Volume 41 - Issue 2

The Septuagint and Biblical Theology

By W. Edward Glenny


This article addresses the question: How does the LXX relate to the Christian Old Testament, and more specifically, what role does the LXX play in Christian biblical theology? The first part of the article is a brief overview of five different approaches to the role of the LXX in a whole-Bible biblical theology. The five approaches are: (1) LXX Priority and Canon, (2) LXX Priority, Hebrew Canon, (3) Hebrew Priority and Canon, LXX Bridge, (4) Hebrew and Greek Are Sanctified by the Spirit, and finally (5) Hebrew Priority and Canon, LXX Commentary. Building on the different perspectives surveyed in this study, it is suggested that that the importance and function of the LXX in Christian biblical theology is at least fourfold: (1) The LXX can function as the source of Christian biblical theology; (2) The LXX is valuable for biblical theology in its role as a commentary on the biblical text; (3) The LXX is a bridge or link between the Christian OT and NT; and (4) The LXX complements the Hebrew Scriptures.

This is a great time for the study of the Septuagint (LXX), and there is an ever-increasing number of resources available for studying it.1 Septuagint scholars are publishing monographs and dissertations,2 new lexicons,3 commentaries,4 a new grammar,5
translations,6 and introductions,7 and work continues on a full critical edition called the Göttingen Septuagint.8 Also, important works have been translated into English,9 and, of special interest for this study, several works are being published emphasizing the role of the LXX in Christian biblical theology and the importance of the LXX for the study of the NT.10 Also, scholars are calling attention to the fact that the discipline involves more than the quest to determine the original text of the Hebrew Bible/OT and that the study of the LXX is no longer simply a subdivision of Hebrew Bible or OT studies.11 Increasingly, scholars are studying the LXX as a “free-standing Greek religious document” and attributing an independent voice to it.12 In this regard the LXX is especially important for understanding the NT and for the discipline of biblical theology.13

Before we can begin to discuss the Septuagint’s relationship to biblical theology we must define some terms. The term “Septuagint” (LXX) refers, strictly speaking, to the translation of the Pentateuch into Greek in the third century BCE, as allegedly described in the Letter of Aristeas. However, the term is often used generally to refer to the Greek Jewish Scriptures, consisting primarily of translations of the books of the Hebrew Bible,14 but also containing additions to some of the books of the Hebrew Bible and some other independent works.15 This more general use of the term “LXX” is much like we might refer to the “English Bible,” without having a particular English translation in mind.16 My use of the term “LXX” in this article, unless otherwise noted, is a general use of the term, referring to the Greek Jewish Scriptures, consisting primarily of the books of the Hebrew Bible.17 As a point of clarification, most specialists use the term Old Greek (OG) to designate a (critical) text that in their judgment represents the original translation of books other than the Pentateuch,18 and some use the abbreviation LXX/OG, when referring to the initial translations of the Hebrew Bible as a whole, as a reminder of the diversity that characterizes the corpus.19

By “Scripture” I mean the books that have authoritative status for a faith community, such as the Christian Church or Judaism, and a “canon” is the official list of books that have the status of inspired Scripture for a faith community.20 When I refer to biblical theology, I especially have in mind a “whole-Bible biblical theology,” which pulls together and attempts to make sense of the inductive, grammatical-historical exegesis of the individual passages of the Christian Scripture found in both testaments.21 It is an attempt to synthesize the content of the individual passages of Christian Scripture in a theology of the whole, and in this paper I would like to consider how the LXX might factor into such a theological enterprise. In J. Ross Wagner’s words, “Any attempt to elucidate how the two Testaments of the Christian Bible, individually and together, testify to the redeeming work of the Triune God must sooner or later address the question of the authority of the Septuagint as a witness to the biblical text and thus as a resource for doing Christian theology.”22

The Septuagint is indirectly influential in the study of biblical theology because of its contribution to the determination of the texts of the OT and the NT. More importantly, perhaps, the LXX is significant for biblical theology because of its influence on the language of the NT and the use of the LXX in the OT references in the NT. McLay notes that most who have studied the influence of the LXX on the NT have focused on determining the sources of citations from the OT in the NT. Therefore, “few have ventured to examine possible allusions in the NT to the Greek Jewish Scriptures, and even fewer have sought to illuminate how presupposing the Greek Jewish Scriptures as the Scriptures of the NT writers may have influenced their theology.”23

Probably the main and certainly the most foundational issue concerning the role of the LXX in biblical theology is the place of the Septuagint in the development of the Christian canon. Should the LXX be recognized as the OT of the church? And if it should, then what form of the LXX is the OT of the church: the fourfold form that contains the so-called apocryphal and deutero-canonical books (sometimes called the Alexandrian canon) or the threefold form that corresponds to the Hebrew Scriptures (Law/Prophets/Writings)? And furthermore, what historical stage of that form’s development is best? Or, is the LXX a derivative and secondary form of the Christian OT that should be understood and read in relation to, but not instead of, a Hebrew original? If it is secondary and derivative, then what place does it have in relation to the Christian Scriptures?24 These questions are important because they have implications not only concerning the books contained in the OT, but also concerning the text of the OT, and the order of the books of the OT. And the implications of these questions are important for biblical theology, since biblical theology works from the text of an agreed upon canon of Scripture.25

The question that I will begin to address in this article is How does the LXX relate to the Christian Old Testament, and more specifically, how does the LXX fit into Christian biblical theology? Or to say it another way, what role should the LXX play in determining a whole-Bible biblical theology? Some of the issues related to this question are far too complex to address adequately here, and I need to warn the reader at the beginning that this essay is introductory in nature and there are many related issues that will not be addressed in it. My goal in this essay is to summarize some of the present discussion on the question of the role of the LXX in biblical theology and attempt to show how the different positions on this issue relate to one another. Then, I will present a tentative and initial conclusion.

1. Different Views of the Role of the LXX in Christian Biblical Theology

I will consider and evaluate briefly five different approaches to the role of the LXX in a Christian’s attempt to construct a whole-Bible biblical theology (gesamtbiblische Theologie).

1.1. LXX Priority and Canon

The first approach to the role of the Septuagint in biblical theology is that of Peter Stühlmacher, Hartmut Gese, and their colleague at Tübingen, Martin Hengel. Stühlmacher and Gese, whose writings are more oriented to biblical theology than Hengel’s historical works, adopt a tradition-history approach to Scripture as the foundation for biblical theology and for bridging the period between the OT and the NT.

