Skip to main content

Discovering the Septuagint: A Tool for the Student of the Greek language

Discovering the Septuagint: A Guided Reader. Edited by Karen H. Jobes. Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 2016. 351 pp. $39.99. ISBN 978-0-8254-4342-8.

            Learning any language is difficult, even one’s own. So, learning Greek, specifically that Greek which was used in the first century of our era, can seem like a daunting task. Yet, learning this language is such a rewarding and important pursuit. Rewarding because by learning to read Greek, a whole world of literature is opened to the reader, including not only the New Testament manuscripts, but, with some differences, many of the Greek texts of the early church fathers, and the ancient Greek philosophers. What is more, one will also be able to read the ancient Greek translation of the Old Testament that is known as the Septuagint. The Septuagint was the version of the Old Testament that was used by many Jews in the time of Christ, and it became the “Old Testament” of the early church (being referred to by such great Christian thinkers as Justin Martyr and Tertullian). The most common practice for learning Greek in Seminaries is to introduce the student, bit by bit, to the Greek New Testament—frequently starting with the Gospel of John, or the Epistles that bear his name. Advanced courses in Greek may look at different, more difficult, books of the New Testament. Now the student of Greek can also interact with the Greek Old Testament.

Discovering the Septuagint introduces the intermediate Greek student to a number of important texts from the ancient Greek Old Testament. After a short explanation concerning the purpose and best use of the book, and a short introduction to the Septuagint, the student of the Greek language is introduced to many important Old Testament texts. The selections are taken from Genesis 1-3, Exodus 14-15, Exodus 20, the entire book of Ruth, the non-canonical sections of Esther, several Psalms (including Psalm 22), selections from Hosea, the entire book of Jonah, Malachi, and sections from Isaiah. Each of the major sections, which present various selections from different Old Testament books, are edited and introduced by different specialists. This means that the reader of this book is being taught how to read the Septuagint by those who have spent years studying the Septuagint. Each passage is given a verse-by-verse treatment, meaning that we first read a verse in Greek, followed by a detailed explanation of some of the more difficult or nuanced words. Each section concludes with a note about where the verses in that section might be quoted in the New Testament, and a full translation of all the verses looked at in that section.

This book is a welcome addition to the already enormous selection of Greek study materials. Students of Greek will find in this book an excellent introduction to the Greek of the Septuagint, and an excellent resource, not only for improving their ability to understand Greek, but, also, for improving their understanding of Old Testament exegesis. 

I received this book from Kregel publications, free of charge, so that I could write an unbiased review.

Popular posts from this blog

How Kant’s Synthesis of Empiricism and Rationalism resulted in Agnosticism

Immanuel Kant, presented with the extreme empiricism of Hume and the extreme rationalism of Liebniz, which he discovered through the writings Wolff, sought to take a middle road between these two extreme philosophical positions. I would submit that Kant’s synthesis of these two views leads to an agnosticism about what Kant called “the thing-in-itself”, and ultimately to the philosophical positions known as Atheism, determinism, and nihilism.

Kant’s Sources
First of all, Kant was influenced by Hume’s empiricism and Newton’s physics. He saw that the physical sciences, in contrast to rationalistic metaphysics, were actually making advances. They were making discoveries, and building a system of knowledge that accurately described the world of our sense perceptions. Rationalistic metaphysics, on the other hand, was floundering amidst the combating systems that the philosophers were erecting. It did not provide new knowledge, and only led to unacceptable conclusions, such as the Absolute Mon…

A Short outline of Charles Taylor's: The Malaise of Modernity

            This is simply an outline of Taylor’s basic argument in this short work written by Charles Taylor. The idea of this outline is to help the reader understand the book by providing a simple outline of the basic argument that Taylor is presenting here. The book, which is essentially the manuscript is the fruit of a series of presentations that Taylor made at the Massey Conferences which are hosted by Massey College and Radio-Canada, is divided into 10 chapters. In the first chapter Taylor essentially proposes three causes (recognizing that there may be more) of the Malaise of Modernity: (1) Individualism or the Loss of Sense, (2) The Primacy of Instrumental Reason or the Loss of Ends, and (3) The effect on society and politics in general of the loss of sense to an inauthentic individualism and the domination of instrumental reason, or, the loss of true freedom. Taylor considers the first Malaise in chapters 2 to 8, the second in c…


Leisure: The Basis of Culture & the Philosophical Act. Josef Pieper. Translated by Alexander Dru. 1963. Reprint, Ignatius Press, 2009. 143 pp. $12.99. ISBN 978-1-58617-256-5.
            This book is composed of two articles written by the German philosopher Josef Pieper. Though the two articles are intimately connected, they form two distinct works; as such, this book review will begin by giving a brief introduction to the works in question, followed by and exposition of each of the works individually. The two articles that are included in this book, Leisure: the Basis of Culture and The Philosophical Act, were both published in 1947, and, as such, were written during the cultural crisis in Germany that followed the Second World War. Not only did Pieper have the cultural crisis in mind when he wrote these articles, but he was also writing in light of the works of the most well-known German philosopher of the time – Martin Heidegger. As such, any reader who is familiar with Heidegg…