X Congress of the International Organization for Septuagint and Cognate Studies.  Oslo, 1998.  Edited by Bernard A. Taylor (SBLSCS; Atlanta:  Society of Biblical Literature, 2001).  xviii and 581 pages. Cloth.  $69.95.

 

The Oslo meeting of IOSCS attracted some seventy scholars from four continents.  Thirty-three papers delivered at that conference are published in this volume and cover the complete range of topics engaging Septuagintal scholars today.  The editor laments the difficulty of editing papers from such an international conference and the incompatibility of computer programs, particularly in dealing with non-Roman script.  These complications did not allow him time to prepare an index.

            Perhaps of most interest to the wider scholarly world are the half dozen papers dealing with translating the Greek text into modern languages.  Since the 19th century English translations of Thomson and Brenton are deemed quite inadequate, the decision to publish a New English Translation of the Septuagint and Other Greek Translations (NETS) and La Bible d’Alexandrie (BA; a translation into French) is doubly welcome.

            NETS is designed to be used with the NRSV for study of the Greek and Hebrew Bible texts.  Where possible, it will employ the wording of the NRSV, and examples of the challenges of translating Genesis and Leviticus are included in this volume.  Albert Pietersma remarks that NETS is more a translation of formal correspondence than of dynamic equivalence, but suggests that readers can expect a reasonable facsimile of the (original) Septuagint, including many of its warts.  It will be based on the Göttingen Septuagint wherever possible.  The French team, on the other hand, is making a fresh translation primarily according to the Greek, but takes account of the Hebrew “context.”  This flows from their conviction that the Septuagint was both a translation and a new text, to be read by Jews in the Hellenistic world, without necessarily comparing it to the Hebrew in every case.  An example of this translation from the book of Zephaniah is provided.  Fernández Marcos, while favoring the French approach, warns against a tendency to favor the Christian interpretation of the Greek text as given by the New Testament and the Fathers.

            This volume provides easy access to the exceptionally lively study being carried in the Septuagint in these days.

 

 

Ralph W. Klein

Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago