TIC Talk 62, 2006

Newsletter of the United Bible Societies Translation Information Clearinghouse

Article: "The Text of the Septuagint in the New Testament", by Harold P. Scanlin
Publication Notices on Bible Translation
Publication Notices on Bible
Publication Notices on Translation and Language
News & Notes – Internet, Conferences

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The Text of the Septuagint in the New Testament

Harold P. Scanlin

The consistent best seller in the UBS Helps for Translators has been Old Testament Quotations in the New Testament by Robert G. Bratcher (2nd edition, 1984). Undoubtedly one of the attractive features of this work is the convenient presentation of an English translation of both the Masoretic Text (MT) and the Septuagint (LXX) OT text, where the two differ. UBS interest in the topic has only increased in recent years as translation work goes on in the context of Orthodox constituencies, with their commitment to the LXX. Several recent works have promoted the view that the LXX was (exclusively, or at least primarily) the OT known and used by the NT writers. See, for example, Mogens Müller, The First Bible of the Church: A Plea for the Septuagint (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1996) and Dale E. Heath, The Scripture of St. Paul, the Septuagint (Lake City, FL: published by the author, 1994). Martin Hengel’s The Septuagint as Christian Scripture: Its Prehistory and the Problem of Its Canon (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 2002; paperback reprint Grand Rapids: Baker, 2004) discusses the relevant issues without engaging in an advocacy role. R. Timothy McLay’s The Use of the Septuagint in New Testament Research (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2003) is perhaps the most useful introductory guide to all the important topics relating to the LXX and NT. McLay’s sections on the form of the cited texts (pp. 18-30; 148-158) are particularly helpful.

There has been an abundance of recent literature dealing with the use of the OT in the NT, much of which focuses on the exegetical and theological issues involved. See, for example, the collection of essays in The Right Doctrine from the Wrong Texts? Essays on the Use of the Old Testament in the New, G. K. Beale, editor (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1994). New insights on the OT-NT relationship have emerged in light of the Dead Sea Scrolls and their use of the Jewish Hebrew Scriptures, as well as the related issue of the variety of possible text forms of these authoritative documents in both Hebrew and Old Greek (traditionally labeled LXX, but more appropriately OG) available to the NT writers. Another important factor in the study of OT-NT relationships is distinguishing (or at least attempting to distinguish) among NT quotations, allusions, echoes, and intertextuality. The recent survey by Steve Moyise, The Old Testament in the New: An Introduction (London and New York: Continuum, 2001) takes into account these recent trends. Moyise, with co-editor Maarten Menken, has launched a new series, “The New Testament and the Scriptures of Israel” (T&T Clark, Continuum), that brings together commissioned studies by experts in the field: published so far are The Psalms in the New Testament (2004) and Isaiah in the New Testament (2005). Other introductions to OT-NT issues: A. W. Robertson, El antiguo testamento en el Nuevo (Buenos Aires and Grand Rapids: Nueva Creación, 1994); Chr. Fahner, Het Oude Testament van de jonge Kerk. Over ontstaan, aard en betekenis van de Septuagint (Utrecht: de Banier, 1999).

The balance of this survey will focus on two specific aspects of the OT-NT relationship: studies dealing with specific NT books and texts, and studies which include a component relating to text form as a significant element in understanding OT-NT relationships. Although this survey focuses primarily on literature published in the last fifteen years it is appropriate to mention two influential works from an earlier period written by UBS personnel: Jan de Waard, A Comparative Study of the Old Testament Text in the Dead Sea Scrolls and in the New Testament (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1965), and Kenneth J. Thomas, “The Old Testament Citations in the Epistle to the Hebrews,” New Testament Studies 11(1965):303-325. Thomas recognized the necessity of looking at textual variants in the LXX when analyzing the frequent and important OT citations in Hebrews. De Waard called attention to the importance of text form and exegetical method decades before these factors have become commonplace in OT-NT discussions.

Matthew, Mark

M. J. J. Menken, Matthew’s Bible: The Old Testament Text of the Evangelist (Leuven: Leuven/Peeters, 2004), previously published essays with additional material to include all of Matthew’s quotations of the OT.

Emerson Powery, “Where are the Quotations? Citation-less introductory formulae in the Gospel of Mark,” Journal of Biblical Studies 4(2004):1 22. Available here.


Gert J. Steyn, Septuagint Quotations in the Context of the Petrine and Pauline speeches of the Acta Apostolorum (Kampen: Kok Pharos, 1995).


Maarten J. J. Menken, Old Testament Quotations in the Fourth Gospel: Studies in Textual Form (Kampen: Kok Pharos, n.d., [pref. 1996]).


For a useful introduction to Paul see Moisés Silva “Old Testament in Paul,” in Dictionary of Paul and His Letters (Wheaton: IVP, 1993), pp. 630-642. Timothy H. Lim, Holy Scripture in the Qumran Commentaries and Pauline Letters (Oxford: Clarendon, 1997), focuses on the value of Qumran OT usage in evaluating NT writers, especially Paul. “To be distinctively septuagintal, as is often claimed, the cited verse or individual reading should agree with the LXX in those passages where the Septuagint differs from all other text-types” (p. 141).

Florian Wilk, Die Bedeutung des Jesajabuches für Paulus (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck und Ruprecht, 1998).

Thorsten Moritz, A Profound Mystery. The Use of the Old Testament in Ephesians (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1996.

Shiu-Lun Shum, Paul’s Use of Isaiah in Romans (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2002).

Christopher D. Stanley, “The Significance of Romans 11:3-4 for the Text History of the LXX Book of Kingdoms.” JBL (1993):43-54.

Christopher D. Stanley, Paul and the Language of Scripture. Citation Technique in the Pauline Epistles and Contemporary Literature (Cambridge: University Press, 1992), an important, detailed discussion of this crucial topic. Stanley continues to write on the general subject: Arguing with Scripture: The Rhetoric of Scripture in the Letters of Paul (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 2004). He also contributed two essays on methodology in Early Christian Interpretation of the Scriptures in Israel, Craig Evans and James Sanders, editors (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1997). Most of the essays in this volume deal with NT passages, but there are five essays on methodology, including Stanley Porter’s “The Use of the Old Testament in the New Testament: A Brief Comment on Methodology and Terminology,” pp. 79-96.


Radu Gheorgehita, The Role of the Septuagint in Hebrews. An Investigation of Its Influence with Special Consideration of the Use of Hab 2:3-4 in Heb 10:37-38 (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2003).

Other NT Books

It is well known that the book of Revelation contains no explicit quotations from the OT, but textual allusions and intertextuality abound. While of limited value for a study of the form of the OT text in the NT, G. K. Beale’s John’s Use of the Old Testament in Revelation (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1998) provides a comprehensive introduction and survey.


The theory of Testimonia books as the source of “OT” quotations in the NT (Edwin Hatch postulated a Jewish compilation; J. Rendel Harris argued for Testimonia compiled by Christians for use in the early Jewish-Christian debates) had faded in interest until the discovery of 4QTestimonia and other composite collections of scripture passages. Martin C. Albl, in his “And Scripture cannot be broken”: The Form and Function of the Early Christian Testimonia Collections (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1999), provides a thorough discussion, including reference to testimonia-type literature from Qumran.


