Accordance Bible has put its Göttingen Septuagint on sale, at its lowest price ever. There are 19 volumes, which span 34 Septuagint books. As Brian Davidson notes, Logos has five LXX volumes not in Accordance (Judith; Tobit; 3 Maccabees; Wisdom of Solomon; and Susanna, Daniel, and Bel et Draco), while only Accordance has the 2014 2 Chronicles. Neither has yet digitized the recently released Ecclesiastes volume.
$499 for the in-progress critical edition is not cheap, but serious students of the Septuagint will receive at least that much value from the modules. The Genesis print volume alone retails for about $250. The Accordance versions are morphologically tagged, so you never have to guess at a parsing or translation equivalent. As with all Accordance texts, Göttingen integrates seamlessly with lexicons, parallel texts, and other resources.
Here’s what the recently released 2 Chronicles volume looks like, with its apparatus open at bottom and two English translations of the Septuagint also open:
I’ve noted elsewhere that the critical apparatus in the Göttingen Septuagint is a text criticism workout. I’ve posted here and here about how to understand and use its apparatuses. Accordance hyperlinks all the abbreviations (everything in blue and underlined in the screenshot above is a hyperlink). The expanded abbreviations don’t mitigate the need for Latin and German in understanding the apparatus!
What especially sets Accordance apart from Logos is Accordance’s use of search fields in the apparatus, so that you can select a search field and run a more targeted search. I’ve found this most useful for when I’m trying to get a handle on how a particular manuscript might have treated the text. You can also search the apparatus by Greek content, so could see, for example, all of the Greek words that get treatment in the apparatus.
When I read through LXX Isaiah (mostly using Accordance) a few years ago, I made heavy use of Accordance’s “Compare” and “List Text Differences” features. This way you can see at a glance where Göttingen and Rahlfs or Swete differ on the book you’re looking at.
Do you want to really geek out on using the Septuagint in Accordance? Here‘s a post I wrote for their blog the other day, on using Accordance to generate a list of Greek vocabulary that New Testament readers might want to consider when coming to the Septuagint.
Disclosure: Accordance set me up with the 2 Chronicles volume to review. And I lead Webinars for them. That did not influence the objectivity of this post.
The Leningrad Codex is the basis for the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia (BHS), the critical edition of the Hebrew Bible. Leningrad is the earliest complete Masoretic manuscript still available to us, dating from the 11th century. BHS is what’s called a diplomatic edition–it uses Leningrad as the best available text with a critical apparatus at bottom.
Images of Codex Leningradensis, as it is also known, are available freely online. (See here, for example.) But users of Bible software still have hoped for something more integrated and easier to use than a .pdf.
BibleWorks 10 offers Leningrad images, fully integrated with the rest of the software’s texts. There are even verse markers so you know where you are in the manuscript. You can toggle verse markers off if you want to read through with no help.
Here’s what it looks like:
You can see in the image above that I can view the Leningrad Codex (with verse markers) in tandem with BibleWorks’s Search Window (far left), Browse Window (second from left and showing multiple versions of my choosing), and Analysis Window (second from right, here featuring lexical data that automatically appears as I hover over words in the Browse window).
It’s possible to zoom in and out of the image at far right to get a closer look at the manuscript detail if you desire. Or you can open it in its own window, like so:
Now you can navigate the Leningrad Codex using the sidebar at left.
One other really cool feature–by hovering over the verse reference in the codex, you bring up a pop-up window showing you multiple versions:
Very impressive. Note, too, the nifty blue and yellow color scheme in the image above.
My only critique of this new, flagship feature (which is executed really well) is that there’s not a keyboard shortcut to zoom in and out of the codex images. You have to right-click, then navigate through the contextual menu for the zoom percentage you want, then select it. Somewhat making up for this, however, is the ability to simply click-hold and drag your way through the images.
Check out a short video of the codex in BW10 here:
BibleWorks 9 took a huge leap forward in offerings of Greek manuscripts:
Now BibleWorks 10 starts to bring the program’s Hebrew offerings to parity with the Greek. There is still much more by way of Greek MSS in BW10 (might we hope for the Aleppo Codex in BW11?). But BibleWorks is the first software to offer the images of Leningrad to its users. A big step forward to readers and students of Hebrew.
