Rahlfs and NETS Versification

As those attentive to my latest posts will have gathered, I’ve been spending much time working with the New English Translation of the Septuagint edited by Albert Pietersma and Benjamin Wright (Oxford, 2007). Part of this work involved determining the exact differences between the versification in the NETS text and the text of the readily available original Rahlfs Septuaginta (which is found in most electronic texts of the Septuagint), or the Rahlfs-Hanhart Septuaginta Editio altera, which uses the same versification. As the NETS utilized the versification (where available) found in the Göttingen Septuaginta, and its versification differs in some places from that of the Rahlfs editions, NETS ends up being slightly different than Rahlfs. The information below will show where this is the case. I hope it proves useful.

Readers of the NETS will have noticed that there is at times an alternate versification noted in the text of the NETS itself. These are pointers to the NRSV. I may present that list later, as well, but the following seems more immediately useful as these differences are not indicated in the NETS itself. If I’ve missed any that anyone else is aware of, please do let me know. I’ll add those in right away.

NETS Rahlfs
Gen 31.55 Gen 32.1a
Gen 32.1 Gen 32.1b
Ex 22.1 Ex 21.37
Ex 23.2-31 Ex 22.1-30
Ex 25.6-34 Ex 25.7-35
Ex 28.23 Ex 28.29
Ex 28.26-39 Ex 28.30-43
Ex 36.24 Ex 36.23b
Ex 26.25-37 Ex 36.24-36
Ex 36.38-39 Ex 36.37
Ex 36.40 Ex 36.38
Ex 39.2-3 Ex 39.3
Ex 39.4-5 Ex 39.4
Ex 39.6-16 Ex 39.5-15
Ex 39.16-17 Ex 39.16
Ex 39.18-20 Ex 39.17-19
Ex 39.21 Ex 39.19b-21
Ex 40.6 Ex 40.8
Ex 40.7-8 Ex 40.9-10
Ex 40.9 Ex 40.10
Ex 40.10-25 Ex 40.12-27
Ex 40.26 Ex 40.29
Ex 40.27-32 Ex 40.33-38
Leu 6.1-7 Leu 5.20-26
Leu 6.8-30 Leu 6.1-23
Leu 6.31-40 Leu 7.1-10
Leu 7.1-28 Leu 7.11-38
Num 13.1 Num 12.16
Num 13.2-34 Num 13.1-33
Num 16.36-50 Num 17.1-15
Num 17.1-13 Num 17.16-28
Dt 12.32 Dt 13.1
Dt 13.1-18 Dt 13.2-19
Dt 14.14b Dt 14.15
Dt 14.15-28 Dt 14.16-29
Dt 22.30 Dt 23.1
Dt 23.1-25 Dt 23.2-26
2Es 14.1-4 2Es 13.33-36a
2Es 14.5 2Es 13.36b
2Es 14.6 2Es 13.37
2Es 14.7-23 2Es 14.1-17
2Es 19.38 2Es 20.1
2Es 20.1-39 2Es 10.2-40
Wis 17.10 Wis 17.9b
Wis 17.11-17 Wis 17.10-16a
Wis 17.18 Wis 17.16b
Wis 17.18-21 Wis 17.17-20
Sir 34.11 Sir 34.10b
Sir 34.12-14 Sir 34.11-13a
Sir 34.15 Sir 34.13b
Sir 34.16 Sir 34.14
Sir 34.17-18 Sir 34.15
Sir 34.19-21 Sir 34.16-18a
Sir 34.22 Sir 34.18
Sir 34.23-26 Sir 34.19-22a
Sir 34.27 Sir 34.22b
Sir 34.28-31 Sir 34.23-26
Sir 35.1-2 Sir 35.1
Sir 35.2-3 Sir 35.2
Sir 35.5 Sir 35.3
Sir 35.6-7 Sir 35.4
Sir 35.8-14 Sir 35.5-11a
Sir 35.15a Sir 35.11b
Sir 35.15b-17 Sir 35.12-14
Sir 35.18-19 Sir 35.15
Sir 35.21-22a Sir 35.18
Sir 35.22b Sir 35.19
Sir 35.22c-23a Sir 35.20
Sir 35.23b Sir 35.21
Sir 35.24-26 Sir 35.22-24
Sir 36.1-2 Sir 36.1
Sir 36.3-5 Sir 36.2-4
Sir 36.6-7 Sir 36.5
Sir 36.8-9 Sir 36.6
Sir 36.10-12 Sir 36.7-9
Sir 36.13* Sir 36.10a
Sir 36.16-22a* Sir 36.10b-16
Sir 36.22b Sir 36.17
Sir 36.23-31a Sir 36.18-26
Sir 36.31b Sir 36.27
Hos 1.10-11 Os 2.1-2
Hos 2.1-23 Os 2.3-25
Hos 11.1a Os 10.15b
Hos 11.1b-11 Os 11.1-11
Hos 11.12 Os 12.1
Hos 12.1-14 Os 12.2-15
Mich 5.1 Mich 4.14
Mich 5.2-15 Mich 5.1-14
Na 1.15 Nah 2.1a
Na 2.1-14 Nah 2.1b-14
Zach 1.18-21 Zach 2.1-4
Zach 2.1-13 Zach 2.5-17
Mal 4.1-6 Mal 3.19-24
Esa 8.22b Is 8.23a
Esa 9.1 Is 8.23b
Esa 9.2-21 Is 9.1-20
Esa 64.1 Is 63.19b
Esa 64.2-12 Is 64.1-11
Ier 9.1 Ier 8.23
Ier 9.2-26 Ier 9.1-25
Ier 29.8-23 Ier 30.1-16
Ier 30.1-5 Ier 30.17-21
Ier 30.6-16 Ier 30.23-33
Iez 20.45-49 Iez 21.1-5
Iez 21.1-32 Iez 21.6-37
Dan (Th) 3.98-100 Dan (Th) 4.1-3
Dan (Th) 4.1-34 Dan (Th) 4.4-37
Dan (Th) 5.31 Dan (Th) 6.1
Dan (Th) 6.1-28 Dan (Th) 6.2-29
Dan (OG) 5.31 Dan (OG) 6.1
Dan (OG) 6.1-28 Dan (OG) 6.2-29


