Accordance Blog
Jul 15, 2016 Richard Mansfield

A Closer Look at the Orthodox Study Bible

Orthodox Study Bible cover w/drop shadow This past Spring, we released the Orthodox Study Bible for the Accordance Library [see original announcement here]. I have known Theron Mathis, one of the contributors, for nearly two decades. In the interview below, I asked him about his involvement in the project and what he considers significant about the Orthodox Study Bible for all readers of Scripture.

Theron, tell us a bit of your background and how you got involved with the Orthodox Study Bible project.

I have two Religion degrees: a BA from Liberty University, where I also minored in Greek, and an MDiv from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville. I got involved in the Orthodox Study Bible as a Baptist when I was exploring the Orthodox Church. After my wife and I had become catechumens in the church, I reached out to the organizers of the project and asked if I could participate. After checking credentials, I was assigned to translate 1 & 2 Samuel (1 & 2 Kingdoms) and write the study notes on the project.

Much like many modern translations, this is not a pure, from-the-ground-up translation. It is technically a revision of previous translation. Thomas Nelson was helping with the project, so we used the New King James Version as the base translation and corrected the text wherever it deviated from the LXX.

What are the more significant places where 1 & 2 Samuel/1 & 2 Kingdoms in the LXX differs from the Hebrew text?

We tried to make the Christological allusions more apparent where they occurred. An example of this is the use of "the Anointed." Rather than translate it as Anointed or perhaps Messiah, we used the word Christ, which is really a transliteration of the Greek word for anointed [χριστός].

When reading Hannah's prayer, there are some similarities in the Greek with Mary's prayer in Luke 2. Because of this, we used the same English words the translators did in Luke 2, so the connection would be obvious.

There is much more detail and conversation in the challenge between David and Goliath. The Davidic covenant differences really stand out to me. This is found in 2 Samuel 7. The first major difference was in 7:13. The Hebrew uses the word establish [כּוּן] for the action God will take toward the Davidic line. The Greek that is used [ἀνορθόω] suggests that God is doing something again. Restore is the closest English we could find for this. Restore suggests a future action by God because of something that has happened to the Davidic line. This makes the prophetic nature of the passage much more clear.

In 7:14 the SAAS says, "And if he commits iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men..." This shows God's protection of David's lineage, and that he will not allow it to be fully corrupted, but will continue to make in line with righteousness through the chastening of other men if necessary. As the monarchy became more corrupt, the fulfillment of this by outside threats, including the Exile, are obvious. The Greek could have been translated differently to give future implications. An acceptable translation could have been "Whenever his injustice arrives, I will chasten with the rod of men and the blows of the sons of men." This translation only makes sense in the light of Christ, who although righteous, suffered injustice at the hands of humanity.

How great of a challenge was it to prepare the study notes for these books? Did you discover that Orthodox understanding of these passages differed greatly from your previous Baptist background? What would you say stands out theologically or interpretively about 1 & 2 Samuel/1 & 2 Kingdoms from an Orthodox perspective?

I didn't have the electronic tools we have today in doing research and had to spend many hours combing indexes of books to find instances where the Church Fathers may have commented on a passage. The searchable tools we have today would have made the research portion much easier.

When reading the Fathers on the Old Testament, they are constantly reading with an eye to Christ and the renewal that He brought to mankind. If Christ is the fulfillment of the Old Testament, then He can be found there; and it feels that they are on this quest as they read the Old Testament. This doesn't mean they denied the literal or moral aspects of the text, but seeing Christ was first.

Alongside Christ, they see many NT realities that we might miss--from the person of Mary to the Church. For example, they often see the Ark of the Covenant as an image of Mary, who brought the presence of God into the world through bearing the person of Christ. So, connection is often made between David dancing before the Ark as well as the unborn John the Baptist "dancing" in the womb of Elizabeth when she meets the expectant Mary.

The continuity of liturgical worship from the Old Testament into the new was something I would not have seen before. Often words such as λειτουργία are translated as “ministry” or “service,” which might be acceptable; but you miss a sense of worship in those words. The same words used in Samuel's ministry in the temple are the same words we often find in Paul's letters when he is discussing worship.

Also, it was refreshing to find that the Fathers were not afraid of difficult passages. That strange story of the Witch of Endor was addressed by at least 14 different early theologians, to try to explain what was really going on with Samuel appearing at her command.

From your perspective as a contributor to the Orthodox Study Bible, what makes it unique besides the obvious Eastern Orthodox point of view?

  1. It provides a very accessible entry into the Septuagint. Prior to the Orthodox Study Bible, there was only one English version of the LXX, which was originally published in 1844. It reads like the 1611 KJV, so the language can be a stumbling block for many people. Reading the LXX provides a glimpse into many of the New Testament writers’ use of language, and often explains a New Testament quotation that doesn't quite fit right with the Hebrew Text. It is usually because it is being pulled out of the LXX.
  2. Many of the study notes are direct quotations and commentary from the Church Fathers. In my experience most modern Christians are unaware of the thoughts and ideas of Christians prior to the 15th and 16th century. The Orthodox Study Bible can open up a whole new wonder of reading and understanding the Scripture.
  3. There are more books of the Bible to read [the Apocrypha/Deuterocanon].

Do you believe Non-Orthodox readers would benefit from the Orthodox Study Bible? If so, how?

Yes. Translators do their best to be faithful to the original text, but ultimately translations are interpretations. Knowing this is why Christians will often read multiple versions of the Bible to help understand a passage. Reading the Orthodox Study Bible brings a different perspective that most Western Christians have rarely seen.

Theron Mathis You’ve written a book, The Rest of the Bible: A Guide to the Old Testament of the Early Church, which surveys what many Protestants often refer to as the Apocrypha. Even Luther said that these books were “useful and good to read.” Luther placed these books in a separate section between the Old and New Testaments; but of course, in the Orthodox Study Bible they are back in their original positions as they appear in the LXX. What would you say is the advantage of reading “the rest of the Bible” in its original order?

In a few words, these books provide a lot of moral instruction for Christians. Sirach itself feels like Proverbs on steroids. The early Church loved the Maccabean books because of their encouragement in the face of potential martyrdom. They also show a deeper understanding of God by Israel that leads smoothly into the person of Christ. I think this is often missed when we drop off 300 years of God's actions among his people by stopping with Malachi.

Is there anything else about the Orthodox Study Bible that you would want to mention to Accordance users who might be discovering it for the first time?

Use this edition of the Bible as another tool to see a perspective on Scripture that may be slightly different than the standard Western approach. Even if you disagree with the Orthodox understanding, hopefully you will be challenged, and your faith will deepen as a result.

 

 


 

May 26, 2016 Timothy Jenney

Advanced Greek Searches (Lighting the Lamp Podcast #141)

This podcast picks up where Basic Greek Searches ends. It covers searching for Greek tags, using Search in, and adding more sophisticated Search commands. It also gives an overview of Searching and Amplifying to Greek Tools, and using Research for Greek language searches. Join Dr. J for this in-depth look at what Accordance offers those with a working knowledge of Greek.

See more episodes of Lighting the Lamp on our Podcast Page!


 

May 13, 2016 Timothy Jenney

Basic Greek Searches (Lighting the Lamp Video Podcast #140)

If you’ve invested the time to learn Greek, Accordance is the Bible Software for you! We have a host of Greek texts and resources—and an amazing set of search tools. In this podcast Dr. J covers the basic kinds of Greek searches, modifying those searches with search commands and symbols, and how to type in Greek.

See more episodes of Lighting the Lamp on our Podcast Page!


 

Dec 28, 2015 Richard Mansfield

A Closer Look at Emanuel Tov's Books on Textual Criticism

If textual studies are your area of interest, your Accordance Library will not be complete without Emanuel Tov’s Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible and The Text-Critical Use of the Septuagint in Biblical Research. Together, these volumes leave no stone unturned in looking at manuscript evidence and development of the Hebrew Bible and its first translation, the Septuagint.

What is Textual Criticism? Tov defines it this way:

Textual criticism deals with the nature and origin of all the witnesses of a composition or text, in our case the biblical books. This analysis often involves an attempt to discover the original form of details in a composition, or even of large stretches of text, although what exactly constitutes (an) “original text(s)” is subject to much debate. In the course of this inquiry, attempts are made to describe how the texts were written, changed, and transmitted from one generation to the next [Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible, p. 1].

