Septuagint scholarship is still a young discipline. I tell people this all the time and they don’t seem to believe me. Sure, study of the Greek version(s) and recensions of the Hebrew Bible is virtually as old as Hellenistic Judaism itself. So there is certainly lots of history to the discipline, from antiquity through the early modern period and beyond. But the scholarly discipline as it exists today is really only about fifty years old. (more…)
A lot of my recent activity on this blog has been related to the publication of Septuaginta: A Reader’s Edition, which is now in print and available in the typical places. I am planning to return to more “usual programming” in due course (probably after SBL) and have some fun things planned when that happens.
But right now I want to offer my readers an opportunity to win one of two available copies of the Reader for free! We announced this on the dedicated blog site as well (here), but simply use the form below to fill in your details and you are automatically entered into the database for the drawing. (Note that there’s no reason to enter more than once, or through more than one site.)
We will do the drawing in early January and winners will have their choice between the hardcover or flexisoft editions.
A conference was recently announced here in Cambridge that many interested in the Septuagint will want to look into. On 6-8 September 2017 the Being Jewish, Writing Greek conference will be held here at the University of Cambridge Faculty of Classics. This event has developed out of a seminar hosted here this academic year that was essentially driven by the desire to pay more scholarly attention to the full range of ancient Jewish Greek literature, which is frequently ignored.
The Septuagint … and Beyond
Obviously the Septuagint falls within the range of Greek writings produced by Jews. However, as a courpus of mostly translated texts, there is considerable debate about whether or not it should be considered Jewish “literature” proper (a question bound up with issues of language, cultural identity, and genre). That is part of the reason for this conference. But there is a good deal of Jewish writing that was composed in Greek, and which clearly qualifies as literature. The non-translated books of the Septuagint, such as 1-4 Maccabbees, 1 Esdras, Judith, or Tobit are certainly among such Jewish Greek literature. But there are also quite a few others that you might never have heard of, like:
- Ezekiel’s Exagogê
- Demetrius the Chronographer
The goal of this conference is to shine a (cross-disciplinary) spotlight on these ancient sources – those translated and those composed in Greek – to consider their linguistic and literary qualities. As the conference website says,
Much has been said about the historical as well as theological contexts and content of these works. However, relatively few studies have considered these Jewish writings in Greek as literary works.
Yes, You can Submit a Proposal!
The goal is to look at these Jewish Greek sources as the products of two cultures and languages in confluence: Judaism and Hellenism, Hebrew/Aramaic and Greek. Moreover, the conference is meant to recalibrate the traditional, single-discipline approaches to these texts and instead situate both Classical and Jewish literature “in a broader Mediterranean context.”
Thus far speakers will include
- James Aitken (University of Cambridge, Faculty of Divinity)
- Simon Goldhill (University of Cambridge, Faculty of Classics)
- Sylvie Honigman (Ancient History, Tel Aviv University)
- Nicholas de Lange (University of Cambridge, Faculty of Divinity)
- Eva Mroczek (Religious Studies, University of California, Davis)
- Hindy Najman (Department of Theology and Religion, University of Oxford)
- Maren Niehoff (Department of Jewish Thought, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem).