Richard Longenecker’s Biblical Exegesis in the Apostolic Period

Understanding the way that the Old Testament is used in the New Testament is an important part of Bible study. When you’re studying a New Testament passage that quotes the Old Testament, you need to know the reference and study further to discern the reason for the reference.
We have several resources that help with identifying the quotations (from modern translation cross references and parallel passage sets) and even have resources like Carson & Beale’s massive and helpful Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament.
But have you ever wanted to read and work through a study on how exegesis was done in the time of the New Testament? That’s what Richard N. Longenecker gives us with his excellent study Biblical Exegesis in the Apostolic Period. Longenecker gives us less of the “what” and “who” and much more of the “why”. He explains it like this in his introduction:

To speak of “Biblical Exegesis in the Apostolic Period” is, of course, to suggest something of our concerns and limitations. But more particularly it must be said that, in the first place, our interest is primarily with exegetical procedures—that is, with specific exegetical practices, with the presuppositions that underlie those practices, and with the manner in which biblical exegesis was carried on in the apostolic period—and only secondarily and as derived from such an inquiry will we concern ourselves with the broader issues of the relation between the testaments and the development of biblical religion. Secondly, the focus of our attention will be on the biblical quotations used by the various writers of the New Testament, and less directly on their development of biblical themes, the structure of their compositions, their allusive use of biblical materials, or their employment of biblical language. And thirdly, our desire is to trace out distinguishable patterns of usage and development that appear in the various strata of the biblical citations within the New Testament, particularly as seen when compared with Jewish exegetical practices and patterns of roughly contemporaneous times.
Richard N. Longenecker, Biblical Exegesis in the Apostolic Period (2nd ed.; Grand Rapids, Mich.; Vancouver: W.B. Eerdmans; Regent College Pub., 1999), 2.

Because Longenecker is studying how exegesis is done in the “Apostolic Period”, he evaluates other sources contemporary with the New Testament to understand how they use biblical quotations as part of better understanding what is going on in the New Testament. He writes:

I am concerned to have an accurate understanding of both Jewish and Christian hermeneutics during the period under study, believing that each must be seen in its relation to the other. In addition to the New Testament, therefore, we must give close attention to the talmudic literature (Mishnah, Babylonian and Palestinian Gemaras, Midrashim, Tosephta, individual “Sayings” collections, and related codifications), the Targums, the Jewish apocryphal texts (particularly apocalyptic writings), the Dead Sea Scrolls, and Philo. (Longenecker, Biblical Exegesis, 3)

It really is a fascinating book. And it isn’t in any of the Logos 4 (KF) packages. At $19.99 (at time of posting) it is a great book to add to your library and even to read on your iPod/iPad/iPhone.

Leave us a comment and let us know what some of your favorite Apostolic resources are.

Revised Edition of the Lexham Analytical Lexicon to the Greek New Testament

A few years back, we released something we called the Lexham Analytical Lexicon to the Greek New Testament (see the introductory blog post here). In this resource, we comprehensively listed citations of every form of every word found in the Greek New Testament, broken down by their Louw-Nida classification. We also included glosses of each Louw-Nida “sense”. Since the initial release in 2008, we have included it in the Scholar’s Silver, Gold, Platinum and Portfolio editions.

We’ve spent some time revising and updating the lexicon. The initial edition of the Lexham Analytical Lexicon to the Greek New Testament was based on the NA27 edition of the Greek New Testament, and did not list forms from any other editions. We’ve updated it to use the SBL Greek New Testament (SBLGNT) as its basis, but we are also listing forms from NA27 and Westcott-Hort that are not found in the SBLGNT.

Why do this? It means that many forms you’ll find in untagged text (e.g. advanced or technical commentaries) will have a destination if you KeyLink from the untagged text into the Lexham Analytical Lexicon. Once you’re in the lexicon you can get to the head entry with a click of the lemma (headword) form in the right-most column.

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What About the Theological Lexicon of the New Testament (TLNT)?

Lexicons are some of the most helpful tools in one’s study, particularly when striving to understand how a word or phrase was originally used, and what it might’ve originally meant in a given context.

