Why Use the Septuagint?

Today’s guest blogger is Dr. Michael Heiser, Academic Editor at Logos.
Logos recently announced the creation of the Lexham Greek-English Interlinear Septuagint on the Pre-Pub page. Many pastors, seminary students, and lay people devoted to Bible study might wonder about the value of the Septuagint for Bible study. The Septuagint, of course, is the Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament. The Septuagint was the Old Testament of the early Greek-speaking church, and it is by far the version of the Old Testament most frequently quoted by Jesus and the apostles in the New Testament. Rather than try to persuade you of the value of the Septuagint by means of these kinds of arguments, I thought it might be helpful to provide a practical example where the Septuagint explains what seems to be a New Testament theological blunder. I’m betting most of us are interested in that sort of thing!
Below is Deuteronomy 33:1-2 side-by-side in two translations. On the left is my literal rendering of the traditional Hebrew text of the Old Testament, the Masoretic text. On the right is an English translation of the Septuagint at this passage. I have boldfaced significant differences for some discussion.


Traditional Masoretic Hebrew Text
Septuagint
1 This is the blessing with which Moses, the man of God, blessed the Israelites before his death.
2 He said: Yahweh came from Sinai, and He shone upon them from Seir. He appeared in radiance from Mount Paran, and approached from Ribeboth-Kodesh, from his right lightning flashed at them.
3 Indeed, he loved the people, all his holy ones at your hand. And they followed at your feet; he bears your words,
4 the law which Moses commanded us, an inheritance for the assembly of Jacob.
1 This is the blessing with which Moses, the man of God, blessed the Israelites before his death.
2 He said: The LORD came from Sinai, and He shone to us from Seir; He made haste from Mount Paran with ten thousands of Kadesh, his angels with him.
3 And He had pity on his people, and all the holy ones were under your hands; and they were under you; and he received his words,
4 the law which Moses charged us, an inheritance to the assemblies of Jacob.


What Are We Looking At?
Some English translations (ESV, NIV, NASB) are close to the Septuagint or sound like a mixture of the two choices. As the traditional Hebrew text goes, the Hebrew phrase in verse 2 underlying “Ribeboth-Kodesh” is the same (except for spelling) as what occurs at Deut. 32:51 (“Meribath Kadesh”). This is why most scholars today consider the phrase to be a geographical place name, and I agree. The Septuagint, however, obviously has something else going on! While it is possible to get “ten thousands of Kadesh” from the Hebrew consonants of the traditional Masoretic text, the very common Hebrew word for angels (mal’akim) does not appear in the traditional Masoretic text. The Septuagint translation (aggeloi) came from a different Hebrew text.
One more observation: In verse 3 the Masoretic Text seems to equate “the people” with “all his holy ones.” Yahweh’s people, his holy people, are under his authority (“under your hand”). They follow at the LORD’s feet and receive the Law. Note that the singular pronoun “he” in “he bears your words” likely refers to Israel collectively (i.e., ISRAEL bears your words). Israel is often referred to as a singular entity in the Bible (“my son,” Exod. 4:21-23; “my servant,” Isa. 44:1). The Septuagint, however, gives the reader the feel that “his people” and “all the holy ones” are different groups. In the Septuagint, God pities his people and his holy ones–the angels referred to in the previous verse–are under his authority. Israel, of course, receives the law.
So What?
So who cares? Well, the Septuagint here helps us understand an oddity mentioned in several places in the New Testament-the idea that the Mosaic Law, given at Sinai, was actually given by angels. Check out these New Testament passages:

Acts 7:52-53
52 Which of the prophets did not your fathers persecute? And they killed those who announced beforehand the coming of the Righteous One, whom you have now betrayed and murdered, 53 you who received the law as delivered by angels and did not keep it.”
Hebrews 2:1-2a
1 Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. 2 For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, 3 how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation?
Galatians 3:19
19 Why then the law? It was added because of transgressions, until the offspring should come to whom the promise had been made, and it was put in place through angels by an intermediary.

Simply put, if you stick to the traditional Masoretic Hebrew text for your Old Testament, there is no place that the New Testament writers could have drawn such an idea. The closest you come to that is in Psalm 68:17. While that verse has a multitude of angelic beings at Sinai, it says zilch about the Law.
The point is that the New Testament references have provided fodder for biblical critics who want the New Testament to be guilty of either an outright error in thought, or just contriving a doctrinal point out of thin air. The Septuagint shows us that those perspectives are just simply incorrect. The New Testament writers weren’t nitwits or dishonest. They were using the Septuagint.

Two New Lexham Greek-English Interlinears

If you subscribe to our Pre-Pub feed or check the Pre-Pub page often, you probably noticed that we recently announced two new products in our growing Lexham Bible Reference Series. There are three products available in the series so far:

Now on Pre-Pub are two new Greek-English interlinears:

Randall Tan and David A. deSilva are the editors for the Lexham Greek-English Interlinear Septuagint. Twenty-seven other scholars are contributors to the project. W. Hall Harris III serves as General Editor and Translator for the Lexham Greek-English Interlinear New Testament.

Why More Interlinears?

Perhaps you’re wondering what makes these new products special, and why you should consider buying them.

The LXX Interlinear

To the best of our knowledge, this is the first ever Greek-English interlinear of the LXX available for any Bible software platform. That alone makes it pretty special! It’s difficult even to find an LXX interlinear in print! You’ll also be getting a fresh morphological analysis of the entire LXX text.

The NT Interlinear

With regard to the NT, we have added direct links for every Greek word to Louw and Nida’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament Based on Semantic Domains. These links are disambiguated and context-sensitive and connect you directly to the appropriate Louw and Nida article for the word you are examining. (Where multiple interpretations are possible, you are given all relevant articles.) This tagging will allow you to search the interlinear by domains, articles, and ranges.

Both Interlinears

Here are the primary features that make both of these Greek-English interlinears special:

  1. Two Levels of Glossing: Each Greek word has a simple, context-free gloss (i.e., the "Lexical value," what you’d see in a lexicon) and a context-sensitive gloss (or "English Literal Translation").
  2. Idiom Level: Where the literal translation doesn’t convey the force of a passage, the interlinears provide an additional idiomatic translation.
  3. Notes: There are four different kinds of notes: (1) lexical, (2) text-critical, (3) literary/rhetorical, and (4) LXX compared to the Hebrew (LXX interlinear only).
  4. Word Order Number: They also include English word order numbering where it is not clear.

As you can see, both of these interlinears will make great tools to aid you in your study of the Greek of both the Old and New Testaments. Visit the product pages to read more, see screenshots, and place your pre-order.

Keep your eye out for even more great resources in the Lexham Bible Reference Series.

Greek Syntax: First Thessalonians 4:16, Part III

I’ve blogged a few times about 1Th 4.16 and the prepositional phrase εν Χριστω (see here and here).

1Th 4.16

But there’s more to talk about.
One thing that could be handy is searching for when the prepositional object (Χριστω) is articular, and when it is anarthrous. Our initial search for the prepositional phrase found both articular and anarthrous instances.
But in tracking how εν Χριστω functions, it may be necessary to consider articular and anarthrous instances separately. With syntax searching, you can do this. I’ve created a video that starts with the basic search for the prepositional phrase and adjusts it to first locate articular instances (so, εν τω Χριστω) and then to locate anarthrous instances (εν Χριστω) .

An Inside Look at Logos

At our annual Christmas party this past Saturday, we officially launched a brand new video about Logos—not a demo of the product, but an inside look at the company, the people, the vision. In our continued effort to let you get to know us, we wanted to give you a chance to be some of the first people outside of the company to watch it. You’ll learn interesting tidbits about the company, meet many of the department heads and others, find out the verdict on the proper pronunciation of Logos, and get the inside scoop on the next major release of the software. We hope you enjoy it!
(If you are viewing this in a feed reader or email and the video doesn’t appear below, visit the site to watch it.)


Update: You can also watch this video at YouTube.

Coral Ridge Ministries Partners with Logos Bible Software


We are pleased to announce that Coral Ridge Ministries, Ft. Lauderdale, FL, has joined with us in a brand new, strategic partnership to equip the church for better Bible study and ministry. Truths That Transform, the foundational work on practical Christian truths by the late Dr. D. James Kennedy, serves as the centerpiece of several new Truths that Transform Bible software products.
Truths That Transform Digital Learning Series 1 combines the Truths That Transform book, which covers eighteen transformational truths, with several other resources:
  • Truths That Transform Study Guide
  • 18 Audio Sermons from Dr. Kennedy on MP3
  • King James Version of the Bible
  • New King James Version of the Bible
  • A customized home page for access to specific resources

Four other Truths That Transform collections, which come bundled with the Truths That Transform Digital Learning Series 1, are available:

  • Truths That Transform Bible Study Library
  • Truths That Transform Scholar’s Library
  • Truths That Transform Scholar’s Library: Silver
  • Truths That Transform Scholar’s Library: Gold

These collections bring together the some of the best insights from the fruitful ministry of Dr. D. James Kennedy and the power and breadth of Logos Bible Software. Take the tour to see it for yourself, and watch Brian Fisher, President and CEO of Coral Ridge Ministries, talk about these great new products.
Live on GodTube!
Finally, don’t miss the LIVE Internet-Only Broadcast on Monday, December 17, at 8 pm EST on GodTube.com. Brian Fisher will be talking with Scott Lindsey from Logos Bible Software about the exciting new ways to study the Bible using the revolutionary new Truths That Transform Digital Library System. Be sure to watch! Find out more.

2007 Logos Bake-Off

You’ve probably learned by now from our posts about Chili Cook-Offs (2007, 2006), Curry Cook-Offs (2007, 2006), Soup Cook-Offs (2006, 2005), Salsa Cook-Offs (2006), Bake-Offs (2006), and Thanksgiving Dinners (2007, 2006) that we like to eat! This is just one of the many reasons that working here is so much fun!
Last Friday we had the 2007 Logos Bake-Off. There were 12 entrants and lots of hungry judges! Here they are in action.

While everything was delicious, four desserts rose to the top.
Here are the winners:
1st Place: Don and Tara Everett’s “Chocolate Everything” creation (#12)


2nd Place: Katie Swanson’s Coconut Cream Cake (#6)


3rd Place: Pete and Shara Heiniger’s Chocolate Bundt Cake (#8)


and: Deborah Mickens’ Eggnog Butterscotch Cookies (#9)

We also have one recipe to share. While it’s not one that placed, it’s still sure to please.
Chocolate Star Cookies
by Ryan Husser
Components:

  • ½ cup peanut butter
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter or margarine
  • 1 egg
  • 1 ¾ cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • About ½ cup addition granulated sugar in separate bowl
  • About 60 Brach’s chocolate stars (available in bulk at Fred Meyer)

Assembly:

  1. Preheat oven to 375° (190 Celsius).
  2. Cream butter and sugars (granulated and brown) in large mixing bowl.
  3. Mix in peanut butter and egg.
  4. Mix in flour, baking soda, salt, milk and vanilla.
  5. Roll dough by hand into ½ inch balls.
  6. Roll dough balls in additional granulated sugar.
  7. Bake for 4 minutes.
  8. Remove from oven, press a chocolate star into the middle of each cookie.
  9. Bake for another 3–4 minutes.

Recipe yields approximately 5 dozen cookies.

Christmas Deals from Logos!

