I aced first-semester Greek. But second semester brought “second aorists,” and those irregular verb forms gave me trouble. (Increased responsibilities at home and at work added to my challenge.)
As Willam D. Mounce notes in his Basics of Biblical Greek Grammar, sometimes a single letter sets apart a second aorist from the imperfect form of the same verb. So, he recommends, “Memorize exactly.”
I did not memorize exactly, and it showed on my first Greek 2 exam, which was full of second aorists to parse. I didn’t bomb the exam, but I did have to work hard the rest of the semester to get my grade back up to my goal. The exam was also enough to get my (and my professor’s) attention. I scheduled a meeting with him—in part, because my motivation to memorize morphology was waning.
“I loved Hebrew,” I told my professor, “but I’m feeling stuck. And I’m not loving what feels like rote memorization.”
He helped me with some motivational techniques, and then asked me about the Septuagint. Had I ever read it?
I wonder how many second aorists it has, I thought.
But the idea of going back to the Hebrew Bible—in Greek!—was enthralling to me.
I had the added motivation I needed. I wasn’t learning Greek just to read the New Testament now. I was learning it to read the Old Testament, too.
But there was one huge hurdle: even after I completed Greek 2, my vocabulary knowledge was no match for all I was encountering in the Septuagint. There are, after all, about four times as many verses in the Septuagint as in the Greek New Testament. I knew from Mounce’s grammar that there were more than 5,000 unique words in the Greek New Testament. The Septuagint has 2.5 times as many!
This is a significant challenge Greek New Testament readers face when moving to Septuagint reading: there are more (and different) words, so a good knowledge of New Testament vocabulary alone goes only so far.\
Let’s say I’ve learned all the words that occur 50 times or more in the Greek New Testament. How can I get a list of Septuagint words I might not know, but that I should expect to see regularly in the LXX?
Accordance can help.
The HITS command allows us to compare LXX vocabulary with GNT vocabulary. More specifically, I’m going to use Accordance to help me find Greek words that occur infrequently in the Greek New Testament (words I may not know) but that occur frequently in the Septuagint (words I will encounter).
You can define what “infrequently” and “frequently” mean for you; for this example, let’s say anything occurring 49 times or fewer in the GNT is “infrequently” occurring and anything occurring 100 times or more in the LXX is “frequently” occurring. The list I want to generate is the overlap of these two conditions, that is, any Greek word that occurs 49 times or fewer in the GNT and 100 times or more in the LXX. (These will be my “trouble” words when reading the Septuagint.)
The HITS command is designed exactly for this, since it allows you to search the hits from one text in another. Here’s how to do it:
1. Find words that occur 49 times or fewer in the Greek New Testament.
This is an easy search for Accordance. We use the COUNT command to do it. Open any Greek New Testament text, set the search field to “Words,” and enter this string:
That will highlight in your New Testament text every word occurring 49 times or fewer.
(Note: [COUNT 49] will only show you words that occur 49 times, not 49 times or fewer, so be sure to enter the query as [COUNT 1-49] or even [COUNT -49]. You can access the COUNT command by right-clicking in the search entry area, or by starting to type the word COUNT and selecting it from the Quick Entry menu that comes up, or by going to the Search menu and Enter Command.)
You could at this point take a detour and generate an “infrequently occurring vocabulary” word list for the New Testament. Simply go to Analytics (shaded in blue, at the far right of your search bar), and select Word Count Totals/Analysis from the drop-down menu. Then set the Sort drop-down menu to “Count down,” and you’ve got a list of GNT vocabulary from 49 occurrences on down to one occurrence.
2. Find words that occur 49 times or fewer in the Greek New Testament and 100 times or more in the Septuagint.
This is the second and final step. Open any Septuagint text (we’ll use LXX Rahlfs here), and set the search field to “Words.”
You could use the COUNT command to find words occurring 100 times or more in the Septuagint, just to see them, but we’ll go beyond that with the HITS command, which allows us to take all the words we found from [COUNT 1-49] in our GNT, and search them in the LXX… with the added condition that we don’t want to see all those [COUNT 1-49] words in our LXX, just the ones that occur 100 times or more.
Here’s the search string to enter in your LXX search tab:
[HITS NA28 Greek NT]@[COUNT 100+]
The @ combines the two search criteria: you want to search those GNT hits ([HITS NA28 Greek NT]) in your LXX, but only see those same GNT words when (@) they occur 100 times or more in the LXX ([COUNT 100+]).
Having run this search, you can open the Word Count Totals/Analysis again, sorted by Count Down, to see the list you want: words occurring 49 times or fewer in the New Testament and 100 times or more in the Septuagint. (You can change these COUNT numbers to be whatever you want.) Now you’re setting yourself up for success in Septuagint reading!
I ended my Greek 2 class with an improved grade and, more important, a deeper knowledge and understanding of biblical Greek. Some nine years later, I still immerse myself in the text of the Septuagint whenever I can. Using COUNT and HITS searches in Accordance helps me target Septuagint vocabulary I still don’t recognize. And I even smile a little bit now when I come across a second aorist.
The MT-LXX database displays every word of the Hebrew Masoretic text in parallel with its Greek LXX equivalent. Accordance offers two versions of this resource: the interlinear and the parallel. This podcast distinguishes between them and shows how to use both.
Check out more episodes of the Lighting the Lamp podcast!
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!
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.
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.
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
In a previous post, I introduced you to the MT-LXX Parallel, a specialized Reference tool which offers a word-by-word comparison of the Hebrew Bible and the Greek Septuagint. In that post, I showed how to use the MERGE command to piggyback off a search of the tagged Hebrew Bible and tagged Greek Septuagint. This allowed us to search the Hebrew Bible for every occurrence of the lexical form tselem ("image")—no matter what its inflected form—and to see those results displayed in the MT-LXX parallel. We then searched the tagged Septuagint for every occurrence of the Greek lexical form eikon, and used the MERGE command with the MT-LXX parallel to find every place the LXX translates the Hebrew word tselem by some form of the word eikon. The result of that search looked like this:
Now, to explore each of these results in context, I can click the Mark arrows at the bottom of the MT-LXX to jump from one hit to the next. But wouldn't it be quicker if we could just scan the relevant lines of the MT-LXX without having to wade past all the other words? Of course it would! Fortunately, this can easily be done by going to the Gear menu at the top left of the pane containing the MT-LXX and choosing Add Titles from the Show Text As… submenu.
The result looks like this:
Now, to understand what just happened, let's review what the Show Text As… submenu does. When you do a search in a Tool module, Accordance defaults to showing your search results in the context of the entire tool. This is the All Text setting in the Show Text As… submenu. You can, however, choose to show only those Articles or Paragraphs which contain a hit. In the MT-LXX, each verse is an article and each line is a paragraph, so choosing Articles would show each hit verse in its entirety, while choosing Paragraphs would show only the lines containing each hit word. Because showing only the hit paragraphs in a tool is often too concise, you also have the option to Add Titles. This shows the hit paragraphs as well as the titles of the articles in which they appear. In the MT-LXX, choosing Add Titles shows the hit paragraphs together with the verse references.
This more concise view makes it easy to see that there are a couple cases where tselem in the Hebrew column does not have a corresponding eikon in the Septuagint column (or vice versa). In Genesis 1:27, the first instance of tselem is left untranslated, and in Daniel 2:31, eikon is part of a phrase used to translate an entirely different Hebrew word. Why those two "false" hits?
The reason we got those two cases where both words are not found on the same line is that Accordance defaults to looking for words within the same article rather than the same paragraph. For example, if you were to search the Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary for Moses <AND> Aaron, you might find a long article where Moses is in the first paragraph and Aaron is in the fifth paragraph. In a tool like MT-LXX where each verse is an article and each line is a paragraph, Accordance's default behavior will find any verse that has tselem in the Hebrew and eikon in the Greek, even if they are on different lines and so do not exactly correspond.
To make this search more accurate, we can refine it by specifying that all words must be found within the same paragraph rather than the same article. To do that, click on the magnifying glass on the left side of the search field. At the bottom of the menu that appears, choose Paragraph.
Here you can see that the false hits have been removed, and we now have only 49 hits rather than 52.
In this post, we've gone a little further in our use of the MT-LXX Parallel to see how you can tweak the display of the search results and how you can specify that the Hebrew and Greek words must appear on the same line. In my next post of this series, we'll go even further.