For Greek lexicons, most folks will say you need BDAG. And you do, it really is the first place you should go when looking deeper into words found in the Greek New Testament. But there are other lexicons too. One that is an excellent supplementary lexicon is Ceslas Spicq’s Theological Lexicon of the New Testament (TLNT), translated (from the original French into English) by James D. Ernest. The TLNT is not exhaustive (it does not treat every word found in the Greek NT), but its entries are helpful and substantive.
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Richard Young’s Intermediate New Testament Greek

I may be the weird one. But for some reason, I like to have access to grammars that treat the Greek of the New Testament.

The problem is that they are seldom readable. While some grammars may be good for reference (like BDF and Robertson) you would be hard-pressed to sit down and read them through cover to cover. They’re just not meant to work that way.

When I saw Richard Young’s Intermediate New Testament Greek: A Linguistic and Exegetical Approach, however, I had hope. It was a manageable size (308 pages) and actually looked like I could sit and read it (no, really, check the sample scans at the bottom of the product page).

I wasn’t disappointed. I can still remember when I bought the print book (now at least 5 years ago). And I actually read it.

Did you know that Young’s grammar is available for Logos Bible Software? And it isn’t in any of the base packages, not even Portfolio? And that at $29.99, it is one of the more reasonably-priced intermediate Greek grammars that you can get for Logos?

Young’s is a winner for me. Maybe it’ll help you too.

Adolf Deissmann and the Greek of the New Testament

There are some works you should just read, particularly if you’re interested in the Greek of the New Testament. Deissmann’s Light from the Ancient East (LAE) is in this category. It is an incredible book, filled with transcriptions, translations, pictures and discussions of how papyri, ostraca and inscriptions (largely those found in garbage heaps) shed light on how we understand the Greek of the New Testament. Pre-Deissmann, many thought that the Greek used in the New Testament was a special sort of Greek; after Deissmann, we realize that non-literary sources teach us a lot about the Greek used in the New Testament. It’s a book that (at least from my perspective) everyone should read. The only collection that contains Light from the Ancient East is the Portfolio collection. If you don’t have Portfolio and LAE sounds interesting, you might want to look into buying Light from the Ancient East as an individual download.
While many of you may already have Deissmann’s Light from the Ancient East (it was one of our first community pricing titles from back in 2005!), did you know that Logos offers other useful books written by Deissmann?
One of them is Bible Studies, which uses the linguistic and cultural insights gleaned from Deissmann’s study of papyri and ostraca and applies them to specific passages of the New Testament. It is a truly useful book, so much so that BDAG frequently cites it by page. And this one isn’t even in Portfolio, so if you don’t already have it, you’ll want to check it out.
We’ve also recently released a two-volume collection of books by Adolf Deissmann, the Adolf Deissmann New Testament Studies Collection. The two titles included are The Philology of the Greek Bible and St. Paul: A Study in Social and Religious History.
The Philology of the Greek Bible is based on lectures Deissmann gave as a visiting scholar at Cambridge in the early 1900’s. The key here is that these lectures are about the Greek Bible, not just the New Testament. They ooze with knowledge from Deissmann’s extensive work with non-literary (i.e. not classical literature, such as Homer, Plato, etc.) sources. The text is easy to read (I read it using Logos on my iPod) and relatively engaging.
I’ve not read St. Paul: A Study in Social and Religious History yet, but hope to fit it into my reading over the next few months. It will be interesting to see how Deissmann applies his knowledge to the study of a person.
Anyway, these are wonderful books, and they really do provide a lot of applied knowledge of the Greek of the New Testament to help us better understand the linguistic and cultural context of the New Testament.

Lexham Greek-English Interlinear Septuagint (LXX) is Complete!

