Previous Lectures by Jim Aitken

Grinfield Lecture: Dr James Aitken, ‘The Septuagint—A Translation Among Translations’ from OCHJS on Vimeo.

Grinfield Lecture: Dr James Aitken, ‘The Septuagint and Scribal Creativity in Egypt’ from OCHJS on Vimeo.

Grinfield Lecture: Dr James Aitken, ‘The Septuagint, Editing, and Textual Production in Ancient Judaism’ from OCHJS on Vimeo.

A Septuagint Snippet on International Septuagint Day

1 1 Και ἐγένετο ἐν τῷ κρίνειν τοὺς κριτὰς καὶ ἐγένετο λιμὸς ἐν τῇ γῇ·, καὶ ἐπορεύθη ἀνὴρ ἀπὸ Βαιθλέεμ τῆς Ἰούδα τοῦ παροικῆσαι ἐν ἀγρῷ Μωάβ, αὐτὸς καὶ ἡ γυνὴ αὐτοῦ καὶ οἱ υἱοὶ αὐτοῦ. 2 καὶ ὄνομα τῷ ἀνδρὶ Ἀβιμέλεχ, καὶ ὄνομα τοῖς δυσὶν υἱοῖς αὐτοῦ Μααλὼν καὶ Χελαιών, Ἐφραθαῖοι ἐκ Βαιθλέεμ τῆς Ἰούδα· καὶ ἤλθοσαν εἰς ἀγρὸν Μωὰβ καὶ ἦσαν ἐκεῖ. 3 καὶ ἀπέθανεν Ἀβιμέλεχ ὁ ἀνὴρ τῆς Νωεμίν, καὶ κατελείφθη αὐτὴ καὶ οἱ δύο υἱοὶ αὐτῆς. 4 καὶ ἐλάβοσαν ἑαυτοῖς γυναῖκας Μωαβίτιδας, ὄνομα τῇ μιᾷ Ὀρφά, καὶ ὄνομα τῇ δευτέρᾳ Ῥούθ· καὶ κατῴκησαν ἐκεῖ ὡς δέκα ἔτη. 5 καὶ ἀπέθανον καί γε ἀμφότεροι Μααλὼν καὶ Χελαιών, καὶ κατελείφθη ἡ γυνὴ ἀπὸ τοῦ ἀνδρὸς αὐτῆς καὶ ἀπὸ τῶν δύο υἱῶν αὐτῆς. 1 1 Και ἐγένετο ἐν τῷ κρίνειν τοὺς κριτὰς καὶ ἐγένετο λιμὸς ἐν τῇ γῇ·, καὶ ἐπορεύθη ἀνὴρ ἀπὸ Βαιθλέεμ τῆς Ἰούδα τοῦ παροικῆσαι ἐν ἀγρῷ Μωάβ, αὐτὸς καὶ ἡ γυνὴ αὐτοῦ καὶ οἱ υἱοὶ αὐτοῦ. 2 καὶ ὄνομα τῷ ἀνδρὶ Ἀβιμέλεχ, καὶ ὄνομα τοῖς δυσὶν υἱοῖς αὐτοῦ Μααλὼν καὶ Χελαιών, Ἐφραθαῖοι ἐκ Βαιθλέεμ τῆς Ἰούδα· καὶ ἤλθοσαν εἰς ἀγρὸν Μωὰβ καὶ ἦσαν ἐκεῖ. 3 καὶ ἀπέθανεν Ἀβιμέλεχ ὁ ἀνὴρ τῆς Νωεμίν, καὶ κατελείφθη αὐτὴ καὶ οἱ δύο υἱοὶ αὐτῆς. 4 καὶ ἐλάβοσαν ἑαυτοῖς γυναῖκας Μωαβίτιδας, ὄνομα τῇ μιᾷ Ὀρφά, καὶ ὄνομα τῇ δευτέρᾳ Ῥούθ· καὶ κατῴκησαν ἐκεῖ ὡς δέκα ἔτη. 5 καὶ ἀπέθανον καί γε ἀμφότεροι Μααλὼν καὶ Χελαιών, καὶ κατελείφθη ἡ γυνὴ ἀπὸ τοῦ ἀνδρὸς αὐτῆς καὶ ἀπὸ τῶν δύο υἱῶν αὐτῆς.*

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*Quast, U. (Ed.). (2006). Ruth (Vol. IV, 3, Ru 1). Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht.

Posted in LXX

Quote of the Day (From the LXX, of Course)

ἀναστήσαι τὸ δέρμα μου τὸ ἀναντλοῦν ταῦτα·
παρὰ γὰρ κυρίου ταῦτά μοι συνετελέσθη,
ἃ ἐγὼ ἐμαυτῷ συνεπίσταμαι,
ἃ ὁ ὀφθαλμός μου ἑόρακεν καὶ οὐκ ἄλλος·
πάντα δέ μοι συντετέλεσται ἐν κόλπῳ.