  1. Do you think that the decision to use the versification (where available) in the Göttingen Septuaginta was a wise move seeing as how most NETS users will not have access to those volumes?

  2. Is there a resource out there that catalogs the places/ways in which the NETS source text for the LXX differs from the text used by the Greek-speaking Orthodox churches (with or without getting into the further complication that the OT excerpts found as readings for particular services in the Triodion and Menaia etc. reportedly don’t always perfectly match the text the Church uses for the OT-bound-and-sold-as-a-complete-volume)?

    Oh, and while I’m asking (since I assume this neighborhood draws a crowd of well-informed LXX-philes), is there any good free replacement out there on the web for the cool concordance-with-all-inflected-variants features of the late http://www.zhubert.com that covers the LXX?

    1. Nick, I think we’re just kind of stuck there. It’s the critical text, after all, where it exists. It’s certainly unfortunate that it’s not available in some more affordable edition(s). Even I balk at the exorbitant price of those Göttingen volumes! If someone would just gather the text into an inexpensive edition, perhaps leaving out the apparatus, we’d all benefit from it. Overall, the differences between the Göttingen and Rahlfs don’t seem to affect the translation too often. Greek is so rich with synonyms whose precise connotations we’ve lost that the English translation is generally reflective of both.

      J.W., thanks for the comment. The only continuous text of the LXX that is traditionally familiar at all in the Greek Orthodox Church is that of Alexandrinus, which are essentially reproductions of the Moscow edition of the late nineteenth century. It’s well known on Mount Athos. But copies are extremely rare of that. The more accessible edition published by Zoē is the Rahlfs text (including, unfortunately, numerous errors of transcription) with the litugically used portions replacing Rahlfs where they’re present. I don’t now of any listing of the differences, unfortunately, though I’m sure there must be one out there. Perhaps someone else here will know.

      I’m unfortunately unfamiliar with the late zhubert.com site and the concordance you mention. It wouldn’t be hard to reproduce that from a Unicode text of the LXX, though. I’ll look into that. Again, perhaps someone else will know of something offhand that is similar.

  3. J.W.: I’m not familiar with the zhubert resource that you mention either, but you might like to check this out. It’s a one-stop-shop for all things LXX online. I don’t see anything that seems comparable to the resource you’ve asked about, but I haven’t looked at everything yet.

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