Strangely enough, even though biblical studies as a discipline revolves around primary sources, not a lot of those involved in research actually have a reason to view a physical ancient manuscript. It’s a digital age. Even in my own work with Hellenistic papyri and inscriptions almost everything I need to look at is digitized. Occasionally I will view a published edition, but even a lot of that is online as well (e.g., SEG).
That is why I always relish the opportunity to actually see some physical stuff in a library somewhere. I have posted a few times in the recent past about a few visits I’ve made to the University of Cambridge library, where I took some time to view some of the correspondence of revered Septuagint scholar H. B. Swete (e.g. here and here. NB I hope to post more from the troves of what I found there in due course).
But recently I had the chance to make two archival visits to view some items that were actually old. One pretty old and another really old. It was great fun so I thought I’d explain these visits. (more…)
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…)