Please consider the below Brown entry:

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I haven't got the faintest idea on what many of the abbreviations, symbols and whatnot are. I have looked at the book and there doesn't seem to be any list or legend to identify them anyway so I am wondering if the more scholarly of MY might have some insight?

Specifically I would like to know:

  1. What is the cross symbol at the start?
  2. What does (J) stand for?
  3. What is the 𝔊 symbol?
  4. Where do the greek words come from?
  5. Who is Nes, and what is Marg. 6?
  6. Who is Ball, and what is Hpt?
  7. What does MT stand for?

Thank you!


1 Answer 1


All abbreviations are explained in the beginning of the BDB Lexicon (link):

  • Cross = prefixed, or added, or both, indicates ‘All passages cited.’

  • J = J document in the documentary hypothesis (I prefer not spelling out the word).

  • 𝔊 = Greek version of the LXX (Septuagint)

  • The Greek words are copied out of the Septuagint.

  • Nes = E. Nestle, a biblical scholar and compiler of his own lexicon of biblical words.

  • Nesmarg = Marginalien u. Materialien, one of Nestle's works.

  • Hpt = Sacred Books of the OT , ed. Hpt (Polychrome Bible), by Paul Haupt.

  • Ball = Not mentioned because it's not an abbreviation, but probably C. J. Ball, who assisted with writing the Polychrome Bible. The HPT note means that it's the book written by Ball and edited by Haupt.

  • MT = Masoretic Text (spelled Massoretic Text there).

  • You're the best, thank you! May I ask you personally, how reliable do you think his quotes are from the Septuagint? Will they be in any way related to the original greek translation by our sages? I understand LXX is "original" but I am not a historical scholar so I defer to you, if I may, to guide me on how much I can trust the words for Torah scholarship purposes?
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Jun 2 at 13:36
  • 2
    @RabbiKaii you're very welcome. To paraphrase one of my professors, who has a lot of yirat shamayim as well as being knowledgeable in the field: The LXX is only useful for geographical historical research. Anything else is a lot of nonsense. The reason being that the LXX as we have it today is a modern (19th-20th cen.) construct based on the LXX created by the church fathers in the 4-6 cen. CE, itself an amalgamation of various Greek translations of Tanach of unknown providence, coupled with Christianized edits.
    – Harel13
    Jun 2 at 13:44
  • 1
    I am only aware of one case in which a rabbinical translation was preserved in the new LXX (see here: judaism.stackexchange.com/a/125853/20472). The LXX is mostly useful for understanding what early Christians thought of the Tanach, if you're into that field of research.
    – Harel13
    Jun 2 at 13:45

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