In the fall/winter term of last year, I had the privilege of serving as proofreader, editing assistant, bibliographer, etc. for Dr. Jim Aitken for his book, T&T Clack Companion to the Septuagint, which has recently been released. Dr. Aitken is a delightful man and highly respected scholar worldwide. I simply wanted to learn more about the Septuagint, so I applied to work part time for him, and it was a great experience. The book provides concise introductions to each book in the Greek translation of the Old Testament (for my intro, see this post), including the canonical and non-canonical books. The contributors include a wide range of respected Septuagint scholars from around the world. So far it has received solid reviews:
“This volume fills a real gap in biblical scholarship, by characterizing the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible, book by book. Nothing like this has hitherto existed. This is a most useful book.” – John J. Collins, Yale Divinity School
“This volume, as suggested above, is a funhouse of Septuagintal joy. It is a true companion volume which readers will find so incredibly useful that their actual human companions may find its readers distant and distracted and spending more time with it than them.” – Jim West
The structure of each chapter is more or less the same and provides certain angles on the Septuagint that are not often explored, such as translation patterns/style and vocabulary.
- Editions (critical Greek texts and English/French/German translations)
- General Characteristics
- Time and Place of Composition
- Translation and Composition
- Key Text-Critical Issues
- Ideology and Exegesis
- Reception History
It is pitched at a hybrid audience of masters-level students and specialists; some of the chapters are a bit easier and some are more technical (depending on the author). Though I ultimately read most of it twice as part of the editing process, I can easily attest that it is quite dense and is not something that can be mastered with a single reading. It best serves as a reference work for ongoing use. (Too bad it costs an arm and a leg!)
It was a very enjoyable project to help with, and I look forward to continuing to learn from Dr. Aitken in my time here. He is a student favorite in the divinity world at Cambridge, insofar as he regularly takes time to do special seminars and teaching sessions.
For what it’s worth, two of Dr. Aitken’s doctoral students are personal friends and fellow Tyndale House readers. They blog at: