the first edition? How has it changed? How has your mind changed?
The 2nd edition of Invitation to the Septuagint from Baker Academic is a thorough updating of every chapter to include the major developments in Septuagint research over the last fifteen years. We have also added new bibliography of recent work and expanded the appendices to include an English translation of the symbols and abbreviations used in the Göttingen critical apparatus. It will be released on Amazon December 1.
Q: What is it about the Septuagint that you find so interesting?
The Septuagint (and other ancient Greek versions) formed the scriptural context in which early Christianity developed, was used extensively by the New Testament writers, and has been largely overlooked by Protestants since the Reformation. My work in New Testament has primarily focused on how appropriate attention to the Septuagint can enlighten New Testament exegesis.
Q: How did you get involved in academic biblical studies?
In the early 80s God called me to seminary. In seminary I blossomed intellectually and spiritually, and felt a further call to a PhD in biblical hermeneutics. At that time it was still uncommon for a woman to work in the field, and my career has been blessed far beyond anything I expected in those early days.
Q: What drew you, then, to the Septuagint more than to, say, Jeremiah or The Gospels?
I love both testaments of the Christian Bible and wanted my work to allow me to be somewhat “ambidextrous” between Hebrew Bible and Greek New Testament. Septuagint studies is the perfect combination. I was further drawn to Septuagint in my doctoral studies by Dr. Silva’s seminar on the Greek Bible.
Q: How important do you think the Septuagint is to the Church in the West today?
The Septuagint is still today the canonical text for eastern Orthodoxy, and has an elevated role in the Roman Catholic church. For Protestant churches, its importance is more indirect and mediated through biblical scholarship that recognizes the historical place of the Septuagint and other ancient Greek versions in the formation of early Christianity and its appropriate role in New Testament exegesis. I do not think the Septuagint should be the canonical basis of the Protestant Old Testament.
Q: How does your ‘guided reader’ differ from an interlinear?
An interlinear is of very limited value for the development of language skills in biblical Greek. Discovering the Septuagint is designed to support the reader who wishes to advance his or her proficiency in hellenistic Greek by providing a wealth of resources.
Q: The text of Samuel in the LXX is notoriously difficult. To this day, there is no 1-2 Samuel in the highly esteemed Göttingen edition. How do you ‘handle’ the text in your guided reader?
Those books are not included in the excerpts selected for this book.
Q: What do you like best about your Guided Reader?
Discovering the Septuagint is a collaborative work with graduate students who took my Septuagint reading class and former teaching assistants. They compiled most of the material based on my classroom notes and their own studies. It is a joy to see their names on this particular work, as it is targeted for students like them who can benefit from a substantial engagement with the Septuagint text.
Q: Are you working on another book? If so, what is it about? Who will the publisher be?
I am in conversation with a publisher about a possible future book, but it is too early to discuss that project publicly.
Q: Outside of biblical studies, what are your interests?
I enjoy taking cooking classes, walking for exercise, reading recreationally, and sometimes special activities like archery.
Thank you for your time. I’m very keen to read your guide!