RE: Quality of the Septuagint - Which books?

From: Clayton Bartholomew (
Date: Sat Oct 11 1997 - 05:57:21 EDT


I will risk saying that Jim West's "This is myth pure and simple"
statement is rather an over simplification. But this is really a
question of critical introduction and off subject for this list.

W.B. Swete has a good introduction to the LXX published in 1914
which is available for a very reasonable price from CBD. Also
from Hendrikson, there is a short grammar on the LXX by
Conybeare and Stock (1905). In a more recent work I believe
that Emanual Tov has published some things on the LXX. You
might check Eisenbrauns Web site for information on this.

I have taken a keen interest in the LXX but fall far short of being
an expert on the subject. I have translated Ecclesiastes and the
apocalyptic portions of Daniel as well as small portions from
several of the prophets. My work in Daniel was not strictly
speaking in the LXX but in Theodotian. Daniel is one of the books
which is kind of a mess in the LXX. Ecclesiastes however is a
quality translation, in the hyper literal style of Aquila. I did have
difficulties in the Major prophets particularly Isaiah and
Jeramiah. Ezekiel, what little I translated of it seemed to be
less troublesome than the others. My impressions of Genesis
and Exodus are that they are very elegant translations, hyper
literal by today's standards but without the distinctive
characteristics of Aquila.

These are just a few personal impressions. The whole question
of *translation quality* is very subjective. So I am giving you
one student's response to the several portions of the LXX.

Clay Bartholomew
Three Tree Point

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