The Greek of the Septuagint: A Supplemental Lexicon   -     By: Gary Alan Chamberlain
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The Greek of the Septuagint: A Supplemental Lexicon

Hendrickson Publishers / 2011 / Hardcover

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Product Description

For New Testament students and scholars who want to fully exegete the Septuagint (LXX), this lexicon will be a welcome addition to their libraries. Used in conjunction with the New Testament (NT) lexicon they already possess, The Greek of the Septuagint: A Supplemental Lexicon will bridge the gap with additional information that's needed to translate the Septuagint.

While those who have learned the Greek of the New Testament possess the grammatical skills necessary to read Septuagint Greek, the vocabulary found in the Septuagint differs sufficiently from both NT and Classical Greek to such a degree that a specialized lexicon is essential.

Designed to supplement the BDAG, Chamberlain's lexical expertise provided here, lists definitions and lexical information for more than 5,000 Septuagint words not found in the New Testament, detailed discussions of contextual word meanings, Hebrew equivalents, and mistranslations, variant words not found in standard lexicons, and much more.

Product Information

Format: Hardcover
Number of Pages: 304
Vendor: Hendrickson Publishers
Publication Date: 2011
Dimensions: 9.50 X 7.25 X 1.0 (inches)
ISBN: 1565637410
ISBN-13: 9781565637412
Availability: In Stock

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Publisher's Description

An Essential Addition to any Greek New Testament Lexicon

For New Testament students and scholars who want to fully exegete the Septuagint, this lexicon will be a welcome addition to their libraries. Used in conjunction with the New Testament (NT) lexicon they already possess, The Greek of the Septuagint: A Supplemental Lexicon will bridge the gap with additional information that’s needed to translate the Septuagint.

While those who have learned the Greek of the New Testament possess the grammatical skills necessary to read Septuagint Greek, the vocabulary found in the Septuagint differs sufficiently from both that found in the NT and that found in Classical Greek, so that a specialized lexicon is not just of great help, but essential.

Special Features
• Provides definitions and vital lexical information for over 5,000 Septuagint words not found in the NT
• Offers supplemental information on over 1,000 additional words that have unique Septuagint meanings not covered in NT lexicons
• Contains detailed discussions of special, contextual word meanings, Hebrew word equivalents, and Septuagint mistranslations of the Hebrew original
• Includes a number of Septuagint variant words not found in standard classical and Septuagint lexicons
• Includes helpful appendices that list classical parallels to Septuagint words, unique Septuagint words, words first used in the Septuagint, and mistranslated words
• A detailed cross reference index charts the places where Septuagint biblical references (chapter and verse numbering) differ from that found in the Hebrew and English Bibles

Author Bio

Gary Alan Chamberlain (PhD, Boston University) has worked as a pastor, seminary professor, and private scholar, as well as having extensive experience in the world of business and finance. He is the author of The Psalms: A New Translation for Prayer and Worship (Upper Room, 1984) and of several scholarly articles on Septuagint lexicography.

Editorial Reviews

"This volume is a lexicon of words from the LXX, utilizing the Rahlfs (though not the more recent Rahlfs-Hanhart) and Gottingen editions, as well as Hatch and Redpath's concordance. It is billed as "supplemental" in that it treats terms not found in the NT / BDAG (5,000 words) and some words that are found in BDAG, but that have distinct LXX usages (1,000 words).

"Throughout his preface and introduction, Chamberlain exhibits concern that the reader recognizes the commonality of LXX vocabulary throughout the ancient world. He also repeatedly voices his interest in the meaning of words "to a non-Jewish Hellenistic reader" (viii, xii-xv), a distinction that may be helpful if it were more fully explained. He also claims an "indisputable" conclusion that the LXX "offers no evidence for any Jewish-Greek dialect in Biblical times" (xvii). This statement appears to broach an old debate, but does little to clarify and seems out of place in a lexicon. More appropriate for a lexicon is a clear statement on lexicographical methodology, as one finds in, e.g., Muraoka, but which is absent here. Most of Chamberlain's definitions are translational equivalents or glosses rather than true definitions that are explanatory in nature.