Several publications offer the ancient Hebrew/LXX texts in parallel with the relevant NT passages. Gleason Archer and G. Chirichigno, Old Testament Quotations in the New Testament (Chicago: Moody, 1983), offer the texts with categorizations and discussions, frequently arguing that particular quotations sometimes thought to be based on the LXX may actually be based on MT. A major multi-volume resource (two of four projected volumes have now been published) is Hans Hübner, Vetus Testamentum in Novo: Corpus Paulinium (1997) and Johannesevangelium (2003) (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1997- ). Hübner’s chapter, “New Testament Interpretation in the Old Testament,” in Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, The History of Interpretation; Part 1, Antiquity (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1996), pp. 332-372, is quite helpful. A handy online resource, lacking the technical sophistication of the previously described volumes is R. Grant Jones, “The Septuagint in the New Testament” available here.

One specific aspect of citation studies is the use of citation formulae, usually treated in conjunction with specific quotations. For a comprehensive survey see Kevin L. Spawn, “As It Is Written” and Other Citation Formulae in the Old Testament: Their Use, Development, Syntax and Significance (Berlin; New York: W. de Gruyter, 2002).

Two works focus specifically on Psalm citations in the NT: Craig A. Evans, “Praise and Prophecy in the Psalter and in the New Testament” in The Book of Psalms: Composition and Reception, P. Flint and P. Miller, editors (Leiden: Brill, 2005), pp. 551-579; and Ulrich Rüsen-Weinhold, Der Septuagintapsalter im Neuen Testament: Eine textgeschichtliche Untersuchung (Neukirchen-Vluyn: Neukirchener Verlag, 2004).

The LXX in the Early Church

One of the arguments that is sometimes used to support the notion that THE Septuagint was the Bible of the NT writers is the dominance of the LXX in the early Church. However, the situation in the first centuries of the Church is more complex than such an argument presupposes. It goes without saying that the Church used Greek extensively, since Greek, after all, was an international language of communication. But this fact does not settle the issue of what OG text(s) the NT writers used, nor their relative competence in Hebrew. A drift toward nearly universal acceptance/use of the LXX Christian recension was not seriously challenged until Jerome, emerging from both the earlier text-critical work of Origen and more particularly the influence of Jerome’s Hebrew-speaking Jewish tutors. The study of Jerome’s attitude towards the LXX and his correspondence with Augustine has its own extensive literature, but a good introduction to the topic is A. Kamesar’s Jerome, Greek Scholarship and the Hebrew Bible (Oxford: Clarendon, 1993). Robert Shedinger’s Tatian and the Jewish Scriptures: A Textual and Philological Analysis of the Old Testament Citations in Tatian’s Diatessaron (Louvain: Peeters, 2001) offers a perspective on the nature and use of the OT text in the 2nd century. In terms of the literary and theological impact of the LXX in the wider Greco-Roman world, there is little evidence that “secular” writers before the Christian era knew (or cared about) the Greek translation of the Jewish sacred scriptures. But, as Christianity grew and claimed allegiance to the Old/First Testament as part of their sacred texts, several classical writers did discuss the relative merits of the LXX. This part of the picture is conveniently and thoroughly supplied by John Granger Cook in The Interpretation of the Old Testament in Greco-Roman Paganism (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2004).


At the close of this survey of a small portion of recent literature on the subject, it may be appropriate to offer Five Guidelines for Assessing the Textual Witness of Scripture Cited in the New Testament:

  1. See the citations in the context of hermeneutical and literary approaches of the day.

  2. Recognize that authoritative texts were “on the way to canon” in the first century CE. The use of the term “canon” in the narrow sense is anachronistic, but socio-religious forces would transform authoritativeness to more-or-less fixed forms, and fixed parameters, of these texts.

  3. Recognize that the term “THE Septuagint” as the Bible of the primitive New Testament Church is misleading. Textual traditions were still rather fluid in the first century CE.

  4. Consider how a particular NT writer viewed the function of his OT citations and to what extent contextual adaptation was acceptable. Different writers may have used different approaches to the issue.

  5. Consider the possibility that the NT writers considered their use of the OT as a kind of “pneumatic exegesis” for the purpose of adaptation/reinterpretation of an authoritative text.

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Publication Notices

Bible Translation


The International Organization for Septuagint and Cognate Studies (IOSCS) is developing a new series of commentaries on the Septuagint based on the Greek text represented in the New English Translation of the Septuagint (NETS). The series will focus on the translation at its point of origin, taking the LXX seriously as a translation in an attempt to determine what the translator was doing. The commentaries follow five guiding principles: the original text as the basis for interpretation; the original meaning of the text as the goal of interpretation; the parent text as the primary context for interpretation; the text itself as the only source for determining a translator’s intent; and the wider Greek-language corpus as the sole basis for identifying normal (and abnormal) Greek constructions. Each volume will offer detailed commentary on individual pericopes, including a summary of a pericope’s contents, discussion of interpretive questions pertaining to the entire passage, bibliography, a critical edition of the Greek text, a Hebrew text, the NETS translation, and verse-by-verse commentary. For more details, see IOSCS. The first volume is expected in 2007, with publication of two volumes per year after that. The series joint Editors-in-Chief are Albert Pietersma and Benjamin G. Wright III.

Johann Cook. 2004. “Exegesis in the Septuagint.” Journal of Northwest Semitic Languages 30/1:1-19. C. argues that exegesis in the LXX took place on different levels, depending to some degree on the translation technique employed. He gives examples of exegetical renderings that are aimed at removing apparent anomalies in the Vorlage of Genesis. In Proverbs three trends are discussed that are related to religionizing: by adding exegetical renderings stressing the positive (righteousness); the contrary—stressing the negative (evil); and by deliberate creation of contrasts that have no basis in the parent text.

Gerhard Tauberschmidt. 2004. Secondary Parallelism: A Study of Translation Technique in LXX Proverbs. SBL. Because the LXX translates Proverbs freely, Proverbs cannot simply be translated back into Hebrew to determine an underlying Hebrew source text. The translator’s techniques and possible translational alterations must be considered along with religious, moral, social, and economic influences. This volume shows particularly how dynamic Hebrew parallelisms became more static in translation. The translator tends to produce closely corresponding lines. These issues need to be considered before LXX Proverbs is used as a source of “better” parallelisms to correct the Masoretic Hebrew Text. (Originally Ph.D. thesis, University of Aberdeen, 2001.)


Bobby Loubser. 2004. “How Do You Report Something That Was Said with a Smile?—Can We Overcome the Loss of Meaning When Oral-Manuscript Texts of the Bible Are Represented in Modern Printed Media?” Scriptura 87:296-314. L. suggests strategies that translators can use to recognize and convey aspects of the biblical text expressed in the conventions of oral communication.


The November SBL Forum featured five articles on the reception of the Bible in Asia. These articles can now be accessed through an author or title search of the Forum archives at SBL. Article titles:

  • “ A Brief Survey of the History of Chinese Translations of the Hebrew Bible,” Yiyi Chen
  • “God’s Asian Names: Rendering the Biblical God in Chinese,” Archie C. C. Lee
  • “Literacy, Canon and Social Reality: Socio-Cultural Dimensions of the Reception of the Bible among Ethnic Groups in Southwest China,” You Bin
  • “Wives, Warriors and Leaders: Burmese Christian Women’s Cultural Reception of the Bible,” Anna May Chain
  • “A Political Reception of the Bible: Korean Minjung Theological Interpretation of the Bible,” Yeong Mee Lee
  • “Dalits, Bible, and Method,” Monica Jyotsna Melanchthon.


Pere Poy. 2004. “We Are Not a Country Without a Bible: The Catalan Translations of the Holy Scripture through History.” Angelicum 81/4:891-911. P. takes a tour of the Catalan translations of the Bible throughout history, from the 14th century to the present. The translations reflect language developments of the various regions in which Catalan is spoken. P. is author of a doctoral thesis entitled “Contribution to the Study of the Medieval Bible in the Catalan Language. The Pentateuch and the Historical Books of the Bible of the 14th Century” (Rovira i Virgili University, Tarragona, Spain).


Nederlands Theologisch Tijschrift 59:4 (October 2005) is a thematic issue on “De Nieuwe Bijbelvertaling en haar receptie.” The five articles, all in Dutch, have English abstracts.


David B. Bell. 2005. “A Comparative Analysis of Formal Shifts in English Bible Translations with a View Towards Defining and Describing Paradigms.” Diss., University of Alicante. The entire dissertation is accessible at Bell’s website. This dissertation presents a vertical arrangement of ten English translations (KJV, ASV, RSV, NEB, NASB, GNT, NIV, NJB, Holman, and The Message), comparing their formal features with those of the Hebrew and Greek texts. The data of the comparison are represented through numerical scores and analyzed in further detail.

J.T. Waldman. 2005. Megillat Esther. Jewish Publication Society. W. has produced an original translation, the art, and Hebrew calligraphy for this graphic novel that presents the entire text of Esther in Hebrew and English, incorporating rabbinic commentary on Esther into the artwork and character dialogue. For a look at how W. conveys the humor and drama of the story, go to www.megillatesther.com. Dan W. Clanton, Jr., reviews this volume and Marked, a graphic novel of the book of Mark by Steve Ross, and interviews the authors, in the January 2006 edition of the SBL Forum.

In the November SBL Forum David Burke reviews “The Lone and Level Sands,” a graphic novel presentation of the Exodus story by A. David Lewis and mpMann (Arlington, VA: Caption Box, 2005). See Burke.

Leonard J. Greenspoon. 2005. “The Holy Bible: A Buyer’s Guide.” Bible Review Fall.

Wilma Ann Bailey. 2005. “You Shall not Kill” or “You Shall not Murder?” The Assault on a Biblical Text. Liturgical Press. B. discusses why the Protestant and Jewish traditions changed their translations of the sixth commandment to “you shall not murder” and why Roman Catholics did not. She examines the impact that the wording will have in the future for people who believe that there is no general prohibition against killing in the Hebrew Bible and why questions of killing that are broader than murder—death penalty and just war—are no longer part of the discussion of the commandment.


InfoBible is the French Bible Society’s electronic newsletter. You can sign up to receive it automatically at the Bible Society web page. Articles currently under Nouveauté at the website: « La Bible dans la vie de l’Eglise: Congrès biblique international à Rome »; « La Bible en français du XVe au milieu du XXe siècle. » Last year, the Society published La Bible Expliquée, a study Bible with the Français Courant translation (Protestant and Catholic editions), about 4000 explanatory notes, a general introduction to the Bible, introductions to individual books, a glossary, chronological charts and color maps.

Bibles en Français: Traduction et Tradition: Actes du Colloque des 5-6 décembre 2003. 2004. Pelletier, Anne-Marie, ed. Parole et Silence. The conference that produced these papers paralleled the publication of the Catholic liturgical translation of the Bible into French. The essays treat notions of theology, cultural tradition, and sacred translation in a French Catholic context, or deal with specific questions raised by the act of translation. Along with the scholarly contributions, quotations from famous authors (Valéry Larbaud, Jerome, Léon Bloy, Paul Claudel) on the Bible and the translation process are included. Almost all the contributors to this book are affiliated either with the Institut Catholique de Paris or to the Studium Notre-Dame. A description of the conference can be found here (by P. Rouillard in Esprit et Vie 101). Some titles from the book (descriptions of the articles are in the RBL review by S. Inowlocki):

  • Un texte en cache toujours un autre, H. de Villefranche
  • Les enjeux exégétiques de la Traduction Liturgique du Livre des Nombres, O. Artus
  • L’art de la répétition biblique: l’exemple de Mc 1, 16-20, M. Guéguen
  • De la Septante au Nouveau Testament; fécondité mutuelle des la traduction et des traditions, R. Dupont-Roc
  • Peut-on éditer plusieurs textes d’un même livre biblique? Le cas des Actes des Apôtres, P. Faure
  • Les récits de l’institution et les paroles dites avant la communion comparés à leurs versions dans le Nouveau Testament, O. de Cagny
  • La Bible en Sorbonne. Des Pères grecs à la Septante: Le témoignage d’une expérience, M. Harl
  • Baptême ou plongée? Les traductions de la Bible et le langage théologique, J.-M. Auwers
  • Qu’est-ce qu’une traduction catholique de la Bible? Propos d’un canoniste, E. Boudet
  • Traduction, œuvre culturelle ou œuvre de tradition de la foi? P. d’Ornellas
  • Saint Thomas et la pluralité des sens et des traductions de l’Ecriture Sainte, A. Guggenheim
  • Sous l’invocation de saint Jérome: les dimensions de l’acte de traduction/transmission dans la tradition théologique et spirituelle, P. Sicard


Michael Knüppel. 2004. “Zum Problem der türkischen Bibelübersetzung des Hans Ungnad von Sonneck, 1493 - 1564.” Zeitschrift für Kirchengeschichte 115/1/2:100-116. K. surveys some earlier translations into Osmanli-Turkish, then discusses in detail Ungnad’s (apparently uncompleted) translation project.

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Layout Markers in Biblical Manuscripts and Ugaritic Tablets. 2005. M.C.A. Korpel and J.M. Oesch, eds. van Gorcum. Papers read at the 2003 International SBL meeting in Cambridge make up the fifth volume in the Pericope series, a series concerned with “delimitation criticism,” recognizing and interpreting markers used by ancient scribes to delimit units of text. David Clark has an article, “Delimitation Markers in the Book of Numbers.” Other essays treat markers in Jerome’s commentaries, Job, Micah, Amos, Zechariah, and NT manuscripts.

David A. deSilva. 2004. “Reading the Bible at Qumran, Alexandria, and Ephesus.” Ashland Theological Journal 35:17-43. A discussion of the canons of scripture and the way scripture was interpreted and used in the Jewish communities at Qumran and Alexandria, and the early Christian community.

Jaroslav Pelikan. 2005. Whose Bible is It? A History of the Scriptures Through the Ages. Viking. In this popular study, P. explains how and why the Jewish/Catholic/Protestant Bibles are the same and how they are different in what they contain, how they are read and understood, and why that matters. He traces the Bible’s development from oral traditions to its modern existence in several different configurations and a multitude of languages and translations for many audiences. Subjects of canonization, printing press, translation, and critical scholarship are also covered. (Don’t miss the Isaiah scroll — printed upside down and backwards.)

New Paradigms for Bible Study: The Bible in the Third Millennium. 2004. E. Blumhofer, R. Fowler, and F. Segovia, eds. T & T Clark International. This collection, which explores a variety of models for reading the Bible, was inspired by topics discussed at a 1999 symposium “Futuring the Scriptures: The Bible for Tomorrow’s Publics,” co-sponsored by the American Bible Society and the University of Chicago Divinity School’s Public Religion Project. The essays fall under two broad themes with respect to their implications for Bible use: new communication media; and pluralism, multiculturalism, and globalism. Some titles:

  • “Digital Media as Cultural Metaphor,” F.S. Fortner

  • “Entering Sacred Digital Space: Seeking to Distinguish the Dreamer and the Dream,” R. Thieme (a form of this article is available here)

  • “Bible Translation and Ethnic Mobilization in Africa,” L. Sanneh

  • “Afterword: Between the Past and What Has Nearly Arrived,” M. Marty.