Logos has a couple of Christmas specials this year that you’ll definitely want to check out.
Base Packages
First, we are offering 25% off on all of our base packages. If you’ve been saving up your money for Scholar’s Library: Gold, now is the ideal time to get a great price on the best collection of Bible software on the planet. Make sure to use the christmas2007 coupon code, but it should be automatically applied for you when you click “Add to Cart” or “Buy Now!” For those of you who are upgrading from one base package to another, we are giving you a 15% discount.
Library Builder: Volumes 4-6
Second, due to the incredible response from last year’s Christmas special, Library Builder: Volumes 1-3, we have decided to create Library Builder: Volumes 4-6. This massive collection of 300 resources is worth more than $6100 in print editions! We are offering it for a very limited time for only $399.95! That’s a savings of more than 93%! After December 31, 2007, this product will be permanently discontinued. You may never again have the opportunity to get most of these resources at such incredibly low prices.
While some of you may already be compelled to buy this great collection of resources based on the discount alone, most of you want to see the list of included resources first.
Collections Included
But before you check it out, perhaps highlighting a few of the collections that you will get will be sufficient to show you how great a deal this really is. Take, for example, the International Theological Commentary (27 Volumes), which we sell for $529.95. The inclusion of this one set all by itself makes purchasing Library Builder: Volumes 4-6 a good deal; and when you consider that for $130 less you are getting 273 more books, it becomes a tremendous deal!
If that’s not enough to convince you, consider that you are also getting these 10 collections:

For just these 11 collections, you’d pay $2054.45 if you bought them on sale individually. If you were planning to buy even a couple of these, you’d be far better off buying Library Builder: Volumes 4-6.
Some Top Individual Volumes Included
If you’re still unconvinced, we’ve also included a number of very solid individual volumes, which are available in no other collections, from publishers like Bethany House, Christian Focus, Crossway, Editrice Pontificio Istituto Biblico, Eerdmans, IVP, Jewish Publication Society, Kregel, Paternoster, SPCK, T&T Clark, and more:

These 22 titles alone would cost you $439.95 if you bought them on sale! That’s $40 more than the price of the entire Library Builder: Volumes 4-6, which includes 278 additional titles! Convinced yet?
Figure out what you already have, and do the math for yourself. Then join the hundreds of others who agree that this deal is just too good to pass up.
By the way, we mean it when we say that this collection will be permanently discontinued at the end of 2007. Last year dozens of people called desperately wanting to buy Library Builder: Volumes 1-3 after the deadline. Unfortunately, we had to turn them away. Don’t let this be you come January. Place your order for Library Builder: Volumes 4-6.

The Value of Custom Resource Associations

Two weeks ago I talked a little bit about the value of collections. To summarize, collections have two primary functions:

  1. They allow you to organize and group your books together so that they are easier to find in My Library. For example, you have a systematic theology kind of question, and you can’t remember all of the systematic theology books that you have. You could just type “Systematic Theology” in My Library, but then you’d miss Shedd’s Dogmatic Theology and many others. You could try the broader “Theology,” but then you’d probably get a lot more books than you’re really looking for (like all of the journals with “Theology” in the title) and you’d miss a book like Henry’s God, Revelation and Authority. If you create a Systematic Theology collection, you’d be able to view your entire list of available Systematic Theology resources without missing any and without weeding through resources that don’t belong.
  2. They also allow you to improve the way you search. Searching collections is the ideal way to search for two reasons: accuracy and speed. (1) You’ll get hits that are more likely to address your question without having to wade through lots of false hits, and (2) your search will take far less time than if you are searching your entire library.