“After my skin is destroyed, this I know, that in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!” (Job 19:26-27)

Posted in LXX

Jonah 4 in the Göttingen LXX

4 1 Καὶ ἐλυπήθη Ιωνας λύπην μεγάλην καὶ συνεχύθη. 2 καὶ προσηύξατο πρὸς κύριον καὶ εἶπεν Ὦ κύριε, οὐχ οὗτοι οἱ λόγοι μου ἔτι ὄντος μου ἐν τῇ γῇ μου; διὰ τοῦτο προέφθασα τοῦ φυγεῖν εἰς Θαρσις, διότι ἔγνων ὅτι σὺ ἐλεήμων καὶ οἰκτίρμων, μακρόθυμος καὶ πολυέλεος καὶ μετανοῶν ἐπὶ ταῖς κακίαις. 3 καὶ νῦν, δέσποτα κύριε, λάβε τὴν ψυχήν μου ἀπʼ ἐμοῦ, ὅτι καλὸν τὸ ἀποθανεῖν με ἢ ζῆν με. 4 καὶ εἶπε κύριος πρὸς Ιωναν Εἰ σφόδρα λελύπησαι σύ; 5 καὶ ἐξῆλθεν Ιωνας ἐκ τῆς πόλεως καὶ ἐκάθισεν ἀπέναντι τῆς πόλεως· καὶ ἐποίησεν ἑαυτῷ ἐκεῖ σκηνὴν καὶ ἐκάθητο ὑποκάτω αὐτῆς ἐν σκιᾷ, ἕως οὗ ἀπίδῃ τί ἔσται τῇ πόλει. 6 καὶ προσέταξε κύριος ὁ θεὸς κολοκύνθῃ, καὶ ἀνέβη ὑπὲρ κεφαλῆς τοῦ Ιωνα τοῦ εἶναι σκιὰν ὑπεράνω τῆς κεφαλῆς αὐτοῦ τοῦ σκιάζειν αὐτῷ ἀπὸ τῶν κακῶν αὐτοῦ· καὶ ἐχάρη Ιωνας ἐπὶ τῇ κολοκύνθῃ χαρὰν μεγάλην. 7 καὶ προσέταξεν ὁ θεὸς σκώληκι ἑωθινῇ τῇ ἐπαύριον, καὶ ἐπάταξε τὴν κολόκυνθαν, καὶ ἀπεξηράνθη. 8 καὶ ἐγένετο ἅμα τῷ ἀνατεῖλαι τὸν ἥλιον καὶ προσέταξεν ὁ θεὸς πνεύματι καύσωνος συγκαίοντι, καὶ ἐπάταξεν ὁ ἥλιος ἐπὶ τὴν κεφαλὴν Ιωνα· καὶ ὠλιγοψύχησε καὶ ἀπελέγετο τὴν ψυχὴν αὐτοῦ καὶ εἶπε Καλόν ἀπο θανεῖν με ἢ ζῆν. 9 καὶ εἶπεν ὁ θεὸς πρὸς Ιωναν Εἰ σφόδρα λελύπησαι σὺ ἐπὶ τῇ κολοκύνθῃ; καὶ εἶπε Σφόδρα λελύπημαι ἐγὼ ἕως θανάτου. 10 καὶ εἶπε κύριος Σὺ ἐφείσω ὑπὲρ τῆς κολοκύνθης, ὑπὲρ ἧς οὐκ ἐκακοπάθησας ἐπʼ αὐτὴν καὶ οὐκ ἐξέθρεψας αὐτήν, ἣ ὑπὸ νύκτα ἐγενήθη καὶ ὑπὸ νύκτα ἀπώλετο. 11 ἐγὼ δὲ οὐ φείσομαι ὑπὲρ Νινευη τῆς πόλεως τῆς μεγάλης, ἐν ᾗ κατοικοῦσι πλείους ἢ δώδεκα μυριάδες ἀνθρώπων, οἵτινες οὐκ ἔγνωσαν δεξιὰν αὐτῶν ἢ ἀριστερὰν αὐτῶν, καὶ κτήνη πολλά;

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Posted in LXX

Jonah 3 in the Göttingen LXX

3 1 Καὶ ἐγένετο λόγος κυρίου πρὸς Ιωναν ἐκ δευτέρου λέγων 2 Ἀνάστηθι πορεύθητι εἰς Νινευη τὴν πόλιν τὴν μεγάλην καὶ κήρυξον ἐν αὐτῇ κατὰ τὸ κήρυγμα τὸ ἔμπροσθεν, ὃ ἐγὼ ἐλάλησα πρὸς σὲ. 3 καὶ ἀνέστη Ιωνας καὶ ἐπορεύθη εἰς Νινευη, καθὼς ἐλάλησε κύριος· ἡ δὲ Νινευη ἦν πόλις μεγάλη τῷ θεῷ ὡσεὶ πορείας ὁδοῦ ἡμερῶν τριῶν. 4 καὶ ἤρξατο Ιωνας τοῦ εἰσελθεῖν εἰς τὴν πόλιν ὡσεὶ πορείαν ἡμέρας μιᾶς καὶ ἐκήρυξε καὶ εἶπεν Ἔτι τρεῖς ἡμέραι καὶ Νινευη καταστραφήσεται. 5 καὶ ἐνεπίστευσαν οἱ ἄνδρες Νινευη τῷ θεῷ καὶ ἐκήρυξαν νηστείαν καὶ ἐνεδύσαντο σάκκους ἀπὸ μεγάλου αὐτῶν ἕως μικροῦ αὐτῶν. 6 καὶ ἤγγισεν ὁ λόγος πρὸς τὸν βασιλέα τῆς Νινευη, καὶ ἐξανέστη ἀπὸ τοῦ θρόνου αὐτοῦ καὶ περιείλατο τὴν στολὴν αὐτοῦ ἀφʼ ἑαυτοῦ καὶ περιεβάλετο σάκκον καὶ ἐκάθισεν ἐπὶ σποδοῦ. 7 καὶ ἐκηρύχθη καὶ ἐρρέθη ἐν τῇ Νινευη παρὰ τοῦ βασιλέως καὶ παρὰ τῶν μεγιστάνων αὐτοῦ λέγων Οἱ ἄνθρωποι καὶ τὰ κτήνη καὶ οἱ βόες καὶ τὰ πρόβατα μὴ γευσάσθωσαν μηδὲν μηδὲ νεμέσθωσαν μηδὲ ὕδωρ πιέτωσαν. 8 καὶ περιεβάλοντο σάκκους οἱ ἄνθρωποι καὶ τὰ κτήνη, καὶ ἀνεβόησαν πρὸς τὸν θεὸν ἐκτενῶς· καὶ ἀπέστρεψαν ἕκαστος ἀπὸ τῆς ὁδοῦ αὐτοῦ τῆς πονηρᾶς καὶ ἀπὸ τῆς ἀδικίας τῆς ἐν χερσὶν αὐτῶν λέγοντες 9 Τίς οἶδεν εἰ μετανοήσει ὁ θεὸς καὶ ἀποστρέψει ἐξ ὀργῆς θυμοῦ αὐτοῦ καὶ οὐ μὴ ἀπολώμεθα; 10 καὶ εἶδεν ὁ θεὸς τὰ ἔργα αὐτῶν, ὅτι ἀπέστρεψαν ἀπὸ τῶν ὁδῶν αὐτῶν τῶν πονηρῶν, καὶ μετενόησεν ὁ θεὸς ἐπὶ τῇ κακίᾳ, ᾗ ἐλάλησε τοῦ ποιῆσαι αὐτοῖς, καὶ οὐκ ἐποίησεν.

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Posted in LXX

Jonah 2 In the Göttingen LXX

2 1 Καὶ προσέταξε κύριος κήτει μεγάλῳ καταπιεῖν τὸν Ιωναν· καὶ ἦν Ιωνας ἐν τῇ κοιλίᾳ τοῦ κήτους τρεῖς ἡμέρας καὶ τρεῖς νύκτας. 2 καὶ προσηύξατο Ιωνας πρὸς κύριον τὸν θεὸν αὐτοῦ ἐκ τῆς κοιλίας τοῦ κήτους 3 καὶ εἶπεν
Ἐβόησα ἐν θλίψει μου πρὸς κύριον τὸν θεόν μου, καὶ εἰσήκουσέ μου·
ἐκ κοιλίας ᾅδου κραυγῆς μου ἤκουσας φωνῆς μου.
4 ἀπέρριψάς με εἰς βάθη καρδίας θαλάσσης, καὶ ποταμοί με ἐκύκλωσαν·
πάντες οἱ μετεωρισμοί σου καὶ τὰ κύματά σου ἐπʼ ἐμὲ διῆλθον.
5 καὶ ἐγώ εἶπα Ἀπῶσμαι ἐξ ὀφθαλμῶν σου·
ἆρα προσθήσω τοῦ ἐπιβλέψαι πρὸς τὸν ναὸν τὸν ἅγιόν σου;
6 περιεχύθη μοι ὕδωρ ἕως ψυχῆς,
ἄβυσσος ἐκύκλωσέ με ἐσχάτη,
ἔδυ ἡ κεφαλή μου εἰς σχισμὰς ὀρέων.
7 κατέβην εἰς γῆν, ἧς οἱ μοχλοὶ αὐτῆς κάτοχοι αἰώνιοι,
καὶ ἀναβήτω φθορὰ ζωῆς μου, κύριε ὁ θεός μου.
8 ἐν τῷ ἐκλείπειν ἀπʼ ἐμοῦ τὴν ψυχήν μου τοῦ κυρίου ἐμνήσθην,
καὶ ἔλθοι πρὸς σὲ ἡ προσευχή μου εἰς ναὸν ἅγιόν σου.
9 φυλασσόμενοι μάταια καὶ ψευδῆ ἔλεος αὐτῶν ἐγκατέλιπον.
10 ἐγὼ δὲ μετὰ φωνῆς αἰνέσεως καὶ ἐξομολογήσεως θύσω σοι·
ὅσα ηὐξάμην, ἀποδώσω εἰς σωτηρίαν μου τῷ κυρίῳ.
11 καὶ προσετάγη τῷ κήτει, καὶ ἐξέβαλε τὸν Ιωναν ἐπὶ τὴν ξηράν.

