It’s the beginning of the academic year, so there’s plenty of buzz and activity getting started this week. But before the frenzy gets too intense, I thought I’d take a few minutes to write up a short post about two recent publications of mine. I debated whether or not to put “publications” in scare-quotes, since these two items are either not new or not “published,” at least not in the usual sense. Still, I’m happy to see them both out in the world.
1) A New Article in JSJ (Advance Print)
Not long before I finished my doctoral thesis, I was part of a Septuagint “workshop” at the Faculty of Divinity at Cambridge with a few other scholars, including Jim Aitken, Marieke Dhont, and Trevor Evans. Although it’s been a while, the papers that came out of that are now on their way into a special issue of the Journal for the Study of Judaism. It’s been very slow going for the usual reasons, and in fact the print version of this special issue may not appear for another year.
In cases like these, some journals have begun making “advance print” versions available digitally, even though articles don’t yet appear in a physical journal. The point here is to make things accessible sooner. (Who reads paper journals anyway?) I’m happy to see that happen with my article, which I somewhat provocatively entitled “Some Problems with Talking about ‘Septuagint Greek.'” You can access it here (subscription wall — email me). This article was inspired by Horsley’s excellent essay, “The Fiction of Jewish Greek,” and I hope also carries forward some of his important insights. Here’s the abstract for my article:
While all agree that the language of the Septuagint does not represent a Jewish dialect, scholarship has nevertheless struggled to find ways of discussing the language of the Septuagint without implying a similar idea. Just as the notions of “biblical Greek” and “Jewish Greek” have rightly come under scrutiny, so also must scholars carefully reconsider “Septuagint Greek” and similar sobriquets. While admittedly helpful shorthand, such terminology may unintentionally license—or surreptitiously import—prescriptivist approaches to language that are now widely abandoned in linguistic scholarship. This article presents the ancient historical background to such approaches and surveys problematic terminology common within contemporary scholarship to illustrate its links (or lack thereof) with developments in general linguistics. More up-to-date frameworks, particularly from sociolinguistics, provide better concepts and terminology for discussing the language of the Septuagint. Attention is also given to evaluating the absence of external evidence and matters of style.
I see that Trevor Evans’s article is available also, which is certainly worth your time.
2) A Spanish Translation of The Septuagint
The second publication is not actually new, but I think it’s noteworthy. About a year ago, my book with Greg Lanier The Septuagint: What it is and Why it Matters was published with Crossway. (See here.) Well, I recently received word that the book is now available in Spanish. I have not yet seen a copy of this translation, so I can’t comment on what it looks like or how well it was done. Perhaps a reader or two out there has more to say about that. Either way, I’m very glad to see this happen! At some point over the last year or so, I have also heard that there are Portuguese and Korean translations of the book underway. I’m not sure where those projects stand at the moment, if they actually exist at all, but I’ll be sure to post them here if they ever see the light of day.