Septuagint Odes

Occasionally the student of the NT comes across a reference to the Septuagintal Odes. The Odes in the LXX (to be distinguished, n.b., from the Odes of Solomon) are a variable collection of nine or fourteen odes (or many other permutations in later MSS), mostly biblical and perhaps Christian in the collection’s origin, that come to have a long afterlife in the liturgical tradition (e.g., in the Horologion). Origen, Ambrosius and Philo of Karpasia, all list only prayers derived from traditions in the OT (i.e., no Magnificat, Benedictus, etc.). All begin with Exod 15. But by the 5th c. at least (in Alexandrinus) there is a MS tradition, and one that is marginally distinct from the main LXX text from which these songs come.

Various texts include Exod 15.1-19; Deut 32.1-43; 1 Kgdms 2.1-10; Isa 26.9-20; Jon. 2.3-10; Hab. 3.1-19; Isa 38.10-20; Prayer of Manasseh; Dan 3.26-45, 52-88(or 90); the Magnificat, Nunc Dimittis and Benedictus and the so-called Morning Hymn.

A brief overview of the Odes in four of important MSS (cf. Rahlfs 79-80)

A

R

T

55

1. Exod 15.1-19 1 1 1
2. Deut 32.1-43 2 2 2
3. 1 Kgdms 2.1-10 3 3 6 3
4. Hab 3.2-19 6 6 4
5. Isa 26.9-20 4 4: Isa 5.1-9 5
6. Jon. 2.3-10 5 5 6
7. Dan 3.26-45 9 lacking 10 7
8. Dan 3.52-88 10 8 11+12 8
9. Luke 1.46-55, 68-79 11+13 7 (only 1.46-55) 7+13 9+10
10. Isa 5.1-9 lacking 4 lacking lacking
11. Isa 38.10-20 7 lacking 8 12
12. Pr.Man. 8 lacking 9 13
13. Luke 2.29-32 12 lacking 14 11
14. Gloria 14 lacking 15 14

The only one of these that is not strictly biblical is Ode 14, which has a liturgical function in the early centuries of the church. But as the following chart makes clear, this is mostly a pastiche of quotations from other parts of the Greek Bible.

Ode 14:

Ὕμνος ἑωθινός. Cf. ὕμνος in Ps 53.1, 54.1, 60.1, etc.; ἐωθινός in Ps. 21.1
(1.) Δόξα ἐν ὑψίστοις θεῷ

(2.) καὶ ἐπὶ γῆς εἰρήνη,

(3.) ἐν ἀνθρώποις εὐδοκία.

Luke 2:14: Δόξα ἐν ὑψίστοις θεῷ

καὶ ἐπὶ γῆς εἰρήνη

ἐν ἀνθρώποις εὐδοκία[ς]

(4.) αἰνοῦμέν σε,

(5.) εὐλογοῦμέν σε,

(6.) προσκυνοῦμέν σε,

(7.) δοξολογοῦμέν σε,

(8.) εὐχαριστοῦμέν σοι

(9.) διὰ τὴν μεγάλην σου δόξαν,

(10.) κύριε βασιλεῦ,

(11.) ἐπουράνιε,

(12.) θεὲ πατὴρ παντοκράτωρ,

(13.) κύριε υἱὲ μονογενὴ

(14.) Ἰησοῦ Χριστὲ

(15.) καὶ ἅγιον πνεῦμα.

 

 

 

 

 

 

cf. Sir 51.1

 

Rev. 1.8; 4.8; 11.17; 15.3; 16.7; 19.6, etc.

John 1.18; 3.16

(16.) κύριε ὁ θεός,

(17.) ὁ ἀμνὸς τοῦ θεοῦ,

(18.) ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ πατρός,

(19.) ὁ αἴρων τὰς ἁμαρτίας τοῦ κόσμου,

(20.) ἐλέησον ἡμᾶς·

(21.) ὁ αἴρων τὰς ἁμαρτίας τοῦ κόσμου,

(22.) πρόσδεξαι τὴν δέησιν ἡμῶν·

(23.) ὁ καθήμενος ἐν δεξιᾷ τοῦ πατρός,

(24.) ἐλέησον ἡμᾶς.

 

John 1.29

2 John 3

John 1.29

Matt 9.27; 20.31; Luke 17.13

John 1.29

 

Cf. 2 Macc 1.26?

Ps 110.1 with NT uses; cf. Col 3.1

Matt 9.27; 20.31; Luke 17.13

(25.) ὅτι σὺ εἶ μόνος ἅγιος,

(26.) σὺ εἶ μόνος κύριος,

(27.) Ἰησοῦς Χριστός,

(28.) εἰς δόξαν θεοῦ πατρός. αμην.

