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Septuagint Lexicography and Language Change in Greek Judges



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Ross, William Alexander  ORCID logo


This dissertation identifies and addresses key issues in Septuagint lexicography using case studies from the Greek version of Judges. The first chapter outlines the state of the question on the textual history of Judges in Hebrew and Greek, and also presents my lexicographical method and related matters.

Chapter two surveys the history of Septuagint lexicography. I demonstrate how data about the meaning of Septuagint vocabulary has been insufficiently or in appropriately derived, expressed, and/or documented. I also highlight debates over the nature of post-classical Greek and the language of the Septuagint, which has predisposed scholars against viewing the Septuagint corpus as part of post-classical Greek in general. By pointing out methodological flaws that have plagued Septuagint lexicography—as well as theoretical problems in a Hebrew-priority view of the language—I argue for a Greek-priority view that evaluates Septuagint vocabulary in light of contemporary sources and emphasizes the importance of documentary evidence.

The following chapters provide case studies from Greek Judges that demonstrate the benefits of a Greek-priority view. Many cases of consistent vocabulary disagreement in the textual history of the book cannot be explained on the basis of the Hebrew text nor given the data available in current lexicons. Examination of post-classical Greek evidence demonstrates that the motivation for the language change is multifaceted, but clearly includes matters of style and semantics in Greek independent from the source text. Chapter three focuses on παρατάσσω and παράταξις; chapter four on παιδάριον, παιδίον, νεανίας, and νεάνισκος; and chapter five on ἀπάντησις and συνάντησις. Each chapter concludes by discussing the relevance of the evidence for Septuagint lexicography, the motivation underlying the revision of Greek Judges, and the potential of Septuagint vocabulary to inform Greek lexicography in general.

Chapter six summarizes my lexical analysis and discusses the benefits of a Greek-priority approach and its value for Septuagint lexicography. I posit a time-frame for the translation and revision of Greek Judges based on linguistic evidence. I conclude by emphasizing the need for renewed efforts in Septuagint lexicography to incorporate literary and nonliterary post-classical Greek sources. To address this need, I provide several sample lexicon entries for words discussed in the preceding study.





Aitken, James


Septuagint, Koine Greek, Greek Lexicography, Greek Judges, LXX, Greek Papyrology, Greek Epigraphy, Hellenistic Judaism, Language Change, LXX Judges, Septuagint Lexicography


Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Awarding Institution

University of Cambridge
Cambridge Trust