"The lexicon itself is helpfully concise. It provides an English gloss with various notations regarding overlap with Classical usages, the occasional parsing helps, and various other features addressed more fully in the appendices. The first appendix is a set of nine word lists of: (1) "precise parallels"—words in "extrabiblical texts" closely comparable to LXX usages cited in the lexicon; (2) transliterated words; words either (3) unique to the LXX or (4) first occurring in the LXX; (5) words with LXX meanings that have no parallel meaning in "secular" Greek; (6) "stereotypical" terms-words used consistently for a single Hebrew term regardless of semantic range; (7) "mistranslations"; (8) textual variants (based on Rahlfs); and (9) "textual conjectures" —words that suggest an "emendation of MT for the underlying Hebrew" (presumably a different Vorlage).

"The second appendix is a "Comparative Index of Words in This Lexicon and BDAG." Here Chamberlain distinguishes between words covered in BDAG but excluded in his lexicon, words unique to his lexicon not found in BDAG, words treated in BDAG but bearing unique usages in the LXX (and therefore covered in the present lexicon). The third appendix gives a comparison of LXX books with English Bible books with respect to their titles, but also provides a handy chart for where referencing discrepancies exist between the English translations (based on the MT) and LXX.

Chamberlain himself suggests that the chief value of this volume with regard to LXX lexicography is its positing of a taxonomy of categories (xii). This is indeed a helpful step, though his nomenclature and points of delineation require more substantial engagement with current Septuagintal lexicographical discussion. The appendices are welcome reference tools. Yet it remains unclear why one would not simply use a LXX lexicon, such as J. Lust (J. Lust, E. Eynikel, K. Hauspie, A Greek-English Lexicon of the Septuagint, rev. ed. [Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 2003]) or T. Muraoka (A Greek English Lexicon of the Septuagint [Lueven: Peeters, 2009]). These remain the indispensable lexicons for the LXX."
Andrews Seminary Seminary Studies


"This lexicon of the Septuagint is intended as a supplement to BDAG (w. Bauer/F. W. Danker, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament), the standard NT lexicon, much as the standard patristic lexicon (Lampe) is constructed as a supplement to Liddell/Scott/Jones (LSJ), the standard lexicon of classical Greek. Chamberlain prepared it by reading through the Septuagint, comparing the various editions, assessing the variant readings, and working through the standard LXX concordance. After a four-page preface, he presents a nineteen-page introduction in which he treats the character of Septuagint vocabulary, with reference to precise parallels, transliterations, hapax legomena, and so on. Then on pp. 1-185 he provides the lexicon itself, in double-column pages with the Greek word for each entry, a translation, references to its occurrences in the LXX, and other information (occurrences elsewhere, grammatical analysis, etc.). There are three appendixes: word lists; a comparative index of words in this lexicon and BDAG; and Septuagint-English Bible parallels."
New Testament Abstracts

Lexicon of the New Testament, 3d ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000), henceforth BDAG. The treatment in BDAG is supplemented when the LXX has additional meanings. New lexical articles are composed when the LXX word is not in BDAG at all. However, there is no treatment of the most common words, the range of meanings of which does not differ from that in BDAG. It is assumed that the reader has sufficient command of ancient Greek. An underlying thesis of the work is that the LXX is no special "Jewish-Greek." The author states the distinctive contribution of this lexicon as follows: it is "the first systematic attempt to acknowledge every word or use that conforms to ordinary expectations for fundamental/ classical or KoinÓ Greek on the one hand and, on the other hand, to account for all the instances in which ’in manifold and diverse ways’ the LXX vocabulary confronts us with unprecedented challenges" (p. xii)."
The Bible Today

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  1. Age: 25-34
    Gender: male
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Outstanding for Septuagint lexical studies
    July 26, 2012
    Abram KJ
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: male
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    "This, then, is the single dominant characteristic of the LXX vocabulary: it is normal, idiomatic Greek. I base my construal of it on this hypothesis whenever I can."

    -Gary Alan Chamberlain in The Greek of the Septuagint: A Supplemental Lexicon

    Chamberlain intends his lexicon to be a supplemental one, an addition to any Greek New Testament lexicon. (He has BDAG specifically in view.) The vocabulary of the Septuagint is more expansive and potentially different enough from New Testament vocabulary that a lexicon like this is warranted. Many Greek students, especially Biblical studies ones, come to the LXX after first studying the New Testament. So if they already own BDAG or some other New Testament lexicon, the potential need for something like this to "fill in the gaps" could make sense.