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Posted in LXX

Jonah 1 in the Göttingen LXX

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ΙΩΝΑΣ

1 1 Καὶ ἐγένετο λόγος κυρίου πρὸς Ιωναν τὸν τοῦ Αμαθι λέγων 2 Ἀνάστηθι καὶ πορεύθητι εἰς Νινευη τὴν πόλιν τὴν μεγάλην καὶ κήρυξον ἐν αὐτῇ, ὅτι ἀνέβη ἡ κραυγὴ τῆς κακίας αὐτῆς πρός με. 3 καὶ ἀνέστη Ιωνας τοῦ φυγεῖν εἰς Θαρσις ἐκ προσώπου κυρίου καὶ κατέβη εἰς Ἰόππην καὶ εὗρε πλοῖον βαδίζον εἰς Θαρσις καὶ ἔδωκε τὸ ναῦλον αὐτοῦ καὶ ἐνέβη εἰς αὐτὸ τοῦ πλεῦσαι μετʼ αὐτῶν εἰς Θαρσις ἐκ προσώπου κυρίου. 4 καὶ κύριος ἐξήγειρε πνεῦμα εἰς τὴν θάλασσαν, καὶ ἐγένετο κλύδων μέγας ἐν τῇ θαλάσσῃ, καὶ τὸ πλοῖον ἐκινδύνευε συντριβῆναι. 5 καὶ ἐφοβήθησαν οἱ ναυτικοὶ καὶ ἀνεβόων ἕκαστος πρὸς τὸν θεὸν αὐτῶν καὶ ἐκβολὴν ἐποιήσαντο τῶν σκευῶν τῶν ἐν τῷ πλοίῳ εἰς τὴν θάλασσαν τοῦ κουφισθῆναι ἀπʼ αὐτῶν· Ιωνας δὲ κατέβη εἰς τὴν κοίλην τοῦ πλοίου καὶ ἐκάθευδε καὶ ἔρρεγχε. 6 καὶ προσῆλθε πρὸς αὐτὸν ὁ πρῳρεὺς καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ Τί σὺ ῥέγχεις; ἀνάστα ἐπικαλοῦ τὸν θεόν σου, ὅπως διασώσῃ ὁ θεὸς ἡμᾶς καὶ μὴ ἀπολώμεθα. 7 καὶ εἶπαν ἕκαστος πρὸς τὸν πλησίον αὐτοῦ Δεῦτε βάλωμεν κλήρους καὶ ἐπιγνῶμεν τίνος ἕνεκεν ἡ κακία αὕτη ἐστὶν ἐν ἡμῖν. καὶ ἔβαλον κλήρους, καὶ ἔπεσεν ὁ κλῆρος ἐπὶ Ιωναν. 8 καὶ εἶπαν πρὸς αὐτόν Ἀπάγγειλον ἡμῖν τίνος ἕνεκεν ἡ κακία αὕτη ἐστὶν ἐν ἡμῖν. τίς σου ἡ ἐργασία ἐστί; καὶ πόθεν ἔρχῃ, καὶ ἐκ ποίας χώρας καὶ ἐκ ποίου λαοῦ εἶ σύ; 9 καὶ εἶπε πρὸς αὐτούς Δοῦλος κυρίου ἐγώ εἰμι καὶ τὸν κύριον θεὸν τοῦ οὐρανοῦ ἐγὼ σέβομαι, ὃς ἐποίησε τὴν θάλασσαν καὶ τὴν ξηράν. 10 καὶ ἐφοβήθησαν οἱ ἄνδρες φόβον μέγαν καὶ εἶπαν πρὸς αὐτόν Τί τοῦτο ἐποίησας; διότι ἔγνωσαν οἱ ἄνδρες ὅτι ἐκ προσώπου κυρίου ἦν φεύγων, ὅτι ἀπήγγειλεν αὐτοῖς. 11 καὶ εἶπαν πρὸς αὐτόν Τί σοι ποιήσωμεν, καὶ κοπάσει ἡ θάλασσα ἀφʼ ἡμῶν; ὅτι ἡ θάλασσα ἐπορεύετο καὶ ἐξήγειρε μᾶλλον κλύδωνα. 12 καὶ εἶπεν Ιωνας πρὸς αὐτούς Ἄρατέ με καὶ ἐμβάλετέ με εἰς τὴν θάλασσαν, καὶ κοπάσει ἡ θάλασσα ἀφʼ ὑμῶν· διότι ἔγνωκα ἐγὼ ὅτι διʼ ἐμὲ ὁ κλύδων ὁ μέγας οὗτος ἐφʼ ὑμᾶς ἐστι. 13 καὶ παρεβιάζοντο οἱ ἄνδρες τοῦ ἐπιστρέψαι πρὸς τὴν γῆν καὶ οὐκ ἠδύναντο, ὅτι ἡ θάλασσα ἐπορεύετο καὶ ἐξηγείρετο μᾶλλον ἐπʼ αὐτούς. 14 καὶ ἀνεβόησαν πρὸς κύριον καὶ εἶπαν Μηδαμῶς, κύριε, μὴ ἀπολώμεθα ἕνεκεν τῆς ψυχῆς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου τούτου, καὶ μὴ δῷς ἐφʼ ἡμᾶς αἷμα δίκαιον, ὅτι σύ, κύριε, ὃν τρόπον ἐβούλου πεποίηκας. 15 καὶ ἔλαβον τὸν Ιωναν καὶ ἐξέβαλον αὐτὸν εἰς τὴν θάλασσαν, καὶ ἔστη ἡ θάλασσα ἐκ τοῦ σάλου αὐτῆς. 16 καὶ ἐφοβήθησαν οἱ ἄνδρες φόβῳ μεγάλῳ τὸν κύριον καὶ ἔθυσαν θυσίαν τῷ κυρίῳ καὶ ηὔξαντο εὐχάς.*