Resource Associations
Today I’d like to talk about the value of custom resource associations. I’ve found that many users don’t know what resource associations are, how they differ from collections, what value they have, or how to set them up. I hope that the remainder of this post will help to provide some answers to questions like these.
A resource association is simply a grouping of resources that enables you to navigate easily to similar resources. There are two kinds: serial and parallel.
Serial Resource Associations
A serial resource association groups books in the same series, like commentaries in the WBC or PNTC. So if you are looking at Genesis 15:6 in Wenham’s commentary in the WBC and want to jump to Romans 4:3 in the same series to read Dunn’s comments, you can simply type Rom 4:3 in the reference box in the top left hand corner, and it will take you to the Romans commentary in the same series. Think of a serial resource association as making many resources in a series function like one big resource. For the most part, serial resource associations come included with products. You won’t normally need to create any of your own.
Parallel Resource Associations
A parallel resource association groups books that cover the same basic content. For example, you might create a resource association for all of your English Bibles, all of your Greek New Testaments, all of your commentaries on Romans, all of your Hebrew grammars, all of your Apostolic Fathers texts, etc. This allows you to jump to one of these similar resources to compare with just two mouse clicks. I find this incredibly handy for those times when I go straight to a commentary instead of running a full Passage Guide report. By clicking on the Parallel Resources button, you will get a drop down list of the other books in your association.


So here I’m looking at Galatians 3:6 in Betz’ commentary in the Hermeneia series. Clicking on The New American Commentary: Galatians will take me to the same location in George’s commentary. (You can also use your right and left arrow keys to scroll through this list, but I find that using the parallel resources button is much quicker because you can go immediately to the one you want.)
The value of using your own parallel resource associations is that only the resources that you choose will appear, making the list targeted and customized to the way you study—and they are only two clicks away.
Defining Custom Resource Associations
Setting them up is simple to do. First, make sure you have the Power Tools Addin installed (read about or watch how to download it for free). Next, click on Tools > Library Management > Define Resource Associations. Select Parallel, and then click New. I recommend sorting by Title and checking the Unlocked Resources Only box. Add all of the resources that you want in your resource association, and order them however you want (e.g., alphabetically or in order of priority). Click OK and Close, and you’re ready to use your new resource association. Create as many as you want. For more information, see the article “Define Resource Associations” in the Libronix DLS Power Tools Addin Help resource or search for it in Libronix DLS Help (F1 or Help > Libronix DLS Help). Also, check out the “Customize Your New Digital Library” training video. The applicable portion is 14:53–18:31.
Now navigating from one resource to the next will be easier than ever.
Two things you should be aware of as you create your custom parallel resource associations:
  1. A resource can be in only one parallel resource association.
  2. Adding a resource to a custom resource association will override the default associations.

Greek Syntax: First Thessalonians 4:16, Part II

A few days back, I posted an article about 1Th 4.16, specifically on using syntax searching to find all instances of the prepositional phrase εν Χριστω. And that is helpful, but it isn’t the whole story.

1Th 4.16

Today’s article will build on that previous article. In the previous article, I discussed how one can find instances of prepositional phrases that modify a verb; so, adverbial instances of prepositional phrases. What can be more interesting, particularly when attempting to discern what is going on with a particular prepositional phrase such as occurs in 1Th 4.16, is to do some searching that examines how the prepositional phrase stands in relationship to the syntactic items around it.
So today’s article will use the same basic concept to find instances of εν Χριστω that modify the clausal verb; but we’ll look for where the prepositional phrase precedes the verb; for where it follows the verb, and if it occurs modifying a supplied verb.

prepositional phrase functioning adverbally

Because it is easier to show than document in writing, I’ve created a video that walks through these searches.

Why is this important? Well, in examining 1Th 4.16′s use of εν Χριστω, you’ll notice that there are two strong possibilities for the prepositional phrase. It can either attach to the subject οι νεκροι, or it can attach to the verb αναστησονται. In 1Th 4.16, the verb follows the prepositional phrase. One strategy, then, is to look for analogues (similar instances). Where else does the verb follow the prepositional phrase? And where it does, what else is going on in those verses syntactically?
That won’t give the whole answer; but it may help in getting there. And syntax searching isn’t just searching for words, or collocations of words, or even collocations of words with some morphological data thrown in — it is searching for relationships between words, and for relationships between higher-level syntactic components (such as subjects, predicators, and the like).
In this case, we’ve specified relationships between words to define the structure that represents the prepositional phrase εν Χριστω (which is why syntax searches implicitly locate items like εν γαρ Χριστω even though postpositives are not explicitly accounted for in the search) and we’ve also specified structures that specify relationships between clause components (the predicator and the component containing the prepositional phrase).
We’ve been able to sift our hits with (relatively) little effort and, more importantly, with precision. These different search results, then, can help us walk through like structures, looking for analogues that may shed some light on how to determine whether or not εν Χριστω in 1Th 4.16 is functioning adverbially or adjectivally.

