"When God Spoke Greek"


Book recommendation here:

When God Spoke Greek: The Septuagint and the Making of the Christian Bible
by Timothy Michael Law (2013, Oxford University Press)

Timothy Michael Law is Lecturer in Divinity in the University of St. Andrews and founder and editor of the Marginalia Review of Books (a magazine dedicated to history, theology, and religion), and Contributing Editor at the Los Angeles Review of Books. He also has (had?) a podcast dedicated to the Septuagint and related literature, The Septuagint Sessions. (Unfortunately, his personal website seems to be down at the moment.)

The book is about the history of the Greek ‘Septuagint’, particularly the early Christian use of this translation. Law goes into the origins of this translation (or rather, these translations), its characteristics and some of the differences between it and the Hebrew, the way it shaped Christianity and its beliefs, and how it eventually ‘died’, being supplanted for the most part by the Hebrew text (a process that kickstarted with Origen and culminated with the three Eusebiuses: Eusebius of Caesarea, Eusebius of Emesa, and St. Jerome, aka Eusebius Sophronius Hieronymus). Law actually kind of argues for more activity in Septuagint studies: he thinks that there is a lack of knowledge and appreciation among many laypeople and even scholars for this version.

The good thing about this book is that it’s really written for the average layman: this is not a hefty scholarly tome filled to the brim with difficult jargon (as admittedly a number of books on the Septuagint are). It’s just over 200 pages in total, and I found it relatively easy to read. It didn’t go into much depth as I would have liked it, but nevertheless it is a very good introduction to the translation and its history.


This sounds like a very interesting read. I’ve reserved a copy at my library thanks to you. Thank you for your very interesting and informative post.


Bumping this thread to (1) introduce more people to the book (which I still think is very good) and (2) point out that Law’s website seems to be up and running again. :wink:


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