Halfway through my year-long sabbatical in 2002-2003, I took off from Göttingen and returned to Claremont, California, for a ten-week period. As I was telling my colleagues Marvin Sweeney and Tammi Schneider all about “my Joshua papyrus,” Marvin asked the following question: “Would it be possible for you to write an easy book in which you explain what the importance of Greek biblical texts for the study of the Hebrew Bible is?” Tammi reminded me of my perspective taken in the article “Fifty Years of Qumran Research: A Different Approach,” published in Review of Religious Studies 28 (2002/2): 115-122, namely, “What could we have known about the text of the Hebrew Bible if we had studied sources different from the Dead Sea Scrolls more carefully?” Thus, the idea for this book was born. I actually started writing on it as soon as I hit the ground in Göttingen again.
At the end of this project, I would like to thank Marvin Sweeney and Tammi Schneider not only for giving me a good idea and for being such good colleagues, but also for being fine friends. My sincere thanks also go to Sukkil Yoon, Ph.D. student in Claremont and my research assistant, for his precision, devotion, patience, and genuine care. Dean Fitzmier deserves my gratitude for giving me a year-long sabbatical and for providing me with more than my share of research and teaching assistants. Leigh Andersen gave wise advise regarding making this book camera ready—she already knows where I drop the (American standards) ball. Jimmy Adair, the series editor, became my (Lucian) editor, not only improving the English style, but also correcting towards a better text. Moreover, when our son David came earlier than expected, Jimmy helped me dotting the i's and crossing the t's in a gazillion ways. Finally, I would like to thank Rex Matthews for taking this book under the SBL wings, for his constant encouragement, his friendship, and finally, but most importantly, for his big heart.
Claremont, June 2003