For these scholars the OT consists of a stream of diverse traditions speaking over the head of any final literary statement that, once it begins, cannot stop developing. This developing stream of traditions finds its fulfillment and completion finally in the NT. For Gese, revelation is a human-oriented disclosure of God that can only unfold in a process, as proceeding toward a goal; that goal is that God appears, in the deepest depth of the human, in the human’s uttermost distance from God. “Biblical theology is the comprehending reality of this revelation history, which leads through all stages of human existence in the historical process.”26 The task of biblical theology is to teach us to comprehend this whole tradition or path through Israel to the inclusion of the whole world.27 The task of determining the theology of the whole tradition “confronts (a) the individual text with its preliterary antecedents, (b) the development of the text as literature with its own literary classification, and (c) the growth of the text tradition into a corpus embracing the whole.”28

It is the fulfillment in the NT that identifies the canonical direction and course of the tradition stream from its beginning to that point and finally stops the stream. Thus the NT relates not to a closed literary canon (of the OT) with a given form but rather to traditions in motion, which develop through the continual actualizing of the text.29 As a result, these scholars include the apocryphal or deutero-canonical books, which are in the Septuagint, in the OT canon that was still developing in NT times. In this regard, they give the LXX priority for what they would consider to be a genuinely Christian biblical theology. They believe that for Christians this tradition-history approach points to the LXX as the stream through which the tradition flows, since the LXX is necessary to connect the tradition from the OT to the NT and since the LXX is the tradition most often cited in the NT. Furthermore, for these scholars, in the NT period the third division of the canon was under negotiation,30 and thus their tradition-history approach is connected to their conviction that the form of the canon of the Jewish Scriptures (Christian OT) was not fixed until the Christians (or Jews) gave it a fixed form.31

Martin Hengel’s book, The Septuagint as Christian Scripture, clearly demonstrates the implications of such a tradition-history approach for the discussion of the OT canon and the place of the Septuagint in the Christian canon. Hengel amasses a vast amount of detail and historical information concerning the Septuagint and the canon in the pre-Christian and early church periods. His argument (for the priority of the LXX) is built on the fact that the important codices of the 4th and 5th centuries (Vaticanus and Alexandrinus) contained the fuller LXX or Alexandrian canon in them.32 He explains that this phenomenon is evidence that Christians held to a fuller OT canon than the traditional Hebrew canon, although it is not always clear that the evidence supports his cause.33 He develops the thesis that for the early church the center of Scripture was the fulfillment in the gospel, i.e., the truth of the gospel, and for the early church Scripture was not limited by a defined collection. Their primary Scripture was, of course, the Greek Bible, which, judging from their use of it, must have been for them a “bipartite reality.”34 On the one hand, at the center of this body of literature was a “relatively tight circle of frequently cited scriptures in which ‘the Scriptures’ were primarily seen from the perspective of the fulfilled prophetic promise.” On the other hand, other texts including individual apocrypha and pseudepigrapha could also be used as “Scripture” in a quite free inspired treatment of those texts.35 The main supports for Hengel’s thesis concerning a bipartite canon are (1) the use of these apocryphal and pseudepigraphal texts in the NT and early writings of the Church, (2) the presence of these same works in the early codices, and (3) the fact that the LXX, the OT of the Eastern Church and the OT text primarily quoted in the NT, contains many of these works.

Hengel argues that the rabbis with their pharisaic Jewish canon broke off history and historiography with the end of prophecy in the OT at the time of Artaxerxes I.36 However, Christians continue the history of the developing tradition on to Christ. This continuation of the tradition involves the so-called apocryphal and deutero-canonical books in the Septuagint, as well as a wider dimension of other writings from around the first century CE like Josephus, Philo, and the Pseudepigrapha.37 Hengel argues further that for Christians, since the NT is the conclusion, goal, and fulfillment of the OT, the OT must remain open until the NT fulfillment in Christ. Hengel questions whether the NT authors would share the same preoccupation with the concept of an OT canon that is found in the later church.38 He asks, “Does the church still need a clearly demarcated, strictly closed Old Testament canon, since the New Testament is, after all, the ‘conclusion,’ the goal and the fulfillment of the Old?”39 He follows this statement with what he feels is the most important example in the NT itself for the openness of the OT for the NT, the final. That example is John the Baptist, since Jesus says, “The Law and the Prophets are until John” (Luke 16:16; cf. Matt 11:13). For Hengel this passage proves that we “cannot go any farther back” than John to find the closing of the Old Testament canon.40 Whether these words of Jesus have anything to do with the openness of the OT canon until John is most questionable. The context is one of fulfillment that suggests instead the point is that the OT prophesies until its fulfillment begins in John, the forerunner of the one who ultimately fulfills the Law and the Prophets.41

He concludes his book with a long quotation from his colleague Gese, some of which is worth repeating here.

A Christian theologian may never approve of the masoretic canon. The continuity with the New Testament is in significant measure broken here. . . .

The New Testament brought the formation of the Old Testament tradition to an end, a final conclusion. The formation of biblical tradition is thus, for the first time, in a deeper sense, canonical.42

In summary, proponents of this first view, such as Gese, Stuhlmacher, and Hengel, believe that the LXX should be the Bible of the church.43 Furthermore, they believe that if the LXX is the Bible of the church, it follows that the OT canon of the church should be the fuller canon of the LXX, not the Jewish canon. I call this view “LXX Priority and Canon.”44

1.2. LXX Priority, Hebrew Canon

Mogens Müller, Professor of NT at the University of Copenhagen, espouses a second view of the role of the LXX in biblical theology that differs slightly from the position of Hengel, Stuhlmacher, and Gese. In his book, The First Bible of the Church, Müller argues that for Christians “in a biblical theological context we must insist that the Septuagint is at least part of a canon.”45 Müller, like the proponents of the previous view, suggests that the OT had a fluid tradition history, and the OT texts were rewritten and redacted to make them applicable to later times and situations. Thus, following Julius Wellhausen, he theorizes that the prophets were not calling their recipients back to Moses, but rather “founding a new religion.”46 He posits that the “date of the origin of the Law and Prophets and the Writings in their present shape and with their present religious concepts is to be found in the post-exilic period.”47 The OT books were created over a short period of time, and the time when the misnamed “original” came into existence approaches the time when the LXX translation was made. Therefore, “the Greek translation may reasonably be seen as evidence of a process reflecting changing traditions48 that only gradually ended after the choice of a particular Hebrew text as the normative text. The LXX is “a witness of this process of transmitting traditions”; it is not just “a source for the underlying Hebrew Ur-text.”49 In this regard the LXX is more than a word-for-word translation; it is a key witness of the handing on of traditions in the Hebrew Scriptures. Following Robert Hanhart on this point, Müller suggests that “the Septuagint is in many respects a theologically outstanding version of the Old Testament, amplifying the religious traditions of Judaism” and thus defining the meaning of the Jewish Bible “in the centuries around the birth of Jesus.”50 For Müller, decisive differences between the so-called original and the translated text are only important in contexts where the goal is to reveal the “original intention of the original authors.”51 This goal, however, does not make sense when studying texts that in their present or final shape are the result of an editing process, like the OT. For such texts the focus of attention is the final form or the end of the tradition.

