Hebrew text criticism requires working with texts in multiple languages. Fortunately, Accordance Bible Software and its extensive original language resources makes that task easier. Join Dr. J in this episode as he tackles the age-old problem of Deut 32:34-45. Does it prophesy a Day of Judgment, as the Samaritans argue? Or is it a more general promise that God will avenge his people, as found in the Massoretic text? The textual variants in these verses make all the difference.
Check out more episodes of the Lighting the Lamp podcast!
We continue to add titles to our Göttingen Septuagint (LXX) series for the Accordance Bible Software Library, including the Book of Job (lob. Septuaginta: Vetus Testamentum Graecum, 11/4), edited by Joseph Ziegler, which we are making available today.
The Göttingen Septuagint (Vetus Testamentum Graecum: Auctoritate Academiae Scientiarum Gottingensis editum) is a major critical version, comprising multiple volumes published from 1931 to the present and not yet complete.
As with other titles in the Göttingen Septuagint, this edition of Job in the LXX comes in three modules that can be viewed in parallel as seen in the image below (click/tap to enlarge): (1) the main text in Greek, which is fully tagged with morphological information; (2) the main critical apparatus noting differences in various LXX manuscripts, and (3) a second critical apparatus reflecting differences in the texts of Aquila, Symachus, and Theodotion.
For users who have the Journal of Biblical Literature in their personal Accordance Libraries, I highly recommend the 1984 review of the Göttingen LXX Job by Albert Pietersma. This review is not only extremely thorough, but also offers an indispensable history of the LXX version of Job for those interested in the subject. Although Pietersma is quite critical of some of Ziegler’s choices, he admits at the beginning of the review that the Göttingen edition of Job “becomes immediately the basis for all future study on the Greek Job.” Although this review was written 33 years ago, this statement is absolutely no less true today.
Most Accordance users who will be interested in the Göttingen LXX Job will probably already have the Rahlfs' edition of the LXX in their personal Accordance Libraries. Due to the vastly greater number of manuscripts that Ziegler had to work with over the handful in Rahlfs' edition, Accordance users will want to put both texts side by side and use Accordance’s Compare Text feature to note the differences between the two editions.
Click/tap the image above to see a closer look at Job in the Rahlfs' LXX compared with the Göttingen LXX.
The Göttingen LXX Job may be purchased individually or as part of the larger Göttingen LXX Bundle. Introductory pricing is available for a limited time.
Göttingen LXX Bundle (18 Volumes)
List Price $1059
Regular Price $799
Göttingen LXX Job
Regular Price $79.90
At church last Sunday, I taught from 1 Samuel 17, the chapter detailing the infamous battle between the young shepherd-boy-to-be-king, David, and the Philistine champion, Goliath. I’ve known the story since childhood. In fact, many who didn’t grow up attending religious services still know the basic story—that this young boy (probably an older teen in actuality) faced down this “giant” of an enemy and prevailed with no armor and only a sling in hand. Even today, we speak of facing down or overcoming “giants” when a seemingly impossible obstacle is before us.
Right: David Slays Goliath, Gustave Doré (1832–1883) from The Accordance Gallery of Bible Art.
I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of Goliath: a giant, hulking big bad in the Bible. When I was young, I assumed David’s sling was the same as my slingshot, and I played in the backyard pretending to take down my own giants. Instead, I only managed to accidentally (really, Mom!) take out a window or two.
As an adult, I’ve occasionally pondered the size of Goliath mentioned in the Bible. In 1 Sam 17:4 the Hebrew text describes Goliath’s height as “six cubits and a span” (שֵׁשׁ אַמּוֹת וָזָרֶת). If a cubit is roughly 18 inches, and a span is roughly 9 inches, that puts Goliath at well over 9 and a half feet. I’d want that guy on my basketball team—he could dunk without even jumping!
