Re: LXX translation

From: Edgar M. Krentz (
Date: Wed Nov 22 1995 - 12:03:42 EST

Ken Litwak wrote
> This note is a follow-up to your suggestions to me for chapters to
>submit for my doctoral Greek exam. Concerning the passage in
>Wisd. of Sol., I don't have handy a translation of this book, so would you
>mind telling me why these chapters (6-9) in particular? I know that
>Dunn's commentary on Romans makes many comparisons to Wis. of Sol.,
>but I didn't specifi8cally remember it being to this part. I thought
>I might do a chapter from this book, PS 16 and 110, something from
>Genesis, Isa 61 and hadn't really decided on the other passages.

How many chapters of the LXX do you need to do for your examination? If you
were writing for me, I would probably ask about 15 chapters minimum.
Anyone can memorize the translation of three or four chapters. I always
include some sight translation of unprepared material on Greek
examinations, either from the NT or the LXX.

You probably do have a handy translation of the Wisdom of Solomon at hand
if you have the NRSV, RSV, or REB on your desk. Each includes the OT
deutero-canonicla books, if you purchase the compelte text. [A suggestion:
Read the complete Apocrypha in English in addition to translating a few
chapters from the Greek.]

Wisdom 6:12-10:1 is a lengthy discussion of SOFIA. I suggested the reading
of it for two reasons.

1. Its Greek will challenge you, especially its vocabulary. Note the 20+
adjectives describing wisdom in 7:22-24. [The syntax is not difficult.]
After you read this much of Wisdom, you will have increased your vocabulary

2. These chapters are highly imprtant for understanding the wisdom
Christology of the NT. You must know Wisdom 7 if you mean to understand
Hebrews 1:q-4, for example.

I could add a third reason. These chapters show the reader who is aware how
much the thought of the hellenistic world has permeated the writer's
language, e.g. the hrase in 8:1 KASI DIOIOKEI TA PANTA XRHSTWS, or the
modification of the four cardinal virtues of Plato [and later Greek
thought] in 8:6-7.

In general, a graduate student in NT hould aid to be able to read most of
the GNT at sit=ght, except for those lists of precious jewels in Apoc. 21,
etc. Wide reading in the LXX will aid that goal, inter alia.


Edgar Krentz, New Testament
Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
Tel.: 312-256-0752; (H) 312-947-8105

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