A new online subscription journal, The Bible and Critical Theory, was launched in November 2004. The journal publishes peer-reviewed articles that investigate the contributions from critical theory to biblical studies, and contributions from biblical studies to critical theory. Several book reviews are also published in each issue. For subscriptions, table of contents, and abstracts, see the Monash Press website.

L’Ecrit et l’Esprit: Études d’histoire du texte et de théologie biblique en hommage à Adrian Schenker. 2005. D. Böhler, I. Himbaza, and P. Hugo, eds. Academic Press; Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. This Festschrift for Adrian Schenker includes his bibliography and 31 essays on text criticism and exegesis, including

  • “Abraham und seine Kinder im Johannesprolog. Zur Vielgestaltigkeit des alttestamentlichen Textes bei Johannes,” D. Böhler (relevant to our opening article)

  • “Les titres des psaumes en hébreu et en grec: Les écarts quantitatifs,” G. Dorival

  • “Le texte du psautier copte d’al Mudil. Observations de critique et d’histoire du texte,” G. Emmenegger

  • “Voir Dieu. LXX d’Exode contre TM et LXX du Pentateuque,” I. Himbaza

  • “Ancient Emendations in MT,” A. van der Kooij

  • “Le Peshitta de Daniel et ses relations textuelles avec la Septante,” O. Munnich

  • “Je lève les yeux vers les montagnes, vers nos alpes de neige, que Dieu les protège!” M. Rose

  • “Die Gottesbezeichnung Kyrios im Psalter der Septuaginta,” H. Steymans

  • “Sam IX,46 of the St. Petersburg Russian National Library. A Witness of a Lost Source,” A. Tal

  • “The Writing of Early Scrolls. Implications for the Literary Analysis of Hebrew Scripture,” E. Tov

John Glynn, the author of Commentary & Reference Survey: A Comprehensive Guide to Biblical & Theological Resources (Kregel, 2005), offers online updates between revisions here. He also has a survey of Bible software here.

“Bible Work in the Land of the Bible.” Mishkan (2004) 41. This issue treats Bible work in Palestine/Israel, including:

  • “Bible Distribution and the British and Foreign Bible Society in Eretz Israel,” by K. Crombie

  • “Magne Solheim and Bible Work in Israel,” by T. Hartberg

  • “The ‘Flagship’ of Hebrew New Testaments: A Recent Revision,” G. Nerel

  • “Reports from the Israeli and the Palestinian Bible Societies,” by Doron Even Ari (recently deceased Executive Secretary of the Bible Society in Israel) & S. Azazian

In a more recent issue (44/2005), articles treat “The Qumran Scrolls and the Jewish Gospel.” Titles:

  • “The Scrolls and the Jewish Gospel,” T. Elgvin

  • “The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Jewishness of the Gospels,” C.A. Evans

  • “Eschatological Bible Interpretation in the Scrolls and in the New Testament,” G. Brooke

  • “The Songs of the Sabbath Sacrifice and the Heavenly Scene of the Book of Revelation,” H. Ulfgard

  • “Wisdom Christology in the Light of Early Jewish and Qumran Texts,” D. Harrington

  • “A Messianic High Priest in the Scrolls?” M. Abegg

  • “A Short Annotated Bibliography to the Dead Sea Scrolls,” T. Elgvin

Biblical Languages


Hebraica Veritas? Christian Hebraists and the Study of Judaism in Early Modern Europe. 2004. A.P. Coudert and J.S. Shoulson, eds. University of Pennsylvania Press. Twelve essays discuss the subject of the early modern encounter between Christians and Jews, illustrating how it shaped each group’s self-perception and sense of otherness and contributed to the emergence of the modern study of cultural anthropology, comparative religion, and Jewish studies. Many of the Christian Hebraists described were linguists and textual critics, and their work highlights the ambiguous role played by language and texts in transmitting natural and divine truth.

Hebrew Inscriptions: Texts from the Biblical Period of the Monarchy, with Concordance. 2005. F. Dobbs-Allsopp, J. Roberts, C. Seow, and R. Whitaker, eds. Yale University Press. Includes all substantive Hebrew inscriptions from the Iron II (pre-exilic) period. For each inscription, the authors provide an introduction with historical, archaeological, and linguistic information, a bibliography of the most important secondary literature, new transliteration and translation based on all available published photographs, and detailed philological and historical notes, including substantial epigraphic comment where required.

John A. Cook. 2004. “The Semantics of Verbal Pragmatics: Clarifying the Roles of Wayyiqtol and Weqatal in Biblical Hebrew Prose.” Journal of Semitic Studies 49/2:247-273. C. distinguishes between temporal succession as a semantic property of clauses and the foreground-background distinction as a psycholinguistic feature of the processing and organizing of discourse. He examines the correlation, or lack of it, between each of these parameters and the waw-prefixed verb forms in Biblical Hebrew, and concludes that a semantic analysis is crucial to explaining correlations between verb forms and discourse functions. (from pub. abstr.)

William M. Schniedewind. 2004-2005. “Prolegomena for the Sociolinguistics of Classical Hebrew.” Journal of Hebrew Scriptures 5. S. points to the inadequacy of the traditional and formalist approaches to the study of Classical Hebrew and suggests that sociolinguistics can help provide a more sophisticated approach to the synchronic and diachronic description of the language. Get the article here (html) or here (pdf).


Matthew Brook O’Donnell. 2005. Corpus Linguistics and the Greek of the New Testament. Sheffield Phoenix Press. O’Donnell shows how applying the techniques of corpus linguistics to NT Greek can sharpen our understanding of the language. In NT textual criticism, decisions for a preferred reading would be better founded if all analogous data in all the manuscript traditions were available; in source criticism, where statistical methods have already been applied, more advanced statistical and graphical techniques, including dotplot, can now be exploited. In lexicography, collocational analysis of a corpus of texts leads to sharper definition of synonyms—the case of the pair egeiro and anistemi (‘raise’) is considered in detail. In the area of discourse analysis, O’Donnell uses a discourse annotation model to propose answers to questions about the situation and purpose of the letters of Jude and of Paul to Philemon.

A New Ancient Greek-English Lexicon at Cambridge. The Faculty of Classics is hosting a project for an Ancient Greek-English Lexicon of intermediate size, taking account of the most recent textual and philological scholarship. The English will be updated and obsolete interpretations omitted. The team will re-examine source material used in other dictionaries and examine the new material which has been discovered since the end of the nineteenth century. The new lexicon adopts a semantic method of organizing the articles closer in style to the Oxford Latin Dictionary than to other Greek dictionaries, including a description of each word rather than just glosses, and contextual information. The lexicon will be published online, as part of the Perseus Digital Library, in addition to the print edition from Cambridge University Press.


Tyler F. Williams. 2005. “Old Testament Commentary Survey, ” online at Commentaries. W. gives priority to commentaries that focus on the “final form” of the text and that include some theological reflection and application, although major or significant critical commentaries are also listed. The entries are annotated and graded for intended audience—scholars, pastors/teachers, and lay. W. also annotates a list of introductory Hebrew grammars and other resources for Hebrew study (Hebrew).

William K. Gilders. 2004. Blood Ritual in the Hebrew Bible: Meaning and Power. Johns Hopkins University Press. G. explores the significance of the practice of cultic blood manipulation, making use of ritual studies, close readings of the texts, and source analysis of the Hebrew Bible. He concludes that, although there are few explicit statements of the manifest function of blood ritual, the latent functions include the marking and ordering of sacred space and the indexing of the social and religious status of those participating in the ritual. Includes an appendix on blood manipulation terminology.