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*Joseph Ziegler, ed., Duodecim Prophetae (vol. XIII; Vetus Testamentum Graecum. Auctoritate Academiae Scientiarum Gottingensis editum; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1984).

Posted in LXX

International Septuagint Day: February 8

A few years ago Jim Aitken wrote

February 8th is “International Septuagint Day.” Bloggers will be reminding us why it is important to study the LXX, including its text-critical value, its witness to early biblical exegesis, and its place as the first Bible of the Church. Let me offer some other rarely cited reasons:

• It is the largest extant piece of Ptolemaic Greek.
• It is one of the major works of Egyptian Greek literature.
• It is one of the first works of Hellenistic Judaism, though mostly ignored in books on the subject.
• It is (possibly) the largest work of translation literature from antiquity, offering valuable insight for translation studies on both bilingual interference and translation technique.
• It is a work of sub-literary Greek that demonstrates the complexities of Greek register.
• It is a major lexical resource for lesser-known koine words. (not only illustrated by papyri, but illuminating for papyri).
• It testifies to a distinct Jewish-Greek (even Egyptian?) identity.
• It tells us much about educational levels in Egypt and among Jews.

(To understand its theology, we must place it in its context first).

http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/ioscs/feb8/

I’ll be taking part again and providing citations from the highly esteemed Göttingen Septuagint.

Posted in LXX

Reminder: Tomorrow is ‘International Septuagint Day’

There’ll be plenty of LXX stuff here.  For more about the day, visit here.

In 2006, the International Organization for Septuagint and Cognate Studies established February 8 as International Septuagint Day, a day to celebrate the Septuagint and encourage its study.

The date was chosen because, as Robert Kraft noted, it is “the one date we know of from late antiquity on which LXX/OG/Aquila received special attention.” Emperor Justinian’s Novella 146 permitted the Jews of the Roman Empire to read the Scriptures in their synagogues in Greek, Latin, or “any other tongue which in any district allows the hearers better to understand the text”. Specifically, “We make this proviso that those who use Greek shall use the text of the seventy interpreters…”

This novella (see English translation) was published on the eighth day of February in the year 553 CE.

Septuaginta. Band 3,1 Numeri (2nd Ed.)

A review copy of this newly published work arrived some months back and having made use of it I can offer the following remarks concerning the edition.

First, the earlier edition of the LXX book of Numbers was published in 1982 and the present 2nd edition was published this year (2020).

The first edition was 443 pages and the second edition is, likewise, 443 pages.

In the first edition this is the text which appears on page 47:

1:1 Και ἐλάλησεν κύριος προς Μωυσῆν ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ τῇ Σινά, ἐν τῇ σκηνῇ τοῦ μαρτυρίου, ἐν μιᾷ τοῦ μηνος τοῦ δευτέρου ἔτους δευτέρου ἐξελθόντων αὐτῶν ἐκ γῆς Αἰγύπτου, λέγων 2 Λάβετε ἀρχην πάσης συναγωγῆς υἱῶν Ἰσραηλ κατα συγγενείας αὐτῶν, κατʼ οἴκους πατριῶν

And here is the text on page 47 in the second edition:

In the first edition, on page 293, the poetic structure is visually supported:

ἀνατελεῖ ἄστρον ἐξ Ἰακώβ,
και ἀναστήσεται ἄνθρωπος ἐξ Ἰσραήλ,
και θραύσει τους ἀρχηγους Μωάβ,
και προνομεύσει πάντας υἱους Σήθ.
18 και ἔσται Ἐδωμ κληρονομία,
και ἔσται κληρονομία Ἠσαυ ὁ ἐχθρος αὐτοῦ·
και Ἰσραηλ ἐποίησεν ἐν ἰσχύι.
19 και ἐξεγερθήσεται ἐξ Ἰακώβ,
και ἀπολεῖ σῳζόμενον ἐκ πόλεως.
20 και ἰδων τον Ἀμαληκ και ἀναλαβων την παραβολην αὐτοῦ εἶπεν

And likewise in the second edition:

The second edition of the Göttingen Septuagint is a republication of the first edition.  I have been unable to find, in any case, any differences either in the introductory material, the text, or the apparatus.  There may be, and I have simply missed them.  But I was unable to discover any.

