Pronouncing the LXX

The very first footnote in Moisés Silva & Karen Jobes’ Invitation to the Septuagint touches on the subject of pronunciation, which is always of interest to me, mainly because I pronounce everything correctly and am amused by those who pronounce things incorrectly.  Silva & Jobes note:

The “proper” way to pronounce Septuagint is the subject of lighthearted debate among specialists. English dictionaries typically suggest the pronunciation SEP-too-ajint or sep-TOO-a-jint or the like, but many scholars in the discipline treat it as a three-syllable word, SEP-twa-jint. In Europe, one often hears the last syllable pronounced with hard g, after the pattern of Latin Septuaginta. (Invitation to the Septuagint, 19, n. 1)

Just last night I was listening to a course by Rikk Watts on the NT use of the OT and he kept pronouncing Septuagint with a hard g and I kept cringing because this is certainly wrong.  The correct pronunciation is of course sep-TOO-a-jint and if you can’t say it that way then just say LXX!

And this is my contribution to International Septuagint Day; have a good one!

B”H

7 thoughts on “Pronouncing the LXX

  1. To tell you the truth, I pronounce it neither way. I was just thinking about this last week while discussing topics with a quasi-Jewish, quasi-Buddhist friend who had some questions.

    I actually ignore the “u” altogether and say “SEP-ta-jint.” Since I’m Texan, people expect lazy speech from me, but I have no idea where or when I lost the “u.” And I actually think I’ve heard others say it this way as well.

  2. I go with a soft “g.” But, Nick, I must say that ever since your post on pronouncing “eschatological” I can’t help but half-way pronounce your way–THANKS A LOT!!!;-)

  3. Ranger: That sounds almost like the way that James White says it which of course makes it totally incorrect! ;-)

    Seth: If you’re saying Septuaginta then fine, but if you’re speaking English then say it right! And it’s Sis-eh-Ro in English. Kee-kee-ro (rolled r) in Latin. ;-)

    Jason: Well you’re right on the soft g and apparently you’re at least half-way right on pronouncing eschatological! ;-)

  4. Thankfully I’m never in a situation where I have to pronounce it out loud to someone else. If I do, however, I try to use whatever pronounciation will make me sound the smartest. ; )

  5. Okay, a dumb question… How do you pronounce “LXX”? Seventy? El-Ecks-Ecks? Lambda-Chi-Chi?

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