Zacharias Kotzé. 2005. “A Cognitive Linguistic Methodology for the Study of Metaphor in the Hebrew Bible.” Journal of Northwest Semitic Languages 31/1:107-117. K. puts forward a procedure for the identification and analysis of conceptual metaphor and metonymy in Biblical Hebrew. It is designed to serve as a tool to study idealized cognitive models of abstract phenomena, such as religion and emotion. As it focuses attention on the cultural basis of the metaphoric process, the step-by-step routine also aims to guard against common errors in the translation and interpretation of the source language.

Rudiger Schmitt. 2004. Magie im Alten Testament. Ugarit-Verlag. S. reconsiders the role of magic in the OT in the context of ancient Near Eastern magic. He analyzes the terminology, words, actions, and various materials used within the magical performances, and magical practices mentioned in the OT. Scott Noegel calls this “an important resource and focus of debate. It is comprehensive, well organized, and shows a greater methodological sophistication than many works on magic to date, especially those that focus on the ancient Near East and the Hebrew Bible.” (Noegel RBL review)

Cynthia L. Miller. 2005. “Ellipsis Involving Negation in Biblical Poetry,” in Seeking Out the Wisdom of the Ancients: Essays Offered to Honor Michael V. Fox on the Occasion of His Sixty-Fifth Birthday. R.L. Troxel, K.G. Friebel, and D.R. Magary, eds. Eisenbrauns. Some other titles in the same volume:

  • “Genericity, Tense, and Verbal Patterns in the Sentence Literature of Proverbs,” John Cook

  • “Word Order in the Book of Proverbs,” R. Holmstedt

  • “Exegetical and Stylistic Analysis of a Number of Aphorisms in the Book of Proverbs: Mitigation of Monotony in Repetitions in Parallel Texts,” Sh. Yona

  • “Answering Questions, Questioning Answers: The Rhetoric of Interrogatives in the Speeches of Job and His Friends,” D. Magary

  • “Textual Criticism of the Book of Deuteronomy and the Oxford Hebrew Bible Project,” S. Crawford

  • “Becoming Canon: Women, Texts, and Scribes in Proverbs and Sirach,” C. Camp

  • “Translating Biblical Words of Wisdom into the Modern World,” L. Greenspoon

  • “The Text-Critical Value of the Septuagint of Proverbs,” Johann Cook

  • “What’s in a Calendar? Calendar Conformity, Calendar Controversy, and Calendar Reform in Ancient and Medieval Judaism,” Sh. Talmon

The Book of Psalms: Composition and Reception. 2005. P.W. Flint and P.D. Miller, Jr., eds. Brill. 27 essays cover a wide range of aspects of Psalms study. A review/description of the contents is available here (JHS review by Tyler Williams). Some titles from two of the sections (order of the Psalter, and its textual history and reception in Judaism and Christianity):

  • “The Interpretive Significance of Sequence and Selection in the Book of Psalms,” H. Nasuti

  • “The Shape of Book I of the Psalter and the Shape of Human Happiness,” J.C. McCann, Jr.

  • “Septuagintal Exegesis and the Superscriptions of the Greek Psalter,” A. Pietersma

  • “A Jewish Reading of Psalms: Some Observations on the Method of the Aramaic Targum,” M. Bernstein

  • “The Place of the Syriac Versions in the Textual History of the Psalter,” R. Hiebert

  • “The Psalms in Early Syriac Tradition,” H. van Rooy

  • “Praise and Prophecy in the Psalter and in the New Testament,” C.A. Evans

Pieter van der Lugt. 2006. Cantos and Strophes in Biblical Hebrew Poetry, with Special Reference to the First Book of the Psalter. Brill. This volume deals with the poetic framework and material content of Psalms 1-41. The rhetorical analyses of the psalms are preceded by a broad survey of the history of strophic investigation into Hebrew poetry, starting from the beginning of the nineteenth century. Formal and thematic devices demonstrate that the psalms are composed of a consistent pattern of cantos (stanzas) and strophes. The formal devices include quantitative balance on the level of cantos in terms of the number of verse lines, verbal repetitions and transition markers. A quantitative structural approach also helps to identify the focal message of the poems. An introduction to biblical poetry, describing the fundamentals that determine the macrostructure of individual compositions, concludes the study.

A. Schoors. 2004. The Preacher Sought to Find Pleasing Words, Part 2. Peeters. All lexemes occurring in Qohelet are examined for the specific connotations they have in the book: those that are frequently and idiosyncratically used; those that are less frequently used, but can be considered to have some typical connotations in Qoh; those that are less typical of Qoh, yet demand some attention; and those that occur only in Qoh. Attention is given to Late BH, Aramaisms and Graecisms, in continuity with the author’s grammatical studies in Part 1, published in 1992 (Peeters).

Textual criticism

Dominique Barthélemy. 2005. Critique textuelle de l’Ancien Testament. Tome 4. Psaumes. Fribourg Academic Press/Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. The fourth volume of the final report of HOTTP (Psalms) was edited from Barthélemy’s unpublished manuscript by Stephen D. Ryan and Adrian Schenker. It will be followed by a final volume treating the wisdom books. At his death in 2002, Barthélemy left unedited manuscripts of the fourth and fifth volumes.

L’enfance de la Bible hébraïque: L’histoire du texte de l’Ancien Testament à la lumière des recherches récentes. 2005. A. Schenker and P. Hugo, eds. Labor et Fides. Vol 52 in the excellent series “Le monde de la Bible,” this collection of essays on textual criticism of the Hebrew Bible is the third in a series from the Universités de Suisse Romande, preceded by two other collections: Le Pentateuque en question et Israël construit son histoire. Some titles: A. Schenker and P. Hugo, “Histoire du texte et critique textuelle de l’Ancien Testament dans la recherche récente”; I. Himbaza, “La conscience des problèmes textuels de l’Ancien Testament. État de la question hier et aujourd’hui”; E. Tov, “La nature du texte massorétique à la lumière des découvertes du désert de Juda et de la littérature rabbinique.” Also treated are the ancient versions and specific biblical books.

Edson de Faria Francisco. 2005. Manual da Bíblia Hebraica - Introdução ao Texto Massorético. Guia Introdutório para a Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia. Edições Vida Nova. 2nd. revised and enlarged edition of the Portuguese introduction to the use of BHS.

Emanuel Tov. 2005. “The Biblia Hebraica Quinta. An Important Step Forward.” Journal of Northwest Semitic Languages 31/1:1-21. T. disagrees with some major and minor details in the philosophy of the recording and in the explanations provided in the various sections of the edition. However, he stresses that BHQ is much richer in data, more mature, judicious and cautious than its predecessors. This advancement implies more complex notations which almost necessarily render this edition less user-friendly for the nonexpert.


Jerome H. Neyrey. 2004. Render to God: New Testament Understandings of the Divine. Fortress Press. N. applies social-scientific models (patron-client; purity and order; honor and shame) to his readings of NT texts to demonstrate how God’s relationship to humans was understood and portrayed in the various contexts represented in the NT.

George J. Brooke. 2005. The Dead Sea Scrolls and the New Testament. Fortress. In this collection of 15 previously published essays, B. demonstrates how the DSS provide NT scholars with important insights about the linguistic, historical, religious, and social contexts of Palestine in the first century. Topics include Matthew’s Beatitudes, the lost song of Miriam, Levi and the Levites, women’s authority, and the use of scripture in the parable of the vineyard. A description of the individual essays is provided here (RBL review by Thomas Kraus).

