Wednesday, October 07, 2009

LXX Citations in their NT Versions

In a previous post here Peter Head draws the attention to a variant reading in Heb 1:8 involving a citation from the Septuagint. I would like to remind the readers that Martin Karrer, Wuppertal, Germany, is heading a project to create a new tool for the study of LXX citations in the New Testament. I attended a presentation of the project last year at the SNTS 63d meeting in Lund. There is a description of the project here.

Regarding Hebrews and the LXX, Karrer has published an essay, "The Epistle to the Hebrews and the Septuagint," in Septuagint Research. Issues and Challenges in the Study of the Greek Jewish Scriptures (eds. W. Kraus and G. Wooden; SBL.SCS 53; Atlanta / Leiden, 2006), 335-353.

There will be a session devoted to the subject of LXX and NTTC at the SBL in New Orleans on Monday 23 November, 9:00–11:30:

New Testament Textual Criticism (The Two Bibles: The LXX and NTTC),
Leonard J. Greenspoon: “If I forget thee…: Remembering, and Forgetting, in ‘Scriptural Citations’ (20 min)
Martin Karrer and Ulrich Schmid: LXX Citations in their NT Versions
Kristin De Troyer: Quotations of "the Septuagint" in the NT
William Adler, Respondent


  1. Tommy Wasserman:

    "There is an interview with Karrer about this project here (in German)."

    Tommy, this link refers to an interview with Prof. Knut Usener about a project called "Septuaginta Deutsch" ( This is the German version of the "New English Translation of the Septuagint" or "La Bible d'Alexandrie".

    The project on the LXX citations on the New Testament is described here (

    Thank you Tommy for pointing to our session at SBL; Karrer and myself are going to present.

  2. Sorry Ulrich. There was a link on Karrer's homepage, http://www.kiho-wuppertal-,where this interview was mentioned right after the "Projekt zur Erhebung der im NT verwendeten Septuaginta-Texte" and not after his other project, "Die deutsche Übersetzung der Septuaginta." Hence, my misunderstanding. I will update the post.

  3. Clement of Alexandria (according to Eusebius) wrote that Paul wrote the Epistle to the Hebrews in Hebrew, but that it was "carefully translated" by Luke, and published among the Greeks.

    There seems to be a major problem with this, as the particular wording of the LXX in Hebrews ch. 1 is crucial to the discussion.

  4. Yes, that is clearly impossible to reconcile with the evidence of the text. The Greek Bible is too integral to the hermeneutics of Hebrews to be due to the influence of a translator. (IMO)

  5. Quotations are certainly a valuable witness to the texts of early Greek translations of the Hebrew Scriptures (I dare not refer to all of these translations as the LXX). In fact, I think it may be the case that for many of the quoted passages, our earliest witnesses to any Greek version of them are those quotations and not manuscripts. But for research along these lines, why should the data set just be quotations in the NT? Why not all quotations prior to a given date? A cut off date around the time of the major 2nd century recensions, or the time of Origen's hexapla, might be less arbitrary than just the NT, on the assumption that it was only beginning with those recensions that the mixed up mess that was all the portions of Jewish scriptures that had been translated into Greek prior to that time (sometimes in bits and other times in books, sometimes by professional translator and other times not) started to get cleaned up and organized into a corpus that could even begin to be united under that title that had originally only been used of a particular official translation of the Pentateuch, the LXX. Including other quotations from that early period outside those in the NT would significantly expand the data set (the Epistle of Barnabas alone would).

    And related to that point, I hope the project does not discriminate against any Greek quotations of passages from the OT, as though the researchers can ever exclude some example and say of it in a way they can't say of any others, "This one is not LXX." The fulfilment citations in Matthew, for example, with all their agreements with the Hebrew against the so-called LXX (by which I mean the LXX that I can read in a modern edition that has "LXX" on the cover) deserve to be included every bit as much as the so-called "septuagintal" quotations of Mark.