At a height of over nine and a half feet, Goliath would have undoubtedly been seen as a “Big Unfriendly Giant” (BUG), even to modern people who are taller than our biblical predecessors. I’ve been unable to find the source, but I remember reading or hearing many years ago that the average male height in biblical times was a little over 5 feet tall. If King Saul was taller from the shoulders up than anyone else (1 Sam 9:2; 10:23), he was probably somewhere over 6 feet tall, which would have been very tall for his day, but not nearly as tall as the biblical description of Goliath.
Consider though, in modern times, the verified tallest person ever recorded is Robert Wadlow (1918 - 1940) who stood an impressive 8 feet, 11 inches, still shorter than the biblical Goliath. Of course, Goliath was a giant right? Well, actually, that’s questionable. That is, the Bible never directly refers to Goliath as a giant other than giving us his height, which would definitely seem to fall into the “giant” category. Even though giants are mentioned other places (2 Sam 21:16, 18, 20, 22; 1 Chr 20:4, 6, 8), there’s no direct connection in those passages to Goliath.
Left: Robert Wadlow standing next to his father, Harold Wadlow (source: Wikipedia)
The curriculum I teach from on Sundays uses the Holman Christian Standard Bible as its basis. I happened to notice a footnote in the HCSB to Goliath’s height that read, “DSS, LXX read four cubits and a span”—(DSS: א֯רבע[ א]מות וזרת and LXX: τεσσάρων πήχεων καὶ σπιθαμῆς). I found this very interesting because the lesser four cubits and a span would be a little over 6 and a half feet tall. If there’s no claim to Goliath being a giant, but rather just a very big imposing warrior, this lesser height would make much more sense.
Add to this that both the Septuagint and the Dead Sea Scrolls predate the Masoretic Text that the Hebrew Bible is based on by roughly a millennium, and it starts to seem as if Goliath’s height might have become a bit exaggerated over the centuries. On Monday of this week, in my post on the Göttingen Septuagint, I wrote the following as a general principle for determining a correct reading:
Often when the LXX and and Dead Sea Scrolls agree together against the 10th century Masoretic Text, the older reading is seen as more original. Thus, no study of the Old Testament can be considered truly comprehensive unless the LXX is taken into consideration…
The issue of Goliath’s height is merely one example of this principle.
Last Sunday, I internally debated as to whether I should bring up the issue of the question surrounding Goliath’s height when I taught this passage to my class at church. I try not to get too technical in regard to textual issues, usually just leaving a passage as it is in its final form. However, a 6'9" Goliath seemed to make so much more sense to me! Plus, a shorter stature for Goliath doesn’t take away from the point that David defeated Goliath because his faith was in God and not in physical size or weapons (1 Sam 17:45) and as an example that the Spirit of the LORD was upon him (1 Sam 16:13).
Since the footnote in the HCSB gave me an opening, I went ahead and mentioned—in the most general terms—the difference in the readings regarding Goliath’s height. From what I could tell, the people in our class found it interesting and plausible, and no one accused me of “questioning the Bible” or being too technical.
In writing this post, I came across an article by J. Daniel Hays, “Reconsidering the Height of Goliath” [JETS 48 (2005): 701-715], that comes to the same conclusion. If you have the Theological Journal Library in your personal Accordance Library, I recommend checking it out.
Although 1 Samuel (1 Kingdoms) is not yet available, the Göttingen Septuagint is on sale through August 1 at unprecedented discount.
The Septuagint (LXX) is the first known translation of the Bible. Beginning in approximately the 3rd century BC with the translation of the Pentateuch into Greek from the original Hebrew, the creation of the LXX spans three centuries and comprises all books of the Hebrew Bible, plus the books of the Deuterocanon/Apocrypha. The significance of the LXX cannot be overstated as nearly all quotations of the Old Testament by the New Testament writers as well as Josephus and Philo come from this translation. Even today, over 200 million Christians see the LXX as an authoritative Old Testament text over and above the Hebrew Bible.