From Prophecy to Testament: The Function of the Old Testament in the New. 2004. C.A. Evans, ed. Hendrickson. This collection of essays explores the ways in which NT writers were informed by the biblical and extrabiblical literature of the Second-Temple period. A summary of the contents can be found here (RBL review by Maarten Menken).

Michael Joseph Brown. 2005. The Lord’s Prayer Through North African Eyes: A Window Into Early Christianity. T&T Clark. B. demonstrates how a Graeco-Roman’s understanding of the prayer would have been different from that of a Hellenized Jew in Palestine, and presents early Graeco-Roman Christian discussions regarding prayer in general and the Lord’s Prayer in particular, focusing on cultic didachai of Clement of Alexandria and Tertullian of Carthage. Gerald West reviews the book for RBL here.

Delbert Burkett. 2004. Rethinking the Gospel Sources: From Proto-Mark to Mark. T&T Clark. B. proposes a method for identifying literary sources through statistically significant correlations between like texts, in the case here, the Synoptic Gospels.

Jeffery L. Capshaw. 2004. Textlinguistic Analysis of Selected Old Testament Texts in Matthew 1 4. Peter Lang. C. seeks to apply recent developments in discourse grammar to several OT citations in Matthew.

Dan Lioy. 2004. The Decalogue in the Sermon on the Mount. Peter Lang. L. investigates the biblical and theological relationship between the two texts; the links between their structures; the extent to which Christians are obligated to obey the Sermon on the Mount; and the relevance of moral law for Christians today.

Charles H. Talbert. 2004. Reading the Sermon on the Mount: Character Formation and Decision Making in Matthew 5-7. University of South Carolina Press. T. investigates Matthew’s relation to Judaism and inquires into the composition of the audience who received Jesus’ charge. He analyzes the form and content of each section, comparing Jesus’ directives with similar statements in Jewish and Greco-Roman literature. Seeking to understand the text as someone living in the Mediterranean about 100 c.e. would have, he suggests that the Sermon is about covenant fidelity to God and to other humans, in which Jesus seeks to affect perceptions, dispositions, and intentions. The text functions primarily as a catalyst for character formation rather than as a compendium of obligations.

The Pauline Canon. 2004. S.E. Porter, ed. Brill. Pauline Studies, vol. 1. The first in a Brill series of five collections on Paul deals with delimiting and describing the Pauline corpus. A summary of the contents can be found here (RBL review by Ron Fay). The second volume, Paul and His Opponents (2005), also edited by Porter, asks questions regarding the identity and nature of Paul’s opponents.

N.T. Wright. 2005. Paul: In Fresh Perspective. Fortress. In these published 2004 Hulsean Lectures (Cambridge), W. looks at Paul in light of recent understandings of his Jewish roots, his attitude toward the Roman Empire, and his reframing of Jewish symbols.

Jay E. Smith. 2005. “The New Perspective on Paul: A Select and Annotated Bibliography,” Criswell Theological Review 2.2: 91-111.

From Every People and Nation: The Book of Revelation in Intercultural Perspective. 2005. D. Rhoads, ed. Fortress. Ten scholars read the book of Revelation from the perspective of their different cultural contexts: African American, Hispanic/Cuban, Central American, Brazilian, African and Chinese; womanist, ecological, feminist, and immigrant. Appendices offer principles and suggestions for intercultural Bible study, as well as bibliographies on intercultural Bible study and cultural interpretation.

Textual criticism

Hyeon Woo Shin. 2004. Textual Criticism and the Synoptic Problem in Historical Jesus Research. Peeters. The criteria for originality, priority, and authenticity, used in all three of the areas indicated in the title, share the basic similarity that they were designed to distinguish a prior tradition from its later developments. Since all these areas investigate the transmission process, the criteria used in one area are analogous to the sets of criteria used in the other two areas. These sets can be generalized into a “mother set” of criteria to provide a degree of methodological unity in these disciplines.

Bart Ehrman. 2005. Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changes the Bible and Why. Harper. A popular introduction to NT textual criticism and follow-up on E.’s Orthodox Corruption of Scripture.

Eldon Jay Epp. 2005. Junia: the first woman apostle. (Fortress). Brill recently published Epp’s collected essays (Perspectives on New Testament Textual Criticism, 2005), running about 900 pages, but this essay, which originally appeared in the Delobel Festschrift a few years ago (TT 52), is a revised version turned book — 156 pages discussing a text-critical issue regarding one accent!

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Translation and Language


Birgitta Englund Dimitrova. 2005. Expertise and Explicitation in the Translation Process. Benjamins. Informed by translation studies, research on writing and the expertise paradigm, D. explores translation as a text reproduction task, using data from Russian-Swedish translation. She elaborates a method for a combined product and process analysis, applying it to the study of one type of explicitation: increased cohesive explicitness of the target text.

Nike K. Pokorn. 2005. Challenging the Traditional Axioms: Translation into a Non-Mother Tongue. Benjamins. This study sets out to challenge the established view in Translation Studies that translation into a non-mother tongue should be avoided, and to question some of the assumptions of theorists. P. relies on research involving reader response to translations of specific literary texts. He concludes that the quality of the translation, its fluency and acceptability in the target language environment depend primarily on the individual abilities of the particular translator, translation strategy, and knowledge of the source and target cultures, and not on mother tongue or the direction of the translation.

Translation and Cultural Change: Studies in History, Norms and Image-Projection. 2005. E. Hung, ed. Benjamins. This book explores some of the factors in the interplay of culture and translation, with an emphasis on translation activities outside the Anglo-European tradition, particularly in China and Japan. Some titles:

  • “Translation as an agent for change: Enhancing Cultural Changes by Means of Fictitious Translations,” G. Toury

  • “Translation and Cultural Transformation: the Case of the Afrikaans Bible,” J.A. Naudé

  • “Cultural Borderlands and the Chinese Translation Tradition,” E. Hung

  • “Cultural perception and translation: Translating China to the American South: Baptist Missionaries and Imperial China, 1845-1911,” R. Granade and T. Greer

  • “Translating the Concept of ‘Identity,’” E. Richter and B. Song

  • “Annotation in Literary Translation,” Han Jiaming.

Claims, Changes and Challenges in Translation Studies: Selected Contributions from the EST Congress, Copenhagen 2001. 2004. G. Hansen, K. Malmkjær, and D. Gile, eds. Benjamins.

  • “Hypotheses about translation universals,” A. Chesterman

  • “Probabilistic explanations in Translation Studies: Universals — or a challenge to the very concept?” G. Toury

  • “A thousand and one translations: Revisiting retranslation,” O. Paloposki and K. Koskinen

  • “Creating “presence” in translation,” R. Stolze

  • “Translating non-segmental features of textual communication: The case of metaphor within a binary-branch analysis,” P. Zabalbeascoa

  • “Challenging the myth of native speaker competence in translation theory: The results of a questionnaire,” N. Pokorn

  • “Übersetzung zwischen Nationalismus und Internationalismus,” L. van Doorslaer

  • “The editorial process through the looking glass,” D. Gile and G. Hansen

Leo Tak-hung Chan. 2004. Twentieth-Century Chinese Translation Theory: Modes, Issues and Debates. Benjamins. The author devotes attention to eight key issues that engaged the attention of theorists through the twentieth century. Four essays focus on the impressionistic, the modern, the postcolonial, and the poststructuralist approaches used by leading Chinese theorists from 1901 to 1998.

