It’s time for another installment in my ongoing “Septuagint Scholar Interview” series. For reference, some of my previous as well as upcoming interviews are located on this page. Today we have the opportunity to hear from one of the younger scholars active in Septuagint studies, John Meade. John is a graduate of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (MDiv, PhD), where he studied with Dr. Peter Gentry.
John has been assistant professor of Old Testament at Phoenix Seminary in Arizona since 2012, teaching a variety of courses. He also maintains involvement in the Hexapla Institute (see here also), which you’ll read more about below. Consequently and most importantly for our purposes here, John is active in Septuagint studies, and to that we now turn our attention:
1) Can you describe how you first became interested in LXX studies, and your training in the discipline?
Will, thanks for including me in your series of interviews. I think it’s important to highlight what others are doing in the field of Septuagint studies.
My interest in LXX studies was first ignited during my time at bible college as a biblical languages major. My professors mentioned the LXX as a part of the background to the New Testament, but as scholars of the Hebrew Bible and the Greek New Testament, they did not explain the value of the LXX in its own right nor as a tool for the study of the Old Testament text. However, when I arrived at Southern Seminary, I became acquainted with Peter Gentry and my interest in the LXX and a number of cognate areas deepened as a result. I was instructed to “sell all I have to buy a Septuagint.” It changed my life :).
2) How have you participated in the discipline over the course of your teaching and writing career?
I contributed several articles on the pre-hexaplaric and hexaplaric versions of the Hebrew Bible for the forthcoming Textual History of the Bible edited by Armin Lange for Brill.
I had the opportunity to present a paper on a new catena manuscript of Job at the IOSCS Congress in Munich in 2013. It has been a joy to participate in other society meetings over the years.
3) How have you integrated LXX studies into your work as a professor?
Very deliberately 🙂. I’ve had the opportunity to teach a Readings in the Septuagint course at my institution and I’m teaching it again currently. My hope is that this course (and hopefully others like it) will inspire Master’s level students to pursue this topic more seriously.
For those students who do not take this course, my Hebrew exegesis courses have a strong text criticism element and students must utilize the LXX among the rest of the versions in order to complete the assignments.
I weave the LXX into my bible survey courses when teaching on the issues of canon and text. Basically, I desire to expose every student, who enrolls in one of my classes, to the LXX to one degree or another. It’s too important a subject to ignore.
4) For the benefit of graduate students who are potentially interested in LXX studies in doctoral work, what in your opinion are underworked areas and topics in need of further research?
The discipline has many desiderata. Fundamental for the discipline is the need for critical editions of the Old Greek. Critical editions of many of the patristic commentaries would aid in the reconstruction of the Old Greek. We need more critical editions of the daughter versions such as the one Claude Cox edited for the Armenian version of Job (Peeters). We need critical editions of the hexaplaric fragments so that scholars can continue to sift Old Greek from later reception. In 1985, Albert Pietersma made a “Plea for a Return to Basic Issues” pertaining to LXX Studies (VT XXXV, 3). I think the discipline would do well to return to these basic issues and to recapture the vision for critical editions. Graduate students could enter into these projects at a number of levels.
5) What current projects in Septuagint are you working on?
I’m currently making the final edits to my critical edition of the hexaplaric fragments of Job 22-42 for the Hexapla Institute (www.hexapla.org). I hope to have a manuscript submitted to the editorial committee and Peeters by early June.
Hexaplaric fragments of Isaiah for the Hexapla Institute.
I’m also engaged in some exciting, cross disciplinary research on the Hexapla with Peter Gentry (Southern Seminary), Michael Graves (Wheaton), and Francesca Schironi (University of Michigan). Hopefully, we will have a monograph out within the next couple of years.
6) What is the future of Septuagint studies?
It’s bright. There are many students and younger scholars engaging in this field. I’m encouraged about the future of the discipline.
I’m happy to have had John for this ongoing series. It’s good to see the face of the younger generation of scholars in this discipline, along with those who have been perpetuating it over that past few decades. If you have suggestions for other scholars you’d like to see interviewed, leave a comment below.