Scholarship is about collaboration. Few projects of any significance are brought to completion by the hand of a single scholar working alone. For the most part, it is receiving the input and criticism of others whose speciality overlaps with yours that makes a good project into a great one.
The highly regarded scholar Sydney Jellicoe (1906-1973) of Bishop’s University recognized the need for collaboration among scholars working in Septuagint research. Jellicoe is well known for his introduction to the field, The Septuagint and Modern Study (Oxford University Press, 1968), which provides the state of the field in the late 1960s (and which is still very much worth reading).
At that time, there was a good deal of work already underway in the discipline, thanks in large measure to the foundations laid in Cambridge and Germany at the turn of the century by figures such as H. Swete, H. St. J. Thackeray, and P. de Lagarde. But Septuagint scholarship was still without a gravitational center and, perhaps owing to his work preparing his introduction to the field, Jellicoe felt that it was the poorer for it.
So he decided to start a society. This month, fifty years ago. And in order to do that, he sent the letter below recruiting his colleagues. (more…)