Reviews Of Books -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Westminster Theological Journal
Volume: WTJ 72:2 (Fall 2010)
Article: Reviews Of Books
Author: Anonymous

Reviews Of Books

T. Muraoka, A Greek-English Lexicon of the Septuagint. Louvain: Peeters, 2009. Pp. xl + 757. 8138, cloth.

It needs to be said at the outset that this dictionary ranks among the most significant modern publications in the field of ancient Greek. The work will prove of immense value not only to students of the biblical languages but to classical scholars as well, and in this respect it is a contribution not unlike that of W. Bauer’s NT lexicon when it first appeared. Its importance may be gauged, at least in part, from the sad fact that no LXX lexicon at all was published between 1829—when the revised edition of J. E Schleusner’s Novus thesaurus philologico-criticus appeared—and the early 1990s. The reason for this remarkable gap should be clear to anyone who has attempted to do substantial lexical work on this body of literature, for in addition to facing unusually difficult (indeed, unique) text-critical and literary problems, the LXX lexicographer has to deal with an extraordinarily large number of puzzling passages, the analysis of which requires expertise in Hebrew/Aramaic as well as the rare ability to determine to what extent, if any, the Semitic text affects the meaning of the Greek.

Schleusner’s massive work remains a magnificent—if at times misguided—repository of knowledge, but it is of only limited value (even for those who can wade through its Latin) if one’s primary aim is to get at the meaning of the Greek text as such. And the major lexicon for classical Greek (Liddell-Scott-Jones-McKenzie) covers the LXX in a spotty and at times misleading way. A wonderful boon for LXX studies was the publication of LEH (i.e., A Greek-English Lexicon of the Septuagint, by J. Lust, E. Eynikel, and K. Hauspie) in 1992-1996; the revised edition, which appeared in 2003, has become available in various Bible software programs. This dictionary provides statistical information and concise English equivalents for every term found in Rahlfs’s Septuaginta (additional notes on selected problems are included for many items). Although extremely useful for preliminary work, however, more was needed.

Muraoka, whose command of the relevant fields is evident from numerous erudite books and articles, published a first installment of his Greek-English Lexicon of the Septuagint. covering only the Twelve Prophets, in 1993; and this was followed in 2002 by a new edition that had the subtitle, Chiefly of the Pentateuch and Twelve Prophets. It is a strong testimony to his industry that in the midst of other responsibilities (including, e.g., a revision of his Classical Syriac: A Basic Grammar with Chrestomathy [Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2005]) he has now been able to complete the lexicon, a true magnum opus.<...

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