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New English Translation of the Septuagint-OE [Hardcover]

By Albert Pietersma (Editor) & Benjamin G. Wright (Editor)
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Item description for New English Translation of the Septuagint-OE by Albert Pietersma & Benjamin G. Wright...

Translated from the Hebrew between the third and first centuries B.C., the Septuagint became the Bible for Greek-speaking Jews and was widely cited by early Christians. Now, at long last, it has been made available in an accurate modern translation for English readers.

Publishers Description
The Septuagint (the ancient Greek translation of Jewish sacred writings) is of great importance in the history of both Judaism and Christianity. The first translation of the books of the Hebrew Bible (plus additions) into the common language of the ancient Mediterranean world made the Jewish scriptures accessible to many outside Judaism. Not
only did the Septuagint become Holy Writ to Greek speaking Jews but it was also the Bible of the early Christian communities: the scripture they cited and the textual foundation of the early Christian movement.
Translated from Hebrew (and Aramaic) originals in the two centuries before Jesus, the Septuagint provides important information about the history of the text of the Bible. For centuries, scholars have looked to the Septuagint for information about the nature of the text and of how passages and specific words were understood.
For students of the Bible, the New Testament in particular, the study of the Septuagint's influence is a vital part of the history of interpretation. But until now, the Septuagint has not been available to English readers in a modern and accurate translation. The New English Translation of theSeptuagint fills this gap.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Oxford University Press, USA
Pages   1027
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1.25" Width: 6.5" Height: 9.25"
Weight:   1.8 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Nov 2, 2007
Publisher   Oxford University Press
ISBN  0195289757  
ISBN13  9780195289756  

Availability  0 units.

More About Albert Pietersma & Benjamin G. Wright

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Albert Pietersma is Professor of Septuagint and Hellenistic Greek at The University of Toronto.
Benjamin G. Wright is University Distinguished Professor of Religion Studies, Bible, Early Judaism, Christianity at Lehigh University.

Albert Pietersma was born in 1935.

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1Books > Subjects > Children > Religions > Christianity > Bible > Reference & Interpretation
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Bibles > Study Guides, History & Reference > General
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > General

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Reviews - What do customers think about A New English Translation of the Septuagint?

A great introduction to the LXX  Jun 5, 2008
Contrary to what a reviewer said, this is not a warmed-over NRSV. Instead, while using the NRSV as a backdrop, the translators still free themselves in bringing forth the Greek text.

It includes the Deuterocanon, as well as the Psalms of Salomon. Each book is prefaced with a copious amount of notes and other reading material. Pleasantly enough, divergent textual traditions are included, expanding Joshua, Daniel and others.

This book is not liturgical, but it quite helpful in understanding the bible that the Apostles would have read.
An overdue translation that turns out to be a "modified NRSV" plus  Nov 18, 2007
I had been eagerly awaiting my pre-ordered copy of "A New English Translation of the Septuagint" (NETS) because I knew that eminent LXX experts had been hard at work to give us a long overdue scholarly translation that would supersede the older, widely-familiar translation of Sir Lancelot C. L. Brenton. Now that I have read through parts of NETS, I have mixed reactions to it: NETS is not everything that I had hoped for, but it is nevertheless a satisfactory translation. In addition, there are brief-but-helpful introductions to each individual book of the LXX in which the history, background, Greek text used, and translation techniques/difficulties of the particular book are addressed. A bonus is that the translations of the Book of Daniel, as well as the apocryphal additions of "Susanna" and "Bel and the Dragon", contain both the Old Greek version and the later translation by Theodotion in parallel columns; other books which also have two distinctly different Greek texts, such as Judges and Esther, receive the same treatment.

Since I was under the impression that this would be a completely new translation, I was surprised to find out that the translators had used the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) as the base text for NETS. Editors Albert Pietersma and Benjamin G. Wright use a considerable percentage of their foreword to the reader to explain the rationale for this decision, and they admit that it "perhaps needs some justification." They believe that using the NRSV as a base text was "the more practical and economical" approach and assert that NETS is "not intended to be the-NRSV-once-over-lightly but rather a genuine representation of the Greek." The purpose behind this decision was so that the user of NETS "should be able to utilize it to the greatest degree achievable (within set parameters) in a comparative study of the Hebrew and Greek texts, albeit in English translation." Given that this was the goal, I can grudgingly concede the translators' use of the NRSV as a base text rather than translating without any dependence on an existing English version.

