International Septuagint Day

Did you know that 8 February has been designated ‘International Septuagint Day’? Some readers will; probably many won’t!

You may not feel the need to buy cards or chocolates on this particular notable date, but it is nonetheless worth pausing to recognise this day.

As you may well know, the ‘Septuagint’ is the name given to the Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures (the Old Testament). This collection of Greek translations played a very important role within the early Christian churches, since most early Christians could not read Hebrew and so read the Scriptures in Greek translation. It is also an important resource for interpretation of difficult Hebrew texts. The site of the main scholarly society for Septuagint studies, the IOSCS, has lots of information about the Septuagint, and links to many other relevant sites.

If you don’t possess a copy of the Septuagint, you can read it free of charge using the wonderful STEP Bible. If you select the Septuagint along with an English translation, you can effectively read an interlinear version of the Septuagint. You can also click on a Greek word to see the meaning. Try it!

At Septuagint &c, William Ross reminds us about this special date and introduces a major figure in Septuagint studies. One of the significant scholars in Septuagint studies is Karen Jobes, and you can read an interview with Dr Jobes at Will’s site too.

Karen Jobes is worthy of your attention, in my view, because she is:

  1. a distinguished female scholar;
  2. an excellent commentator on various New Testament texts, notably 1 Peter and the Johannine Letters;
  3. an evangelical scholar, in the Reformed tradition;
  4. a leading contributor to academic study of the Septuagint, but also an effective communicator of Septuagint studies to a wider readership. In particular, those who would like to understand the Septuagint better should note two of Jobes’s books: Invitation to the Septuagint, (2nd edition, Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2015), written with her scholarly mentor, Moises Silva; and, for students of Greek, Discovering the Septuagint (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel, 2016). A substantial sample of the latter book is available on the publisher’s web site. This will allow readers of Greek to work through the first three chapters of Genesis in the Septuagint.

You can read a number of Karen Jobes’s articles on her web site.

Whether you read Greek or not, why not take a few minutes today to learn something more about the Septuagint?