Brenton's Translation of the Septuagint
Before NETS, there were two prominent translations of
the Septuagint into English: that of Charles Thomson
and that of Sir Lancelot Charles Lee Brenton.
Harold Scanlin plans to make a presentation on Thomson's and Brenton's translations
at this year's annual meeting of the SBL. In the meantime, here is some
information recently gleaned regarding the Brenton translation.
In 1844, Samuel Bagster and Sons published
Brenton's English translation
of the Septuagint.
The translation did not include the Apocrypha.
This publication did not contain a Greek text.
This site provides a copy of the introductory pages
(3.2 megabytes in PDF format) of the 1844 edition.
The pages were digitized by Wade White.
In 1851, Samuel Bagster and Sons published
an edition of the Septuagint, including LXX Daniel.
The Apocrypha were included with separate pagination.
Presumably Brenton was involved with the production of
this edition, since much of the introduction is identical to later
It appears that a diglot edition (Greek Septuagint with Brenton's
English translation) was first published in 1870. On June 30, Hal Scanlin
went to the ABS Library in New York to confirm this by examining their 1870 copy of
Brenton. Here is his account.
I was in New York yesterday at the ABS Library and checked on their
1870 copy of the Brenton diglot. Unfortunately, there's no front
matter indicating that this is the first diglot edition, and the date
of publication recorded by the ABS cataloger is "1870?" This probably
means that they inferred the date, as I did, from the fact that no
other library has recorded an earlier date for the diglot edition. At
this point the trail seems to have gone cold. I would consider the
earliest date for a diglot as 1870? unless someone can find a copy
with a verifiable earlier date.
The plates seem to be identical in the ABS 1870? Copy and my 20th
century Bagster reprint, except, as would be expected the 1870? Print
is much sharper.
The two introductions are identical in 1870? and my 20th century.
Since 1870, Brenton's
translation has been reprinted many times.
Digital images and
searchable text of the
1870 edition are available
online from Christian Classics Ethereal Library.
Because the 1851 edition is often difficult to find, we here provide a
copy of some of the introductory pages to the 1851 edition
(4.7 megabytes in PDF format).
These pages are in PDF format and are readable in the free Adobe Acrobat
Reader. Included are page viii-xvi of the Introduction and the
introduction to the book of Daniel. Everything else can
be found in more recent reprints.
The pages were digitized by Harold Scanlin from the copy in
the Westminster Theological Seminary. Here are his notes.
I have finished my closer comparison of the Bagster 1851 LXX with my reprint
edition of Bagster, with Apocrypha, n.d. but most likely mid 20th century
printing. Here's what I found:
The Introductions, "An Historical Account of the Septuagint Version," are
identical, except that 1851 also includes in the concluding section of the
introduction, "and of the principal texts in which it is current." (viii -
xiii; on the daughter versions and major printed editions).
The table shewing the Jeremiah differences is in a different location, but
the content is identical, except for a few typesetting differences, e.g.
roman numerals (1851) vs. Arabic numerals (20th cent.)
The 1851 edition lacks the Appendix presenting some major non-Vaticanus
The 1851 lacks any textual footnotes, but I believe all the footnotes in
20th cent. are associated with the English translation, even the textual
ones (e.g. see appendix for an Alexandrian plus).
The Holy Bible containing the Old and New Covenant,
commonly called the Old and New Testament.
Translated from the Greek by Charles Thomson.
Philadelphia: Printed by Jane Aitken, 1808.
Brenton, Sir Lancelot Charles Lee.
The Septuagint version of the Old Testament, according to the Vatican
text: translated into English; with the principal various readings of
the Alexandrine copy, and a table of comparative chronology.
London, Samuel Bagster and Sons, 1844.
He Palaia Diatheke kata tous Ebdomekonta = the Greek Septuagint
Version of the Old Testament according to the Vatican edition, together with
the real Septuagint version of Daniel and the Apocrypha including the fourth
book of Maccabees and an historical introduction.
London: Samuel Bagster and Sons, 1851.
The Septuagint Version of the Old Testament.
With an English Translation and with Various Readings and Critical Notes.
London: Samuel Bagster and Sons; New York: Harper and Brothers, 1870.
The Septuagint version of the Old Testament.
With an English translation, and with various readings and critical notes [by Sir L. C. L. Brenton].
Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House. 1971.