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I cannot help but recall something that Timothy McLay wrote in the conclusion of his book: Studies of the Dead Sea Scrolls seem to "have cast a spell when it comes to understanding the background of the NT, while the LXX is too often ignored." Since I agreed with the sentiment of this, I looked forward to reading a book in which the author's intent was to show not only the use of the LXX in the NT but it's _influence_ as well. (Somewhere else I read an admonition to sell other books in order to buy a LXX. Was it Klein, 1987?) However most of McLay's book is not about LXX influence but about translation problems which he calls Translation Technique and abbreviates as TT because of his frequency of use. This is not easy reading for someone who has no interest in problems of translation. I think many readers will agree that a quote of the OG is not a sufficient proof of a citation. By the middle of the book when McLay lays the foundation of his TT, many readers may be bewildered by McLay's assertions that TT is primarily synchronic, accounts for langue and parole, is structural, and takes the source language as a point of departure. Only in a final chapter does McLay discuss use of the LXX in the NT. Here he concludes that the use of the LXX by the early church means that the LXX was recognized as Scripture, the LXX influenced the NT by giving it such terms as DOXA and KURIOS, the citation of the OG of Daniel 7.13 had an influence upon NT theology, etc. I think it is too bad that McLay did not spend more of his time on this type of subject matter rather than spending so much on problems of translation.
McLay's book is a very important contribution to the literature on the Septuagint. The previous reviewer (Virgil Brown) complained that "most of McLay's book is not about LXX influence". Yet Brown fails to notice that the title of the book is not "The Influence of the LXX on the New Testament" but "The Use of the Septuagint in New Testament Research." The difference is subtle, but the point of the book is not to just explicate examples of New Testament quotations, allusions, and similarities to the LXX. The purpose of the book is to give a non-specialist the tools to detect how the LXX may be useful in understanding the New Testament (whether or not it directly influenced any particular NT passage). In this regard McLay succeeds very well.
The following is a summary of the book in terms of its chapters and content:
McLay does an excellent job of outlining his book and of explaining the issues that need to be addressed when approaching the LXX. First of all he makes clear a distinction between the term LXX, OG (Old Greek), and the JGS (Jewish Greek Scriptures), showing that what the Jews were using as Greek Scriptures were not always identical to either of these ancient translations. He also clarifies the difference between MT (Massoretic Text) and HB (Hebrew Bible), showing that the Hebrew texts used by Jews of the first century were not always identical to the MT. One must constantly keep this in mind when trying to determine if a NT writer had access to the LXX, another Greek text, or simply a different Hebrew text. McLay further points out that in the first century C.E. and before there was no canon per se. There were only various collections of books considered authoritative in different Jewish (and Christian) faith communities.Read more ›
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