Friday, April 16, 2010

Review: Muraoka, A Greek-English Lexicon of the Septuagint

Takamitsu Muraoka, A Greek-English Lexicon of the Septuagint. Louvain/Paris/Walpole, MA: Peeters, 2009. Pp. xl, 757. ISBN 9789042922488. $138.00.

Reviewed by Frank Shaw, Wright State University (Dayton, OH) (

At some time or other nearly every classicist has consulted, or will need to consult, the Septuagint (LXX), the translation of the Hebrew Bible into Greek done in the Hellenistic period (along with some additional deuterocanonical or apocryphal books). Until fairly recently for vocabulary one had to employ the often dated and curt entries in LSJ, as modern specialists had yet to produce a LXX lexicon. That situation has changed over the last two decades. In 1992 Johan Lust, Erik Eynikel, and Katrin Hauspie published the first of two volumes of their A Greek-English Lexicon of the Septuagint (Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft); the second tome appeared in 1996. The entire work was then revised as a single volume in 2003 (henceforth LEH).1 Naturally any subsequent similar work will be partly assessed in comparison with LEH. It is not as though Muraoka's recently completed dictionary is his first endeavor in Septuagintal lexicography. This volume is the culmination of a continued effort that spans over 20 years (vii). The first installment of that research appeared in 1993 when he published a LXX lexicon of the Twelve (= Minor) Prophets, and again in 2002 with a dictionary of the Twelve Prophets and the Pentateuch (both Peeters). Thus our volume is the completed work, although reviews and use of it will surely necessitate further revision. The book contains an 11-page introduction, a 5-page abbreviations list, and a 16-page bibliography. The lexicon proper is 751 pages; at the book's end is a 5-page list of words found in the standard concordance of the LXX by Hatch and Redpath (henceforth HR)2 but missing in Muraoka's dictionary entries. Important here are most Greek transliterations of Hebrew words since classicists reading the LXX will be curious about such lexemes and likely surprised at not finding an entry for them in the lexicon proper. The lexicon does not generally cover proper names (occasional exceptions: 224, 341).

Looks like a very useful new resource.