The growing trend to see the language of the LXX as an authentic example of post-Classical Greek may be extended to phonology and orthography. We can situate the phonology of the LXX within its historical Greek phonological context by implementing a restrictive methodology that focuses on transcribed names, the clusters of certain spelling conventions in relation to “early” and “late” books in the LXX, and manuscript-specific phenomena. We find that its language exhibits the same sort of phonological and orthographic features attested in contemporary documentary and epigraphic material. Codex Vaticanus provides the earliest explicit evidence for one of the notable phonological developments in the history of Greek, the fricativization of χ. It is demonstrated that the phonology of the LXX is right at home in its contemporary historical Greek phonological setting, and that it has unique contributions to make to the wider field of historical Greek phonology at large.
Significant linguistic research has been carried out in the field of language register and its relevance for speech patterns. In various contexts, language users tend to employ different linguistic features, especially but not limited to the realm of pronunciation. In many linguistic communities, there is a higher register of language associated with more formal settings, a lower register of language associated with less formal settings, and a wide spectrum of variation in between. In the context of reading traditions that develop around a sacred text, the same principles may apply. While the pronunciation (or phonology) of the reading tradition often interacts with and is influenced by the vernacular, tradents of the reading tradition often try to preserve a more “archaic,” conservative, and/or simply distinct pronunciation. There appears to be evidence that such a phenomenon was already at play in Biblical Hebrew reading traditions of late antiquity. By comparing Greek and Latin transcriptions of the Biblical Hebrew reading traditions of late antiquity to transcriptions of Hebrew taken from non-biblical sources, we can actually isolate multiple features that demonstrate a distinct difference in pronunciation between biblical and non-biblical sources. The collection of linguistic features characteristic of the reading tradition may properly be termed a “performance register,” the societal implications of which for Jewish communities of late antiquity will be explored in closing.