I received a free upgrade to BibleWorks 10 for the purposes of offering an unbiased review. See my other BibleWorks posts here. You can order the full program here or upgrade here. It’s on Amazon, too.
Having recently re-watched the fourth season of the best television show in history, I need now to amend my assessment two years ago that the Göttingen Septuagint is the Cadillac of Septuagint editions. It’s the Lexus of the LXX.
The Göttingen Septuagint
Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht in Göttingen, Germany publishes the Göttingen Septuagint, more formally known as Septuaginta: Vetus Testamentum Graecum Auctoritate Academiae Scientiarum Gottingensis editum.
The series of critical texts with apparatus spans more than 20 volumes and covers some 40 biblical books (counting the minor prophets as 12), with more continuing to appear.
But, as I remarked two years ago when I confused Cadillacs and Lexuses, the Göttingen Septuagint is not for the faint of heart, or for the reader who is unwilling to put some serious work in to understanding the layout of the edition and its critical apparatuses.
The Contributions of John William Wevers
Enter John William Wevers. If Göttingen is the Lexus of LXX editions, Wevers is its chief mechanic. His Notes on the Greek texts of the Pentateuch–though provisional in nature, Wevers intimated–remain some of the best resources for carefully studying the Septuagint. And his Text Histories on those same books (now free online, thanks to the Göttingen Septuaginta-Unternehmen) guide the reader through the transmission of the Greek text in its various manuscripts.
Better yet, before his passing Wevers translated much of his own Göttingen-Pentateuch introductions from German into English. That enduring gift can be found here.
Published in 1974, Wevers’s Genesis includes a 70+-page introduction, Wevers’s reconstructed Greek text of Genesis, and two critical apparatuses at the bottom of each page that highlight readings from various manuscripts.
The introduction includes these sections:
The Textual Witnesses (Greek and other versions)
The Text History (“Here only information necessary for the use of this edition is given”)
Re: This Edition
Signs and Abbreviations
A challenge to using the Genesis volume is the scarcity of material available about the Göttingen project in general. Further, the introduction is in German and the critical apparatuses contain Greek, abbreviated Greek, and abbreviated Latin. A few things come in handy:
As for deciphering the apparatus and abbreviations, Wevers offers such a key in the introduction, and the print edition comes with a handy insert (in German and Latin, but not unusable to those without command of those languages)
Miles Van Pelt has made available his own two-page summary of sigla and abbreviations (here as PDF).
Seeing the need, I wrote a two-part primer (here and here, two of my most-visited posts on this blog) to reading and understanding the Göttingen Septuagint–the focus was largely on Genesis, and I draw on those posts for what follows
So equipped, the reader (whether she or he knows German or not) is ready to work through the Greek text itself.
Tour of a Page
Instead of using a text based on an actual manuscript (as BHS, based on the Leningrad Codex, does), the Göttingen Septuagint utilizes a reconstructed text based on a thorough examination of evidence from manuscripts and translations.
Because it is an editio maior and not an editio minor like Rahlfs, any page can have just a few lines of actual biblical text, with the rest being taken up by the apparatuses. Here’s a sample page from Genesis 1 (image used by permission).
Note the #s 1-4 that I’ve added to highlight the different parts of a page.
1. The reconstructed Greek critical text (“Der kritische Text”)
With verse references in both the margin and in the body of the text, the top portion of each page of the Göttingen Septuagint is the editorially reconstructed text of each biblical book. In the page from Genesis 1 above, you’ll notice that the text includes punctuation, accents, and breathing marks.
Regarding the critical text itself, Wevers writes in the Genesis introduction:
Since it must be presupposed that this text will be standard for a long time, the stance taken by the editor over against the critical text was intentionally conservative. In general conjectures were avoided, even though it might be expected that future recognition would possibly confirm such conjectures.
2. The Source List (“Kopfleiste”)
The Kopfleiste comes just below the text and above the apparatuses in Genesis. Wevers notes it as a list of all manuscripts and versions used, listed in the order that they appear in the apparatus on that page. A fragmentary textual witness is enclosed in parenthesis.