Although Alfred Rahlf’s 1935 critical edition (revised 2006) of the LXX currently remains the standard for LXX studies, its textual basis is somewhat lacking as it is based primarily on the Vaticanus, Sinaiticus, and Alexandrinus codices. Seeing the need for a more comprehensive critical edition, the publication of the more extensive Göttingen LXX began in 1931 and continues--still not complete--through today. The Göttingen LXX has a much more extensive apparatus, taking into account more manuscripts and textual variants as seen in this comparison below in parallel with Rahlfs’ edition.
Click/tap the image above and note the considerably more extensive textual apparatus in the Göttingen LXX on the left vs. Rahlfs' LXX on the right.
Ezekiel, revised in print in 2015, is the most recently updated volume of the Göttingen LXX. As of today, it is also available for the Accordance Library. In addition to releasing the Ezekiel volume, we have also reduced the price of most of our Göttingen titles. Accordance users who have purchased previous installments of the Göttingen LXX will want to upgrade to our new “Big 17 Bundle” which includes all published Old Testament volumes except Job. (*Note: For users who already own individual volumes of the Pentateuch, see upgrade options to the Big 17 Bundle here and upgrade procedure to the full Pentateuch here.)
All volumes of the Göttingen LXX in Accordance include the grammatically tagged critical text together with the corresponding apparatus. The Göttingen LXX can be placed in parallel with Rahlfs’ LXX, the Hebrew Bible, or any translation of the Old Testament.
In recent years, there has been a resurgence in LXX studies. Often when the LXX and and Dead Sea Scrolls agree together against the 10th century Masoretic Text, the older reading is seen as more original. Thus, no study of the Old Testament can be considered truly comprehensive unless the LXX is taken into consideration, and no serious study of this ancient translation can be complete without the Göttingen volumes.
Big 17 Bundle
Note: See upgrade options below.
Includes all published OT volumes except Job: Pentateuch, Ruth, 1-2 Esdras, Esther, 1-2 Maccabees, Psalms and Odes, Sirach (Ecclesiasticus), The Twelve, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel (NEW!)
Pentateuch LXX Göttingen with Apparatus
Note: See upgrade procedure below.
This module includes the grammatically tagged critical text of entire LXX Pentateuch (Genesis through Deuteronomy) together with the apparatus.
NEW! Ezekiel LXX Göttingen with Apparatus
In order to provide the best possible Custom Upgrade price for the Big 17 Bundle, upgrade options to the Big 17 Bundle depend on whether or not users have previously purchased any volumes of the Pentateuch.
- For users who own NO individual Pentateuch LXX Göttingen volumes:
- No additional steps are required. Just click the Custom Upgrade button for the Big 17 Bundle.
- For users who own SOME or ALL individual Pentateuch LXX Göttingen volumes:
- First purchase the LXXG-PENT Bundle which provides a Custom Upgrade price to the 5-module Pentateuch Bundle (you will not pay again for any modules you already own).
- Also "purchase" the free upgrade to the combined LXXG-PENT module which provides a combined 1-module Pentateuch product.
- Finally, click the Custom Upgrade button for the Big 17 Bundle.
If there is a any question, just order the Custom Upgrade and leave a note for customer service. They will ensure a fair price for you.
The Pentateuch products are available in two formats: 5 individual modules (LXXG-GEN, LXXG-EX, etc) or as a 1-module product (LXXG-PENT) which contains all five volumes in one module.
Users who own any of the individual modules of the Pentateuch who wish to upgrade to the full Pentateuch should:
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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].
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.
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.
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.
Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible (3rd Edition) (Tov)
Regular Price $89.90
The Text-Critical Use of the Septuagint in Biblical Research (3rd Edition) (Tov)
Regular Price $42.90
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Leningrad Codex Images
Regular Price $129; Sale Price $129
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.
A discounted upgrade price is available for Accordance users who previously purchased NT MSS Images.
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 upgrade from Qumran Index
Buy Now for $20.00