In December of 2007, we announced the start of our Lexham Greek-English Interlinear Septuagint project on this blog.
After three years of work, now we get to announce that the project is finally complete!
The Septuagint (LXX) is big. Bigger than the Hebrew Bible. Over 4 times the size of the New Testament (by word count). Even with multiple contributors, it took a long time to do. But all of the text of Rahlf’s edition of the LXX has been interlinearized, even (and I’m excited about this) the alternate texts.
What are these “alternate texts”? In the print version of Rahlf’s LXX, some chapters of Joshua (15, 18, and 19) as well as Judges, Tobit, Daniel, and the Additions to Daniel (Prayer of Azariah, Susanna, Bel and the Dragon) are presented with split pages, with one edition on the top portion of the page, and another edition on the bottom portion of the page. The Logos edition of the LXX breaks these alternate texts out into their own resources (books) so they can be scrolled with and compared to other texts.
Also, if you’ve been using the ‘beta’ releases of the LXX Interlinear over the past few years, you will have noticed that there were some known issues reported in the front matter. These have all been resolved. Additionally, the LXX Interlinear resources now take full advantage of the Logos 4 Bible datatype, which means that you can refer to an LXX verse with the LXX versification. So Daniel 3.24-90 (LXX) is the Prayer of Azariah, but some traditions do not include it here and instead skip from Dan 3.23 (LXX) to Dan 3.91 (LXX). It will, however, scroll properly with the NRSV, which has the Prayer of Azariah (also known as the “Song of Three Youths”) as a separate book.
The Lexham LXX Interlinear should prove helpful to those who want to read the Greek version of the OT and Apocrypha, and also to those who are doing word studies on words found in the New Testament. Greek lexicons (like BDAG, EDNT, TDNT, and TLNT) routinely cite LXX examples when discussing word meaning and usage. For those whose Greek is rusty, the LXX Interlinear will help one further utilize such examples, and be even more help when examining quotations/allusions to the OT found in the NT.
The LXX is a very important version for students of the Bible (a previous blog post gives some details). The Lexham Greek-English Interlinear Septuagint helps to make it more useful to a greater number of people. We hope this tool is helpful to you in your study of the Bible!

How is the SBLGNT Apparatus Different from Other Apparatuses?

Textual apparatuses can be excellent tools. They do an incredible job of densely packing a large amount of information into a small portion of the printed page. They contain information that is incredibly valuable to the specialist. But the compact nature, abbreviations and symbols take time and effort to master.
The apparatus for the SBLGNT is different. Using a minimum amount of symbols and abbreviations, it gathers some of the most well known textual critics of the past and present (Tregelles, Westcott and Hort, Robinson and Pierpont, those responsible for the Greek text behind the NIV, and those responsible for the NA27/UBS4 text) and records where they agree and where they take different readings. In this way, it is very similar to the apparatus that the Nestle text had for its first twelve editions (1898–1927).
The editions represented in the SBLGNT apparatus form a rough spectrum from Robinson-Pierpont as a representative of the Byzantine text, to Tregelles which, while pre-papyri, was one of the first to break from the Byzantine, to Westcott and Hort (including the great uncials but little papyri) to the NIV Greek text and the NA text which have the benefit of available papyri. The sorts of differences that end up in the SBLGNT apparatus are:

  • Likely to be represented in an English translation. The KJV, of course, uses a more Byzantine Greek source. The NIV and NA do not. Several other NT translations (ESV, NLT, NET, etc.) actually have their own underlying Greek text with some degree of difference from the NA27, most of the divergences in those would also be accounted for with readings given in the SBLGNT. This range of information gives the person preaching/teaching/exegeting the passage familiarity with options their pupils or parishioners may have represented in their translations.
  • Given the “spectrum” of the editions, the variant info might quickly point out some more interesting variants. If the SBLGNT agrees with Westcott and Hort, Tregelles, and NIV/NA but disagrees with Robinson-Pierpont, it is likely a pretty standard difference with the Byzantine text. But if the SBLGNT’s chosen reading is only present in Robinson-Pierpont or Tregelles then it might be more interesting and worth a deeper look into the specialist-oriented materials such as the UBS or NA apparatuses, technical commentaries such as ICC or Word Biblical Commentary, the Editio Critica Maior, Tischendorf, Comfort & Barrett, and the like.

No one apparatus is perfect for everyone. The NA27 apparatus gives manuscript-level information to those who require it. The UBS4 apparatus is geared towards translators. The SBLGNT apparatus complements these functions, pointing out readings of interest for further research, instead of competing with them.

More SBLGNT News

Over the past couple weeks, we’ve been rolling out additional downloads and SBLGNT-related products. The big news is that free access to the SBLGNT is available on the Logos iPhone app and Logos iPad app. You can also access the SBLGNT online for free at Biblia.com.

We have also recently made the SBLGNT text and apparatus available with the Lexham Greek-English Interlinear New Testament Collection (3 vols.). If you have Scholar’s Silver and higher, then you already own the Lexham Greek-English Interlinear New Testament Collection (3 vols.), which means these updates should have already downloaded. If you don’t have Scholar’s Silver or higher, now is the perfect time to upgrade, with discounts up to 20% off!