3. and 4. Critical Apparatuses (“Apparat I” and “Apparat II”)
The critical apparatuses are where the user of Göttingen can see other readings as they compare with the critically reconstructed text. Because the Göttingen editions are critical/eclectic texts, no single manuscript will match the text of the Göttingen Septuagint.
The first critical apparatus will be familiar in its aims to readers of BHS. Regarding the second apparatus, Wevers writes:
In view of the fact that the materials presented in the second apparatus [are] not at least in theory a collection of variants within the LXX tradition, but rather one such of readings from other traditions, especially from the “three”, which have influenced the LXX tradition, these readings are given in full.
“The three,” sometimes referred to in Greek as οι γ’, are the texts of Aquila, Symmachus and Theodotion.
In other words–there is virtually no stone unturned here in the quest to reconstruct a Greek text of Genesis.
Serious work in Septuagint studies uses the Göttingen text, where available, as a base. Wevers’s scholarship and care for the text is clear as one makes her or his way through the Genesis volume. It’s the starting place for studying the Greek text of Genesis.
Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht’s production of the book is stellar, too. It’s got a sewn binding and is beautifully constructed–built to last and look good on the shelf, or in your hands:
You can find the volume here at V & R’s site, and here at Amazon. ISD distributes the book, as well, and carries it here.
Many thanks to V & R for the review copy of this fine work, given to me with no expectation as to the content of my review. Find more V & R blog posts here.
The best (only?) complete set of books on the Greek Pentateuch is now up on Pre-Pub through Logos Bible Software: John William Wevers’s Notes on the Greek Text.
The Society of Biblical Literature’s book page has a helpful write-up of the Deuteronomy volume, which gives a sense of what this series is about:
Wevers [spent] most of his adult life studying the Septuagint, the last thirty years being devoted to the Pentateuch. The author considers the Greek text to be the first commentary on the Pentateuch ever written (in the third century B.C.E.) and not merely a collection for emendations of the Hebrew text. The work focuses on how the translator accomplished his task and on the vocabulary and syntax of the resulting text, rather than on either scholarly opinions on the text or how interpreters subsequently used the text. The Notes are intended for students who would like to use the Greek intelligently but are not specialists in Hellenistic Greek or LXX studies.
You can find the 5-volume set on pre-pub at Logos here. Wevers also wrote valuable LXX-Pentateuch text histories, which are available free online in .pdf form, detailed here.
You Google yourself about every three months, too, right?
To my surprise, a few months ago I found that Words on the Word had been quoted in a Brill book about digital humanities in biblical studies. (Apparently “digital humanities” is an academic field in which this blog participates.)
Ancient texts, once written by hand on parchment and papyrus, are now increasingly discoverable online in newly digitized editions, and their readers now work online as well as in traditional libraries. So what does this mean for how scholars may now engage with these texts, and for how the disciplines of biblical, Jewish and Christian studies might develop? These are the questions that contributors to this volume address. Subjects discussed include textual criticism, palaeography, philology, the nature of ancient monotheism, and how new tools and resources such as blogs, wikis, databases and digital publications may transform the ways in which contemporary scholars engage with historical sources. Contributors attest to the emergence of a conscious recognition of something new in the way that we may now study ancient writings, and the possibilities that this new awareness raises.
You can find the book at Brill here and here at Amazon. Looks fun! But, of course, now I’m biased.
Working with the Göttingen Septuagint is not for the faint of heart, as I have noted before–though I have offered a couple of widely read (and hopefully helpful) posts on how to read and understand LXX-G.
New Göttingen volumes are not frequent; to publish one involves a great deal of work on the part of the editor.
Here’s a screengrab of part of a page from a Google Book preview. The volume has the familiar font and layout of (a) critically reconstructed Greek text, (b) Kopfleiste (manuscript Source List), and (c) textual apparatus:
This is the first-ever critical edition of the volume Paralipomenon II and represents a major step in the continued publication of the oldest Septuagint text available.
