Old Testament Gemstones: A Philological, Geological, And Archaeological Assessment Of The Septuagint -- By: James A. Harrell
BBR 21:2 (2011) p. 141
Old Testament Gemstones: A Philological, Geological, And Archaeological Assessment Of The Septuagint
University Of Toledo
The earliest witness to the entirety of the Old Testament is the Septuagint (LXX), dating to the third through first centuries B.C., during the Hellenistic period. This was translated into Greek from an earlier and now largely lost version of the Hebrew Bible. After the ca. 315 B.C. book On Stones by the Greek scholar Theophrastus, the LXX has more references to gemstones than any other surviving Hellenistic manuscript. A total of
Key Words: gemstones, precious stones, Aaron’s breastplate, Septuagint, LXX, Old Testament
Author’s note: I am especially grateful to Prof. V. Max Brown (formerly of the University of Toledo) for an introduction to Aaron’s breastplate and his assistance in a survey of breastplate descriptions in English-language Bibles. Thanks are also due to Lisbet Thoresen (formerly of the J. Paul Getty Museum in Malibu, California), who shared her vast knowledge of ancient gemstones with me and also offered many useful comments on an earlier draft of this article.
This study is concerned with the geologic identities of gemstones mentioned in the OT. The term gemstone as used here is broadly defined to include all rocks, minerals, and biogenic materials employed for jewelry (beads, pendants, and inlays), engraved cylinder and stamp seals, and other decorative arts (for example, amulets, figurines, and small vessels).
BBR 21:2 (2011) p. 142
Much has been written about the OT gemstones, and virtually all of this literature has been concerned solely with the
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