External Linking to Libronix Resources and Reports

A very handy and unfortunately very underused feature in the Libronix Digital Library System is the ability to link to resources from external documents (like Word documents and PDFs) and web pages. This functionality is part of the Power Tools Addin (Tools > Options > Power Tools). If you don’t already have it, you can read about or watch how to download it for free.
Libronix allows for a much better hyperlinking experience than the web does. When you link to a web page, you usually can’t link to a specific location on that page.* For example, if you wanted someone to read a certain portion of Van Til’s “Why I Believe in God” at Reformed.org, you would have to direct him to go to the fourth section, third paragraph, etc. Not horrible, but not ideal.
In Libronix we provide far greater power and specificity in linking. You can link to a variety of different things:
(Note: These links may not work properly in all feed readers. Visit the site to try them out.)

  • Book: like the ESV
  • Page: like page 25 of The Moody Handbook of Theology
  • Topic: like “Trinity” in the New Bible Dictionary or λόγος in BDAG (a little buggy in IE)
  • Verse: like John 1:18 in the Holman Christian Standard Bible
  • Exact Location: like this quote from Charles Hodge’s Systematic Theology

And that’s not all. I just learned, thanks to Sean Boisen’s blog post “Libronix Links As Knowledge Resources,” that you can even link to most reports! So you can take someone directly to—and even run for them—any of these:

How cool is that?! And most of these links will even preserve preferences like version choice, etc. where applicable!
Some of you are already thinking of all the ways you can make use of this. Others of you might still be wondering how this would come in handy. Let me suggest a few ways:

  1. Include links to resources and reports in your digital teaching materials. If you use a computer while you teach, this will save you time by allowing you to look up sources and run reports more quickly giving you more time to spend actually teaching.
  2. Include links to resources and reports in your digital syllabi. Many universities and seminaries are now distributing syllabi as Word documents or PDFs. Having Libronix links in your material will make learning more efficient—and fun!
  3. Include links to resources and reports in your papers. This is helpful if you share your papers with others via your website or some other way digitally. If they use Libronix, they’ll be able to run down your footnotes. But perhaps it will be of most help to you. If you want to look up one of your sources to double check something or recheck the data behind your conclusion, it’s just a click away. My dissertation is full of thousands of hidden Libronix links.
  4. Include links to resources and reports in your blog posts. I regularly link to my Libronix library when blogging (e.g., see the notes section in this post).

So how do you create a link? It’s very simple. Open a resource to the location to which you want to link, click Favorites in the menu bar, then click Copy Location to Clipboard (or just use the keyboard shortcut Alt+Ctrl+C). Create your hyperlink, and you’re all set. It works the same way with most reports.
Here are a couple of articles where you can find more information about external linking to Libronix resources:

One warning about external linking and web browsers: Internet Explorer and Firefox don’t handle Libronix encoding the same way, so you may occasionally run into trouble with more complicated links (e.g., spaces are particularly problematic). A link may work in one browser but not another. In addition, Internet Explorer struggles with Greek and Hebrew, but Firefox tends to handle them properly. You shouldn’t have trouble with the simpler links, and we’re working on ways to get browsers to behave properly with the more complicated ones.
* I say usually because some pages have anchors built into them, which allows you to link to a specific section of the page, but most pages don’t have anchors and most people don’t know how to find anchor text or how to link to it.