Another main point in Müller’s thesis is his belief that the meaning of the OT is determined by the Church’s interpretation of the events of Christ’s life or the NT. There are two levels of meaning in the OT text, and it is the Christ events and beliefs of the church which are read back into the church’s OT that determine its distinctive meaning for the church. For Christians, Jesus had given the correct meaning to their OT, and that meaning “was not immediately apparent from the text alone.”52 The correct understanding of the OT for the church, therefore was determined by two poles, on the one hand, God’s words as handed down in those holy writings and, on the other hand, the early church’s “faith in and confession to Jesus Christ who has fulfilled the Law and the Prophets.”53 True understanding of the meaning of the OT in the NT context only comes when these two poles are activated. And since the OT text form that predominates in the NT is the LXX, then that is the text that determines the meaning for the last step of Christian tradition and is therefore a necessary part of the Christian canon. Müller writes,

In this way the wording of the Old Testament, in the shape it has in the New Testament, gains independent significance, and the Septuagint can be viewed as a true expression of the Bible which is called to witness. Moreover, the Septuagint has largely replaced Biblia Hebraica in the New Testament. For the New Testament authors this translation had tremendous impact. It influenced their wording of the Bible text decisively, and, to a varying degree, left its stamp on their language.54

For Müller, to abandon the LXX is, therefore, to abandon the harmony and continuity of the two testaments.55 He writes, “In a biblical and theological context the Septuagint does in fact convey, more convincingly than Biblia Hebraica, what the New Testament authors understood as their holy writ.”56

Also, he argues that the LXX is the Bible of the church, on the basis of textual evidence. He believes that the Hebrew text was still fluid in NT times, not being stabilized until 70–135 CE, and at that time the NT authors were primarily using the LXX instead of the Hebrew text.57 Furthermore, the LXX may reflect an early Hebrew Ur-text that “had not been emended in line with a gradually emerging textual ‘norm,’”58 and thus represent an earlier stage of the OT text than the MT. He maintains that the evidence from Qumran suggests it is unrealistic to think that there was one Hebrew Ur-text, as if one can be sorted out which is the original upon which all further text transmission was based.59 This clearly applies to the masoretic text tradition, which he believes has no claim to superiority.60

Therefore, for Müller, one cannot maintain that the LXX is merely a translation and a secondary witness as compared to the Hebrew Bible. If the Christian Bible includes both the OT and the NT, and the OT version most often referred to in the NT is the LXX, then in the “biblical theological context” of Scripture, the LXX cannot be ignored and must at least be considered part of the Christian canon. In fact, in a historical perspective, Müller argues that the LXX became the OT of the NT for the early church to an even greater extent than the Biblia Hebraica.61 He concludes, “For the New Testament authors, the original text, that is, the text they drew on, was primarily the Septuagint.”62 For these reasons Müller believes it was a fatal mistake for the Church to put aside the LXX in favor of the Hebrew-Aramaic text.63

It should be noted that Müller disagrees with Gese and his colleague Peter Stühlmacher on several important points. First, Müller believes that the boundaries of the Hebrew canon were firmly established before the beginning of the Christian era.64 Second, and related to the previous point, he affirms that “the Septuagint’s part in the Christian reception of the Old Testament did not imply the inclusion of the Old Testament Apocrypha in line with the books contained in the Biblia Hebraica.”65 Third, Müller sees the OT and the NT as two poles and seems to emphasize the meaning in both contexts and the fulfillment of the OT in the NT more than Gese and Stühlmacher, who to a greater degree than Müller see Scripture as a developing tradition and emphasize the endless pressure of the tradition to change and adapt.66

In these regards Müller’s position seems to be similar to Robert Hanhart, whom he quotes several times in his work. Hanhart disagrees with Hengel’s “open canon” view that is discussed above in this article, and he argues convincingly on the basis of the evidence from the prologue of Jesus Ben Sirach, Josephus, Qumran, and the NT that there was a relatively well-defined Hebrew canon in Alexandria in the second century BCE. He believes “in the realm of pre-Christian Judaism of the Hellenistic period that all the writings of the ‘Palestinian canon’ transmitted in the Masoretic tradition already possessed the canonical status of ‘Holy Scripture.’”67

In summary Müller proposes that the LXX should be the OT of the church, like proponents of the previous view. However, unlike proponents of the “LXX Priority and Canon” view, Müller and Hanhart do not believe that the canon of the Christian OT should be the larger LXX canon, but rather the Hebrew canon. I call this position “LXX Priority, Hebrew Canon.”

1.3. Hebrew Priority and Canon, LXX Bridge

A third group of scholars believes that the LXX is something like a bridge between the authoritative, original OT Ur-text and the NT. They believe that the LXX was the Bible of the early church, by virtue of it being in a language that they could read, but they would not agree with the proponents of the previous two views that it also should be the main form of the authoritative Bible for the contemporary church. They recognize that the early Christian communities promoted the translation of the Bible into vernacular languages, and these communities give no evidence of being chained to the Hebrew Bible; for these early Christian communities the new versions of the Bible were “not merely an aid to understanding the text but they replaced the original with authority.”68 They argue that the LXX was very influential and important in the early church’s interpretation of the OT and acknowledge that it was in a very real sense the Bible of the Early Church, but they still acknowledge that the authority of the LXX is ultimately derived from the underlying Hebrew original of which it is a translation and reflection. They would agree with James Barr’s warning that biblical theologians dare not “pass without substantial temporal interval from the main body of the Old Testament into the New. There is . . . a time of ripening, as it were, in which the Old Testament is able to develop its effects historically within the life, history and thought of a historical people.”69 For these biblical theologians the LXX would be a part of that development and could at some points reflect the developing theology of Judaism between the OT and the NT. Furthermore, in contexts where the LXX differs from the Hebrew the LXX reading may be an interpretive or theological rendering of the original, which the NT authors could employ, believing the LXX rendering is consistent with the intent of the original context (or at least the theology of the Hebrew Scriptures) and thus approving the theological content of the translation. For these scholars the LXX was the OT of the early church, and yet at the same time it is a translation of the Hebrew original and provides a link or bridge for Christians between the NT and the Hebrew original. This seems to be the position of Jobes and Silva, in their book, Invitation to the Septuagint. They write

One must appreciate that the continuity and development of thought between the Old and New Testaments is of particular concern for biblical theology. The Septuagint provides essential, but often overlooked, theological links that would have been familiar to Christians of the first century, but are not so obvious in the Hebrew version. . . .