 

Neh 9.6; Dan 3.45

 

Phil 2.11

(29.) καθ’ ἑκάστην ἡμέραν

εὐλογήσω σε

(30.) καὶ αἰνέσω τὸ ὄνομά σου εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα

(31.) καὶ εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα τοῦ αἰῶνος.

(32.) καταξίωσον, κύριε, καὶ τὴν ἡμέραν ταύτην

(33.) ἀναμαρτήτους φυλαχθῆναι ἡμᾶς.

Ps 144.2: καθ’ ἑκάστην ἡμέραν εὐλογήσω σε

καὶ αἰνέσω τὸ ὄνομά σου εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα

καὶ εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα τοῦ αἰῶνος.

 

 

 

Cf. Jude 24

(34.) εὐλογητὸς εἶ, κύριε ὁ θεὸς

τῶν πατέρων ἡμῶν,

(35.) καὶ αἰνετὸν καὶ δεδοξασμένον τὸ ὄνομά σου εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας. αμην.

Dan 3.26: Εὐλογητὸς εἶ, κύριε ὁ θεὸς τῶν πατέρων ἡμῶν,

καὶ αἰνετὸν καὶ δεδοξασμένον τὸ ὄνομά σου εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας,

(36.) εὐλογητὸς εἶ, κύριε,

δίδαξόν με τὰ δικαιώματά σου·

(37.) εὐλογητὸς εἶ, κύριε, δίδαξόν με τὰ δικαιώματά σου·

(38.) εὐλογητὸς εἶ, κύριε, δίδαξόν με τὰ δικαιώματά σου.

(39.) κύριε, καταφυγὴ ἐγενήθης ἡμῖν ἐν γενεᾷ καὶ γενεᾷ.

Ps 118.12: εὐλογητὸς εἶ, κύριε·

δίδαξόν με τὰ δικαιώματά σου.

 

 

 

Ps 89.1: καταφυγὴ ἐγενήθης ἡμῖν

ἐν γενεᾷ καὶ γενεᾷ·

(40.) ἐγὼ εἶπα Κύριε, ἐλέησόν με,

(41.) ἴασαι τὴν ψυχήν μου, ὅτι ἥμαρτόν σοι.

Ps 40.5: ἐγὼ εἶπα Κύριε, ἐλέησόν με·

ἴασαι τὴν ψυχήν μου, ὅτι

ἥμαρτόν σοι.

 

 

(42.) κύριε, πρὸς σὲ κατέφυγα·

(43.) δίδαξόν με τοῦ ποιεῖν τὸ θέλημά σου, ὅτι σὺ εἶ ὁ θεός μου·

(44.) ὅτι παρὰ σοὶ πηγὴ ζωῆς,

(45.) ἐν τῷ φωτί σου ὀψόμεθα φῶς·

(46.) παράτεινον τὸ ἔλεός σου τοῖς γινώσκουσίν σε.

Ps 142.9-10: ἐξελοῦ με ἐκ τῶν ἐχθρῶν μου,

κύριε, ὅτι πρὸς σὲ κατέφυγον.

δίδαξόν με τοῦ ποιεῖν τὸ θέλημά

σου, ὅτι σὺ εἶ ὁ θεός μου·

Ps 35.10-11a: ὅτι παρὰ σοὶ πηγὴ ζωῆς,

ἐν τῷ φωτί σου ὀψόμεθα φῶς.

παράτεινον τὸ ἔλεός σου τοῖς γινώσκουσίν σε

Select bibliography on LXX Odes 

Mearns, J., Canticles Eastern and Western. Cambridge: CUP, 1914.

Nestle, E., “Zu den Cantica am Schluss des Psalters,” ZAW 26 (1906), 286-87; idem, in Septuagintastudien.

Rahlfs, A., Psalmi cum Odis. Septuaginta X. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1967, esp. 78-80 (intro) and 340-65 (text)

Rousseau, O. “La plus ancienne liste de cantiques liturgiques tirés de l’écriture,” RechSR 35 (1948): 120-29.

Schneider, Heinrich. “Die biblischen Oden im christlichen Altertum,” Biblica 30 (1949): 28-65; “Die biblischen Oden seit dem sechsten Jahrhundert,” ibid., 239-72; “Die biblischen Oden in Jerusalem und Konstantinopel,” ibid., 433-452; “Die biblischen Oden im Mittelalter,” ibid., 479-500.

Van der Horst, Pieter W. and Judith Newman, Early Jewish Prayers in Greek (Walter de Gruyter: 2008).

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