Tov


In the image at the left, Tim Jenney ("Dr. J") demonstrates for Emanuel Tov how his books on textual criticism integrate with the Accordance Library.

In the third revised and expanded edition of Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible, Tov emphasizes the significance of the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls and the impact this had on textual criticism of the Hebrew Bible. And if anyone wants to dismiss textual criticism as a practical exercise, Tov gives significant attention to the impact upon biblical exegesis as well as literary criticism.

Tov's Textual Criticism Hebrew Bible screenshot

Click on the image above for a closer look at Tov's Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible

As the history of the Hebrew Bible and Septuagint are so historically and textually intertwined, The Text-Critical Use of the Septuagint in Biblical Research (also in its third revised and expanded edition) is invaluable for understanding the development of these two corollary texts. As with his volume on the Hebrew Bible, Tov emphasizes the importance of textual criticism upon exposition and literary analysis. However, for the individual who has not yet discovered how to integrate the Septuagint into biblical research, this volume serves as an excellent introduction for determining how the Hebrew and Greek biblical texts work together.

Tov's Text-Criticial LXX

Click on the image above for a closer look at Tov's The Text-Critical Use of the Septuagint in Biblical Research

The Accordance Team has analyzed both of Tov’s works on textual criticism with meticulous precision. All content has been tagged according to the following fields for Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible: English Content, Hebrew/Aramaic Content, Greek Content, Transliteration, Manuscripts, Scripture, Bibliography, Table Titles, Captions, Image Credits, and Page Numbers. The Text-Critical Use of the Septuagint in Biblical Research receives the same kind of careful attention with content assigned these fields: English Content, Scripture, Greek Content, Hebrew Content, Transliteration, Manuscripts, Bibliography and Page Numbers. Such careful tagging of Tov’s works allows the Accordance user to find the exact content needed quickly and efficiently.

Tov-TCHB_120

Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible (3rd Edition) (Tov)

Regular Price $89.90

Buy Now 2


Tov-TCULXX_120

The Text-Critical Use of the Septuagint in Biblical Research (3rd Edition) (Tov)

Regular Price $42.90

Buy Now 2


 

Sep 21, 2015 Richard Mansfield

Basic Hebrew & Greek Searches in Accordance Mobile

Learn how to perform basic Hebrew and Greek word searches in Accordance Mobile!

Discover other helpful information and videos at the Accordance Mobile Tips page.


 

Aug 10, 2015 Richard Mansfield

New & Updated Titles for Biblical Language Study!

Qumran MSS When I took a masters-level textual criticism class under Dr. John Polhill in the early nineties, everything we studied was in books about the subject. We read about various textual traditions, but we weren't really able to look at them side-by-side. We learned about important manuscripts and codexes, but there was simply no easy way for us to examine these documents for ourselves. We were at the mercy of trusting those who had written about them.

The advent of Bible software has taken personal textual criticism to an entirely new level. For instance, Accordance allows me to place a modern eclectic Greek New Testament text and a Greek text from the Byzantine tradition side by side to discover the differences myself. I can go even further by examining high-resolution images of the original manuscripts and codexes and draw my own conclusions. Perhaps it's not quite the same as having direct access to an important textual source, but with the ability to zoom in on a page and examine these early handwritten documents myself, I am able to draw my own text-critical conclusions instead of having to merely depend upon the evaluations of others.

Accordance has had a long tradition of bringing important manuscript traditions and image collections for the use of the individual deeply interested in textual issues. And today, we both update a few of our previous offerings as well as deliver some entirely new titles to our users.

Orthodox Greek New Testament Set

We are pleased to announce two new morphologically tagged Greek New Testaments from the Byzantine family of manuscripts.

The first is the GNT-Family 35, a new scholarly edition of the Greek New Testament from the Center for the Study and Preservation of the Majority Text (CSPMT). Also known as the Byzantine Greek New Testament (not to be confused with the Robinson-Pierpont Byzantine Textform 2005), this text, compiled from a consensus of readings from the Byzantine Kr or Family 35 textform, is the most current Greek text of its kind. The CSPMT plans for an eventual critical apparatus to accompany this Greek text.

Orthodox NT
Click the image above for a full size product illustration.

