New Introduction to the Septuagint

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. Aitken picDr. 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.

  1. Editions (critical Greek texts and English/French/German translations)
  2. General Characteristics
  3. Time and Place of Composition
  4. Language
  5. Translation and Composition
  6. Key Text-Critical Issues
  7. Ideology and Exegesis
  8. 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.

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For what it’s worth, two of Dr. Aitken’s doctoral students are personal friends and fellow Tyndale House readers. They blog at:

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