Word Counts of Septuagint Editions

Psalms, Codex Vaticanus

Psalms, Codex Vaticanus

Over on the Twitter yesterday, Cillian O’Hoogan looped me in on a conversation about word counts in the Septuagint.

My employer, Faithlife (aka Logos Bible Software) has both Rahlfs’ edition of the LXX and H.B. Swete’s edition of the LXX available, so I dusted off some code I wrote awhile back to do this sort of counting, and came up with numbers for both Swete’s edition and Rahlfs’ edition.

Then I popped them on Google docs as spreadsheets for all to see. Here you go:

  • Rahlfs’ LXX: Counts by book for chapters, verses, words, and letters.
  • Swete’s LXX: Counts by book for chapters, verses, words, and letters.

Enjoy. If you use the data in a publication, please let me know. I may be able to give more details about citation or sources if you need them.

If you really get into this stuff, note this paper I presented at BibleTech 2009 about Stylometry and the Septuagint.

3 thoughts on “Word Counts of Septuagint Editions

  1. I needed this so badly to make this Bible cabinet of “books” made of wood corresponding to the size of each of the books in the septuagint. I downloaded your paper and spreadsheets. Could you please explain to me what is the Ralph or Swete translation of the LXX? I am an Orthodox Christian; we use the Septuagint for the Old Testament – as Jesus and his disciples used. I of course have an English translation. How can Ralph or Swete have different “translations” of a Koine Greek ancient document? I am ignorant concerning this whole topic as you can see, please do enlighten me with the simplest explanation.

    What I need to do is make a bunch of wood blocks in the shape of books corresponding to every book in the LXX. The widths of all these wood blocks are the same, but the heights of the wood blocks correspond to the length of the book (in terms of characters). For example the block of wood representing the Book of Maccabees 1 would be much taller than the block of wood representing the Book of Obadiah. I must have these wood blocks made according to the number of characters in each LXX book. If you could explain to me what the differences between Ralph vs Swete and what they are responsible for translating, I’d greatly appreciate it. Thank you.

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    • Hi Nina. “Rahlfs” and “Swete” are different Greek editions of the Septuagint/Greek Old Testament; not English translations. “Rahlfs” is the standard “critical” edition. Swete is an older edition but represents (where extant) a single 4th century Greek manuscript, codex Vaticanus. So the counts are of Greek editions, not English translations.

      Side note: Just this week, a new English translation of the Septuagint, the “Lexham English Septuagint” was published in print (see here: https://amzn.to/2Roc66Q ). It is a translation of Swete’s Greek edition of the Septuagint. I’m the managing editor of the project; if you have questions feel free to ask me.

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