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A Lexical Study of the Septuagint Version of the Pentateuch
J. A. L. Lee
SCS 14
Publication Date
January 1997


“J. A. L. Lee set out to demonstrate the correctness of G. A. Deissmann’s view that the LXX translators of the Pentateuch by and large used the vocabulary of the vernacular Greek contemporary with them. This view has been opposed most vigorously by H. S. Gehman, who characterizes the language of the LXX as a separate dialect of Greek, “Jewish-Greek.” Deissmann’s position already meets with the favor of most modern researchers; Lee’s work should convince any lingering doubters.

Lee’s basic approach is sound and straightforward. Making extensive use of papyrological evidence accumulated over past decades, he emphasizes the links between the language of the Greek Pentateuch and new words and uses in the Koine of the papyri. Thus, after a general survey of the Pentateuch’s vocabulary, he has successive chapters on new semantic developments in old words, new formations, and new words. In almost every lexical area (for Lee wisely does not restrict himself to technical terms) there are demonstrable links between the everyday language of Koine Greek and the language employed by the translators. Detailed studies of selected items are impressive and exhibit Lee’s far-ranging search for apposite parallels.”
—Leonard Greenspoon, Journal of Biblical Literature