For the fifth year running the Universität Göttingen will host the International Septuaginta Summer School, from July 6-10. This is an exciting and unique program run at one of the foremost institutions of higher educations in the discipline. The university is home to some significant figures in Septuagint studies, and has produced many others. Both Alfred Rahlfs and Robert Hanhart were professors at Göttingen (of the Rahlfs-Hanhart Septuagint), and the list of previous Old Testament faculty reads as a who’s-who of biblical studies, among whom are figures such as Wellhausen, Smend, von Rad, and Zimmerli for starters (not to mention figures in New Testament such as W. Bauer and J. Jeremias).
In the early 20th century, Rahlfs and Smend undertook the foundation of the Göttingen Septuaginta-Unternehmen. With backing from Royal Academy of Sciences of Berlin, the institute launched in 1908 and has had an illustrious history since then. The main production of the Septuaginta-Unternehmen has been a critical edition of the Septuagint, taking into account every known textual witness to date. While there are still several books to be completed (including, regrettably, my chosen book of study, Judges), the finished Göttingen LXX volumes are the gold standard of the discipline, as they reflect a text that hypothetically precedes all recensions.
Septuagint Summer School
Situated at the Lagarde-Haus in Göttingen, the Septuaginta-Unternehmen hosts annual “summer school” for the Septuagint. This is no remedial program for slackers and flunkies, like the American notion of “summer school.” Run by the Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Göttingen in conjunction with the Faculty of Theology at Göttingen, the summer school only takes 16 applicants in either graduate or postgraduate stages.
More importantly, each year the summer school has been conducted by a keynote speaker. In 2014 this was Dr. Alison Salveson of the University of Oxford, lecturing on Greek Isaiah in interpretive history. This year the speaker is Dr. James K. Aitken of the superlative University of Cambridge.
Complete information, including application procedures, is given on the Septuaginta-Unternehmen website (here).
Greek Language & Septuagint Vocabulary
Aitken’s topic is “From Language to Social Context: The Pentateuch and Later Traditions.” As the site states, this year’s summer school “will examine the evidence and methods for interpreting the context of the Septuagint, while contrasting the Pentateuch to the later traditions of translation (Kaige). The course will introduce students and doctoral students from Europe and all over the world to the issues and methods in Septuagint study, and in particular will teach analysis of the language and vocabulary as a means for evaluating the Septuagint text.” This should be an excellent lecture series, as study of the language and vocabulary of the Septuagint is the foundation for so many other aspects of the discipline.
The best part about the Septuagint Summer School is the cost. At only €300, inclusive of five nights hotel lodging with breakfast, all sessions and materials, and a “cultural program,” it is an incredible deal.