Re: How good is Septuagint as a translation of Hebrew Scripture?

From: Albert L. Lukaszewski (
Date: Sat Feb 27 1999 - 13:50:18 EST

For those interested in translation technique in LXX, a very helpful book I
have found is Staffan Olofsson's _The LXX Version: A Guide to the
Translation Technique of the Septuagint_. It essentially contains the
reference material he used in his dissertation which is published as _God
is My Rock: A Study of Translation Technique and Theological Exegesis in
the Septuagint_. Both books are in the Old Testament Series published by
Almqvist & Wiksell International of Stockholm, Sweden.

Albert L. Lukaszewski
Fuller Theological Seminary

At 01:02 AM 2/27/99, Moon-Ryul Jung wrote:
>Many thanks for the answers to my previous question on the location of
>chapter 26 of MSS in Septuagint. It was chapter 33 in LXX. I read it, and
>found out that the translation was unacceptably literal to me. For example,
>the waw-relative with imperfective and the waw-relative with
>perfective form are translated to "KAI + perfect or aorist", and to
>"KAI + future". So, the waw is mapped to KAI one to one. It seems that the
>LXX translators disregard the discourse function of waw in wayyiqtol or
>wqtl forms. I read that the LXX translators were Jew,
>who spoke Greek. From this I, as a novice in this field, would draw the
>following tentative conclusions. I would be thankful if you make some
>comments on them.
>1. The range of meaning/function of KAI is much broader than
> that of English "and", and can cover the range of meaning/function
> of Hebrew WAW. I remember I read that "X KAI Y" may be translated to
> "X, namely (or even) Y". Here Y is taken to explain X. One of the
> functions of wayyiqtol form is to explain the previous statement.
> But can KAI be used to state the logical or temporal
> consequence of the previous statement like wayyiqtol form can?
> If so, this first conclusion seems plausible. I would like to
> draw conclusions that respect those translators who knew Hebrew
> being Jew and spoke Greek as a living language.
>2. Even if those translators knew that mapping WAW to KAI did not produce
> meaning preserving Greek, they thought that making the translation
> as close to the original Scripture was appropriate. This conclusion
> is odd at the fact that some translation in LXX are quite free. But
> some translators might have thought that literal translation was
> good, while others did not.
>Moon-Ryul Jung, Ph.D
>Dept of Computer Science,
>Soongsil University
>Seoul, Korea
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