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THE last part of our First Volume was published in 1917. During the earlier years of the war we were able to complete the preparation of that part, but all preliminary work for the Second Volume was seriously delayed. Little could be done but the collection of Patristic evidence and a provisional selection of MSS. for the books of Samuel and Kings.
The election of one of the Editors to the Ely Professorship made it impossible for him to continue his full share in the work of the Septuagint. Arrangements were made with Dr H. St John Thackeray to meet the difficulty. He has given us much help in the collation of MSS., and has contributed a detailed study of the evidence of Josephus in the books of Samuel and Kings.
The work of collecting the manuscript evidence has been materially lightened by the generous help of Professor A. Rahlfs of Gottingen, who allowed us to use many of his photographs of LXX MSS., and arranged for the collation of these, and of others procured by us, by competent scholars among his fellow-workers, on terms arranged between the University Press and himself. All the collations have been revised by us, and we have found that all reached the highest standard of accuracy. Without this help the publication of the present part would have been still further delayed.
This incomplete, early twentieth-century edition was one of the first modern attempts to bring textual criticism to bear on the Septuagint, the Greek version of the Hebrew scriptures which originated in the third century BCE. It is still widely consulted today. Originally issued in nine parts between 1906 and 1940, this reissue is bound in four volumes. This, the final volume, contains the books of Esther, Judith, and Tobit. Following Swete's smaller Septuagint (1887–1894) the running text is that of Codex Vaticanus (B) supplemented by Codex Alexandrinus (A) or N when B is defective. The edition includes an extensive critical apparatus, citing key uncial manuscripts and fragments, twenty-seven cursive manuscripts, many freshly collated for the edition, the Sahidic, Ethiopic, Syriac and Old Latin versions, and quotations from Latin writers including Cyprian and Augustine. It remains an invaluable resource for the study of the Septuagint.
IN our third volume we have found it impossible to retain the order of the Books of the Septuagint followed by Dr Swete. The Books of Esther, Judith and Tobit are found in many of the MSS. which contain the Historical Books. It seemed therefore desirable to publish them first in this Volume before dealing with the Sapiential Books which are generally found in a different set of MSS. Some time ago we decided to defer the publication of the Psalter till a later date. The three books which we now publish form the third group in Dr Rahlfs's Verzeichnis. They are sometimes found in the MSS. which have the Historical Books, but more often new MSS. have to be quoted, and we have had to make a separate selection for each Book, and to give separate lists of the MSS. used for each Book. The symbols used for MSS. in the earlier volumes have been retained, but those used for MSS. no longer cited have been re-assigned. The original scheme of adding a numeral after the letter (a2 etc.) to provide a separate symbol for each MS. used has proved unworkable. Where the number of authorities quoted is large, valuable space is lost. We find ourselves compelled to use a single letter for each minuscule quoted, and to provide a separate list for each Book.