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Dr James Aitken

Dr James Aitken

Lecturer in Hebrew, Old Testament and Second Temple Studies

James Aitken is accepting applications for PhD students.

Office Phone: 01223 763024

Subject area and speciality

Old Testament specialists:
  • Second Temple Judaism
  • Apocrypha
  • The Septuagint
  • Book of Judges
  • Hebrew language and Lexicography
  • Greek language and Lexicography
Jewish studies specialists:
  • Hebrew Bible/Old Testament
  • Second Temple literature
  • Judaism and Hellenism
Late antiquity specialists:
Scriptural language specialists:
  • Hebrew
  • Aramaic
  • Septuagint Greek
Greek specialists:
Hebrew specialists:


Key Publications


  • J.K. Aitken, Greek Ecclesiastes and Jewish Cultural Identity, tbc.
  • J.K. Aitken, No Stone Unturned: Greek Inscriptions and Septuagint Vocabulary (CSHB; Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 2014).
  • J.K. Aitken, The Semantics of Blessing and Cursing in Ancient Hebrew (Louvain: Peeters, 2007).
  • G.I. Davies, assisted by J.K. Aitken, D.R. de Lacey, P.A. Smith & J. Squirrel, Ancient Hebrew Inscriptions: Corpus and Concordance, vol. 2 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004).

Edited books

  • Biblical Greek in Context (ed. with T.V. Evans; BiTS; Leuven: Peeters, 2015).
  • The T&T Clark Companion to the Septuagint (London: T&T Clark, 2015).
  • The Jewish-Greek Tradition in Antiquity and the Byzantine Empire (ed. with James Carleton Paget; Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014). 
  • Interested Readers (ed. with Jeremy Clines and Christl Maier; Atlanta, Ga.: SBL, 2013).
  • On Stone and Scroll: Essays in Honour of Graham Ivor Davies (ed. with K.J. Dell and B.A. Mastin; BZAW 420; Berlin: de Gruyter, 2011).
  • Jewish Perspectives on Hellenistic Rulers (ed. with T. Rajak, S. Pearce & J. Dines; Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007).
  • Challenges in Jewish-Christian Relations (ed. with E. Kessler; New York: Paulist Press, 2006).