[T]he Greek versions contain textual links not found in the Hebrew text that provide historical and literary continuity for the important task of biblical theology and for accurately understanding the exegetical debates of the early church fathers [since they were based on the LXX].70

Indications of their differences from Hengel and the proponents of the first view discussed in this paper are found in Jobes’s review of Hengel’s book, The Septuagint as Christian Scripture.71 Jobes disagrees with Hengel’s conclusion that the basis for the acceptance of the LXX as the OT of the early church was the legend of its miraculous translation. Instead she believes the basis for its acceptance as the OT of the early church was its use by the NT apostles. She concludes her summary of Hengel’s book by questioning his proposals that there was no clearly demarcated and strictly closed OT canon for the NT writers and that the church does not need such an OT canon. She is of the opinion that neither the evidence presented by the LXX itself nor the Jewish and early Christian use of the apocryphal books demands that Hengel’s proposals be adopted. However, she does recommend careful consideration of the issues that Hengel raises and their implications.72

In a footnote in their book, Jobes and Silva also clearly distinguish their position on the LXX from Müller’s position, the second view summarized in this essay. They write that he “goes so far as to argue that the Christian church in the West was quite wrong to follow Jerome’s preference for the Hebrew text over that of the Septuagint.” They note further that while the arguments of Müller “are not persuasive, they are helpful for showing the great importance of the Greek text for early Christianity.”73 Thus, even though they acknowledge that because it was accessible in their language the LXX became the OT of the early Christian church, they are of the opinion that it is right to prefer the Hebrew over the LXX when translating the OT. In this regard they write,

Today’s English translations of the OT are rightly based, not on the Greek or Latin versions, but on the best available Hebrew text, known as the Masoretic Text (MT). While the Hebrew is the best textual base for modern translations, we cannot forget that the ancient Greek version of the Old Testament was nevertheless the Bible of the earliest Christian writers.74

Hence, Jobes and Silva emphasize that the LXX is a translation of the Hebrew original and they speak often about its role as a link or bridge between the Testaments.75 However, these authors do not emphasize that the LXX should be for contemporary Christians the OT of their NT, instead of the Hebrew. For them the best text to use as a basis for modern versions is the Hebrew text, known as the Masoretic Text.76 Thus, they distance themselves from the positions of Müller and Hengel. I will call this position “Hebrew Priority and Canon, LXX Bridge.” By “bridge” I mean that the LXX is an important bridge (or link) between the testaments and it is also a bridge back to the original text, the autographa.

1.4. Hebrew and Greek Are Sanctified as Scripture by the Spirit

This is the view of J. Ross Wagner in his article “The Septuagint and the ‘Search for the Christian Bible.’”77 In this essay Wagner “raises the question of how the two-testament nature of the Bible exercises its influence on Christian doctrine, given that the New Testament authors, most of the church fathers, and the Eastern Orthodox churches to this day have read the Greek rather than the Hebrew as the normative Old Testament of their Christian Bible.”78 By means of interaction with Brevard Childs, Wagner “argues that the Septuagint highlights for theology the importance of the unfinished ‘search’ for the Christian Bible, not least because it extends key canonical trajectories that arise from the final form of the canonical text.”79 Wagner employs John Webster’s dogmatic category of the “sanctification” of Holy Scripture to specify how the LXX “may, within the church’s ongoing search for the Christian Bible, legitimately be recognized as a norm for Christian faith and practice.”80 For Webster the Christian Scriptures are human artifacts that are sanctified by the Spirit’s “election and overseeing of the entire historical course of the creaturely reality so that it becomes a creature which may serve the purposes of God.”81 The texts, though sanctified, remain creatures, and they continue to function in the divine economy as well as in the realm of human processes. As creaturely realities, the texts serve God’s purposes of “redemptive self-communication.”82 God’s Holy Spirit sovereignly superintends their function from pre-textual tradition to interpretation, and “because of the sanctifying work of the Spirit in the translation, canonization, and reception of the Christian Bible . . . we are able to hear in the Septuagint, too, ‘the terrifying mercy of God’s address.’”83 Thus, Wagner’s understanding of the LXX is that it stands alongside the Hebrew Scriptures to serve God’s purposes to communicate his “merciful self-manifestation to the obedient hearing of the community of faith.”84 The application of the Spirit’s sanctification to the LXX is, of course, similar to the manner in which Origen and Augustine justified its role as a “norm for Christian practice and belief.”85 Thus, the LXX complements the Hebrew Bible and together with it extends God’s continuing self-revelation as the Spirit illuminates people through them.

1.5. Hebrew Priority and Canon, LXX Commentary

There is a fifth position that is worth mentioning. As we have seen in our survey of the four previous views, some scholars and surely many other Christians understand the LXX to be something like a commentary on the OT or on the NT. A modern day representative of this understanding of the relationship of the LXX to biblical theology might be J. Julius Scott Jr., who argues that the literature of Second Commonwealth Judaism must play a significant role in understanding NT biblical theology by its illumination and clarification of the socio-historical-cultural background of the NT. Interestingly, he includes the LXX in this literature along with the “apocrypha, the so-called pseudepigrapha, the Qumran literature, inscriptions, official and private documents, the writings of Philo and Josephus, and parts of the rabbinic literature as well as the NT itself.”86 Thus, although he probably would not want to limit the importance of the LXX for biblical theology to this function, he emphasizes its role in providing background information for understanding the NT “as first given” and for doing NT biblical theology.87 I call this position “Hebrew Priority and Canon, LXX Commentary.” Such a view is clearly not sufficient to explain the role of the LXX in Christian biblical theology, and Scott would very likely agree with this conclusion.

