On the Use of the LXX (in Honor of International Septuagint Day)

Last year I noted with deep regret that I had come to find out too late about the IOSCS‘s International Septuagint Day, observed each year on February 8, and that therefore I was unable to write anything of substance in time for the festivities. (For the reason why February 8 was chosen, see my earlier post.) I had intended to produce an adequate treatment of a Septugintal question for this year, but in spite of my best intentions, the day passed me by until I saw Doug Chaplin’s post, again too late to write anything worthwhile on the subject. I was very pleased, then, to happen this morning upon the following bit by the great Frederick W. Danker on the use of the LXX as an aid to NT exegesis, in which he uses the Gospels’ descriptions of Jesus’ opposition to the Pharisees as a test case, and which I’m pleased to now share with you:

“The LXX offers exegetical help [….] in putting into proper focus the Pharisees’ problem in Luke 18:9-14. Psalm 34:14 (35:13 MT) notes that the purpose of fasting is to assist in humbling the soul and stimulating appropriate prayer. In the prayer that “turns back into the bosom”the phrase is obscurewe may see a parallel to the utterance of the publican whose words, coming as they did from a head bowed in humility, fell, as it were, into his bosom.

Hatch and Redpath alert to seven occurrences of the word πίπτειν within the space of five verses in Ezekiel 13. This passage in its context is the best commentary on Matt. 7:24-27. Some in the upper spiritual echelons in Israel misused good intentions in Pharisaism for purposes of moral whitewashing. They sought refuge in their interpretation and hedging of the Torah. But the fortress was to collapse. Jesus’ reiterated ‘You have heard, but I say unto you’ gains significance.”

(Frederick W. Danker, Multipurpose Tools for Bible Study, 4th ed. [Minneapolis: Fortress, 2003], page 86.)

There you have it: Septuagintal, and even relevant to this week’s topic. Happy (belated) International Septuagint Day to all! Also, for a couple of great posts celebrating the LXX on its day, see Tyler Williams’ Reasons to Study the Septuagint and David Miller’s Telescoped Scripture Citation in Acts 7:6-7. Enjoy!

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7 responses to “On the Use of the LXX (in Honor of International Septuagint Day)

  1. Well, shoot! I wish I’d known about International Septuagint Day, if only so I could post that nifty banner!

    Maybe I shall have to adopt your typical MO and just post something when I get around to it, however late!

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  2. Aaron> I'm surprised, and not a little disappointed, that you have missed a sterling opportunity to assert the eminent usefulness of following the Church's calendar: for while St Justinian's Novella 146 is dated February 8, it is evidently the case that this was February 8 by the Old Calendar. So it turns out that you haven’t missed International Septuagint Day at all, but rather have a week and a half to work on your post! ;-)

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  3. Well,there you go! The perfect solution! We could even make it a bigger event than the New Calendarists do, following the example of Metropolitan Cyprian of Fili on the Feast of Theophany. It will be a tour de force!

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  4. All hail the LXX!

    Actually, this day reminds me that I need to order a copy of the A New English Translation of the Septuagint.

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  5. Aaron> Outstanding! I think I'm catching the fire of resistance. February 8/21, here we come! ;-)

    Tim> My goodness–drop whatever you're doing and go buy a copy of the NETS at once! But if you can't manage at the moment, at least console yourself with the full electronic edition. :-)

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  6. Logos Bible Software has begun working on the Göttingen LXX. This version will be morphologically tagged, and the apparati will be linked directly to the primary sources.

    I thought you might be interested!

    Göttingen Septuagint

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