What is the Septuagint?
The Septuagint is the earliest Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible and the first major work of religious translation in history. It provides us with a significant window into the Jewish understanding of the Scriptures in the three centuries before the time of Jesus. Furthermore, it was the version of the Old Testament studied by the Church as it spread throughout the Graeco-Roman world and became distinguished from Judaism. The majority of Old Testament quotations in the New Testament are from this Greek translation. So the Septuagint functions as a unique bridge between Judaism and Christianity in relation to the interpretation of the Hebrew Bible / Old Testament, and it serves as the basic canon of the Old Testament for early patristic exegesis.
THE JOHN WILLIAM WEVERS INSTITUTE FOR SEPTUAGINT STUDIES AT TWU
For many years, the University of Toronto was the recognized centre for Septuagint research in Canada, where a program in Septuagint Studies flourished under Professor John Wevers and Professor Albert Pietersma. Following the retirement of these world-renowned scholars, however, this program was discontinued. The torch was then passed to Trinity Western University (TWU) as Professors Wevers and Pietersma announced that they would donate their extensive and valuable personal libraries to support Septuagint research on this campus. On September 17, 2005, TWU and ACTS seminaries collaborated to launch the Septuagint Institute, which serves as a hub for Septuagint research, and publication projects.
In 2008, the Wevers library was transferred to the TWU campus, and in 2011 the Wevers family donated $400,000 to support of this university's program of Septuagint Studies and research in memory of Professor Wevers who had passed away the year before. Professor Pietersma continues to be an active scholar, so his library will be added to the TWU collection sometime in the future. Additional resources for textual research now on site include high-resolution digital images of more than forty Ge'ez codices and scrolls that were donated by Professor Stephen Delamarter of George Fox University in Oregon.
The Fellows of the John William Wevers Institute for Septuagint Studies work together to coordinate research resources, specific learning initiatives, scholarly colloquia, symposia geared to the larger university and seminary communities and the general public, applications for research funding, and publication projects. The Institute provides a context for both resident and visiting scholars to explore issues of hermeneutics, translation, semantics, and intertextuality. Graduate students in the Master of Theological Studies and the Master of Theology programs at ACTS and in the Master of Arts in Biblical Studies program at TWU may take courses and specialize in the area of Septuagint Studies.
The mission of the John William Wevers Institute for Septuagint Studies on the campus of Trinity Western University is to promote research on the Septuagint — the Old Greek version of the Jewish Scriptures and the Bible of many early Christians including the authors of the New Testament — with a particular focus on hermeneutical issues related to this biblical version.
To learn more about The John William Wevers Institute for Septuagint Studies, upcoming academic and public events, and the Institute fellows, contact the Institute Director, Dr. Robert Hiebert.
About the Director
Robert J. V. Hiebert, Ph.D. is the Professor of Old Testament at the Graduate School of Theological Studies of Trinity Western University, also known as the Associated Canadian Theological Schools (ACTS).
Dr. Hiebert was awarded B.A. (Honours), M.A., and Ph.D. degrees at the University of Toronto, where he majored in Septuagint Studies. Prior to coming to TWU/ACTS, he taught at Tyndale University College and Seminary in Toronto for eleven years.
He is the author and editor of books and articles on a range of subjects in the areas of Septuagint and Biblical Studies. His translation of the Septuagint of Genesis was published in A New English Translation of the Septuagint (Oxford University Press, 2007). He is currently preparing the critical edition of 4 Maccabees for the Göttingen Septuaginta series and the volume on Genesis for the Society of Biblical Literature Commentary on the Septuagint series, for which he also serves as a Joint-Editor-in-Chief.
He has received research grants from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Göttingen, the Skirball Foundation, the Lilly Foundation, and the Priscilla and Stanford Reid Trust.
Inquiries regarding the Master of Arts in Biblical Studies at TWU should be directed to Melissa Reed, Associate Director of Graduate Admissions.
Septuagint Studies Specialization
ACTS students and MABIB program students at TWU may take courses, specialize, and conduct thesis research in the area of Septuagint Studies. See course outlines for a Septuagint Studies specialization in the Master of Theological Studies (MTS) and Master of Theology (MTh) programs at ACTS.