Asian Translation Traditions. 2005. Eva Hung and Judy Wakabayashi, eds. St. Jerome. This book brings together eleven scholars with expertise in different Asian translation traditions, who highlight language and cultural environments as well as perceptions and modes of operation often different from those in the Western tradition. Their contributions help elucidate the various elements that influence the transfer of knowledge across cultures and provide data for the study of translation as a force for cultural development and cultural planning. Abstracts of the essays are accessible at St. Jerome Publishing.

Sergio Waisman. 2005. Borges and Translation: The Irreverence of the Periphery. Bucknell University Press. “Borges argues that the merits of a translation lie not in how loyal it might be, but rather in the manner by which the translator is able to make use of creative infidelities to reinscribe the text in a new context.” (203) W. studies how Borges constructed a theory of translation that played a fundamental role in the development of Argentine literature, and which expanded the potential for writers in Latin America to create new and innovative literatures through processes of re-reading, rewriting, and mis-translation. He relates Borges’s ideas to contemporary debates about translation and its relationship to language and aesthetics, Latin American culture and identity, tradition and originality, and center-periphery dichotomies.


Clusivity: Typology and Case Studies of the Inclusive-Exclusive Distinction. 2005. E. Filimonova, ed. Benjamins. This book documents the current linguistic knowledge on the topic of clusivity (a new term for the inclusive-exclusive distinction). The issues discussed include the categorial and paradigmatic status of the opposition, its geographical distribution, realization in free vs bound pronouns, inclusive imperatives, clusivity in the 2nd person, honorific uses of the distinction, etc. The case studies are complemented by the analysis of the opposition in American Sign Language as opposed to spoken languages. Areal and family surveys of clusivity consider the opposition in Austronesian, Tibeto-Burman, central-western South American, Turkic languages, and in Mosetenan and Shuswap.

Angela M. Nonaka. 2004. “The Forgotten Endangered Languages: Lessons on the Importance of Remembering from Thailand’s Ban Khor Sign Language,” Language in Society 33/5:737-767. Since linguistic and anthropological study of sign languages began in the 1960s, most research has focused on national sign languages, with scant attention paid to indigenous and original sign languages. Vulnerable to extinction, the latter varieties can expand our understanding of language universals, language typologies, historical comparative linguistics, and other areas. Using Thailand as a case study and drawing on three examples – a rare phonological form, basic color terminology, and baby talk/motherese – from Ban Khor Sign Language, an indigenous signed code, this article describes the problem of benign neglect of sign languages in current discussions of language endangerment and argues for the importance of expanding such discussions to include codes expressed in the manual-visual channel. (pub. abstr.)

The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the World’s Ancient Languages. 2004. R.D. Woodard, ed. Cambridge University Press. Each chapter examines the writing system(s), phonology, morphology, syntax and lexicon of the language under discussion, and places it within its linguistic and historical context. Languages included: Sumerian, Elamite, Hurrian, Urartian, Afro-Asiatic, Egyptian and Coptic (A. Loprieno), Akkadian and Eblaite (J. Huehnergard and C. Woods), Ugaritic (D. Pardee), Hebrew (P.K. McCarter, Jr.), Phoenician and Punic (J. Hackett), Canaanite Dialects (D. Pardee), Aramaic (S. Creason), Ge’ez, Old South Arabian, Ancient North Arabian, Indo-European, Hittite, Luvian, Palaic, Lycian, Lydian, Carian, Attic Greek (Woodard), Greek Dialects (Woodard), Sanskrit, Middle Indic, Old Persian, Avestan, Pahlavi, Phrygian, Latin, Sabellian, Venetic, Continental Celtic, Gothic, Early Northwest Germanic, Classical Armenia, Etruscan, Early Georgian, Ancient Chinese, Old Tamil, Mayan, Epi-Olmec, and a chapter on Reconstructed Ancient Languages.

The Language of Time: A Reader. 2005. I. Mani, J. Pustejovsky, and R. Gaizauskas, eds. Oxford University Press. This reader collects and introduces important work on the use of linguistic devices in natural languages to situate events in time: whether they are past, present, or future; whether they are real or hypothetical; when an event might have occurred, and how long it could have lasted.

The Syntax of Aspect: Deriving Thematic and Aspectual Interpretation. 2005. N. Erteschik-Shir and T. Rapoport, eds. Oxford University Press. This collection presents analyses of theoretical issues of aspectual interpretation in a variety of languages. The authors address questions such as to what extent variation in verbal meaning and thematic information can be determined in the syntax, and how the interpretation of various syntactic constructions is derived, once lexical information is minimized. A number of the essays develop theories that take as their starting point the lexical-syntactic framework of Ken Hale and Jay Keyser.

Marjorie J. McShane. 2005. A Theory of Ellipsis. Oxford University Press. M. presents a theory of ellipsis that supports the formal, cross-linguistic description of elliptical phenomena taking into account the various factors that affect the use of ellipsis. A methodology is suggested for creating a parameter space describing and treating ellipsis in any language. Such “ellipsis profiles” of languages can serve a wide range of practical applications. This theory focuses not only on what can, in principle, be elided but in what circumstances a given category actually would or would not be elided—that is, what renders ellipsis mandatory or infelicitous. A theory of ellipsis has been elusive because to produce an adequate account of this ubiquitous phenomenon one needs to address and integrate data from a wide variety of linguistic research areas. Using data primarily from Russian, English, and Polish, M. integrates the syntactic, semantic, morphological, and pragmatic heuristics and bridges work on ellipsis with the larger study of reference.

John H. McWhorter. 2005. Defining Creole. Oxford University Press. This collection of M.’s articles on creole languages presents a general case for a theory of language contact and creolization in which not only transfer from source languages but also structural reduction plays a central role. M. attempts to demonstrate the place that creoles might occupy in other linguistic subfields, including typology, language contact, and syntactic theory.

Cliff Goddard. 2005. The Languages of East and Southeast Asia: An Introduction. Oxford University Press. This book introduces readers to the linguistic diversity of East and Southeast Asia. It includes treatments of word origins, cultural key words, tones and sounds, language families and typology, key syntactic structures, writing systems, communicative style.

Lourens de Vries. 2004. A Short Grammar of Inanwatan, an Endangered Language of the Bird’s Head of Papua, Indonesia. Pacific Linguistics. This grammar deals with major patterns of phonology, morphology and syntax of Inanwatan, and contains a vocabulary, extensive texts and materials from a linguistic survey of the Inanwatan district. The introductory chapter discusses the sociolinguistic and historical context of the Inanwatan language, as well as the field linguistic problems that arise from describing a Papuan language in an advanced stage of generational erosion and on the basis of data in which Malay and Malayicized vernacular are often very hard to tell apart.

Vyvyan Evans. 2004. The Structure of Time: Language, Meaning and Temporal Cognition. Benjamins. E. proposes that time constitutes a phenomenologically real experience. Drawing on findings in psychology, neuroscience, and utilizing the perspective of cognitive linguistics, the work argues that our experience of time may ultimately derive from perceptual processes, which in turn enable us to perceive events. As such, temporal experience is a pre-requisite for abilities such as event perception and comparison, rather than an abstraction based on such phenomena.

Frederick J. Newmeyer. 2005. Possible and Probable Languages: A Generative Perspective on Linguistic Typology. Oxford University Press. N. seeks to explain the variety of languages, combining leading ideas of the functionalist and formalist approaches to linguistic typology, advocating principles of Universal Grammar to explain why some language types are impossible, and functional principles to explain why some grammatical features are more common than others.