2. Summary and Implications

In this essay I have surveyed various views that scholars have suggested concerning the place of the LXX in Christian biblical theology and grouped them in five categories. The five categories I have suggested for the views I surveyed are: (1) LXX Priority and Canon, (2) LXX Priority, Hebrew Canon, (3) Hebrew Priority and Canon, LXX Bridge, (4) Hebrew and Greek Are Sanctified by the Spirit, and finally (5) Hebrew Priority and Canon, LXX Commentary. Several complicated and interrelated factors affect the place of the LXX in Christian biblical theology. These factors include OT textual history, historical evidence concerning the OT canon, one’s understanding of inspiration and its relationship to the autographs, OT textual updating, and revelation and history and their relationship to or compatibility with a tradition-historical understanding of OT history. Furthermore, the very nature of the LXX complicates this issue. How does this diverse translation of the Hebrew Bible into Greek,88 which we call the LXX and which was in large part the OT of the early church at the time the NT was written, relate to the Christian Bible, OT and NT, which is in itself believed to be true, cohesive, and complementary?

Building on the different perspectives surveyed in this study, I suggest that the importance and function of the LXX in Christian biblical theology is at least fourfold, and these four functions overlap.

First, the LXX can function as the source of Christian biblical theology. Textual scholars are convinced that although the LXX is primarily a translation and, in some of its forms, a revision of the original Greek text, in some of the instances where the LXX disagrees with the MT it preserves an earlier form of the Hebrew than the MT.89 This is especially the case where details reflected in the text of the LXX that differ from the MT are also attested in manuscripts from Qumran or the Samaritan Pentateuch. Having said this, it is important to emphasize that although the LXX was in many ways the Bible of the early church and does at times bear witness to the earliest form of the Hebrew text that is available to us, it was with few exceptions understood to be a translation of the Hebrew, and revisions of it were invariably made toward an authoritative Hebrew text.

Second, the LXX is valuable for biblical theology in its role as a commentary on the biblical text. Here I am referring to situations where the LXX provides socio-political-cultural-historical background that sheds light on our understanding of the biblical text.90 It is especially valuable for its role in providing background for the NT, but it is conceivable that it could function in this manner in the interpretation of the OT. In this role it joins with other ancient literature that provides background for the understanding of the Bible. It is also important to add that as all translations are the LXX is an interpretation of its Vorlagen, which are for the most part the books we call the Hebrew Scriptures, and thus it provides some of the earliest evidence of how Jews in the Second Temple period understood the OT. In this regard it is a commentary on the OT.

Third, and perhaps most important, the LXX is a bridge or link between the Christian OT and NT. The LXX’s role as a bridge between the testaments is not as a part of a continuing tradition but as a unique literary connection that, as a translation of the Hebrew Scriptures, reflects and interprets them, thus forming a link back to them. Then as the writers of the NT refer to and quote those Hebrew Scriptures, often in their Greek translation, the LXX provides the form of the OT promise that Christ fulfills in the NT, providing a link between the Hebrew Scriptures and the NT. The influence of the LXX on the NT is not limited to the citations from it in the NT; the vocabulary, grammar, syntax, style, and even theology of the LXX has influenced the NT.91 The Septuagint and the NT are also useful for doing textual-critical work on each other.92 Thus, for Christians the theological connection between their OT and NT is made in great part via the LXX, but the links between the LXX and the Christian OT and NT also extend beyond theology to many other areas.

This leads to a fourth role the LXX plays in a Christian biblical theology, the role of a complement to the Hebrew Scriptures. The LXX differs from the Hebrew in many ways, including its quantity, its order of books, verses within books, and words, and its meaning. Especially important for this discussion are contexts in the NT where a LXX text is used to support the argument of the NT text, and the meaning of the LXX passage employed in the NT differs from the meaning of the corresponding passage in the Hebrew. One example is the use of Amos 9:11–12 in Acts 15:16–18. I have argued elsewhere that the LXX rendering was a “theological” rendering and that the quotation in Acts, which comes primarily from the LXX of Amos 9:11–12, is composite, also including references to other OT passages.93 In this passage the LXX reflects and repackages the theology of several passages in the Hebrew Bible in a unique way, and the LXX form is fitting for the argument of James at the Jerusalem Council, as described in Acts 15. Thus, I contend that Christian biblical theologians should understand theological statements that are unique to the LXX to complement and extend the understanding of the Hebrew Bible, as far as they reflect and repackage the theology found in the Hebrew Bible or as far as that reflected and repackaged theology of the LXX is picked up and used in the NT.94 When the NT authors employ the LXX, the OT text in its Greek translation is Spirit-breathed Scripture in the NT context where it is employed. I would not argue that it replaces the corresponding Hebrew OT text as Scripture in the OT context, but by virtue of its inclusion in NT Scripture it functions as Scripture in that context and in that regard it complements the Hebrew Scriptures.

The LXX should be considered in doing Christian biblical theology. And in that regard, it would be helpful to have some works on the biblical theology of the LXX, primarily on the individual translations, but also on the whole, as far as that is possible.95 Septuagint scholars debate the degree of possibility of writing a biblical theology of the LXX, but it seems there could be some progress, at least to begin with on the individual translation units of the LXX. One other way that biblical theologians could profit from the LXX is by consulting the growing number of commentaries on the LXX to study LXX quotations and references in the NT in their LXX context. As mentioned above, often the meaning of OT references in the NT that are taken from the LXX differ from their counterparts in the Hebrew Bible, and often the context of the LXX references in the NT differs from the context of such passages in the Hebrew Bible. A commentary on the LXX is an efficient means of checking the OT context of LXX references in the NT, and it could provide insight into the texts of the LXX and the NT.96

The Septuagint scholar Sidney Jellicoe wrote, “He who would read the New Testament must know Koiné; but he who would understand the New Testament must know the LXX.”97 And if knowledge of the LXX is necessary for understanding the NT, it is also certainly imperative for the practice of Christian biblical theology. Therefore, all biblical theologians should take to heart the words with which the nineteenth century German biblical scholar Ferdinand Hitzig is said to have begun his class in Septuagint: “Gentlemen, have you a Septuagint? If not, sell all you have, and buy a Septuagint.”98

[1] I presented an earlier version of this essay in the Septuagint Studies Consultation at the Annual Meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society, Atlanta, GA, November 2015. My thanks to the participants in that consultation for their feedback and especially to William A. Ross for taking time to read and comment on a later version of the essay.

[2] For example, see the LXX titles published in the SBL Septuagint and Cognate Studies Monograph Series, the Vetus Testamentum series published by Brill, and The Hebrew Bible and Its Versions series published by T&T Clark.

[3] For example, T. Muraoka, A Greek-English Lexicon of the Septuagint (Leuven: Peeters, 2009); J. Lust, E. Eynikel, K. Hauspie, A Greek English Lexicon of the Septuagint, compiled by G. Chamberlain, 2 vols. (Deutsche Biblegesellschaft, Stuttgart, 1992, 1996).

