Sunday, January 20, 2013


The scribe Ezra (or Esdras in Greek) makes his first appearance in the Septuagint book bearing his name in the eighth or penultimate chapter. There is introduced as a "priest and reader of the law of the Lord" (1 Esdras 8:8).

The phrase "reader of the law of the Lord" is of some interest. The term translated here as reader is ἀναγνώστην. This same term is used hundreds of years later by the Christians as an ecclesiastical term for an office in the Church. The Latin word is the one used for the duty, lector. The lector then had very much the same task that Ezra himself had: to read scripture to the people.

So here is another early Christian institution that has its roots in the Old Testament.