Oxford Seminar in Advanced Jewish Studies

 Greek expanded, Greek transformed: The Vocabulary of the Septuagint and the Cultural World of the Translators

 January to June 2018

 Project leaders:  

Jan Joosten (Oriental Studies, University of Oxford)

Philomen Probert (Classics and Linguistics, University of Oxford)

 Core members:        

Eberhard Bons (Faculté de théologie catholique, Université de Strasbourg)

Trevor Evans (Ancient History, Macquarie University)

Gary Anderson (Theology, University of Notre Dame)




The Seminar will bring together an international team of scholars from different disciplines to work on the religious and political vocabulary of the Septuagint, combining the expertise of the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies, where it will be based, with the resources of the Oxford Classics Faculty and the Faculty of Linguistics, Philology and Phonetics. The project will illuminate for biblical scholars the cultural world of those who produced and read the books of the Septuagint, and will illuminate for classical scholars the ways in which Jews of the Greek world adapted to the dominant culture and influenced it in turn.

With the conquests of Alexander the Great the Greek language came to be widely used by people outside Greece, and from multiple cultural traditions. As the earliest translation into Greek of a major body of existing literature, the Septuagint provides a crucial example of the impact this process had on the Greek language itself.

Many of the Greek words and constructions used in the Septuagint have a rich history in classical literature, while others have a background in documentary sources such as papyri and inscriptions. The Seminar will examine how the functions of these resources were expanded to meet the demands of a new culture. The project will examine how the dialectic in the Septuagint between biblical and Hellenistic connotations lends to words a semantic complexity that is both hard and rewarding to analyse.

Weekly interdisciplinary seminars, and a series of workshops will bring specialists in the Septuagint together with classicists, linguists, historians, and historians of religion. Septuagint vocabulary will be examined along with the Hellenistic cultural background and the methodological problems relating to that background.

Weekly seminars will be convened through the duration of two Oxford terms: 14 January to 10 March 2018 and 22 April to 16 June 2018. These will offer a forum for the Fellows to address central research topics related to the overall theme of the Seminar. The concluding conference will be held from 25 to 27 June 2018.

Visiting Fellows will receive an allowance of £2,515 (pro rata) per calendar month for the period of their tenure. Travelling expenses up to £550 pounds sterling will also be provided, and Fellows will be provided with a college association during their time at Oxford. Applicants should indicate the specific research they would undertake in the course of Fellowship and how this research would contribute to the broader work of the project. Applications by senior scholars, and by scholars at postdoctoral and advanced doctoral level, are welcome.

Closing date for applications: 16 December 2016

 For more detailed information see:

 or contact:

Prof Jan Joosten (jan.joosten@orinst.ox.ac.uk)

Prof Philomen Probert (philomen.probert@classics.ox.ac.uk)

For any other queries contact:

Martine Smith-Huvers (registrar@ochjs.ac.uk)