The Septuagint as Christian Scripture: Its Prehistory and the Problem of Its Canon.
The Septuagint as Christian Scripture: Its Prehistory and the Problem of Its Canon. By Martin Hengel (Oxford, $49.95). H. notes that the Septuagint is the first complete and pre-Christian commentary on the Old Testament. The study of Hellenistic Judaism, therefore, should begin with the Septuagint and not with Philo of Alexandria. H. begins his book by discussing the Septuagint as a collection of writings claimed by early Christians and then moves on to the development of the second-class character of those writings in the Septuagint that are not contained in the Hebrew canon. At this point he turns back and discusses how the Septuagint actually emerged in early Judaism. He concedes that the question of how Judith, Tobit, Sirach, Wisdom of Solomon, and the books of the Maccabees came to be included in some forms of the canon while Enoch and the Testament of the Twelve Patriarchs were excluded remains a mystery. In many respects this book is a plea for Christian theologians to take fuller account of the rich postbiblical text tradition found in part in the Septuagint and also in the Qumran texts.