Recent papers

  • 'The Literary and Linguistic Subtlety of the Greek Version of Sirach', in Proceedings of the Eichstatt Conference (Atlanta, Ga.: SBL Press), forthcoming.
  • 'Jewish Tradition and Culture', in P Esler (Eed.), The Early Christian World, 2nd edn. (London: Routledge), forthcoming.
  • 'The Jewish Bible of Timothy and Aquila', in S. Morlet (ed.), Dialogues ... (Leuven: Peeters), forthcoming.
  • 'The Septuagint and Egyptian Translation Methods', in M. Maiser & M. van der Meer (eds), XV Congress of the International Organization for Septuagint and Cognate Studies, Munich 2013 (Atlanta, Ga.: SBL Press, forthcoming).
  • 'Moses's θίβις', in Die Septuaginta – Orte und Intentionen. 5. Internationale Fachtagung veranstaltet von Septuaginta Deutsch (LXX.D), Wuppertal 24.–27. Juli 2014 2014 (ed. S. Kreuzer, M. Maiser and M. Sigismund; WUNT 361; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2016), 169-85.
  • 'The Origins of kai ge', in Biblical Greek in Context (ed. J.K. Aitken and T.V. Evans; BiTS; Leuven: Peeters, 2015), .
  • 'The Social and Historical Setting of the Septuagint: Palestine and the Diaspora', in T. Michael Law and Alison Salvesen (eds.), The [Oxford] Handbook of Septuagint (Oxford, forthcoming).
  • ‘Ben Sira's Table Manners and the Social Setting of His Book’, in J. Jarick (ed.), Perspectives on Israelite Wisdom (London: T&T Clark, 2016 [2015]), 418-38.
  • 'Introduction', 'Psalms', 'Proverbs' (with L. Cuppi), 'Ecclesiastes', 'Wisdom of Solomon', 'Prayer of Manasseh', in J.K. Aitken (ed.), The T&T Clark Companion to the Septuagint (London: T&T Clark, 2015).
  • 'Why is the Giraffe Kosher? Exoticism in Dietary Laws of the Second Temple Period', Biblische Notizen 164.1 (2015), 21-34.
  • ‘Race, Ethnicity, and Class: Ancient Judaism’, in The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Bible and Gender Studies (2 vols.; ed. J.M. O'Brien; Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014), 2: .
  • 'Jewish Worship amid Greeks: The Lexical Context of the Old Greek Psalter', in R. T. McLay (ed.), The Temple in Text and Tradition (London: T&T Clark, 2014), 48-70.
  • 'The Language of the Septuagint and Jewish Greek Identity', in James K. Aitken and James Carleton Paget (eds.), The Jewish-Greek Tradition in Antiquity and the Byzantine Empire (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014), 120-34.
  • ‘Outlook’, in The Reception of Septuagint Words in Jewish-Hellenistic and Christian Literature (ed. E. Bons, R. Brucker, and J. Joosten; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2014), pp. 183–94. 
  • 'Neologisms: A Septuagint Problem', in J.K. Aitken, C. Maier and J. Clines (eds.), Interested Readers: Essays on the Hebrew Bible in Honor of David J. A. Clines (Atlanta, Ga.: SBL, 2013), 315-29.
  • ‘The Characterisation of Speech in the Septuagint Pentateuch’, in David J.A. Clines and J. Cheryl Exum (eds), The Reception of the Hebrew Bible in the Septuagint and the New Testament: Essays in Memory of Aileen Guilding (Sheffield: Sheffield Phoenix, 2013), 9-31.
  • ‘The Inevitability of Reading Job through Lamentations’, in K.J. Dell and W. Kynes (eds.), Reading Job Intertextually (LHBOTS 574; London: T&T Clark, 2013), 204–19.
  • ‘Text Criticism: Apocrypha’, in M.D. Coogan, ed., The Oxford Encyclopaedia of the Books of the Bible (New York: Oxford University Press, 2012).
  • ‘Fat Eglon’, in G. Khan & D. Lipton (eds), Studies on the Text and Versions of the Hebrew Bible in honour of Robert Gordon (VTS 149; Leiden: Brill, 2012), 141-54.
  • ‘The Significance of Rhetoric in the Greek Pentateuch,’ in J.K. Aitken, K.J. Dell, and B.A. Mastin (eds), On Stone and Scroll (BZAW 420; Berlin: de Gruyter, 2011), 507–21.
  • barak, etc.’, in H.-J. Fabry and Ulrich Dahmen (eds), Theologisches Wörterbuch zum Qumrantexten, Band 1 (Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 2011), 521–28.
  • za‘am, etc.’, H.-J. Fabry and Ulrich Dahmen (eds), Theologisches Wörterbuch zum Qumrantexten, Band 1 (Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 2011), 861-62.
  • ‘The Literary Attainment of the Translator of Greek Sirach’, in J.-S. Rey & J. Joosten (eds), The Texts and Versions of the Book of Ben Sira: Transmission and Interpretation(JSJSup 150; Leiden: Brill, 2011), 95–126.
  • ‘Judaic National Identity’, in L.L. Grabbe & O. Lipschits (eds), Judah Between East and West: The Transition Period from Persian to Greek Rule (ca. 400-200 BCE) (LSTS 75; London T&T Clark, 2011), 31-48.
  • ‘Job’s diet: comfort, food and suffering’, in Piotr Mitzner and Anna Szczepan-Wojnarska (ed.), Hiob Biblijny, Hiob Obecny w Kuluturze (Warsaw: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Kardynala Stefana Warszawa, 2010), 47–68.
  • ‘Jewish Use of Greek Proverbs’, in N. de Lange et al. (eds), Jewish Reception of Greek Bible Versions (Mohr Siebeck, 2009), 53-77.
  • 'The Septuagint Translation Legend in a Byzantine Prognosticon', Bulletin of Judaeo-Greek Studies 43 (Winter 2008-09), 32-35.
  • 'Context of Situation in Biblical Lexica', in J. Dyk and W. van Peursen (eds), Foundations for Syriac Lexicography III (ISLP; Gorgias Press, 2009), 181-201.
  • 'Other Hebrew Lexica: Zorell and Alonso Schoekel', in J. Dyk and W. van Peursen (eds), Foundations for Syriac Lexicography III (ISLP; Gorgias Press, 2009), 251-64.
  • 'Phonological Phenomena in Greek Papyri and Inscriptions and their Significance for the Septuagint', in J. Corley and V. Skemp, Studies in the Greek Bible: Essays in honor of Francis T. Gignac, S.J. (CBQMS, 44; Washington DC: CBA, 2008), 256-77.
  • 'The God of the pre-Maccabees: Designations of the divine in the early Hellenistic period', in R.P. Gordon (ed.), The God of Israel (University of Cambridge Oriental publications, 64; Cambridge University Press, 2007), 246-66.
  • 'Poet and Critic: Royal Ideology and the Greek Translator of Proverbs', in Jewish Perspectives on Hellenistic Rulers (ed. T. Rajak, S. Pearce, J. Aitken & J. Dines; Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007).
  • 'Rhetoric and Poetry in Greek Ecclesiastes', Bulletin of the International Organization for Septuagint and Cognate Studies 38 (2006), 55-78.
  • 'What does Christianity in Jewish terms mean?', in J.K. Aitken & E.D. Kessler (eds), Challenges in Jewish-Christian Relations (New York: Paulist Press, 2006), 203-17.
  • 'Sanctus Matthaeus, magister sapientiae, summa cum laude', in Jeremy Corley & Vincent Skemp (eds), Intertextual Studies in Ben Sira and Tobit (CBQMS, 38; Washington, DC: The Catholic Biblical Association of America, 2005), 264-79.
  • 'Hengel's Judentum und Hellenismus', Journal of Biblical Literature 123 (2004), 331-41.
  • 'Introducing the Septuagint', Bulletin of Judaeo-Greek Studies 34 (2004), 20-26.

Other Publications

Ethiopic Flashcards:

Alphabet (Column I only) 
Full alphabet
Vocabulary I (Lambdin chh. 1-11)
Vocabulary II (Lambdin chh. 12-19)

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Festival of Ideas - Debating Philosophy of Religion

Oct 19, 2016

Workshop for students in Years 11,12, and 13: Saturday 22 November, 11am-1pm.

Vacancy: Fixed Term Research Associate in Theology and Science

Oct 12, 2016

The Faculty of Divinity of the University of Cambridge wishes to appoint a Research Associate to this project on Theology and Science.

Festival of Ideas - The New Cambridge Mosque Panel Discussion

Oct 07, 2016

As part of the Cambridge Festival of Ideas, Cambridge Inter-faith Programme is a hosting a panel discussion event on Saturday 22nd October.

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