Joseph H. Greenberg. 2005. Genetic Linguistics: Essays on Theory and Method. Oxford University Press. W. Croft, ed. This book collects G.’s writings on the genetic classification of the world’s languages. Fifty years ago G. put forward the now widely accepted classification of African languages. This book charts the progress of his subsequent work on language classification in Oceania, the Americas, and Eurasia, in which he proposed the language families Indo-Pacific, Amerind and Eurasiatic. It shows how he established and deployed three fundamental principles: that the most reliable evidence for genetic classification is the pairing of sound and meaning; that nonlinguistic evidence, such as skin color or cultural traits, should be excluded from the analysis; and that the vocabulary and inflections of a very large number of languages should be simultaneously compared.

Language Origins: Perspectives on Evolution. 2005. M. Tallerman, ed. Oxford University Press. The chapters in this collection are written from the perspective of the latest work in linguistics, neuroscience, psychology, and computer science, and reflect the idea that various cognitive, physical, neurological, social, and cultural prerequisites led to the development of full human language. The authors consider a spectrum of ideas about the conditions that led to the evolution of protolanguage and full language.

Samuel Guttenplan. 2005. Objects of Metaphor. Oxford University Press. In this philosophical treatment, G. shows how the study of metaphor is central to the study of language. He argues that predication can be accomplished by objects, and thus becomes the equal partner of reference and a central element in the account of metaphor. The other element is the move from language to objects. His account offers novel conceptions of both the relationship between simile and metaphor and the notion of dead metaphor. Additionally, it indicates how metaphor is related to certain other tropes, but not to be confused with tropes generally, or with the figurative and non-literal.

Patricia Hanna and Bernard Harrison. 2004. Word and World: Practice and the Foundations of Language. Cambridge University Press. Founding their account of the construction of meaning in language on an interpretation of Wittgenstein, the authors deny the existence of a direct referential relationship between words and things. The link between language and the world is two-stage: words are related to practices, and only practices relate to the world. They argue that discarding the notion of reference does not entail relativism or semantic nihilism.

Arie Verhagen. 2005. Constructions of Intersubjectivity: Discourse, Syntax, and Cognition. Oxford University Press. V. proposes that the meaning of grammatical constructions often has more to do with the human cognitive capacity for taking other peoples’ points of view than with describing the world. Treating pragmatics, semantics, and syntax in parallel and integrating insights from linguistics, psychology, and animal communication, the study develops an understanding of linguistic communication that highlights the continuity between language and animal communication and elaborates the nature of human linguistic specialization.

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News & Notes


The TanakhML Project provides a Hebrew Text Browser with a vocalized and cantillated Tanakh (with KJV as a stand-alone or parallel text); a Verse Structure Analyser that analyzes (almost) every verse of the non-poetic books of the Bible according to its masoretic cantillation; a Form Concordancer for retrieving every occurrence of any formal pattern specified; and Hermeneutic Tools: a Gematric Calculator, for calculating the numeric value of a given Hebrew word, a Gematric Concordancer, for retrieving all Hebrew words of the Bible sharing a given numeric value, and a Temura Concordancer, for retrieving all attested anagrams of a given Hebrew word. A Notariqon Concordancer will also be proposed in a next release, for retrieving all attested clauses that are the acrostics of a given Hebrew word.

Biblical Greek discussion list in German for speakers and readers of German. To subscribe write to: undefinedbibelgriechisch(at)domeus.de

Klaus Haacker has a website for Bible translators in German at http://www.pharosbiblia.net/. Translation suggestions concerning specific Bible passages and discussions on disputed translation questions are collected from magazine articles or monographs and either documented by a short quotation or a brief summary. Also translations of whole sections from exegetical papers are provided.

At the 2005 SBL Annual Meeting in Philadelphia, there was a session on “biblioblogging.” The phenomenon of blogging (maintaining a regular online “weblog” or journal) has invaded biblical studies and has been given the moniker “biblioblogging” by its practitioners. The blog turns out to be a good way to get and give information about recent developments in the field, and also to engage in informal debate on issues. Many biblioblogs offer annotated bibliographies, or announcements of and reactions to recent publications. For a list of Bible related blogs, see Stephen Carlson’s site.



The International Association for Translation & Intercultural Studies Conference meets at the University of the Western Cape, South Africa, July 12-14. One of the panels will be “The Bible and its translations: colonial encounters with the indigenous.” Another panel will discuss universals in translation processes. The conference website is here.

Translation and Conflict II will meet November 17-19 2006 at the University of Manchester, UK. The conference aims to respond to increased interest in the role played by translators and interpreters in situations of armed conflict; in shaping perceptions of events and cultures in the run up to such conflict; and in dealing with its aftermath. Presentations by invited speakers, individual presentations in panels, and a series of workshops are planned. Keynote speakers will include David Johnston, Alet Kruger, and Maria Tymoczko. The conference website is here.


Bible Translation 2005 conference
provided by Ruth Spielmann

Bible Translations 2005, co-sponsored by the SIL International Translation Department and the Graduate Institute of Linguistics, was held in Dallas October 16-18. The theme was “Quality in Bible Translation.” Plenary speakers were Lamin Sanneh, Todd Johnson, and Phil Towner.

None of these speakers spoke directly on the theme! Sanneh presented his material on the history of Christianity, contending that colonialism inhibited the spread of Christianity in Africa, but since colonial powers have been removed, Christianity has spread exponentially. This was aided by the Bible being made available in the language of the people, by Africans taking responsibility for leadership, and by the retention of indigenous names for God. He anticipates that Christianity will continue to explode in Africa and in China, further removing the center of Christianity from Western culture. “Heartland Christianity” (boundary-setting, with canon, libraries, cathedrals -- and empty churches) will confront new challenges and opportunities as it relates to “frontier Christianity” (invitational, rapidly receiving new members, with the dynamism of recent conversion).

Johnson presented information from his studies on religious demographics (e.g., an estimated 10,000 new believers daily in China), and the implications for Scripture distribution.

Towner presented work being done within UBS on ethics, focusing his presentation on computer ethics.

The rest of the program was given to 50-minute papers, which will be published on a CD. Some of the papers presented:

  • “The Pursuit of Quality: The Three Stages in Theoretical Development of the Writings of Eugene A. Nida,” Glenn Kerr

  • “Transferring Poetic Effects: Songs into Psalms and Proverbs into Proverbs!” Murray Salisbury

  • “Aspects of Quality and Quality Control in Bible Translation,” Ernst Wendland

  • “Myopia in Exegesis and in Translation,” Robert Longacre

  • “An Assessment of Clarity in Three Thai Translation: Literal, Functional Equivalence, and Meaning-Based,” Steve Doty

  • “Cultural Dimensions of Translation into Creole Languages,” David Frank

  • “A False Claim of Quality: The Non-Marking of Morphological Levels of Respect,” Pete Unseth

  • “Questions about Questions: Exploring the Impact of Cognitive Linguistics on Testing for Translation Quality,” Bryan Harmelink

At a banquet on the last evening, honoring the legacy of Eugene Nida, Phil Stine spoke on Nida’s life and contribution to Bible translation—every modern translation world-wide has been influenced by his work, whether the translators are aware of it or not. Bob Hodgson spoke on Nida’s legacy as it is being carried out under the American Bible Society’s Nida Institute.

Bible Translation 2006 has just been held in England (January 24-26), with Ernst-August Gutt as keynote speaker.

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