Friday, October 7, 2016

Book Review: Discovering the Septuagint: A Guided Reader


Book Review: Discovering the Septuagint: A Guided Reader edited by Karen H. Jobes

            As far as Hebrew Bible is concerned (the Christian “Old Testament”) Karen H. Jobes is a big player and a respected scholar. The book is designed to help students read the Greek of the Septuagint or LXX, that is, the translation of the Hebrew Bible into Greek done about three centuries before the time of Christ. However, anyone interested in learning Biblical Greek should look for help elsewhere; this material is for someone with a good year of Koiné Greek under their belt and interested in progressing in their reading skills.
            The student will find help with the wider Greek vocabulary of the Septuagint (as compared to the more limited vocabulary of the New Testament). There will also be help with the peculiar Hebrew-influenced syntax of the LXX Greek, as it will be challenging for the person used to the Greek constructions in the New Testament.
            There are chapters with readings from Genesis, Exodus (the Ten Commandments!), Ruth, some Psalms, Hosea, Jonah, Malachi, and my favorite, Isaiah, including, of course, Isaiah 53, the most famous Messianic chapter in the Hebrew Bible.
            The notes explicate terms, syntax, and contextual issues; there are also notes on textual issues both in the Hebrew Bible, the Septuagint manuscripts, and even the Dead Sea Scrolls. I think I would have liked more detailed notes on exegetical issues (or maybe I’ve just been spoiled by Daniel Wallace’s intermediate Greek syntax). Jobe’s book also has a brief Glossary of Technical Terms.

4/5 stars

Disclosure: The book was received for free from Kregel Academic & Ministry book review program. The program does not require a positive review, only a truthful one.