What, then, is the up side of obtaining the new edition?  First, it has a better cover than the first edition.  And second, it has long been out of print.  And, given the way publishing is today, the present edition may not remain in print very long, so if you have wanted to grab a copy or if your library lacks a stellar copy of the LXX, this may be the best possible time to acquire one.  The textual apparatus is dozens and dozens of times fuller and more useful than the more widely used Rahlfs/ Hanhart edition as well.

No one who is serious about the study of the Old Testament can ignore the LXX.  No one serious about the study of the New Testament can either. As was noted long ago, during a class he was teaching on the Septuagint, Ferdinand Hitzig said to his students

“Gentlemen, have you a Septuagint? If not, sell all you have, and buy a Septuagint.”

I would advise you to do the same.  Though these days it won’t cost you everything that you have.

Cambridge ‘Greek Papyri’ Reading Group

Via James *The Septuagintalist Superstar* Aitken

In conjunction with the Cambridge Septuagint Series: Greek (documentary) papyri reading group. Thursdays at 12 BST. For those with good knowledge of Greek, this offers biblical students experience in reading the Greek of papyri. Email me for login instructions (see image)

Posted in LXX

Isaiah: Septuagint Commentary Series

This work consists of an introduction, transcription, translation, and commentary to the Greek translation of Isaiah in the Codex Sinaiticus. It comments on the Greek language in its context, especially on how the Greek language is stretched beyond its normal range of function. It addresses the peculiarities of Codex Sinaiticus, including its history, scribes, divisions, and orthography. In line with the aims of the Brill Septuagint Commentary Series, it mainly discusses not how the text was produced, but how it was read.

Congratulations to Ken Penner.

The Lexham English Septuagint (LES), Print Edition

The Lexham English Septuagint (LES) is a new translation of the Septuagint, the Greek version of the Old Testament writings used during New Testament times and in the early church. The LES provides a literal, readable, and transparent English edition of the Septuagint for modern readers. Retaining the familiar forms of personal names and places, the LES gives readers the ability to read it alongside their favored English Bible. Translated directly from Swete’s edition of the Septuagint, the LES maintains the meaning of the original text, making the Septuagint accessible to readers today.

The publisher has provided (kindly) a copy of the print edition (with no expectations concerning the outcome of a review).

In my estimation, the best way to think about a translation of the Bible is to compare it with the underlying Hebrew, Aramaic, or Greek text.  In this case, since our translators wish to render the LXX into English, we will take a look at several Greek texts and provide this new edition’s renditions.  In that way people who are familiar with Greek will be able to determine for themselves how accurate the translation is; and those unfamiliar with Greek will be provided with a reason for how the translation is evaluated.

First, then, Jeremiah 1:1-2 (in the Göttingen LXX)

Τὸ ῥῆμα τοῦ θεοῦ, ὃ ἐγένετο ἐπὶ Ιερεμίαν τὸν τοῦ Χελκίου ἐκ τῶν ἱερέων, ὃς κατῴκει ἐν Αναθωθ ἐν γῇ Βενιαμίν·  δς ἐγενήθη λόγος τοῦ θεοῦ πρὸς αὐτὸν ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις Ιωσία υἱοῦ Αμως βασιλέως Ιουδα ἔτους τρισκαιδεκάτου ἐν τῇ βασιλείᾳ αὐτοῦ.

This is rendered by the Lexham LXX thusly-

The word of God that came to Jeremiah, the son of Hilkiah, one of the priests, who dwelled in Anathoth in the land of Benjamin,  the word of God that came to him in the days of Josiah, son of Amos, the king of Judah, in the thirteenth year of his kingdom.

The word ‘son‘ is understood by the Greek text but is not used.  The English translation uses the understood word even though it is absent from the Greek text.  This means that the translation is not ‘woodenly literal’ but offers sense for sense.  This is a good sign as it suggests a very useful and accurate translation.  But let’s look at another verse.

Psalm 23:1- (22:1 in the LXX)-

Κύριος ποιμαίνει με, καὶ οὐδέν με ὑστερήσει.

And the Lexham rendition-

The Lord shepherds me, and nothing will be lacking for me.