In addition, this set comes with the more well-known GNT-Ecumenical Patriarchal Text, also known as the Antoniades Text. This is the official Greek text published by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople in 1904, incorporating corrections in the printed edition of 1912.

The Patriarchal Text was developed by a team led by Basil Antoniades, consulting numerous manuscripts of the Byzantine tradition and following the writings of John Chyrsostom whenever variants among the manuscripts existed.

Buy Now 2 Orthodox Greek New Testament Set
$69.90


Leningrad Codex Images

The Leningrad Codex is the oldest complete manuscript (1008 CE) of the Hebrew Bible and the primary basis of modern editions such as Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia and the Biblia Hebraica Quinta. Working with the West Semitic Research Project, we have now incorporated nearly 1,000 images from the Leningrad Codex to be examined in parallel with any biblical text from within an Accordance workspace.

Leningrad Codex

Click the image above for a full size product illustration.

Few readers of the Hebrew Bible would be able to journey to St. Petersburg, Russia, to examine the pages of the Leningrad Codex for themselves. However, having access to the codex images in Accordance allows the user to examine the pages in high resolution. Moreover, the images are fully exportable from Accordance. In a sample export, the image of one leaf from the codex measured 3673 x 4090 pixels.

Buy Now 2 Leningrad Codex Images
Regular Price $129; Sale Price $129


Greek MSS Images

Accordance users who are seriously involved in Greek studies and textual criticism have long valued our New Testament MSS Images bundle. Now, in partnership with the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts, we're greatly expanding this set with the introduction of additional texts and a new name: Greek MSS Images. This collection of images includes all previous titles and will now add the Septuagint from Codex Sinaiticus, as well as 1-2 Clement from Codex Alexandrinus. The Septuagint from Codex Alexandrinus will be added later at no additional cost. Several titles in the previous NT MSS Images have also been updated with links to high-resolution online images.

LXX-SI
Click the image above for a full size product illustration.

A discounted upgrade price is available for Accordance users who previously purchased NT MSS Images.

Buy Now 2 Greek MSS Images from CSNTM
$149

 

Buy Now 2 Upgrade from NT MSS Images
$29.90


Dead Sea Scrolls Index Update with Image Links

Our DSS Index has been updated to include hyperlinks to images housed at the Israel Museum as well as the Accordance Dead Sea Scrolls Images. The Index also includes the latest content updates from Dr. Martin Abegg. This is a free update to the DSS Index; a paid upgrade from the older Qumran Index. No actual images are stored or loaded in this module; links are provided for reference only.

DSS Index

 

Buy Now 2 Index of Dead Sea Scrolls Manuscripts
$49.90

 

Buy Now 2 DSS Index upgrade from Qumran Index
Buy Now for $20.00

 


 

Dec 14, 2010 David Lang

Making Septuagint Scholars Smile

Throughout this year, we have been periodically releasing volumes of the Göttingen edition of the Greek Septuagint. First we released the five Pentateuch volumes, followed by the book of Ruth, and now we are pleased to announce the release of 1 Maccabees. The Accordance edition of the Göttingen Septuagint is currently the only electronic edition to include grammatical tagging of the text along with the fully searchable critical apparatus.

Why is the Göttingen edition of the Septuagint important? It is the first truly critical reconstruction of the Septuagint text. Other editions, such as those of H. B. Swete, Cambridge University, and Alfred Rahlfs tended to follow the best available manuscript and note the differences in other manuscripts, while the scholars behind the Göttingen edition have attempted to reconstruct the original text using the widest available manuscript evidence. You'll find a helpful explanation of the various editions of the Septuagint here.

Accordance has long been making Septuagint scholars smile by being the first to offer the tools they need. We've offered the tagged text of Rahlfs almost from the beginning, and have since added the grammatically tagged text of Swete, along with the Swete and Cambridge critical apparatuses. We were the first to make Emmanuel Tov's MT-LXX Parallel available, as well as the first to offer the LEH Septuagint Lexicon. We also offer the New English Translation of the Septuagint, as well as the older Brenton translation. We even offer the Greek Biblical texts from the Dead Sea Scrolls! With the addition of Göttingen, we continue to give Septuagint scholars plenty of reasons to smile.