Okay, enough of the Interlinear Paradigm. That is a very important issue, but the papers presented at the conference were by no means restricted to it. At this point, I would like to briefly mention just three papers devoted to specific books of the Septuagint that I found interesting. It is all very well to speak of the Septuagint in abstractions, but when one starts studying specific books, one begins to see that each book has a character of its own.
Exodus: “‘Glory’ in Greek Exodus: Lexical Choice in Translation and Its Reflection in Secondary Translations,” by Larry Perkins
Perkins points out that the translator of Greek Exodus engages in “semantic leveling,” that is, he uses the Greek word δόξα and cognate terms (e.g., ἔνδοξος, δοξάζω, ἐνδοξάζομαι, παραδοξάζω, etc.) to render a variety of unrelated Hebrew words. This suggests that the translator wanted to emphasize the concept of Yahweh’s δόξα in the book of Exodus. Perkins also points out that in his English translation of Greek Exodus in NETS he took pains to consistently render these words using the English word “glory” in some way or other in order to reflect the Septuagint translator’s methodical use of the same δόξα terms.
Leviticus: “Some Reflections on Writing a Commentary on the Septuagint of Leviticus,” by Dirk Büchner
I enjoyed this essay because Büchner discusses the important word ἐξιλάσκομαι used in Greek Leviticus, which plays an important role in the debate over the meaning of the related term ἱλαστήριον in the New Testament (esp. Rom 3:25). Büchner argues that the concept of appeasing God or propitiating God’s wrath is present in the meaning of the verb as used in Greek Leviticus.
Deuteronomy: “Translating a Translation: Some Final Reflections on the Production of the New English Translation of Greek Deuteronomy,” by Melvin K. H. Peters
This paper was a riot to read! Peters takes a strong (too strong?) stand against the hegemony of the Leningrad Codex (which he refers to as “L” or the St. Petersburg Codex) and argues that the Septuagint must be allowed to stand on its own as a valid witness to the text of the Old Testament. He wants to “challenge once again the long-standing and continuing practice, in both scholarly and confessional circles, of elevating the St. Petersburg Codex to a normative status unwarranted by the evidence of its text and, in my view, by sound judgment” (pp. 119-20). To illustrate, he examines Deut 30:15-16 in both the Hebrew and the Greek and concludes that “there is no credible way to argue for the primacy of the text of L in this instance,” because the Masoretic Text as represented by the Leningrad Codex (L) is “clearly incomplete,” since it leaves out the “if” clause at the beginning of v 16 (p. 122). Peters extrapolates from this one example and argues that the Septuagint is often a better witness to the original Hebrew than the Leningrad Codex, which is a medieval manuscript dated to the beginning of the 11th century.