New Book: A Book-by-Book Guide to Septuagint Vocabulary

We are pleased to announce that our new book, A Book-by-Book Guide to Septuagint Vocabulary (Hendrickson), is releasing in the coming weeks. It is currently on pre-order sale for 50% off as well!

What Is It?

LXXVocabThis book fills an important gap in the market by providing a tool to help those reading the Septuagint “get up the learning curve” with Septuagint vocabulary. Surprisingly, there’s no comparable resource out there in an accessible form.

The book consists of 28 chapters that present vocabulary lists for specific sections of the Septuagint corpus. Within each chapter, vocabulary is arranged according to frequency for that section of the Septuagint, which allows users to focus on the most important words (by frequency) within sections of most importance to them. Each list consists of twenty words, which we deemed to be an ideal size for memorization. And each chapter includes enough lists (typically over a dozen) that enable the user to attain roughly 85-90% proficiency for that section.

Given that most people in the target audience of this book likely begin their study of post-classical (Koine) Greek via the New Testament, we also flagged words in each list that users will likely know from studying the NT. That way, these words can be more easily ignored if they are already known.

Most chapters deal with a single book or logical collection of books, such as the Twelve Prophets or the Jeremiah corpus (including Baruch, Lamentations, Epistle of Jeremiah).

Additional Lists

Importantly, we include three general lists up-front (“Quick-Start Lists”) that make the learning task more efficient and prevent later chapters from becoming bloated with high-frequency words.

  1. Greek NT Refresher: ~300 words that appear 50+ times in the Greek NT and that appear in the Septuagint.
  2. High-Frequency Septuagint Vocabulary: ~120 words that occur with very high frequency in the Septuagint but only moderate frequency in the NT. This list is the best place to start for anyone looking to bridge from the NT to the Septuagint as expeditiously as possible.
  3. Common Septuagint Proper Names: ~80 proper names that appear most commonly in the Septuagint. (Otherwise, proper names are not included in the other chapters, as they are generally straightforward to “sound out”).

By reviewing each of these lists, all users will be ready to tackle other chapters in an efficient way.

What Does It Look Like?

Below is an image of a page from 1-2 Chronicles. Notice that each list is determined by frequency within 1-2 Chronicles (and the same is true for the other lists), and that familiar words from the Greek NT, that meet certain frequency thresholds, are put at the bottom of a given list and italicized (as with ὅμοιος in this sample).


We determined glosses for each word using a variety of lexicons, while attempting to keep them short and memorable (versus lengthy definitions).


Several scholars have reviewed a sample and had this to say about the book:

“I am delighted to see an increasing interest in Septuagint studies, as well as the increase of relevant reference books. The broader the student’s understanding of Greek, the deeper their handling will be of both the LXX and Greek New Testament texts. This vocabulary guide is an essential part in gaining a familiarity with the Greek, and in turn will make reading the LXX more satisfying. The authors wisely divide the Greek words into three categories: those that are common in the New Testament, common words in the LXX (including names), and then the words specific to books of the LXX. By starting with a core vocabulary, the task of learning the vocabulary of specific books becomes less daunting. I highly recommend this guide, both for those engaged in Septuagint studies and for students who want to expand their understanding of the language of the Greek New Testament.”

Bill Mounce, President,

“The authors of Septuaginta: A Reader’s Edition, Greg Lanier and Will Ross, have done it again. A Book-by-Book Guide to Septuagint Vocabulary is an excellent tool that gathers the vocabulary by frequency according to each Septuagint book separately, helping anyone unfamiliar with the many rare words in the corpus. It is ideal for learners or teachers who wish to expand their Greek vocabulary by starting with a biblical book of their choice. This helpful resource is clearly laid out and a pleasure to read. My only question is, Why has no one done this before?”

James K. Aitken, Reader in Hebrew and Early Jewish Studies, Faculty of Divinity, University of Cambridge

“Once again Ross and Lanier have provided a well-developed and useful resource for those wishing to read the Septuagint. Their NT refresher and high-frequency LXX vocabulary lists provide a solid foundation for general reading, and their collection of terms for each biblical book grouped by number of occurrences allows for specialization and focused study. This will be valuable tool for students and scholars alike.”

Sean A. Adams, Senior Lecturer in New Testament and Ancient Culture, University of Glasgow

“Another indispensable resource for reading the LXX. Greg Lanier and Will Ross are the ‘dynamic duo’ of Septuagint study for a new generation.”

Robert L. Plummer, Professor of New Testament Interpretation, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and founder of Daily Dose of Greek

“Gregory Lanier and William Ross have performed another outstanding service to the guild of biblical studies and to the church, facilitating yet further our engagement with the early church’s ‘other’ Old Testament, the form in which most Greek-speaking Christians engaged (and continue to engage!) this body of sacred literature. In this volume, they have offered for the Septuagint what Bruce Metzger provided for the New Testament so many decades ago in his Lexical Aids for Students of New Testament Greek. The manner of presentation here has been very thoughtfully conceived, aiming to equip a person to read over 90 percent of the text of a given book without recourse to dictionaries. This is an ideal resource for the person who wants to build up his or her vocabulary through bite-sized frequency lists in order to engage any particular Septuagint book as a close reader.”

David A. deSilva, Trustees’ Distinguished Professor of New Testament and Greek, Ashland Theological Seminary


3 thoughts on “New Book: A Book-by-Book Guide to Septuagint Vocabulary

  1. Reblogged this on Words on the Word and commented:
    / Note from Abram: I’ve started using this book, and it’s excellent. What an age to live in, where we have both a Reader’s Septuagint and this accompanying vocabulary guide! There are *multiple* Reader’s Greek New Testaments and all kinds of NT Greek vocabulary resources, but both the Reader’s LXX and this vocab guide are the first of their kind.

    See reblogged post below. /


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