Book Review: “Discovering the Septuagint: A Graded Reader,” by Karen H. Jobes, ed.


New Testament Greek has experienced an explosion of popularity as of late. I would have to think that the accessibility of resources (online and others) have contributed at least a little. And while there are numerous helpful contributions that have been published, physically or digitally, recently, less can be said about the Septuagint (LXX hereafter). As most students of the Bible probably know, much of the New Testament, when quoting the Old Testament, incorporated the LXX. Although it would still be recommended for purposes of exegesis to know Hebrew for the OT and Greek for the NT, having a handle on the LXX is something that many intermediate and advanced students of Greek could benefit from studying (including me).

Karen H. Jobes has made a considerable effort to contribute to this apparently vacant field of biblical studies by writing, along with several contributors, Discovering the Septuagint: A Guided Reader. Since the OT is enormous, she obviously couldn’t write a reader on the entire Tanakh, but has selected passages ranging from the Pentateuch, to Ruth, Esther, the Psalms, Hosea, Jonah, Malachi, and Isaiah. Each chapter/section offers a really helpful, yet brief, introduction to the passages that are about to be translated. And then, like most “readers,” the author(s) parses sections of each version found within the passage being studied. Not every word is unpacked, so having a significant knowledge of Greek vocabulary would be important, but the exegetical observations are quite fruitful in my estimation. For those more used to reading the Greek New Testament, this study of the LXX really is different, but a nice change. One thing I would point out in my reading of this book is that it is not a “devotional” nor devotionally-focused, but it doesn’t claim to be either (in case some may have expected there to be more personal application). Overall, I see this text as being tremendously beneficial for a college/seminary course in the LXX as an introductory book, though I’m sure veterans in the LXX could find use in this as well.


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