When you display the Hebrew Bible and Greek Septuagint in parallel panes of a Search tab, the parallel verses are displayed side-by-side, but it is not immediately apparent which Hebrew word a particular Greek word is translating. For example, in Genesis 1:1, the Greek word ouranon corresponds to the Hebrew word Shamaim. I can see that by dragging my cursor over each word in the Hebrew and Greek to find out which words mean “heaven,” but other than that, there is no easy way to see the relationships between these two texts.
That’s where a specialized Reference Tool called the MT-LXX Parallel comes in. This tool, developed by renowned Hebrew and Septuagint scholars, places each word or phrase of the Masoretic Hebrew text in parallel with the corresponding Greek words from the Septuagint.
One obvious use of the MT-LXX Parallel is to place it in parallel with the text of the Hebrew Bible and Greek Septuagint. As a reference tool, the MT-LXX Parallel will automatically scroll along with the biblical text, enabling you to see word-by-word connections for each verse.
For example, if we scroll to Genesis 1:26, we can see that the Hebrew word for "image" (tselem) is translated by the Greek eikon (from which we get the word "icon").
To search the MT-LXX Parallel, we need to view it in a separate Tool tab. As with other Tools, the MT-LXX Parallel is divided into different fields of content. To search for all occurrences of the Hebrew word tselem, our natural impulse would be to set the search field to Hebrew and enter that lexical form.
Since the Hebrew text of the MT-LXX is not grammatically tagged, our search only finds the 27 instances when tselem appears in that exact form. When we search for tselem in a tagged Hebrew Bible, we get 34 hits because every inflection of tselem is found.
Fortunately, we can overcome this limitation of the MT-LXX Parallel by piggy-backing on the tagging of the Hebrew Bible. We do this through the use of an advanced search command called the MERGE command. By merging the MT-LXX Parallel with the tab containing the BHS-W4, the results of my lexical search of the Hebrew Bible are reflected in the MT/LXX. Notice that now the MT/LXX displays 36 occurrences of tselem. (The extra two occurrences are notes or reconstructions in the MT-LXX database.)
Using the MERGE command in this way makes for some very powerful searches. For example, suppose I want to find every place where the LXX translates the Hebrew word tselem by some form of the word eikon. To do this, I’ll open a new Search tab containing the Septuagint, and I’ll do a search for eikon. This search finds 40 hits.
To see which of these occurrences of eikon correspond to the Hebrew word tselem, I’ll go back to my MT-LXX Parallel, add an AND command, and then add a second MERGE command. This time, I’ll Merge with the tab containing the LXX.
This search turns up 52 hits, and I can see that both the Hebrew word tselem and the Greek word eikon are highlighted. Divide the number of hits by two, and we end up with around 26 places where tselem is translated as eikon.
I hope you can see from this brief example how powerful the MT-LXX Parallel database is. In my next post, I'll examine these results in more detail and offer a few more tips for using this powerful resource.
It's been a busy weekend at Accordance, but unless you watch our news announcements carefully, you might have missed these items:
Pick A Product Coupon: 25% off any one item. The PICKAP coupon code lets our sales staff know that you want to take 25% off the highest priced item in the order. The coupon is good throughout May and can be used twice. This is your best opportunity to get that commentary set or other major item on your wish list. (Temporary sale prices and other discounts cannot be combined with this offer.)
Chafer-Theology: the entire original 8 volume set by Louis Sperry Chafer was just released for download for only $139.
Dr. Lewis S. Chafer (1871-1952) was the founding president of Dallas Theological Seminary and its first professor of Systematic Theology. When he completed his massive eight volume Systematic Theology after more than ten years of labor, he produced the first Calvinist, dispensational, pre-millennial and pre-tribulational theology. Chafer’s warm spirituality, his love of the Bible and his devotion to a simple Christian life permeate its pages. The strength of the work lies not in its interaction with scholarly sources, but in its many citations of Scripture and its organization of it into classic theological categories.
Göttingen Septuagint: It's taken a little longer than we hoped, but the first volume of the series is now available for download. This is the definitive critical edition of the LXX. We plan to release further volumes until we catch up with the ongoing publication of the print edition.
Our modules of the Göttingen LXX include the fully tagged Greek text together with the complete apparatus, available nowhere else in convenient electronic form, a must for every Old Testament scholar.
Please see the Latest News page for full announcements of these items and any others you may have missed.