Review: Discovering the Septuagint

51ulobktchl-_sx348_bo1204203200_Anyone familiar with the Septuagint knows the important role that it plays in New Testament studies. The Septuagint is a translation of the Hebrew Bible into Greek, and was widely used by the time of Jesus and the Apostles. Moreover, the Septuagint is a translation of the Old Testament most often cited or alluded to by the New Testament authors.

The contemporary student of the Septuagint (LXX) will likewise be well-acquainted with the name Karen Jobes. She is professor emerita of New Testament Greek and Exegesis at Wheaton College and Graduate School and author of Invitation to the Septuagint (with Moíses Silva). Jobes has also done extensive work on the LXX Esther, including her PhD dissertation and the English translation in the highly acclaimed New English Translation of the Septuagint (NETS).

Most recently, Jobes has assisted in bridging a much needed gap for students of New Testament Greek. Discovering the Septuagint: A Guided Reader is a chaperoned tour into the world of LXX Greek, and includes roughly 700 verses from nine LXX books (Genesis, Exodus, Ruth, Additions to Esther, Psalms, Hosea, Jonah, Malachi, and Isaiah). The purpose of the book is to provide advance students of New Testament Greek with a transitional guide into the landscape of LXX Greek.

Each chapter begins with a brief introduction to the book in the LXX, including the translation style from Hebrew to Greek by the LXX translators. The introductions conclude with a selected bibliography. The Greek text (Rahlfs-Hanhart) is then presented to the reader in a verse-by-verse fashion with comments throughout. Because the target audience is assumed to have a sufficient knowledge and understanding of New Testament Greek, the comments are not exhaustive but intentional.

Jobes has curated the volume so that readers will gain a better sense of the LXX style and form, and thus build upon a previously laid foundation. There are occasional comments on vocabulary, including parsing and lexical information not included in Metzger’s Lexical Aids for Students of New Testament Greek. The reader will also encounter a translation of the LXX from NETS, and a list of all texts quoted by New Testament authors.

Discovering the Septuagint: A Guided Reader edited by Karen Jobes is an excellent companion resource for anyone interested in expanding their understanding of the Greek language beyond the New Testament. It is a much needed bridge that has now been built, and Greek students everywhere should rejoice in this long awaited tool. As someone with an intermediate knowledge of New Testament Greek, I found this volume well situated for the task it presents and very helpful in its explanations.

That said, it isn’t a resource for everybody. However, if you are reading this review with interests, then I can almost guarantee that it is a resource that will benefit you. It will keep you sharp in your linguistic pursuits and guide you across a newly constructed bridge that previously required a longwinded jump. For that reason alone, it comes highly recommended!

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