[4] For example, La Bible d’Alexandrie Septuagint commentary series ed. by Margaret Harl; Stanley Porter, ed. Septuagint Commentary Series (Leiden: Brill); Robert Hiebert and Cameron Boyd-Taylor, eds., The SBL Septuagint Commentary Series (Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature); and M. Karrer and W. Kraus, eds., Septuaginta Deutsch: Erläuterungen und Kommentare zum griechischen Alten Testament (Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft).

[5] T. Muraoka, A Syntax of Septuagint Greek (Leuven: Peeters, 2016).

[6] For example, Albert Pietersma and Benjamin G. Wright, eds. A New English Translation of the Septuagint (New York: Oxford University Press, 2007); Wolfgang Kraus and Martin Karrer, Septuaginta Deutsch (Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 2009); the French translation in La Bible d’Alexandrie; and the Spanish translation, La Biblia griega: Septuaginta, which is nearly complete.

[7] For example, Karen H. Jobes and Moisés Silva, Invitation to the Septuagint, 2nd ed. (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2015); Jennifer M. Dines, The Septuagint (London: T&T Clark, 2004); and James K. Aitken, ed., T&T Clark Companion to the Septuagint (London: T&T Clark, 2015).

[8] Septuaginta: Vetus Testamentum Graecum (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht).

[9] See Natalio Fernandez Marcos, The Septuagint in Context: Introduction to the Greek Versions of the Bible, trans. Wilfred G.E. Watson (Boston: Brill, 2000).

[10] R. Timothy McLay, The Use of the Septuagint in New Testament Research (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2003); McLay, “Beyond Textual Criticism: The Use of the Septuagint in NT Research,” JNSL 28 (2002) 69–85; Karen H. Jobes, “Got Milk? Septuagint Psalm 33 and the Interpretation of 1 Peter 2:1–3,” WTJ 63 (2002): 1–14.

[11] For the importance of the Septuagint for studying the text of the OT, see Peter J. Gentry, “The Septuagint and the Text of the Old Testament,” BBR 16 (2006): 193–218.

[12] Stanley E. Porter, “Septuagint/Greek Old Testament,” in Dictionary of New Testament Background, ed. Craig A. Evans and Stanley E. Porter (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2000), 1099–1106, esp. 1103.

[13] With reference to issues of language, Muraoka (Syntax, xli) maintains, “New Testament Greek can be best analysed, interpreted, and understood when one is intimately familiar with [Septuagint Greek].”

[14] McLay, The Use of the Septuagint, 6.

[15] See Ibid. Some of these additions and other works that are included in the LXX were translations from Hebrew or Aramaic, while other books [independent works] were originally composed in Greek. The issue of the meaning of the term “Septuagint” is further complicated by the facts that it was translated from Hebrew over several centuries, and the translations began to be revised shortly after they were completed.

[16] Jobes and Silva, Invitation to the Septuagint, 14.

[17] McLay (The Use of the Septuagint, 6) explains, “A terminological difficulty is encountered when nonspecialists employ a reading from printed editions of the LXX (Rahlfs or Brooke-McLean) or a manuscript and refer to it as the reading of the Septuagint as though it represents the oldest recoverable form of that book. In such cases the text that is being used may represent a LXX reading, that is, it is part of the scriptural tradition that originated in the Greek Jewish community, but it does not necessarily represent the original reading for that book that can be critically reconstructed using textual criticism.”

[18] McLay, The Use of the Septuagint, 6.

[19] Jobes and Silva, Invitation to the Septuagint, 16.

[20] See Eugene Ulrich, “The Notion and Definition of Canon,” in The Canon Debate, ed. Lee Martin McDonald and James A. Sanders (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 2002), 21–35. We should not think of the early collections of approved books as a Bible before the fourth century CE, since this is the first that the books of the Christian canon were placed together in on volume, a codex, and the term “Bible” means all in one book or inside of the same cover. On the meaning of “Bible,” see Eugene Ulrich, “The Bible in the Making: The Scriptures of Qumran,” in Community of the Renewed Covenant: Notre Dame Symposium on the Dead Sea Scrolls, ed. Eugene Ulrich and James VanderKam (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1994), 77–93, esp. 79.

[21] I am translating the German, eine gesamtbiblische Theologie. See the helpful discussion on biblical theology in D. A. Carson, “Current Issues in Biblical Theology: A New Testament Perspective,” BBR 5 (1995), 17–41, esp. 20–23.

[22] J. Ross Wagner, “The Septuagint and the ‘Search for the Christian Bible,’” in Scripture’s Doctrine and Theology’s Bible, ed. Markus Bockmuehl and Alan J. Torrance (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2008), 17–28.

[23] McLay, “Beyond Textual Criticism,” 71. McLay comments that such work is certainly not beyond the reach of LXX research, since comments and studies abound on how the theology of the LXX translator is responsible for the differences between the Greek and the Hebrew Vorlage. McLay is interested in pursuing the influence of the translator’s theology in the forward direction (toward the NT) rather than the backward direction (toward the Hebrew Vorlage). In his book, The Use of the Septuagint in New Testament Research, McLay attempts to demonstrate the importance of possible allusions to the Greek Jewish Scriptures in the NT for giving insight into the meaning of the New Testament. Scholars may debate the degree and manner of the LXX’s influence on the NT, but there is no doubt that its influence was substantial.

[24] In the words of Brevard Childs (The Struggle to Understand Isaiah as Christian Scripture [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2004], 313), those who want to interpret the Christian Bible must wrestle with “the textual tension between the Hebrew and the Greek.”

[25] Carson, “Current Issues in Biblical Theology,” 27–29.

[26] Hartmut Gese, “Tradition and Biblical Theology,” in Tradition and Theology in the Old Testament, ed. Douglas A. Knight (London: SPCK, 1977), 326.

[27] Ibid., 326.

[28] Ibid., 308.

[29] With regard to this idea of continual development of tradition, Christopher R. Seitz (“Two Testaments and the Failure of One Tradition History,” in Biblical Theology: Retrospect and Prospect, ed. Scott J. Hafemann [Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2002], 198) comments, “It is an empirical fact that the OT is more than growing traditions and endless refabrication, or else it would forever resist literary fixation in deference to movement and change and life processes. We would have no container holding the diversity we seek to valorize, with a fixed form and a delimited scope, if diversity and growth were ends unto themselves.” Seitz raises several questions about the tradition-history approach. First, if diversity and growth are an end unto themselves as tradition-history suggests, then why is there any final, stable form to the OT? Also, how can we speak of a threefold or fourfold canon of the OT literature, if it bears witness to an ongoing process of tradition extending without interruption to the NT? The answer is that for many proponent of the tradition-historical approach there is no stable form of the OT canon, and the canon is open (ibid., 198–99).

