Old Testament Studies

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.

Proceedings of the 2018 LXX.D Wuppertal Conference Published

It’s great to see the publication of a new volume on Septuagint research. This work was edited by a team of scholars involved in the Forschungsprojekte zur Septuaginta in Deutschland, which hosts a conference every other year in Germany and publishes the proceedings with Mohr Siebeck. In fact, what would have been the eighth conference was scheduled for this very weekend in Wuppertal, but like everything else it was cancelled for obvious reasons. (It is slated to occur next summer, d.v.)

In any case, the new volume, Die Septuaginta – Themen, Manuskripte, Wirkungen, is now in print and contains articles from the 2018 conference, which was a wonderful event. There is a huge number of articles in this book, which comes in just shy of 1,000 pages! (more…)

New SEPT Volume on Leviticus: An Interview with Mark Awabdy

Several years ago I wrote a post introducing an exciting commentary series on the Septuagint, which is being published by Brill. The series, known as SEPT, is thus far the only Septuagint commentary series in print (although plans for an SBL Septuagint Commentary Series have long been in place). But there are a good many volumes now in print in the SEPT series, the latest of which is a commentary on the Greek text of Leviticus by Mark Awabdy, who teaches Old Testament in the Middle East and South Asia.

Awabdy was kind enough to answer some questions for me about the project and give us some insights into his research. (more…)