Discovering the Septuagint: A Guided Reader

The publisher has sent a review copy.  Of the volume they write

9780825443428Quick access to Septuagint vocabulary and syntax for students with two years of biblical Greek

Interest in the Septuagint today continues to grow stronger. Despite that interest, students have lacked a guidebook to the text similar to the readers and handbooks that exist for the Greek New Testament.Discovering the Septuagint: A Guided Reader fills that need. Created by an expert on the Septuagint, this groundbreaking resource draws on Jobes’s experience as an educator in order to help upper–level college, seminary, and graduate students cultivate skill in reading the Greek Old Testament.

This reader presents, in Septuagint canonical order, ten Greek texts from the Rahlfs—Hanhart Septuaginta critical edition. It explains the syntax, grammar, and vocabulary of more than 700 verses from select Old Testament texts representing a variety of genres, including the Psalms, the Prophets, and more.

The texts selected for this volume were chosen to fit into a typical semester. Each text (1) is an example of distinctive Septuagint syntax or word usage; (2) exemplifies the amplification of certain theological themes or motifs by the Septuagint translators within their Jewish Hellenistic culture; and/or (3) is used significantly by New Testament writers.

The volume at hand can better be described as a guided reader to a very small selection of Septuagint texts than as a guided reader to the Septuagint (implying the whole) although the title of the volume hints at the right understanding of the volume’s purpose:  ‘Discovering the Septuagint’.

The volume is a collection of exegetical notes on various passages of the LXX.  80 verses in Genesis are examined, 79 in Exodus, 85 in Ruth, 73 from the Greek additions to Esther, 67 verses from the Psalms, 56 verses from Hosea, 48 from Jonah, 55 from Malachi, and 81 from Isaiah.  Everything else in the LXX is bypassed.

Readers will certainly discover the Septuagint though.  The notes are grammatically useful and exegetically helpful.  Everything is clearly and concisely discussed, and readers are offered accurate explanations of very important theological phrasings.

At the end of each section the editors also provide an indication of the section’s inclusion or exclusion in or from the New Testament.  This facilitates rapid examination of the Greek phrasings of the LXX in the New Testament (or their differences from one another).  Finally, the NETS translation of each section is offered.

The volume is helpful if not complete.  It would be utterly fantastic if the work done in this volume were done on the entire LXX or, even better, a ‘Reader’s Septuagint’ akin to the Reader’s Old Testament published by Hendrickson and edited by Don Vance and George Athas were provided.

At the end of the day, this work is superb for students just coming to the Septuagint for the first time and wishing to work through it in bits and pieces.  That subset of academia will benefit immensely from this volume.

Advanced students, students long familiar with Greek and the LXX, and seasoned academics will find it useful as a tool to recommend to their novices.  But they will gain little from it for themselves.

2 thoughts on “Discovering the Septuagint: A Guided Reader

  1. James 21/10/2016 at 4:00 pm

    Jim,

    The Hebrew Reader’s Bible you’re referring to is published by Hendrickson. Zondervan did another one, not nearly as well done as the one Hendrickson did in conjunction with Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft.

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    • Jim 21/10/2016 at 4:37 pm

      quite right. corrected. i was remembering zondervan for some strange reason.

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