Posted On November 15, 2016

Discovering the Septuagint: A Guided Reader

by | Nov 15, 2016 | Theology, Featured

I am a language nerd. While not a linguistic expert by any stretch of the imagination, I nevertheless fully understand the importance of knowing what words mean in context as well as the development of terms over time. It seems when studying Scripture and especially when engaging in the exegesis of God’s Word, we forget it was not written in 21st century English. Enter into this discussion the topic of the Septuagint. If you are a language geek like myself but are not sure what that is, then I recommend Karen Jobes’ book Discovering the Septuagint: A Guided Reader.

Keep in mind this is not a history book on the Septuagint although a brief two-page introduction to the Septuagint and its importance is provided for the reader. This book is a language primer, specifically intended to “give readers a taste of different genres, an experience of distinctive Septuagintal elements, and a sampling of texts later used by writers of the New Testament.”

Studying the Septuagint as whole or even studying snippets might seem like a rather boring enterprise for some. I would recommend such an approach to the Septuagint be reconsidered. Given it is a translation of the OT Hebrew into Greek, digging into the Septuagint provides the student of Scripture a means to take a look at many important elements of language. Furthermore, the NT authors referred to and quoted from the Septuagint. This means understanding points of language in the Septuagint is not merely an OT exercise. It has great importance in understanding the NT text as well.

Over 660 verses within 9 different OT books are analyzed with the format being the passage provided in Greek and varying degrees of analysis, definitions, and commentary provided depending on the content of the passage in question. Additionally, each pericope is followed by the English translation derived from A New English Translation of the Septuagint. If there are any quotations from the OT text being discussed, those cross references are also provided. The format is very easy to follow and while this is certainly intended to be a textbook style work, the information provided is written in a manner that can be understood by anyone with a basic working knowledge of the language. Those without such a working knowledge should not despair as the content can easily be understood and absorbed by those with a more novice level of understanding (such as myself).

Whether you are a novice language nerd like myself that loves to dig into word meanings or if you are one with a more developed understanding when it comes to matters of linguistics, Discovering the Septuagint is a must have for your bible study book collection.

I received this book for free from Kregel Academic and the opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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