Head on over to SBLGNT.com to learn more about the project and get your free SBLGNT download. We just posted PDF of the entire New Testament in addition to all the other versions, so check it out!

You should follow us on Twitter here.

Introducing the SBL Greek New Testament

Logos Bible Software has partnered with the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL) to produce a new, critically edited edition of the Greek New Testament called The Greek New Testament: SBL Edition, abbreviated as SBLGNT and also known as the SBL Greek New Testament.
The SBLGNT is edited by Michael W. Holmes, already well known for his edition and translation of the Apostolic Fathers. For the SBLGNT, he utilized a wide range of printed editions of the Greek New Testament, all the major critical apparatuses, in addition to consulting the latest technical resources and manuscript discoveries as he established the text. The result is a critically edited text that differs from the NA/UBS text in more than 540 variation units.
I’ve had the privilege of being involved since the get-go on this, and it has been a load of fun.
Before the details, here are the basics:
1. It’s Free From Logos
The SBLGNT is available via SBLGNT.com. You can freely unlock the SBLGNT and its apparatus (!) for Logos Bible Software. The Logos version is fully morphologically tagged, with Louw-Nida reference annotation. The license is generous, and is fairly similar to that of the Lexham English Bible. At present, you can get plain text or XML files for your own personal use.Note for Mac Users: There is an issue with Logos 4.0 for the Mac and the SBLGNT; this issue is known and we will make a service release of Logos 4 Mac available in the next few days to fix the problem. You can still use the resource, the problem is with navigation by book/chapter/verse.
2. Available in Print
The SBLGNT will be published in print by the SBL. Copies will be available at the Annual Meeting of the SBL in Atlanta this November and subsequently can be purchased from the SBL web site. Curious to how it will look? Check out this sample of John 1:1–4:15. PDF will be available for download in late November or early December.
3. Available on the iPhone, iPad, and Biblia.com
The SBLGNT and its apparatus are or will shortly be available on Biblia.com and also for the Logos iPhone, iPod and iPad app.

4. Revised LEB
Hall Harris has revised and updated the Lexham English Bible (LEB) New Testament to be a translation of the SBLGNT. If you are a Logos user, and you have the LEB (which is also freely available if you don’t have it yet), then the update will be available to you as well. If you use Logos 4, the update will come automatically if it hasn’t already. If you have a Logos 4 package that includes a reverse interlinear to the LEB, that will be updated (to reflect the SBLGNT) as well. We hope for this update to be released by the end of this week.
5. Free PDF
To make the textual relationship between the SBLGNT and the LEB as transparent as possible for even those who are not Logos users, we’ve produced a PDF version of the Lexham English Bible English-Greek Reverse Interlinear New Testament. Using this material, you can see how different words/clauses/phrases of the SBLGNT were translated by the LEB, in context. This is available on the SBLGNT Download page and scroll down to find it.
Now, the details:
You can head to the SBLGNT web site for more detail. Read the Preface and the Introduction to learn more about why and how the SBLGNT was created. And it’s sure to be discussed on the Logos forums, so check there too.
And, if you’re a Logos user, there will be even more SBLGNT-related goodness coming in the next week.
The bottom line:
We’re really excited about this new edition of the Greek New Testament. We think it will be useful not only in the context of Logos Bible Software, but also for those studying, analyzing and working with the text of the Greek New Testament on a regular basis.

Using the Septuagint (LXX) when Studying the New Testament

If you’ve gone to church, listened to sermons, or studied the Bible for any amount of time, you’ve probably heard that the Septuagint (abbreviated “LXX”) is what the NT writers usually quoted from, or that some even say the Septuagint was “Paul’s Bible”.
This is all well and good, but how do we use the Septuagint when we’re studying the New Testament? How do we understand (and identify) quotations from the Septuagint in the NT? And and how do we draw upon the linguistic richness that the Septuagint provided the early Christians?
These are the sorts of questions that R. Timothy McLay examines in his book The Use of the Septuagint in New Testament Research. McLay helpfully provides a summary of the structure of the book at the end of the introduction. Note that “TT” is an abbreviation for “Translation Technique”:

