Many thanks to reader Mark for mentioning this in the comments! Lexham Press has just published the second edition of their translation of the Septuagint (the Greek version of the Old Testament). For any of you unfamiliar with the name, Lexham Press is the publishing imprint of Faithlife Corporation, which produces the Logos Bible Software. The translation of the Septuagint grew out of a Greek-English interlinear translation of the Septuagint which was available in Logos. Rick Brannan of Logos began by writing a program to rearrange the interlinear text to conform to English grammar. Then, a group of scholars including Professor Ken Penner of St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia, Canada, edited the machine-generated text to produce a smoother, more readable English translation. The first edition of this translation was published in 2012 with only a digital version available.

The text has now been revised under the direction of Professor Penner, and the second edition is available in both print and digital editions. The print edition comes in hardcover with a beautiful single-column text setting.

Overall, the translation philosophy for this edition is unique among current widely-used English translations of the Septuagint. The most widely-known English translation is the New English Translation of the Septuagint (NETS), which focuses on reproducing the most likely wording as produced by the original translators who rendered the Hebrew Old Testament into Greek. In other words, the NETS focuses on translating the text “as produced” by its original translators. This is also the most common approach of most modern translations of the Bible. By contrast, the Lexham English Septuagint (LES) focuses on translating the text as it would have been commonly read by Greek speakers in the 4th Century AD. As such, it allows modern readers to experience the Septuagint in a way that is closer to how the early Christians read the text, as opposed to reconstructing a best approximation of the original text which was not available to anyone in the Christian era.

For more information on the background and translation choices in the Lexham English Septuagint, check out this printed interview with Rick Brannan and Ken Penner.

The print edition of the Lexham English Septuagint is currently available at Amazon, Christian Book, or directly from Lexham Press. The general editor, Professor Ken Penner, has graciously offered to answer questions in the comments.

12 thoughts on “Now Available: Lexham English Septuagint, Second Edition”

  1. I see in the reviews section, there is a positive listing by Archpriest Lawrence Farley. For the Catholic readership, he is a blogger at the Ancient Faith Network (roughly the equivalent of Word on Fire Ministries in the Orthodox Church).

    As Greek OT is the standard in both the Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches, I was wondering if this translation was done at all with an eye towards liturgical proclamation (worship) in those Churches?

    1. We editors did not specifically have liturgical uses in mind when we produced this translation, but I have heard that certain Orthodox bodies are considering adopting it for worship.

    1. Would be cool if they used the Confraternity Bible New Testament of 1941.
      I realize that would frowned on by modernists who would like that it was based on the Latin Vulgate.
      But it is a beautiful translation and very traditional which would go along well with the Lexham English Septuagint. I don’t think there would be any factual nor doctrinal discrepancies between them.

        1. When I first read it I put your words in the mouth of a cranky Eastern Christian commenting on the time when the Vulgate was new fangled and preferred by them modernist Latins haha.

          But seriously, the Confraternity is underrated.

          I wonder if the powers that be in English speaking Orthodoxy are even interested in a complete bible from the Septuagint at this point. The Orthodox Study Bible is pretty good, but basically a light edit of the NKJV

    2. As it would seem that the communities most interested in a bible like this would be the Eastern Orthodox or Eastern Rite Catholic I would think that a new testament drawn from their preferred textual sources would seem like the most logical addition. Something like the Eastern Orthodox Bible.

      (https://www.amazon.com/EOB-Orthodox-Testament-Patriarchal-extensive/dp/148191765X/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=EOB%3A+The+Eastern+Greek+Orthodox+New+Testament&qid=1579374215&s=books&sr=1-1)

      I’ll admit to not knowing a lot about this myself, but it seems that the Eastern Orthodox communities have a preference for the 1904 Patriarchal Text? From what little I’ve been able to deduce it seems that this textual tradition is very different from what most modern New Testament base texts in English draw from, similar to, but not entirely the same as the texts used to generate the KJV New Testament. Again, very willing to be corrected by those with more knowledge on these subjects then me. I’m also not sure if this difference in New Testament textual traditions is a pan-Eastern Orthodox/Eastern Catholic concern or something limited exclusively to Orthodox specifically Greek Orthodox communities. Still, I think something like this would be a better step in the right direction then any modern English New Testament or even something based on the Vulgate.

    3. There is not really a point in that though. An Old Testament based entirely on the Septuagint would have a significantly different text than one based on the Masoretic Text. But how would the New Testament be different than any other New Testament?

      1. It would just be slightly different readings if it was from the Patriarchal Text of 1904. I can’t speak about it intelligently, but I think this would be most similar to Vulgate or KJV readings.

        That is the Greeks at least. I believe the autocephalus churches have their own textual traditions. (Such as, are modern Russian New Testaments from Old Church Slavonic or from the original Greek)?

  2. Another Eastern Orthodox New Testament and Psalms can be found at
    https://secure.holyapostlesconvent.org/hacwebstore/viewnormalitem.zul?itemModelNo=ONT1
    https://secure.holyapostlesconvent.org/hacwebstore/viewnormalitem.zul?itemModelNo=ONT2
    https://secure.holyapostlesconvent.org/hacwebstore/viewnormalitem.zul?itemModelNo=Psalter-Full

    I bought them this past summer of 2019 so if anyone would like to know how a given verse is treated, I’d be glad to answer.

  3. My copy arrived yesterday. I have started reading the LXX Daniel. For the price, i am very much pleased.

    Bob is correct in terms of the NT. The Eastern Churches use the “received text” family of manuscripts (AKA the majority text or Byzantine text).

    The Patriarchal text of 1904 is a variant of this and is used both in the EOB and David Bentley Hart’s translation (though Hart’s looks and edits according to other manuscripts). The KJV/NKJV also uses a variant.

    As an aside, in this country the Eastern Churches (both Catholic & Orthodox) lack the financial resouces compared to the USCCB. The Byzantine Catholic Church of America uses the NAB 1970 and also Grail psalter. The psalms have been edited to the LXX. Thjs jurisdiction sinply can’t afford to publish a bible on its own. This would probably still be this case even if they teamed up with other Eastern Catholic jurisdictions.

    The Orthodox Study Bible uses the NKJV in part because an Orthodox deacon is high up in the management of Thomas Nelson publishing which owns the copyright to the NKJV.

    1. That’s exactly what I mean, the only difference between an NT based on the so-called ‘Received Text’ (which is actually based on fewer than 20 manuscripts dating from no earlier than the 12th century) and one based on a modern eclectic text is that some passages which are in the margins with the note ”some manuscripts say….” get moved into the text itself. The ‘textus receptus’ is only about 2-3% longer than modern New Testaments, and most readers would have difficulty finding the difference.

      By contrast, the Septuagint is more than 20% longer than the Masoretic text, and there are many significant textual differences, for example, Goliath’s height in the Masoretic text is ‘6 cubits and a span’ (or more than 9 feet tall), whereas in the Septuagint Goliath’s height is ‘4 cubits and a span’ or about 6 and a half feet. So Goliath was either a superhuman literal giant or a guy of more than average height, but still realistic. That’s a huge difference. There is nothing like that kind of radical difference in the New Testament.

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