Re: Septuagint Question

Nichael Lynn Cramer (
Thu, 23 May 1996 19:27:36 -0400

At 5:31 PM 5/23/96, ...drew wrote:
> Greetings:
> My name is drew o. odegaard. I am new to this mail-list and
>by way of introduction, I have a question on a book I found - The Septuagint.
> In 1988, I obtained a copy of the Septuagint Version of the Old
>Testement with "An English Translation; and with various readings and
>critical notes." It was published by S. Bagster and Sons Limited.
>London. (and New York: James Pott & Co.)
> I found it at an estate sale in Duluth, Minnesota, and I am
>wondering if it is a good work to use and study from? And, does anyone on
>this list know the year of publication of this book - or where I might
>find out when it was published? (for it fails to list this information.)

Hi Drew

This is the translation of the Septuagint by Sir Lancelot C. L. Brenton.
It was originally published by S. Bagster in 1851. (A Greek/English
"interlinear" edition of this book is currently published by Hendrickson
for about $50 --although one can almost always find it on sale for ~$25.)

The Septuagint is the "standard" ancient translation of the Hebrew
Scriptures into Greek (it is almost certainly the version of the OT/HB that
were known to and used by the majority of the authors of the NT).

There are two things you should be aware of. First the text of the
Septuagint [usally abbreviated LXX] differs in many places from the current
standard Hebrew text, in some books quite significantly. (In short, the
text that underlay the translation of the LXX and the text underlying what
was later to become standard "Masoretic" text of the Hebrew Scriptures
appear to have differed quite a bit.)

If you are goint to pursue this topic, you may want to do some additional
reading. For example, check out the section on the Septuagint in Bruce
Metzger's _The Early Versions of the NT_. (Two other, deeper books are
Kenyon's _Text of the Greek Bible_ and Emmanuel Tov's _The Text-Critical
Use of the Septuagint in Biblical Research_.)

Second, Brenton's translation is quite old; both in the sense that his
English style seems rather dated now (as I'm sure you're aware ;-) and that
the underlying text he used is now well over a century out of date by
modern critical standards. OTOH, unfortunately Brenton's seems to be the
only translation of the entire Septuagint into English.

So in answer to you question "is it useful", yes it can be in the sense
that it will give you an view into an earlier, alternative textual history
underlying our current OT. However as an "interpretive" tool, it is
probably less useful. In any case, this particular edition needs to be
approached with some caveats.

Nichael __ Be as passersby -- IC