The John William Wevers Institute for Septuagint Studies
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 significant insight 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 Septuagint Institute at TWU
For many years, the University of Toronto was the recognized centre for Septuagint research in Canada, , but since the discontinuation of the program in Septuagint Studies in Toronto the torch has been passed to Trinity Western University. On September 17, 2005, TWU and ACTS seminaries launched the Septuagint Institute—a hub for Septuagint study and research, including various translation and publication projects.
In Toronto, Septuagint Studies flourished under Prof. John Wevers and Prof. Albert Pietersma. Since their retirement, these world-renowned scholars have bequeathed their extensive and valuable personal libraries to support Septuagint Studies at TWU/ACTS. Additional resources for textual research include high-resolution digital images of more than forty Ge'ez codices and scrolls, generously donated by Prof. Stephen Delamarter of George Fox University.
At TWU/ACTS, the Septuagint Institute serves as a base from which to coordinate research resources, specific learning initiatives, scholarly colloquia/symposia, conferences and special events involving the larger university/seminary communities and the general public, applications for research funding, and publication projects. This Institute provides a context for resident and visiting scholars and students to interact with one another and to explore issues of hermeneutics, translation, semantics, and intertextuality.
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,
The mission of the Septuagint Institute (SI) on the campus of Trinity Western University (TWU) and the Associated Canadian Theological Schools (ACTS)—TWU’s Graduate School of Theological Studies—is to promote research in 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.
Four scholars with Ph.D. specializations in Septuagint have found their way to TWU/ACTS over the past number of years. This development has given rise to the largest concentration of scholars in this field on any university campus in Canada and created a unique opportunity for collaborative research. Each of the four is involved in major projects related to the Septuagint.
Robert J. V. Hiebert, Ph.D.
Director of the John William Wevers
Institute for Septuagint Studies
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.
To learn more about the Septuagint Institute and Septuagint Studies at TWU/ACTS contact Dr. Robert Hiebert.