[30] Seitz clarifies concerning Gese, that for him “the NT ushers in a critical period when the limits of the OT canon are under negotiation. As such, one could not speak about a stable Scripture speaking a word over the tradition process, not even in the case of parts one and two (Law and Prophets)” (ibid., 199).

[31] For summaries of their views, Gese, “Tradition and Biblical Theology,” 301–26, and Peter Stuhlmacher, Historical Criticism and Theological Interpretation of Scripture: Toward a Hermeneutics of Consent (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1977).

[32] Although, the extra books contained in these two codices are not the same, Martin Hengel, The Septuagint as Christian Scripture (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 2002), 57–60.

[33] The respected Septuagint scholar Robert Hanhart argues that there was a relatively well-defined Hebrew canon in Alexandria in the second century BCE (“Introduction: Problems in the History of the Text of the LXX Text from Its Beginning to Origen,” in Martin Hengel, The Septuagint as Christian Scripture [Grand Rapids: Baker, 2004], 1–23). I further discuss Hanhart’s argument near the end of section 1.2 below.

[34] Hengel, The Septuagint as Christian Scripture, 108, 110.

[35] Ibid., 110.

[36] Ibid., 102–3. Artaxerxes I reigned from 465–424 BCE.

[37] Ibid., 126.

[38] Ibid., 105–8.

[39] Ibid., 126.

[40] Ibid., 126.

[41] Hengel seems to confuse the openness of the OT canon with what Jesus is clearly referring to, the period of the authority of those writings, which will be followed and superseded by the reign of Christ and his Kingdom. To say that the old era lasts until John, and that Jesus is the turning point and beginning of the age of fulfillment, the new era, does not mean that the canon of the OT must still be open until the time of John; it means that the prophecies of the OT prophets were pointing ahead to their fulfillment until Christ, and in Christ their prophetic function finds its fulfillment. In fact, Matthew 11:15 (which Hengel does not quote) makes it clear that they actually begin to find their fulfillment in John, who fulfills Malachi’s prophecy of an end time Elijah who was to come before the Lord to prepare his way. As mentioned above, Hengel’s approach focuses on the historical development of tradition rather than a prophecy-fulfillment relationship between the testaments. In this regard, the focus of the John the Baptist account in Matthew 11 is the fulfillment of the OT in John and Christ (Matt 11:3–6, 10, 14). In Luke the context emphasizes the fulfillment of every detail of the OT (16:17), not the continuation of OT tradition until the NT.

[42] This is an English translation of Gese’s words as given in Hengel, The Septuagint as Christian Scripture, 126. Gese’s remarks come from his article, “Erwägungen zur Einheit der biblischen Theologie,” ZTK 67 (1970): 417–36. Cf. Mogens Müller, The First Bible of the Church, JSOTSS 206 (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1996), 123n64.

[43] Tim McLay, like Gese, Stühlmacher, and Hengel, argues for the priority of the Septuagint and also believes the OT canon was not closed until sometime in the early centuries of the church. In his book, The Use of the Septuagint in New Testament Research, McLay concludes “. . . the Jewish Scriptures were in a fair degree of flux during the NT period. However, the forces that would eventually lead to the standardization of the Hebrew text and the fixing of the authoritative books in the Jewish tradition must also have been in place because the canon was fixed some time during the early centuries of the church” (143; see also 172). McLay cites Müller in support of his position, but Müller believes the canon was closed by the end of the first century, as discussed below. McLay also seems to believe that the Septuagint should be understood as the Christian OT. He concludes his book with the question: “How would our understanding of the NT be enhanced if we read the Greek Jewish Scriptures as the primary source for the interpretive and theological reflections of the NT authors?” (ibid., 173). It is important to note that although McLay apparently agrees with the Tübingen scholars that the LXX is the Christian OT, McLay does not come to this conclusion concerning the Septuagint on the basis of a tradition-historical reading of Scripture, as they do, but instead on the basis of historical evidence from the time of the early church.

[44] T. Michael Law also seems to take this position in his book, When God Spoke Greek (Oxford: University Press: Oxford, 2013); see esp. his Postscript (pp. 167–171). On p. 171 he asks what modern Christian theology would look like “if its theologians returned the Septuagint to the place it occupied at the foundation of the church, or at least began to read it alongside the Hebrew Bible?”

[45] Müller, The First Bible of the Church, 122.

[46] Ibid., 102. For Müller, the “Law is not the starting-point but the result of Israel’s spiritual development” (102).

[47] Ibid., 102.

[48] Ibid., 102, italics original.

[49] Ibid., 99.

[50] Ibid., 119.

[51] Ibid., 143.

[52] Ibid., 126, 135.

[53] Ibid., 127.

[54] Ibid., 129.

[55] Ibid., 97.

[56] Ibid., 121.

[57] Ibid., 114, 119.

[58] Ibid., 119.

[59] Ibid., 42.

[60] In response to Müller’s arguments it should be noted that although perhaps the early church favored the LXX, there is also much evidence for the use of a text form similar to the MT in the NT. Furthermore, it seems that both the LXX and Hebrew text forms were developing and changing in the first centuries of this era. Emanuel Tov critiques Müller’s thesis and suggests it is not without its own problems, since “the quotations from the Septuagint in the New Testament often differ from the known manuscripts of the Septuagint” (“The Status of the Masoretic Text in Modern Text Editions of the Hebrew Bible” in The Canon Debate, ed. Lee Martin McDonald and James A. Sanders [Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 2002], 240n31). Furthermore, Müller (The First Bible of the Church, 40) notes that the debate in the early Church was not the issue of the limits of the canon, but rather textual issues, and in the last centuries of the previous era the LXX was being compared with and edited toward the Hebrew text by the Jews, and in the first centuries of this era both Jews and Christians seem to be involved in this discussion. In fact, he suggests that the LXX text was not stabilized until after 70 CE (p. 44). Thus, Müller’s argument that the LXX is superior, because the Hebrew was not established yet, does not prove the superiority of the LXX type text. Both text traditions were developing in the NT period.

[61] Müller, The First Bible of the Church, 116.

[62] Ibid., 144.

[63] Ibid., 122.

[64] Ibid., 25–45, esp. 27, 33, 113, 102–3. Müller remarks that what occupied attention about the Hebrew Bible at the time of the NT was not the number of books in it but textual differences (p. 40). He suggests that the words of the Hebrew text were fixed in the 3rd–4th century CE (p. 32).

