Over the past ten days I have been hard at work developing an annotated bibliography. This assignment does not require me to read all the resources I annotate. Instead, I am required to get a general sense of the material, the methodological foundations on which the material is built, and some of the unique characteristics of the source. While I definitely take that approach for some of the sources I am including, it is a bit more difficult to do this for Septuagint studies. There are few introductory texts on the matter. Compare this with NT or OT studies that have a new NT Theology, Biblical Theology, Narrative Theology, or general introductory text published annually (if not more often).
Most of the resources I am finding are articles or chapters in compilations. For instance, each issue of the International Organization for Septuagint and Cognate Studies contains about 20 articles. Even with this concentration of sources, most of the articles are focused in the Pentateuch, Kings, Psalms, Job, Isaiah, or Ezekiel. That is to say, they are often too specialized. This means that I need to find the articles that are rooted in books of the LXX that do not concern me but are methodologically founded. I select these articles for the bibliography. Proceeding thusly requires that I closely read each of these sources in order to learn from the author’s methodological approach, finding what constituents evidence for significant findings and what dangers and pitfalls to avoid.
As of this morning, I have annotated 47 sources and produced ~23 single-spaced pages of annotations. I have made it my goal to survey, at minimum, 5 sources per day. At the rate I am currently operating, I will have ~190 sources. I realize that this might be a bit excessive…think…~50 produces 25 single-spaced pages, extrapolated out means ~100 pages by the time I finish the work.
I intend regularly to return to this resource. I want it to have all the material I found significant on first read. I am also including details about how I think the source might be helpful for my thesis.
One of those resources that might be helpful in the future is M.A. Zipor’s article “The Use of the Septuagint as a Textual Witness.” My entry for this article says:
Zipor takes issue with the overwhelmingly popular methodological approaches of modern Septuagint scholarship. Modern scholarship encounters differences in the Septuagint text and asks of each difference, “What translation technique was this translator employing?” Instead, Zipor argues that the approach must be reversed. All deviations are initially to be treated as witnesses to a different Vorlage. There are two instances where recourse to another explanation should be taken: “One is when we are unable to suggest and appropriate alternative reading of the Hebrew Vorlaage…The second is when we can demonstrate that the Hebrew Vorlage was identical with the MT, as in instances where the translator has no recourse but to diverge from the MT.” Zipor’s alternate methodological motivation is born from the realization that translation technique approaches have supposedly rigged the game in a “heads I win, tails you lose” sort of fashion. If the LXX is in agreement with the MT, then it counts towards the translator’s overall literalness. If the number of differences between the LXX and the MT accumulate, then it is evidence of the translator’s propensity towards a “free” translation; the translation cannot, therefore, be of much help in establishing the Vorlage. This is an important charge that must be address in the Introduction/Chapter 1 of my thesis.