Remembering the Work of Marguerite Harl († 30 August 2020)

It is with sadness and gratitude that the Septuagint scholarly community is commemorating the life and work of Professor Marguerite Harl, who passed away just over a week ago at the remarkable age of 101 in her hometown of Paris, France.

Prof. Harl was born in April 1919. She studied under Henri-Irénée Marrou, a well known French scholar of early Christianity and the Late Antique period. In 1959, Harl was elected for her post at the renowned Sorbonne University in Paris. There she helped establish the Centre Lenain de Tillemont, which is now known as the Textes anciens research project, and which now has several working groups, one of which focuses on the Septuagint.

Of course, Harl is especially well known among Septuagint scholars for her pioneering work in helping to launch the new translation known as La Bible d’Alexandrie in 1980. At that point, no modern translations of the Septuagint existed, nor were the English (NETS), German (LXX.D), and Spanish (LBGE) projects to begin for a decade or more. The Septuagint had a very limited place of research among biblical scholars and classicists, and Harl’s labors alongside her colleague Jacques Fontaine helped to change that.

The La Bible d’Alexandrie project is not only  extremely well regarded among scholars, it is still ongoing, with several more books yet to be included in the series before it is complete. You can read more about the approach to the Septuagint taken there here and here.

Prof. Harl retired in 1983 but remained very active in her scholarship for many years. You can get a sense for the scope and influence of her work by scrolling through this catalog listing.

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