For this critical edition of the oldest available Septuagint text, the editor consulted Greek papyri predating the Christian era (3rd/2nd century BC), minuscule scripts from the 16th century AD as well as other Latin, Coptic, Syrian, Ethiopian and Armenic secondary translations. He also included Septuagint quotes stemming from Church authors in both Greek and Latin as well as the printed editions of the Septuagint from the 16th to the 20th century. This critical edition of the Paralipomenon II represents the continuation of the publication of the critical edition of the oldest Septuagint text available.
You can find the volume here at V & R and here at Amazon.
From The International Organization for Septuagint and Cognate Studies (IOSCS):
The Göttingen Septuaginta-Unternehmen, home of the Göttingen editions of the Septuagint, has announced two initiatives of interest to those dealing with textual criticism of the Septuagint.
Follow the link above to the Unternehmen’s home page. There’s a lot to check out there, including what I would consider the vacation/retreat of a lifetime. (Time with family tops everything, but this school would come in second.)
Back to the “free” part:
Several of the older volumes that have appeared in the series “Mitteilungen des Septuaginta-Unternehmens” are no longer available in print. To meet the wishes of the scholarly community to maintain access to these publications (among them, Rahlfs’ Verzeichnis), the Septuaginta-Unternehmen has published a free PDF scan of the first four volumes on its website.
These resources are available in the Septuaginta-Unternehmen’s new website, which is available in both German and English.
The link noted above (this one) includes, among other things, free downloads of the valuable and difficult to find Text History of the Greek… books by John William Wevers. You can download:
Text History of the Greek Genesis (1974)
Text History of the Greek Exodus (1992)
Text History of the Greek Leviticus (1986)
Text History of the Greek Numbers (1982)
Text History of the Greek Deuteronomy (1978)
They are large files, but I’m grateful to be able to have them.
Accordance Bible has just released the Esther module in its Göttingen Septuagint. More volumes are on the way and scheduled for this month: Psalms with Odes, Jeremiah, the 12 Prophets, and Sirach. The Göttingen Septuagint is a text criticism workout. I’ve posted here and here about how to understand and use its apparatuses.
When I reviewed Göttingen in Logos earlier this year, I compared Isaiah modules between Logos and Accordance. At that time I wrote that the Logos text was more accurate to the print edition than the Accordance text, because it initially was. I was surprised, and saw this as a fluke for Accordance, whose texts–especially their original language ones–generally are the “research-grade” quality they seek to produce.
There’s been a recent update to Göttingen Isaiah in Accordance, so that it is now quite accurate in relation to the print edition. Accordance has also since dropped the price on its Isaiah module.
Where Accordance really excels in its presentation of Göttingen is the multiple ways it offers to search an apparatus. (See image at right.) The most helpful search field is “Manuscripts,” and one can also search by “Greek Content,” which greatly facilitates searching for a given text variant. Searching an apparatus in Logos doesn’t have nearly the options, and manipulating what search results one can get is more difficult.
The “List Text Differences” feature in Accordance is one I’ve used often, to see where Göttingen and Rahlfs differ on Isaiah, for example. Logos has a “Text Comparison” tool, similar to the “Compare” feature in Accordance, but “List Text Differences” is unique to Accordance.
One remaining fix in the Accordance apparatus (at least for the Isaiah module I’ve examined) is a symbol rendering issue. When the apparatus notes a case of homoioteleuton, what appears in print as 1°◠2° shows up in the apparatus as 1° 2°. (UPDATE: See Rick’s comment below; update is planned. UPDATE 12/14/13: This has now been corrected in Accordance.) This renders correctly in Logos.
Logos still doesn’t have the Kopfleiste (Source List) for the Göttingen volumes that have one in print, while Accordance does include it. On the one hand, the Kopfleiste makes most sense in a print edition, but one can imagine that serious students of the Septuagint may still want to be able to access it. Accordance’s Esther includes it, for example.
All the Göttingen volumes that have been published in print are in Logos already, but Accordance seems to be making fast progress of late in completing their own offering. Göttingen is more affordable in Logos (especially if you have their academic discount), but there are more advanced search options available in Accordance (both in the text and the apparatuses) that may make the user want to consider the latter software instead. If one wants just a single volume in Göttingen, that option is currently only available in Accordance.