    _The Greek of the Septuagint_ contains lexicon entries for 5,000 LXX words not in the NT, as well as 1,000 words with LXX-specific uses that a NT lexicon would not carry. For the latter, Chamberlain simply adds to the BDAG numbering system, so that the entry for kathistemi, for example, begins, "3.b. seek to establish, declare." Words that the lexicon does fully treat have morphological information (e.g., principal parts for verbs) and citations of word usage in the LXX and beyond.

    There is "no treatment of the most common words" in the LXX, so not just a cursory knowledge but a solid grasp of Greek vocabulary would be needed to use this lexicon on its own. I.e., a first- or second-year Greek student really would have to use this as the "supplemental" lexicon it intends to be. "Throughout this work," Chamberlain notes, "I have assumed that the user has sufficient command of ancient Greek to cope with articular infinitives, genitive absolutes, and the varied means of expressing volition and command. The thousand or so most common LXX words should convey relatively few difficulties." This work won't serve the Greek initiate, in other words, but Chamberlain does not intend for his work to be "elementary."

    One might ask, Why not just purchase a full-on Septuagint lexicon? Here is where Chamberlain makes the "distinctive contribution...to LXX studies" that he aims to make.

    The dense 19-page introduction explains several classifications of LXX words, and is complemented by an exceedingly useful set of word lists in the appendices. Chamberlain includes word lists and discussion of:

    1. Precise parallels between the LXX and extrabiblical texts. This is where he asserts that LXX vocab is "normal, idiomatic Greek." He accounts for what others have claimed are examples to the contrary (e.g., "Semitisms") with the following categories.

    2. Transliterations of the Hebrew into Greek.

    3. Hapax Legomena-Greek words that occur once in the LXX and nowhere else in ancient Greek literature, as well as words that occur multiple times in the LXX but nowhere else (he notes all this and all these categories throughout the lexicon in the appropriate entries).

    4. Greek words that occur first in the LXX.

    5. Words with no parallel in other ancient Greek sources.

    6. Stereotypical translations ("calques," where "translators faced severe challenges in rendering a few common Hebrew terms for which no equivalent was possible within the framework of Greek language").

    7. Mistranslations (where "LXX translators misconstrued the meaning of their sources' words, through a confusion of roots or a misunderstanding of meaning of the source").

    8. Textual variants (more than 200 instances, including his suggested emendations, helpfully organized in canonical order).

    9. More complicated words "involving multiple factors" ("We are simply trying to explain how a Greek word was placed in a context that does not make good sense if we read it as a Greek sentence").

    Having read the descriptions of each of these categories and looked through the corresponding word lists, this reader is convinced that The Greek of the Septuagint offers something that neither BDAG nor any other LXX lexicon on the market (of which I'm aware) currently does. Even without the actual lexicon entries, the word lists and explanations are an invaluable contribution to LXX studies. (The lexical entries themselves are appropriately concise yet substantive.)

    His Appendix II is the place to start when looking up a word. It shows (through the use of bold, italics, and regular font) if a word is in this lexicon but not BDAG; if it is in BDAG and supplemented here; or if the word is sufficiently covered in BDAG and therefore not in Chamberlain's lexicon. Appendix III has a neat listing of LXX book titles in English and Greek, as well as a table that shows the differing versification between the two.

    The Greek and English fonts are clear and easy to read (the Hebrew font is a bit small).

    I found The Greek of the Septuagint to be a lexicon one has to work at. In other words, it's not like Analytical Lexicon to the Septuagint, which one could easily pick up and use right away off the shelf. Carefully reading the 4-page preface and 19-page introduction is pretty much required to be able to make use of Chamberlain's work. But that's true of BDAG, too, and sort of the point of a preface and introduction in the first place. So that's not at all a strike against this lexicon. In fact, the user who is willing to put in the work will find great reward in a deepened understanding of the LXX and its vocabulary.

    (Thanks to Hendrickson for the review copy, provided in exchange for an unbiased review. A fuller version of this review is at abramkj.wordpress.com)
  2. Suwanee, GA
    Age: Over 65
    Gender: male
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    This is the missing link
    September 15, 2011
    G Sparger
    Suwanee, GA
    Age: Over 65
    Gender: male
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Bibleworks 8.0 is the software I use in my studies. However, it omits definition for LXX (Greek) words that are not used in the New Testament. This source fills in the blanks
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