TIc talk Number 62, 2006

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TIC Talk

Number 62, 2006

Newsletter of the United Bible Societies Translation Information Clearinghouse

© 2006 by the United Bible Societies

Editor: Sarah Lind

UBS Translation Web Pages: http://www.ubs-translations.org/ — Check out the new look!

Notes on the first electronic-only issue: If you intend to read the issue on-screen, here are a few suggestions. Turn on the Document Map (View, Document Map) to navigate the issue more easily. Change the View to Normal so that the lines will wrap to your screen in the font size that you prefer (use View, Zoom to increase the size). Another good on-screen reading option is View, Reading Layout. This can also be combined with the Document Map.

Finally, since this issue has been late in coming, it’s a bit longer than usual, so be prepared for that if you print the issue.


  • Article: The Text of the Septuagint in the New Testament, by Harold P. Scanlin

  • Publication Notices on Bible Translation

  • Publication Notices on Bible

  • Publication Notices on Translation and Language

  • News & Notes – Internet, Conferences

The Text of the Septuagint in the New Testament

Harold P. Scanlin

The consistent best seller in the UBS Helps for Translators has been Old Testament Quotations in the New Testament by Robert G. Bratcher (2nd edition, 1984). Undoubtedly one of the attractive features of this work is the convenient presentation of an English translation of both the Masoretic Text (MT) and the Septuagint (LXX) OT text, where the two differ. UBS interest in the topic has only increased in recent years as translation work goes on in the context of Orthodox constituencies, with their commitment to the LXX. Several recent works have promoted the view that the LXX was (exclusively, or at least primarily) the OT known and used by the NT writers. See, for example, Mogens Müller, The First Bible of the Church: A Plea for the Septuagint (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1996) and Dale E. Heath, The Scripture of St. Paul, the Septuagint (Lake City, FL: published by the author, 1994). Martin Hengel’s The Septuagint as Christian Scripture: Its Prehistory and the Problem of Its Canon (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 2002; paperback reprint Grand Rapids: Baker, 2004) discusses the relevant issues without engaging in an advocacy role. R. Timothy McLay’s The Use of the Septuagint in New Testament Research (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2003) is perhaps the most useful introductory guide to all the important topics relating to the LXX and NT. McLay’s sections on the form of the cited texts (pp. 18-30; 148-158) are particularly helpful.

There has been an abundance of recent literature dealing with the use of the OT in the NT, much of which focuses on the exegetical and theological issues involved. See, for example, the collection of essays in The Right Doctrine from the Wrong Texts? Essays on the Use of the Old Testament in the New, G. K. Beale, editor (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1994). New insights on the OT-NT relationship have emerged in light of the Dead Sea Scrolls and their use of the Jewish Hebrew Scriptures, as well as the related issue of the variety of possible text forms of these authoritative documents in both Hebrew and Old Greek (traditionally labeled LXX, but more appropriately OG) available to the NT writers. Another important factor in the study of OT-NT relationships is distinguishing (or at least attempting to distinguish) among NT quotations, allusions, echoes, and intertextuality. The recent survey by Steve Moyise, The Old Testament in the New: An Introduction (London and New York: Continuum, 2001) takes into account these recent trends. Moyise, with co-editor Maarten Menken, has launched a new series, “The New Testament and the Scriptures of Israel” (T&T Clark, Continuum), that brings together commissioned studies by experts in the field: published so far are The Psalms in the New Testament (2004) and Isaiah in the New Testament (2005). Other introductions to OT-NT issues: A. W. Robertson, El antiguo testamento en el Nuevo (Buenos Aires and Grand Rapids: Nueva Creación, 1994); Chr. Fahner, Het Oude Testament van de jonge Kerk. Over ontstaan, aard en betekenis van de Septuagint (Utrecht: de Banier, 1999).

The balance of this survey will focus on two specific aspects of the OT-NT relationship: studies dealing with specific NT books and texts, and studies which include a component relating to text form as a significant element in understanding OT-NT relationships. Although this survey focuses primarily on literature published in the last fifteen years it is appropriate to mention two influential works from an earlier period written by UBS personnel: Jan de Waard, A Comparative Study of the Old Testament Text in the Dead Sea Scrolls and in the New Testament (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1965), and Kenneth J. Thomas, “The Old Testament Citations in the Epistle to the Hebrews,” New Testament Studies 11(1965):303-325. Thomas recognized the necessity of looking at textual variants in the LXX when analyzing the frequent and important OT citations in Hebrews. De Waard called attention to the importance of text form and exegetical method decades before these factors have become commonplace in OT-NT discussions.

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