In an essay published in 1972 in Festschrift to Honor F. Wilbur Gingrich: Lexicographer, Scholar, Teacher and Committed Christian Layman (Amazon), Floyd V. Filson made the case for an English translation of the Septuagint, writing:
The lack of concern for a competent English translation of the Septuagint reflects an unfavorable value judgment which we should firmly reject (143-4).
He laid out several important needs for such a project:
- “Translate the Greek in its natural sense. … The question the translator of the Septuagint must constantly keep in mind is this: What did the Greek-speaking readers who did not know Hebrew and Aramaic hear the Septuagint saying? The translation should answer that question.”
- “The student who reads an English translation of the Septuagint would be helped if that translation would regularly indicate where the Septuagint differs from the Hebrew Old Testament.”
Filson even suggests that the RSV could provide a foil for filling the second need. The attentive reader might note how familiar this sounds, since the New English Translation of the Septuagint (NETS) uses precisely this approach with the NRSV.
But he also observes that such an approach risks hindering, “the achievement of a readable translation of the Septuagint,” something that has generally been recognized as problem for NETS at times.
I am hopeful that the Lexham English Septuagint (LES), published just in time for the SBL annual meeting back in November will contribute to filling in that gap. It was a pleasure to with with Rick Brannan, Ken Penner, Isaiah Hoogendyk and Israel Loken in the editorial process.
It will be shipping from Amazon around mid-January.
Filson. Floyd V. 1972. “Translate the Septuagint.” Pages 142-146. In Festschrift to Honor F. Wilbur Gingrich: Lexicographer, Scholar, Teacher and Committed Christian Layman. Edited by Eugene Howard Barth and Ronald Edwin Cocroft.