‘Nothing lacking for me’ could also be translated ‘and not one thing is missing’.  This, to me, is both more vivid and more faithful to the Greek text.  It also sounds more like English.  ‘Nothing will be lacking for me’ sounds stilted and unnatural.  So while accurate, it is less than it could be.

The LXX’s Isaiah 7:14 reads this way:

διὰ τοῦτο δώσει κύριος αὐτὸς ὑμῖν σημεῖον· ἰδοὺ ἡ παρθένος ἐν γαστρὶ ἕξει καὶ τέξεται υἱόν, καὶ καλέσεις τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ Εμμανουηλ·

The Lexham rendering goes this way:

Because of this, the Lord himself will give you a sign: Look, the virgin ⌊will become pregnant⌋ and will bear a son, and you will call his name Immanuel.

Readers of the Hebrew Bible will know that the underlying Hebrew word used here is ‘almah’ which means ‘young lady’.  It does not use the word ‘bethulah’ which means ‘virgin’.  The LXX, however, uses the word normally describing a ‘virgin’ (under Christian influence?) and not just a young lady.  Curiously, in the electronic edition, the Lexham LXX has ‘maiden’ in place of ‘virgin.’  Apparently this newer work decided to retain the LXX’s understanding rather than adopting the Hebrew viewpoint (as reflected in the electronic edition).

These samplings give potential readers of this new print edition some idea of the method and contents of the English translation of the Septuagint.  Lexham has done a good job in translating the underlying Greek text both fairly and accurately, even if at times other translation choices would have been better.

But that’s the thing about translation: it is both science and art.  And even between the earlier electronic edition and the current print edition there are subtle adjustments because, and this is important, our understanding is always growing and our translations should be adjusted accordingly.

Anyone who believes that there’s such a thing as a timeless translation of the Bible understands neither the nature of translation (as art and science) nor the Biblical text itself.  None less than Luther himself realized the peril of translation when he wrote the following after the publication of his 1522 ‘September Testament’-

Secondly, you might say that I have conscientiously translated the New Testament into German to the best of my ability, and that I have not compelled anyone to read it. Rather I have left that open, only doing the work as a service to those who could not do it better. No one is forbidden to do it better! If someone does not wish to read it, he can let it lie, for I do not ask anyone to read it or praise anyone who does so. It is my Testament and my translation, and it shall remain mine. If I have made some mistakes in it (although I am not aware of any, and would most certainly be unwilling to deliberately mistranslate a single letter) I will not allow the papists to be my judges. For their ears are still too long and their hee-haws too weak for them to criticize my translating. I know quite well how much skill, hard work, sense and brains are needed for a good translation. They know it even less than the miller’s donkey, for they have never tried it.

It is said, “He who builds along the road has many masters.” That is how it is with me also. Those who have never been able to speak properly (to say nothing of translating) have all at once become my masters and I must be their pupil. If I were to have asked them how to turn into German the first two words of Matthew, Liber Generationis, not one of them would have been able to say Quack! And now they judge my whole work! Fine fellows! It was also like this for St. Jerome when he translated the Bible. Everybody was his master. He alone was totally incompetent, and people who were not worthy to clean his boots judged the good man’s work. It takes a great deal of patience to do good things in public. The world believes itself to be the expert in everything, while putting the bit under the horse’s tail. Criticizing everything and accomplishing nothing, that is the world’s nature. It can do nothing else.

Translating is hard work.  And no matter how well you do it, you will have critics.  Sadly, most of the time those critics are the very people least equipped to do the work themselves.

So, Lexham, I applaud you for your excellent work.  I quibble with bits and pieces of it, but all in all, it is well done and deserves to sit on the shelves of all who would wish to understand the Septuagint but who, for whatever reason, cannot manage to read it for themselves in Greek.

Septuaginta. Band 11,2 Ecclesiastes

Die Herausgabe der großen kritischen Edition des ältesten erreichbaren Septuaginta-Textes ist Ziel des 1908 gegründeten Septuaginta-Unternehmens der Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Göttingen. Anspruch und Aufgabe einer solchen Edition ist die auf möglichste Vollständigkeit angelegte Erfassung und transmissionsgeschichtliche Auswertung der handschriftlichen überlieferung, angefangen mit den griechischen vorchristlichen Papyri (3./2. Jh. v.Chr.) bis hin zu den Minuskelhandschriften des 16. Jh. n.Chr., sodann der lateinischen, koptischen, syrischen, äthiopischen und armenischen Tochterübersetzungen, ferner der Septuaginta-Zitate bei den griechischen und lateinischen Kirchenschriftstellern unter Einschluss der sog. Catenenüberlieferung und schließlich aller Druckausgaben der Septuaginta vom 16. bis zum 20. Jh. Erstmals erscheint mit Peter Gentrys Arbeit eine vollständige kritische Edition des Buches »Ecclesiastes«. Der vorliegende Band XI bildet den 2. Band der Gesamtreihe »Septuaginta« und setzt so die Göttinger Editio critica maior fort.

