Re: Priority of LXX for NT meaning

From: Edgar M. Krentz (
Date: Sat Nov 16 1996 - 05:49:40 EST

>The discussion about semantic domains has raised a question in my mind
>that's been lurking there for some time. Does anyone know of any
>comparative research on the influence of the LXX on NT word meaning?
>Should it have priority over classical usus loquendi. For example,
>the meaning of KEFALH, head, seems to borrow from the Hebrew metaphor
>of ROSH as "source" in Eph 4:15. Cervin, in an article in 1989
>(JAAR) writes "the meaning 'source' is indeed very rare." He sites
>four examples in the classics (but in the plural, not singular).
> If the meaning "source" is rare in the classics, it seems the LXX
> has influenced it's use in the Eph 4:15 especially in the light that
>the author has just quoted Psalms 68:18 within the context (v.8).

First, some bibliography. Scholarly work that discusses the influence of
the LXX on the language of the NT include the following:

Edwin Hatch, ESSAYKS ON BIBLICAL GREEK (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1889) is
devoted entirely to this topic. (I think that Hendrickson reprinted this
not too long ago.) Highly significant!

Charles Harold Dodd, THE BIBLE AND THE GREEKS (London: HOdder & Stoughton,
1935; rep. 1954) has relevant material in his first five chapters.

Finally, two books by Wilfred L. Knox, ST PAUL AND THE CHURCH OF THE
GENTILES (Cambridge: at the University Press, 1939, rep. 1961) has some
relevant material, as does his ST PAUL AND THE CHURCH OF JERUSALEM
(Cambridge: at the University Press, 1925). You need to "mine" these two to
get the material.


Second, one cannot (should not) make any general rule about whether LXX or
Hellenistic-Roman Koine has priority in shaping the language of the NT. You
really need to examine each passage on its own for this.

Edgar Krentz, New Testament OR *****
Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
1100 East 55th Street
TEL.: 773-256-0752 FAX: 773-256-0782

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