Kratz, Reinhard G. / Neuschäfer, Bernhard, eds.

, Die Göttinger Septuaginta: Ein editorisches Jahrhundertprojekt (Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 2013).
This collection of papers which were presented at a 2008 conference on the Septuagint is carefully edited by skilled technicians and is worthy of frequent consultation. The table of contents is available online and so won’t be repeated here. Readers and potential readers are urged to visit There they will find the entire TOC. The occasion of the conference was the 100th anniversary of the commencement of the justifiably famed Göttinger Septuaginta. The presenters at the conference represent a wide range of specialists and a somewhat narrow range of nationalities. This, however, doesn’t hinder the volume’s ability to represent the situation as it currently stands. Very few would argue against the notion that the Göttinger Septuaginta is the most important edition of the Septuagint that has yet been produced. Rahlfs and later Rahlfs/Hanhart is exceedingly useful but in scope it is a fraction of the G.S. and in usefulness it pales in comparison. Other editions are even less significant. Scholars of the LXX either have or have access to the G.S. or they cannot properly investigate the LXX. Or understand it. That simple truth is well understood by the contributors to this celebratory volume and users of the G.S. will appreciate the learned scholarship contained in their papers. Reinhard Kratz’s introduction opens the door and the essays which follow open all the windows – allowing the full light of mid-day to shine on the G.S. as the most significant edition of the LXX. Ollivier Munnich’s discussion of the textual history of the LXX sets the stage for Fraenkel’s description of the critical apparatus of the G.S. This leads nicely to Gentry’s more specific

explanation of the actual aims of that apparatus. Then, Hiebert and Dykstra step to the side and offer readers a glimpse of the use of technology in textual criticism. Those technical issues well in place in the reader’s mind, the next segment of the volume investigates wider aspects of the LXX in the history of the church, and exegesis. Markschies’ essay on the LXX as the ‘Bible of the Church’ may be one of the more important in the book as it addresses issues of critical importance for the Church’s own self understanding in terms of its Scripture. Similarly, Adrian Schenker’s piece on comparisons between Hebrew and Greek texts is – as we would expect from him – erudite and insightful. In the last two essays of this part Wilk and Mühlenberg discuss the LXX’s influence in both the NT and the Fathers (respectively). Finally, the last section of the tome undertakes a description of interesting historical events and persons in the ‘life’ of the G.S. Paul Anton de Lagardes, Alfred Rahlfs, and Martin Flashars are brought in for discussion and so too are various documents connected to the early history of the G.S. This section will be particularly interesting to historians. Indices conclude the work. The exceptional work, it must be added. The publisher suggests The Edition Critica Maior of the Septuagint, which was founded in 1908 by scholars in Göttingen, is one of the most important publication projects of German academia in the 20th and 21st centuries. This anniversary edition is the product of events and symposia held to commemorate the one-hundredth anniversary of this publication. That it does, but it does more. It delights and educates. Moreover, and in my view most importantly, it reinvigorates. By that I mean, it reawakens interest in not only this edition of the LXX but it reawakens interest in the LXX itself. For many of us, the LXX is the strange uncle who comes for a visit from time to time but is only interesting because he tells us stories about our own dad (the Hebrew Bible). Seldom do we think of that strange uncle in his own right, but always in connection with our dad. That, too, is how most scholars of the Hebrew Bible view the LXX. It’s ok, but by itself it’s not that interesting or important. And yet, as this book by Kratz and Neuschäfer reminds us, the LXX has a life, and a meaning, of its own. And it matters, and is important, and we must hear its voice even if that means blocking out the louder voice of the Hebrew Bible. If you have lost your love for the LXX, this book will, importantly, renew it. And if you’ve never loved the LXX, this book will help you see why you should. For those reasons alone, and for many more unwritten, I recommend this book to every biblical scholar.

Jim West Quartz Hill School of Theology

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