The Euphemist

Reflections on Jewish Studies and many other subjects big and little, by a perpetual student who sometimes searches a little too long for just the right word ...

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Christian, truth seeker, husband, son, brother & uncle, Lutheran pastor, musician (cello, etc.), Jewish Studies grad student, intellectual historian, aquarium enthusiast & pet owner, philologist, astronomer, Norwegian-American, Ford pickup driver, buffoon.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Invitation to the Septuagint

So why does a guy like me decide to read an ancient Greek translation of the Old Testament all the way through over the course of a few years, and broadcast his observations to the world? Here's my Top Ten List of reasons:

1. Hey, man, it's the Bible that I'm reading!

2. It's often (but not always) quoted verbatim in the original Greek New Testament.

3. It was the version of the Old Testament Scriptures in most common use among early Greek-speaking Christians.

4. It's one of our best pieces of evidence as to how Greek-speaking Jews in the 3rd-1st centuries before Christ understood the Tanakh (Hebrew Scriptures).

5. It's the perfect way to keep my Greek sharp while also delving deeper into the Hebrew Scriptures and the Second Temple period.

6. Though it's a translation from the original Hebrew, it's possible that parts of it are translated from an older form of the Hebrew text than the manuscripts we have in Hebrew. Thus it's a key piece of evidence in reconstructing the original text.

7. It appeared at a time when the Jews were for the first time interacting on a major scale with the culture and thought forms of the Classical Greek world.

8. It continues to have an important role in some Christian circles today, such as in the Eastern Orthodox Church.

9. I'm itching to do something related to my Second Temple Era studies, even though I have a few more of the preliminaries to finish yet in my program.

10. It's just plain cool! (and it's a better version than The Message ...)

By the way, I lifted the title of this post from this book of the same title which I've not read yet, but this excellent essay by C.S. Lewis points out how reading the originals is superior to reading books about them anyway. So did I plagiarize this post title? I thought of calling it "How Opal Mehta Got Kissed By the Greek Old Testament and Got a Big Fat Greek Life", but I doubt the chick lit industry would have taken much notice.


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