Speaking of the Septuagint, I’ve just finished Greek Isaiah in a Year with a group of folks, and so will take recommendations for what to read next!
Göttingen. Not just a city in Germany, but a word that instills awe and fear in the hearts of every student of the Septuagint who must eventually consult the set of Old Greek editions by that name.
Okay, that’s maybe a bit dramatic. I do suspect, however, that if one finds it challenging to learn how to read the leading critical edition of the Hebrew Bible–the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia or BHS–the Göttingen Septuagint will prove even more difficult to decipher.
Not impossible, though.
In celebration of International Septuagint Day Friday, here I review the Göttingen Septuagint in Logos Bible Software. The full name is Septuaginta: Vetus Testamentum Graecum Auctoritate Academiae Scientiarum Gottingensis editum. It’s published by Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht in Göttingen, Germany. The Göttingen Septuagint has published over 20 volumes covering some 40 biblical books (counting the minor prophets as 12). Publication of additional volumes, while slow-going, is in progress.
The typical contents of a volume include:
The introduction (“Einleitung”)
The reconstructed Greek critical text (“Der kritische Text”)
The Source List (“Kopfleiste”) (not every Göttingen volume has this)
The First Critical Apparatus (“Apparat I”)
The Second Critical Apparatus (“Apparat II”)
In two previous posts I wrote a primer on how to read and understand the Göttingen Septuagint. In part 1 I wrote about the reconstructed Greek critical text and the source list (full post is here). In part 2 I explained how to understand the first critical apparatus, here. Each of those posts contains additional explication of Göttingen, so the one who is new to it may want to pause here to read more there. Having written at length about numbers 2-4 above, a future post will cover 1 (the introduction) and 5 (the second critical apparatus).
Logos is the only Bible software that has available all of the published volumes of the Göttingen Septuagint. Though Logos offers the set in 67 volumes, that corresponds to the 24 existing print volumes. This includes the 2004 Supplementum, which offers a “list of Greek manuscripts of the Old Testament,” sorted by date, region, writing material, and more, and which also cross-references various editors’ classifications of manuscripts against each other, so that differing systems can easily be compared.
There is, of course, the question of which Bible software to use in general. I’ve written about issues like layout, functionality, cost, and so on here, which includes both praises and critiques of Logos, Accordance, and BibleWorks. So what about Göttingen in Logos?
From what I’ve seen, the text of Göttingen in Logos is the most accurate digital text available. I am aware of others who have found typos in Göttingen for Logos, but based on a verse-by-verse read of Isaiah 1-11, I found just one error in Logos compared to the print text. The Accordance text of Göttingen for Isaiah, by contrast, had 14 spelling mistakes, misplaced words, or wrong inflections in that same span. This was a surprise to me, since Accordance aims to produce “research-grade” texts, a goal which sometimes means their texts take longer to complete than other software companies. (Accordance currently has some, but not all, of the Göttingen volumes that exist in print.) As of right now, as far as the actual critical text of Göttingen, Logos seems to be the best bet for consistent correspondence to the print text.
It’s easy to set up the critical text and both apparatuses in three separate areas in Logos, syncing them to scroll together. One can also easily add a tab with an English translation, Hebrew Masoretic text, and more, so as to use Göttingen in conjunction with other resources. Here’s how I use Göttingen in Logos (click for larger):
Assuming you have other versions of the Septuagint available in Logos (Rahlfs, Swete, etc.) you can use the Text Comparison feature (top right in the shot above) to see where the critical text of Göttingen differs from another Septuagint text. I’ve found this to be a useful and time-saving feature. (One can do the same with the Compare tool in Accordance, though there’s an unresolved issue with that tool that impacts use of Göttingen. [UPDATE: It’s now resolved.] Accordance’s comparison tool is, however, a bit more versatile with its “List Text Differences” feature.)
You can use the critical text as any other text in Logos–double-click on a word to look it up in a lexicon (I have LEH open at bottom center above), right-click to do a variety of other searches, word study, etc. It doesn’t take long to see how many times the Göttingen text uses a given word.
As to the critical apparatuses, you can mouse over blue hyperlinked abbreviations to find out what they stand for. Or you can have an Information window open, as here (click to enlarge):
The apparatus abbreviates Latin and German, which is what the Information tab shows. (The Göttingen introductions are in German.) Miles Van Pelt’s short chart (in English) is helpful with the Latin (pdf here). And there is an English translation of the Pentateuch introductions available here (with Exodus being the most complete one). But there is no mechanism in Logos to translate the German or to decipher the apparatus. Accordance is the same here, and neither Logos nor Accordance offer a German-English dictionary, so one couldn’t even link to that. The general academic assumption, of course, is that by the time someone is using Göttingen in their study of the Septuagint, they are already learning (or have learned) German. (Ah, but academic assumptions….) I’m not sure it’s fair to fault Logos (or Accordance) for this lack, but a German-English dictionary as a future module would help a lot of users.
Speaking of the introduction, the introductions to each volume are nicely laid out with plenty of hyperlinks for easy reference:
You’ll have to know German to get very far in the introduction, but note the link above to English translations for some of the introductions. Also, though one ought not to rely too much on it, Google Translate takes the user surprisingly far if she or he simply copies from Logos and pastes here.
One thing lacking in the Logos Göttingen is the Kopfleiste (Source List). Not every print volume has it, but the five Pentateuch volumes, Ruth, Esther, and others do. Accordance, by contrast, includes this feature for the Göttingen volumes that have it. The Kopfleiste makes the most sense in a print edition (since it is a list of manuscripts cited on a given page), but someone doing serious textual research using Göttingen in Logos would still feel its lack. No word yet from Logos on if/when that will come available.
What about searching the apparatuses? Less than ideal here, though not unmanageable. If I want to see every time the First Critical Apparatus in Isaiah cites the Minuscule manuscript 301, I right click to “Search this resource,” but the results are grouped as follows (click to enlarge):
To my knowledge it is not possible to expand these results in this screen (pane) to see every use of MS 301, which is what I really want to be able to do. (If I am mistaken and find a way, I’ll post here again.) The shortcut command+F (in Mac) or control+F (in Windows) is an alternate way to search a text in Logos. The apparatuses are searchable using this keyboard shortcut; in this case all the instances of MS 301 are highlighted as you scroll through the apparatus, so you can still see all its occurrences.
Accordance, by contrast, offers multiple ways of searching an apparatus: by references, titles, manuscripts (most helpful), Hebrew, Greek, or Latin content, and more. This makes Accordance’s apparatuses really usable and easy to navigate in multiple ways.
The price for the Logos Göttingen is a bargain. I mean, $700 is not cheap, but considering that the same sum would get you just a few volumes of the print edition, it’s a great deal. The academic program gives you a significant discount in this case, too.
By the way, a tip for using Göttingen efficiently in Logos: Brian Davidson of LXXI has a neat way to set up a Logos layout to include multiple Göttingen books. (They list in the Logos library all as separate volumes, not as one Septuagint.) His suggestion (here) is a good way to go.
All in all, the Logos Göttingen is a worthwhile investment, especially if you primarily want Göttingen for the critical text itself, and for the chance to compare it with other Septuagint editions. The lack of a Kopfleiste is not an immense loss, but the inability to search apparatuses by multiple search fields (and with expandable results) is a drawback. So the potential purchaser will just have to consider what his or her needs are. Accordance nails it in apparatus searching, but their critical text in Isaiah had more mistakes than one who needs an accurate text would like.
Logos has a fully digitized Göttingen Septuagint, so if you need access to everything that exists in print, know that this is the only Bible software where you can get it. Accordance continues production on their volumes and, as far as I know, will see the project through to completion. (Though see here and here, a project of Computer Assisted Tools for Septuagint Studies.)
In Logos it’s convenient to be able to scroll through all of the Göttingen Septuagint with additional resources open and a click away. The electronic availability (and affordability) of Göttingen is a significant step forward in text criticism and Septuagint studies.
Many thanks to Logos Bible Software for the review copy of the Göttingen Septuagint, given to me for the purposes of review, but with no expectation as to the content of my review. Accordance provided me with their Göttingen Isaiah for purposes of comparison.