While the goal of being able to study the Hebrew and Greek texts of the O.T., "albeit in English," is a good one, I am disappointed that the translation will not be quite as useful to me in my own reading of Alfred Rahlfs' edition of the Septuagint. The reason for this is that the translators used the Goettingen Septuagint editions for those books in the LXX for which a Goettingen editon is available (they did use Rahlfs' edition for the remaining books). It is my understanding that the books of the Goettingen Septuagint are the foremost critical editions available today; however, they are not widely available (and, therefore, not likely to be affordable for the average lay reader/scholar who could track down copies of the books). I have no idea how different the Goettingen LXX editions are from Rahlfs' edition, so I suppose I'll find out as I encounter the differences in NETS. Again, I grudgingly accept this decision on the part of the editors - and I say grudgingly only because it hinders my intended use for the translation - due to their rightful desire to use the best available texts.

As far as the intended audience, the foreword states that NETS is intended for "a biblically well-educated audience" which "has a more than passing interest in traditions of biblical literature other than their own." The translation approach makes this English version of the LXX "more a translation of formal correspondence than one of dynamic equivalence"; this means that NETS is intended neither for liturgical use in churches, nor as an easily-accessible version for everyday reading.

Given the approach of `formal correspondence', a reader should expect some rather inelegant translations in portions of text. However, I got no further than Genesis 1:2 before I encountered an example of a passage that made me question certain translation choices. Robert J. V. Hiebert, the translator of Genesis, renders 1:2 thusly: "Yet the earth was invisible and unformed, and darkness was over the abyss, and a divine wind was being carried along over the water." The "divine wind" conjured up the image of Japanese kamikaze (which means `divine wind') planes diving into American battleships. However, beyond the unfortunate word association of the expression, I also don't believe that "divine wind" is the best translation for the Greek "pneuma theou" or the Hebrew "ruah elohim" (and, yes, the editors do state that one must also consider the Hebrew text that underlies the LXX when translating certain words or expressions). While both "pneuma" and "ruah" can mean `wind', `spirit', or `breath', I can't recall ever seeing "theou" or "elohim" translated as the adjective "divine" (the NRSV, the base text for NETS, translates this as "a wind from God"). In addition to the fact that I'm not certain that "divine" is a viable translation, a "divine wind...being carried" doesn't make the best sense contextually either; thus, "being carried" is probably not the best translation choice for the Greek word "epiphero". Since a wind usually `carries' rather than "being carried", I would submit either "the spirit of God was rushing upon the water" or "the breath of God was rushing upon the water".

The abovementioned items are just a few things to take into consideration if you are trying to decide whether or not to purchase this translation. All in all, while NETS is not precisely what I had been expecting, its shortcomings - which some readers might not consider to be such - are not so serious as to make it a "pestiferous" translation (see Pietersma's translation of Psalm 1:1 for another example of an inelegantly translated passage in which, this time, the word "pestiferous" is used). I look forward to the possibilty of a parallel Greek-NETS edition or, better yet, a parallel Greek-NETS-NRSV edition; either such volume would make NETS far more useful.

Addendum: One day after writing this review, I received a catalogue that contained "A Comparative Psalter" edited by John R. Kohlenberger III. It was published in 2006 and is also available here on this site. This Psalter contains, in parallel columns, the Hebrew Masoretic Text and the English Revised Standard Version (not sure why he went with the old RSV rather than the NRSV - copyright royalties perhaps?) on one page and the Greek Septuagint Text alongside the NETS on the facing page. It gives me hope that such a comparative volume for the entire Old Testament will be printed at some point in the not-too-distant future (the fact that the Hebrew MT would be included in such an edition is fantastic - I had thought about that when I made my suggestions at the end of my review, but then I figured it might be asking for a bit too much. I'm glad to know that's not the case).
Excellent English Translation  Oct 27, 2007
A New English Translation of the Septuagint is a very welcomed new Translation of the ancient and revered Septuagint (LXX) into the English Language. As a Greek Orthodox Christian my Old Testament is the Septuagint and as an English-Speaking Christian I finally have "My" Old Testament in English. I assume, from reading the translators website, that the electronic postings of this translation are the same as they are going to be in the Hardcover book, and if that is the case, the translation is truly wonderful. Having said this it must also be said that the English and sentence structure used is NOT SUITABLE for Liturgy. This is a reference and study source only, and if one is looking for a litugically acceptable English translation of the Septuagint then get the FULL Orthodox Study Bible that is coming out next year (2008) in March. However, I would still recommend any Orthodox (and Non-Orthodox) Christian to buy the NETS Translation and to read it, study it and cherish it and to add NETS to Brenton's and Charles Thompson's English translations of the Septuagint, although NETS is Much, MUCH Better! I already Pre-Ordered my copy get yours right away!!! To the Translators and Editors of NETS, especially Prof. Albert Pietersma and Benjamin Wright all I can say to them and their translation is AXIOS!

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