We will follow this introductory chapter with our investigation of the citation in Acts 15:16–18. Chapter one will serve to introduce the reader to the complex world of the use of Scripture in the NT and to raise some of the issues that are involved. Chapter two will examine TT in the LXX and the problem of whether the NT writer is quoting a Hebrew or Greek text. Here we will begin defining the purpose of TT and discuss the problems of methodology for analyzing TT. This chapter contains some discussion that is quite technical in nature; it may be skimmed by students who are more interested in the impact of the Greek Jewish Scriptures on the NT. We will conclude the examination of TT in the following chapter by proposing a methodology for analyzing TT. Chapter four will outline the transmission history of the LXX and its recensions. Again, the knowledge gained from the study of specific texts will be applied to NT research. Chapter five will draw upon the arguments of the previous chapters as we examine more passages in order to determine how the NT writers’ use of the Greek Jewish Scriptures is reflected in their theology. We will argue that the theology of the NT exhibits the distinct influence of the Greek scriptural tradition by its use of vocabulary, its citations of Scripture, and its theological concepts. The final chapter will offer concluding remarks.
R. Timothy McLay, The Use of the Septuagint in New Testament Research (Grand Rapids, Mich.: W.B. Eerdmans Pub. Co., 2003), 16. emphasis added.

As you can see, using the Septuagint when studying the New Testament is more than just identifying a quotation, it can also involve work to understand the relation between the Hebrew and Greek editions of the quotation, and further understanding of any changes the NT author may have made when quoting. Deeper than that, there are issues of common vocabulary (end of chapter five) and how term usage during the time of NT composition may have influenced early Christian understanding of the Septuagint text itself. This is all fascinating stuff!
McLay’s book is helpful because it delves deeply into methodology. A complementary book for helping with one’s examination of the New Testament’s use of the Old Testament is Carson and Beale’s Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament. This exhaustive volume is nearly 1300 pages of examination, ordered like a commentary, on the New Testament use of the Old Testament. In other words, several of the authors use techniques like those explained by McLay in their identification and discussion of quotations of the Old Testament.
Of course, also useful in this type of study is an edition of the Septuagint itself. We have been working on our own interlinear edition of the Septuagint, the Lexham Greek-English Interlinear Septuagint, for a few years now. I’m pleased to say we’re coming near the end and, assuming nothing crazy happens, we should have the initial version of the complete Septuagint available in the next few weeks. Of course, users who already have the resource will be able to download updates when it is released.
But, this post is already long. I’ll have to blog about the Lexham Greek-English Interlinear Septuagint in a few weeks when it’s (hopefully!) ready.

Another Book on Paul? F.F. Bruce Explains Why

F.F. Bruce, Paul: Apostle of the Free SpiritF.F. Bruce needs no introduction. He is the author of several books, including one about the Apostle Paul, called Paul: Apostle of the Free Spirit.
But why another book on Paul? Hasn’t this one been done over? Don’t we already know everything there is to know about Paul? Let’s let none other than F.F. Bruce himself answer the question:

No excuse is offered for the publication of yet another book on Paul save the excuse offered by the second-century author of the Acts of Paul: it was written amore Pauli, for love of Paul. For half a century and more I have been a student and teacher of ancient literature, and to no other writer of antiquity have I devoted so much time and attention as to Paul. Nor can I think of any other writer, ancient or modern, whose study is so richly rewarding as his. This is due to several aspects of his many-faceted character: the attractive warmth of his personality, his intellectual stature, the exhilarating release effected by his gospel of redeeming grace, the dynamism with which he propagated that gospel throughout the world, devoting himself single mindedly to fulfilling the commission entrusted to him on the Damascus road (“this one thing I do”) and labouring more abundantly than all his fellow-apostles—“yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me”. My purpose in writing this book, then, is to share with others something of the rich reward which I myself have reaped from the study of Paul.
F. F. Bruce, Paul: Apostle of the Free Spirit (Milton Keynes, UK: Paternoster, 1977), 15.

Paul: Apostle of the Free Spirit is Bruce’s distillation of over 18 years of lectures on “The Missionary Career of Paul in its Historical Setting.” To better understand Paul’s writings, it can be helpful to better understand Paul the person. Clocking in at just over 500 pages, Paul: Apostle of the Free Spirit helps us do just this.
If you’ve got Scholar’s Portfolio Edition (LE), or have availed yourself of the Pauline Studies Library, then you’ve already got this 500+ page gem from F.F. Bruce in your Logos Bible Software library.
If not, check it out. Learning more about Paul from F.F. Bruce can’t be a bad thing.