Crossway, Gregory R. Lanier & William Ross, 2021
Teaching is, indeed, a gift. One of the aspects that make teaching challenging is the ability of communicating clearly. And even when you are able to do, the true art of teaching occurs when the teacher is able to render any topic interesting. This is what makes this short and affordable book unique. As an introduction to the Septuagint, it has no parallel in the market today. Lanier and Ross have accomplished something outstanding. They have written a manageable, clear, and interesting introduction to a rather obscure topic.
The first distinction to be made is between obscure and useful. For something to be obscure does not immediately translate into a matter of curiosity, with no real usefulness out there. This book might be one of the best examples of that. The book is broadly divided in two sections. First, the authors present to us facts that help illumine and clarify what the Septuagint is. They bring light to the topic at hand. And in doing so, they clear up many misconceptions most of us had about the Septuagint.
Yes, Septuagint scholarship might not be as famous or renown as the Old or New Testament academy. And yet, the authors devote over ninety pages (almost half of the book) to show how the Septuagint is relevant for questions of Canon, Old Testament Text, Old and New Testament Interpretation, and many other areas in which pastors and teachers engage Sunday to Sunday. They truly demonstrate why the Septuagint matters.
Concerning the cons, I would have appreciated if there was a final sección or even an appendix that would give the readers some practical helps on how to start using the Septuagint more and more. There is a section for more advanced material and where to look for it, and there are practical advices implicitly stated throughout the whole book (especially the second section). But a concise practical appendix stating tips and tricks would also have been good. Again, for future readers, the practical material is there, interwoven, all throughout.
I have already mentioned some of the pros concerning readability, succinctness, affordability, and clarity. I might add two more items to the list. I cannot overstate the great accomplishment of keeping a lay audience in mind while writing this book. There are many examples and illustrations throughout that make even the most challenging topics more digestible for readers unfamiliar with deep biblical scholarship. That’s not only remarkable, but something to be thankful for. Finally, it should not go unnoticed that this volume is written from a Protestant and Evangelical perspective, which affirms the authority and inerrancy of Scripture. God has gifted us with top notch scholars writing for the church.
There are three items that I believe make learning a joyful experience. First, I love to acquire new data in a memorable and systematic way, that I can revisit and remember. Second, my mind blows when new categories that I wasn’t even aware of are presented and explained. Third, I truly learn when I connect what I have been given in facts with how can I use that in life. This volume accomplishes all three for any Bible student. I would definitely recommend it for pastors, Bible teachers, and lay people alike.
I want to thank Crossway for providing me with a review copy of this volume.