[65] Ibid., 121.

[66] Ibid., 130; Seitz, “Two Testaments,” 197–201.

[67] Hanhart, “Problems in the History of the Text of the LXX Text from Its Beginning to Origen,” 4, italics original. Hanhart (p. 3) suggests the few exceptions in the evidence actually prove the rule, as does Müller, The First Bible of the Church, 34.

[68] Marcos, The Septuagint in Context, 346. Marcos has an excellent discussion about the openness toward translations in the early Christian communities.

[69] James Barr, Old and New in Interpretation: A Study of the Two Testaments (London: SCM, 1964), 156.

[70] Jobes and Silva, Invitation to the Septuagint, 5–9; see also 326–50.

[71] Karen H. Jobes, review of The Septuagint as Christian Scripture by Martin Hengel, JETS 46 (2003): 318–19.

[72] Ibid.

[73] Jobes and Silva, Invitation to the Septuagint, 9n13. They refer to Müller, The First Bible of the Church, 143. Dines (The Septuagint, 143) also thinks Müller has gone too far, but she believes his position “draws attention to important issues in the relationship of between the NT authors and their biblical texts.”

[74] Jobes and Silva, Invitation to the Septuagint, 9.

[75] See also Karen H. Jobes, “When God Spoke Greek: The Place of the Greek Bible in Evangelical Scholarship,” BBR 16 (2006): 219–36 (esp. 234–36) for further examples of the LXX as a bridge or link between the testaments. Marcos uses similar language in describing the role of the LXX for theology. He calls it “a link between the religion of the Old Testament in its original language on the one hand, and the witness of the New Testament on the other” (The Septuagint in Context, 316). In an important discussion on p. 346 he writes that “Not only did Christianity adopt a translated Bible as the official Bible, but from the beginning it was a religion that favoured translation of the Bible into vernacular languages.” Also Dines (The Septuagint, 135, 142–143, 152) gives examples of how the LXX bridges the Hebrew Scriptures and the NT.

[76] Jobes and Silva, Invitation to the Septuagint, 9.

[77] Wagner, “The Septuagint and the ‘Search for the Christian Bible,’” 17–28.

[78] Markus Bockmuehl, “Introduction,” in Scripture’s Doctrine and Theology’s Bible, ed. Markus Bockmuehl and Alan J. Torrance (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2008), 8.

[79] Ibid.

[80] Wagner, “The Septuagint and the ‘Search for the Christian Bible,’” 27.

[81] Ibid., 28, quoting John Webster, Holy Scripture: A Dogmatic Sketch (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003), 26.

[82] Ibid., 28.

[83] Ibid., 28, quoting Webster, Holy Scripture, 41.

[84] Wagner, “The Septuagint and the ‘Search for the Christian Bible,’” 27, quoting Webster, Holy Scripture, 5.

[85] Ibid., 28.

[86] J. Julius Scott, “On the Value of Intertestamental Literature for New Testament Theology,” JETS 23 (1980): 317. In the remainder of the article Scott focuses on the Apocrypha, Pseudepigrapha, and the Qumran literature. The fact that Scott lists the NT as well as the LXX with other Second Commonwealth Jewish literature that illustrates and clarifies “the society, customs, issues, and world views assumed by Biblical writers” (317) indicates that he could see the function of the LXX for biblical theology as more than a commentary on the NT.

[87] Ibid. By “as first given” Scott means that through this literature contemporary theologians receive insight into the world of the NT writers, and “the modern world may touch the ancient.”

[88] The LXX is diverse in a number of ways, and it also contains some works that were originally written in Greek and several books that are not included in the Christian OT.

[89] Determining such things involves retroversion of the LXX to attempt to reconstruct its Hebrew Vorlage in order to compare it with other Hebrew texts. The process is complex, and it is often difficult to determine if differences between the MT and LXX are the result of a different Vorlage or result from some other factor, such as the technique of the translator.

[90] See W. Edward Glenny, Finding Meaning in the Text: Translation Technique and Theology in the Septuagint of Amos (Leiden: Brill, 2008), 149–273, for examples of this.

[91] One of the best resources on the influence of the LXX on the NT is McLay, The Use of the Septuagint in New Testament Research; he has a section that specifically addresses the influence of the LXX’s vocabulary, citations, and theology on the NT (137–70). Other helpful introductions to the influence of the LXX on the NT can be found in Marcos, The Septuagint in Context, 320–37, and Jobes and Silva, Invitation to the Septuagint, 200–27. The koine Greek of the LXX is invaluable for studying the Greek of the NT.

[92] Of course, the LXX is also valuable for the study of the vocabulary, grammar, syntax, style, theology, and text of the Hebrew Bible.

[93] See W. Edward Glenny, “The Septuagint and Apostolic Hermeneutics: Amos 9 in Acts 15,” BBR 22 (2012): 1–26.

[94] By “repackage” I do not mean to change the content of the theology of the Hebrew Bible, but I mean to put it together in ways that differ from the ways it is found in the Hebrew. This is evident primarily when the LXX translators give a theological rendering of a text, basing their translations on theology found elsewhere in the Hebrew Bible.

[95] Martin Rösel is one Septuagint scholar who has cast a vision for a “Theology of the Septuagint”; see esp. his article “Towards a ‘Theology of the Septuagint,’” in Septuagint Research, ed. Wolfgang Kraus and R. Glenn Wooden, SBLSCS 53 (Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2006), 239–52.

[96] See the LXX commentary series mentioned in n3 above.

[97] Sidney Jellicoe, “Septuagint Studies in the Current Century,” JBL 88 (1968): 199.

[98] Ferdinand Hitzig, quoted in Frederick W. Danker, Multipurpose Tools for Bible Study, rev. ed. (Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress, 2003), 61.

W. Edward Glenny

Ed Glenny is professor of New Testament and Greek at the University of Northwestern—St. Paul, in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Other Articles in this Issue

Psalm 90 tells us that our lives are ever so brief and it also tells us why...

John Barclay’s Paul and the Gift is one of the most important books on Paul’s theology in years...

This article builds on earlier studies highlighting repentance and return as unifying themes in the Book of the Twelve by developing a pattern of repentance and relapse that emerges from a reading of the Twelve...

Modern scholars charge that the traditional view of divine impassibility had been corrupted with Greek philosophy and thus strayed away from Scripture’s testimony of the true God...

This essay introduces John Webster’s approach to the work of theology by considering its formal principles and their relation to the material claims of the Christian faith...