Brian W. Davidson

sharing things I enjoy

As you read the Old Testament, sometimes you can’t help but wonder what the other ancient versions might have for certain words. In this post, I’ll show you three ways to compare the ancient versions of the OT in Accordance.

This post is part of the Accordance Workspaces series. The series focuses on workspaces that will be helpful for those reading the Bible in its ancient versions.

Live-Clicking for the Text Browser

My first resort is almost always live-click. Live-clicking a verse reference opens the text browser with the ancient versions I that I put in a custom user group called Ancient Bibles.

With one click, I can see several of the most important versions and explore by highlighting a word and checking out the cross-highlighting.

Normally, that is enough information, and I can get back to reading.

OT Texts Workspace

There are times, however, when I want to put together something more comprehensive. Sometimes I want to see all the ancient versions I have access to, including Vetus Latina and the Three (Aquila, Symmachus, and Theodotion) via the Göttingen LXX second apparatus.

Setting up a workspace like you see below makes the texts most important for textual criticism available with just a click. This sort of capability and convenience is truly amazing.

Readings from MT, DSS, Targum, Syriac, LXX, Symmachus, Aquillla, Theodotion, Vulgate, and Old Latin
Readings from MT, DSS, Targum, Syriac, LXX, Symmachus, Aquillla, Theodotion, Vulgate, and Old Latin

The workspace above provides readings from ten different versions (moving across the top left-to-right and then across the bottom left-to-right):

  1. Masoretic Text of the Hebrew Bible
  2. Biblical Dead Sea Scrolls
  3. Aramaic Targums
  4. Syriac Peshitta
  5. Göttingen Septuagint
  6. Aquila (via the Göttingen second apparatus)
  7. Symmachus (via the Göttingen second apparatus)
  8. Theodotion (via the Göttingen second apparatus)
  9. Latin of the Vulgate (based on the Hebrew)
  10. Latin of Vetus Latina (based on the Septuagint)

If you save this workspace, you can two finger click on a verse reference and jump straight to it. You might have to adjust some of the tabs (like Göttingen), but if you have ever spent time in a library manually tracking down these resources in print you can truly appreciate how convenient this is.

OT 6 Workspace

I’m not always interesting in going quite so in-depth, however, but sometimes I do want to see in parallel what I consider the most important of the ancient versions. For this I have ready a slightly more compact version of this same workspace.

I call this one OT 6 because it has ancient versions (left to right):

  1. Biblical Dead Sea Scrolls
  2. Masoretic Text of the Hebrew Bible
  3. Göttingen Septuagint
  4. Latin Vulgate
  5. Aramaic Targums
  6. Syriac Peshitta

Again, you can jump to this saved workspace from anywhere by two-finger clicking a reference and selecting OT 6.

More Information

I hope this gives you a better idea of how you can use Accordance to compare OT versions. If you would like to see a video of setting up a similar workspace and jumping to it from a verse reference, check out the end of this post I wrote a few years ago.

For more information on the ancient versions of the Hebrew Bible, be sure to check out Emanuel Tov’s Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible (3rd edition).

If you have Tov’s book in Accordance, you can open the module, search the English content for one of the versions (for example, Aquila shown below), and quickly navigate to a description of its relevance for textual criticism.

Futhermore, you can listen/watch Emanuel Tov himself talk about the importance of textual criticism while demonstrating with Accordance in this eAcademy video. In another video, he discusses his appreciation for Accordance and how he has used it for over twenty years.