Today I Read Psalm 1 from… a Reader’s Septuagint!

Today I read Psalm 1 out of the just-released Septuaginta: A Reader’s Edition, and it was just as wonderful as I’ve long imagined it would be!

First and foremost, this is due to the power of Scripture itself. The Psalms are just amazing. And there’s something about reading the Bible in its first languages that fosters (at least for me) a deeper sense of connection to the church throughout time and space.

But until this month, Bible readers and original language students could only read the Septuagint with the aid of a lexicon or Bible software. Other than a few tools with selected passages, there was no edition of the Septuagint with footnoted vocabulary and parsings throughout, so that you could pick up one book and read, with all the help you needed at the bottom of the page.

Readers of this blog are likely aware of the existence of a reader’s Hebrew Bible and a reader’s Greek New Testament. I have pined for a reader’s edition of the Septuagint, and now it exists. Mine arrived in the mail today.

It’s heavy, beautiful, and awesome.

 

What light through yonder Bible breaks?

 

So big (3300+ pages!), it had to be two volumes

 

I fully applaud the decision to make this a two-volume work. (How could it be otherwise?) Included underneath the text is an apparatus:

In order to facilitate natural and seamless reading of the text, every word occurring 100 times or fewer in the Rahlfs-Hanhart text (excluding proper names)—as well as every word that occurs more than 100 times in the Rahlfs-Hanhart text but fewer than 30 times in the Greek New Testament—is accompanied by a footnote that provides a contextual gloss for the word and (for verbs only) full parsing.

For everything else there is a Glossary at the back of each volume.

 

 

Everything is beautifully typeset–much better-looking than the Rahlfs-Hanhart Septuagint text (all due respect to that typesetter!). The font is aesthetically pleasing and easy to read. The pages are cream-colored (which looks great) and not at all the wispy-thin Bible paper I was expecting. AND the binding is sewn. This Septuagint will last a lifetime.

 

Sewn binding

 

What does the text itself look like, you wonder?

 

One of my favorite passages, for obvious reasons

 

The only thing I have approximating lack of complete satisfaction with these beautiful volumes is the exclusion of the Odes that are in the Rahlfs-Hanhart text. The decision of editors Greg Lanier and Will Ross is in keeping with a more attested LXX text; besides, other than the Prayer of Manasseh, which they include, the other Odes are already present elsewhere in the Septuagint. Best to think of the Odes as a sort of hymnal for the early church, rather than an actual “book” of the LXX. (The New English Translation of the Septuagint says in its introduction that the Odes have “dubious integrity as a literary unit.”) So I’ll be the first to acknowledge that this “critique” has no textual or methodological grounding whatsoever and is solely rooted in my own desire to read through the worshipful Odes with footnoted vocabulary and parsings. 🙂

Of course, if I know the right places to go, I still can read the Odes:

 

One of the “Odes,” here in its original context as Exodus 15

 

Now… about that apparatus! The two columns (rather than continuous lines) make it really easy to move back and forth between the vocab/parsings and the text itself. Again, A+ on typesetting and layout. And I so appreciate that Lanier and Ross have included verb parsings… not every reader’s Bible does. This way readers can work both on their vocabulary and their ability to parse less familiar verbs. Here’s a close-up:

 

 

I can’t begin to express my gratitude for the work Lanier, Ross, and others put in to this project. A major desideratum of Greek reading and Septuagint studies is finally here, and so far, it has far exceeded my expectations.

A full review is coming later. For now, check out this masterpiece here at CBD, where it is available for a totally-worth-it sale price.

 

 


 

Thanks to the awesome people at Hendrickson for the review copy, sent to me with no expectation as to the content of this review.

Word on the Street… the Reader’s Edition of the Septuagint Is Shipping!

708433

 

To quote the apostle Paul, “I know a person in Christ” who has received his reader’s edition of the Septuagint. (Whether Paul’s statement was self-referential or not, mine isn’t.) That means it’s now shipping from CBD, where it is also on sale for a great price. Check it out here, and see my previous post about this long-awaited edition here.

At Last… A Reader’s Edition of the Septuagint

708433

 

Septuagint readers have wanted this resource for a LOOONG time, and now thanks to William A. Ross and Gregory R. Lanier, we only have to wait till November for…

a Reader’s Edition of the Septuagint.

Ross writes:

The basic idea behind a reader’s edition is to provide an edition of the ancient text – in our case Rahlfs-Hanhart’s – annotated with running footnotes with lexical information. Since most students and scholars of biblical studies are most familiar with New Testament vocabulary, picking up a Septuagint can make for a challenge. Our reader’s edition seriously reduces that challenge by providing the footnotes for rarer vocabulary, thereby making the reading experience much more seamless and less intimidating.

Here is a sample page, taken from the dedicated Website set up for the Reader’s LXX. Feast your eyes on this:

 

bookexample4

 

You can pre-order now through Amazon in hardcover or flexisoft=imitation leather (affiliate links) or through CBD.

In advance–many thanks to William and Gregory and all the others working so hard to bring this volume to completion and into our hands!