The chief concern for those potentially interested in the acquisition of new editions of biblical texts is ‘how is it different from or an improvement upon earlier editions already in my possession?’ This is especially important to those working with a limited budget or who are trying to make the wisest choices for their personal purchases.

And that is the question that many will wish answered concerning this new edition of Ecclesiastes in the extraordinary Göttingen Septuagint. How is it an improvement upon the edition already at hand in Rahlfs/ Hanhart or BHQ?

The answer to this very basic and yet very central question is fairly simple: yes, it is an improvement on Rahlfs and yes it does offer differences substantial enough to justify its acquisition even for those in possession of BHQ (for those interested in the textual history of Ecclesiastes and working in textual criticism in particular).

The numerous differences between the text of Rahlfs and Göttingen which will be detailed by the author in a separate volume (according to Will Ross). There is, unfortunately, no list provided of such differences in the Introduction to Gentry’s edition herein reviewed. This is something of a shame, as users of the volume are now forced to wait for the list of variations or hunt them down and discover them for themselves.

In the above cited interview the editor also remarks

The Greek Translation has only a dozen places where it differs from MT, and most of these are not serious issues. The differences between MT and LXX were exaggerated by the editor of the BHQ volume on Ecclesiastes.

Curious about this, I posed the question to Adrian Schenker, the Editor in Chief of BHQ, and he replied that the editor of Ecclesiastes for BHQ was not inclined to exaggerations.

To be sure, editors will often see things differently.  Yet there is no evidence within the edition of BHQ itself that its findings have been exaggerated.

A fairly brisk comparison of Rahlfs and Gentry yields the following samplings:

1:1

  • Rahlfs- Ῥήματα Ἐκκλησιαστοῦ υἱοῦ Δαυιδ βασιλέως Ισραηλ ἐν Ιερουσαλημ.
  • Gentry- Ῥήματα Ἐκκλησιαστοῦ υἱοῦ Δαυὶδ βασιλέως Ἰσραὴλ ἐν Ἰερουσαλήμ.

2:1

  • Rahlfs- Εἶπον ἐγὼ ἐν καρδίᾳ μου Δεῦρο δὴ πειράσω σε ἐν εὐφροσύνῃ, καὶ ἰδὲ ἐν ἀγαθῷ, καὶ ἰδοὺ καί γε τοῦτο ματαιότης.
  • Gentry- Εἶπον ἐγὼ ἐν καρδίᾳ μου Δεῦρο δὴ πειράσω σε ἐν εὐφροσύνῃ, καὶ ἰδὲ ἐν ἀγαθῷ· καὶ ἰδοὺ καί γε τοῦτο ματαιότης.

2:24a

  • Rahlfs- Οὐκ ἔστιν ἀγαθὸν ἐν ἀνθρώπῳ, ὃ φάγεται καὶ πίεται καὶ δείξει τῇ ψυχῇ αὐτοῦ, ἀγαθὸν ἐν μόχθῳ αὐτοῦ.
  • Gentry- Οὐκ ἔστιν ἀγαθὸν ἐν ἀνθρώπῳ· ὃ φάγεται καὶ πίεται, καὶ δείξει τῇ ψυχῇ αὐτοῦ ἀγαθὸν ἐν μόχθῳ αὐτοῦ.

12:9

  • Rahlfs- Καὶ περισσὸν ὅτι ἐγένετο Ἐκκλησιαστὴς σοφός, ἔτι ἐδίδαξεν γνῶσιν σὺν τὸν λαόν, καὶ οὖς ἐξιχνιάσεται κόσμιον παραβολῶν.
  • Gentry- Καὶ περισσὸν ὅτι ἐγένετο Ἐκκλησιαστὴς σοφός, ἔτι ἐδίδαξεν γνῶσιν σὺν τὸν ἄνθρωπον, καὶ οὖς ἐξιχνιάσεται κόσμιον παραβολῶν.

Our third sampling (2:24a) and our fourth (12:9) show slight differences between Rahlfs and Gentry.  Text critics wanting to know the reason for these differences will find amazingly full textual notes and here we arrive at the chief difference between these two editions:  the incredibly thorough textual material brought to bear in witness to the readings provided in the Göttingen Septuagint when compared to the scant and slight materials of the critical apparatus of Rahlfs is astonishing.

The volume’s introduction comprises half of its entire contents and the text of Ecclesiastes barely occupies a fifth of the page whereas the textual notes and other materials take up 4’5ths of each page.

This is a remarkable work which students of Ecclesiastes will absolutely find indispensable (and I do not use that word lightly or carelessly).  Textual critics will make use of it for centuries to come (and I do not say that lightly either).  And finally, students of the Greek text of the Old Testament will need to consult if if they intend to do any serious work on the text of Ecclesiastes.

Gentry may be wrong about the viewpoint of the editor of the BHQ volume on Ecclesiastes, and he may be forgiven for holding off his list of variations between Rahlfs and his own work, but he is to be congratulated for producing an amazingly meticulous text critical masterpiece.