Reader’s Edition of the UBS5 Greek New Testament: An Illustrated Review

Typesetting is somewhat subjective, but the German Bible Society’s UBS5 has some of the best-looking Greek text you’ll find in any New Testament.

The UBS5 itself is about three years old. (Hendrickson, which distributes GBS items in the U.S., put together this excellent infographic.) Known for its full-bodied text-critical apparatus, translators and students alike benefit from its footnoted listing of variant manuscript readings. (So do NA28-loving scholars; don’t let them fool you!)

The UBS5 Reader’s Edition significantly pares down the textual apparatus and in its place provides a running list of infrequently occurring Greek vocabulary. As the name implies, the Reader’s Edition is a one-stop shop that facilitates fluid reading of the Greek text, even for those who have had just a year or so of Greek studies.

Here’s what it looks like:

 

 

 

 

The “textual notes” here just “highlight the most important differences between major Greek manuscripts and identify Old Testament references in the margins,” the latter of which I have found really useful.

As for the footnoted vocabulary, any word that occurs 30 times or less in the Greek New Testament has a “contextual” gloss (short translation equivalent) next to it. What I really like about this volume in contrast to the Zondervan Reader’s Edition is that there are verb parsings and noun genders listed with the vocabulary. This helps me not just to know what a word means in its context, but provides occasion to review verbal forms—something that can slip surprisingly quickly without review! Everything on the bottom of the page is easy to scan, too, as it is in two columns, not all jumbled together as some other reader’s editions have it.

 

 

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Between the aesthetically pleasing font and the vocabulary and parsings, this is the best reader’s edition on the market.

I’ve found parsing errors in the previous UBS Reader’s Edition. No doubt there have been corrections in this one. I cannot recall coming across any errors so far, and I’ve been using it off and on for at least a year of reading.

If a vocabulary word is not glossed at the bottom (i.e., you don’t know your vocabulary down to 30 occurrences), there is a concise Greek-English dictionary in the back of the Bible. Yes! Just about everything you need for Greek reading is here.

The only potential annoyance I can think of is that sometimes if a word is glossed already on page (n), when it occurs again on page (n+1) it is not always listed on that page—you have to flip back a page. Sometimes it’s not even footnoted when repeated, but then you recall that you just saw it (hopefully).

The inclusion of a high-quality ribbon marker is icing on the cake.

Finally, I have to say I was a little saddened that a beautiful typo (found in the UBS5 stand-alone and UBS5-NIV11 diglot and even previous UBS Reader’s Edition) is corrected in this edition! For the better, I suppose.

You can find the UBS5 Reader’s Edition here at Whole Foo—I mean, Amazon, here at Hendrickson, here at GBS, and here at CBD. There is both a hardcover edition (what is pictured in this post) and a slightly more expensive imitation leather edition.

 


  

Thanks to Hendrickson for the review copy, given for the purposes of this write-up, but with no expectation as to the content of my review.

Brand New from Carta: The Illustrated Josephus (The Jewish War)

Josephus Carta

 

Josephus–affectionately dubbed Brosephus in my household–now comes to you, via Carta Jerusalem, with full-color illustrations. I’m still coming back to these three new titles, but in the meantime, here’s a bit of info about Carta’s Illustrated The Jewish War by Josephus.

The publisher describes it thus:

A modern reading of Josephus’ ancient text, profusely illustrated, and placed against its geographical historical background.

• 40 maps illustrating the events recorded by Josephus referenced to the latest scholarly research (The Carta Bible Atlas, The Sacred Bridge: Carta’s Atlas of the Biblical World, and more);

• 175 illustrations of sites, archaeological finds, landscapes, artifacts, and artist’s renditions;

• Easy name search for: Persons (red); Places (blue); References (green).

The Sacred Bridge, as I suggested in probably the longest review I’ve written on this site, is pure gold. R. Steven Notley, a co-author of The Sacred Bridge, has written the introduction for this new volume. It is not very long, but Notley does not need many words to orient readers well to the subject at hand.

Make sure to check out the sample pages here.

The translation is William Whiston’s. The illustrations, maps, and other images (not to mention the color coding that makes even a small-font, tour de force like The Sacred Bridge readable) look to be a nice enhancement to Josephus’s text.

I’ve not seen more than the sample pages, but a possible desideratum could be additional study notes, or footnoted annotations throughout the text to keep the reader oriented to The Jewish War. The images appear to serve that purpose in at least some measure, and promise to make for yet another beautiful book from Carta.

Through the end of June the discount code 30-off will get you 30% off the hardcover volume (retails at $60). The book is to be published in early June. You can find it here.

First Typo I’ve Ever Found in a Bible… and It’s a Good One!

Seriously–check it out. In Luke 11, the crowd demands… a hymn sing!

 

UBS5 Hymn Sing Typo

 

I found it in Zondervan’s lovely UBS5-NIV11 diglot, though it also exists in the UBS5 stand-alone version.

I can’t begin to imagine how difficult it must be to proof an entire Bible and get it all right–so no judgment here, just a funny image of a crowd getting tired of Jesus’ preaching and asking for a hymn sing instead!