Septuagint
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The Greek Old Testament, or Septuagint (, ; from the la, septuaginta, lit=seventy; often abbreviated ''70''; in
Roman numerals Roman numerals are a numeral system that originated in ancient Rome and remained the usual way of writing numbers throughout Europe well into the Late Middle Ages. Numbers in this system are represented by combinations of letters from the Latin ...
, LXX), is the earliest extant
Koine Greek Koine Greek (, , Greek approximately ;. , , , lit. "Common Greek"), also known as Alexandrian dialect, common Attic, Hellenistic or Biblical Greek, was the koiné language, common supra-regional form of Greek language, Greek spoken and written d ...
translation of books from the
Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection of Hebrew language, Hebrew scriptures, including the Torah, the Nevi'im, and the Ketuvim. These texts are almost exclusively in Biblical Hebrew, with a fe ...

Hebrew Bible
and deuterocanonical books. The first five books of the Hebrew Bible, known as the
Torah Torah (; he, תּוֹרָה, "Instruction", "Teaching" or "Law") has a range of meanings. It can most specifically mean the first five books (Pentateuch or Five Books of Moses) of the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: ...

Torah
or the
Pentateuch Torah (; he, תּוֹרָה, "Instruction", "Teaching" or "Law") has a range of meanings. It can most specifically mean the first five books (Pentateuch or Five Books of Moses) of the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: ...
, were translated in the mid-
3rd century BCE The 3rd century BC started the first day of 300 BC and ended the last day of 201 BC. It is considered part of the Classical era, Epoch (reference date), epoch, or historical period. In the Mediterranean Basin, the first few decades of this cent ...
. The remaining books of the Greek Old Testament are presumably translations of the 2nd century BCE. The full title ( grc , Ἡ μετάφρασις τῶν Ἑβδομήκοντα, , The Translation of the Seventy) derives from the story recorded in the
Letter of Aristeas The Letter of Aristeas or Letter to Philocrates is a Hellenistic The Hellenistic period covers the period of Mediterranean history between the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC and the emergence of the Roman Empire, as signified by t ...
that the Hebrew Torah was translated into Greek at the request of
Ptolemy II Philadelphus ; egy, Userkanaenre wikt:mry-jmn, Meryamun#Clayton06, Clayton (2006) p. 208 , predecessor = Ptolemy I Soter , successor = Ptolemy III Euergetes , horus = ''ḥwnw-ḳni'Khunuqeni''The brave youth , nebty = ''wr-pḥtj ...

Ptolemy II Philadelphus
(285–247 BCE) by 70 Jewish scholars or, according to later tradition, 72: six scholars from each of the
Twelve Tribes of Israel The Twelve Tribes of Israel ( he, שבטי ישראל, translit=Shivtei Yisrael, lit=Tribes of Israel) are, according to Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic religious texts, the descendants of the biblical Patriarchs (Bible), patriarch Jacob, also kno ...
, who independently produced identical translations. The miraculous character of the Aristeas legend might indicate the esteem and disdain in which the translation was held at the time; Greek translations of Hebrew scriptures were in circulation among the
Alexandrian Jews The history of the Jews in Alexandria, Egypt, dates back to the founding of the city by Alexander the Great in 332 BCE. Jews in Alexandria played a crucial role in the political, economic, and religious life of Hellenistic period, Hellenistic and Ro ...
. Egyptian
papyri Papyrus ( ) is a material similar to thick paper Paper is a thin sheet material produced by mechanically and/or chemically processing cellulose fibres derived from wood, Textile, rags, poaceae, grasses or other vegetable sources in water, ...

papyri
from the period have led most scholars to view as probable Aristeas's dating of the translation of the Pentateuch to the third century BCE. Whatever share the Ptolemaic court may have had in the translation, it satisfied a need felt by the Jewish community, in whom the knowledge of Hebrew was waning. However, the authenticity of Aristeas' letter has been questioned; " was the English monk
Humphrey Hody Humphrey Hody (1659 – 20 January 1707) was an English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval Engla ...

Humphrey Hody
(1684) who was able to show convincingly that the letter was not by a contemporary of Philadelphus." Greek scriptures were in wide use during the
Second Temple period The Second Temple period in Jewish history lasted between 516 BCE and 70 CE, when the Second Temple The Second Temple (, ''Bet HaMikdash, Beit HaMikdash HaSheni'') was the Temple in Jerusalem, Jewish holy temple, which stood on the Temple Mount ...
, because few people could read Hebrew at that time. The text of the Greek Old Testament is quoted more often than the original Hebrew Bible text in the Greek
New Testament The New Testament grc, Ἡ Καινὴ Διαθήκη, Transliteration, transl. ; la, Novum Testamentum. (NT) is the second division of the Christian biblical canon. It discusses the teachings and person of Jesus in Christianity, Jesus, as w ...

New Testament
(particularly the
Pauline epistles The Pauline epistles, also known as Epistles of Paul or Letters of Paul, are the thirteen books of the New Testament attributed to Paul the Apostle, although the authorship of some is in dispute. Among these epistles are some of the earliest extant ...
) by the
Apostolic Fathers The Apostolic Fathers were core Christian theologians Christian theology is the theology Theology is the systematic study of the nature of the Divinity, divine and, more broadly, of religious belief. It is taught as an Discipline (academia), ac ...
, and later by the Greek Church Fathers. Modern
critical edition , Manuscript C, folio 436v, 11th century Textual criticism is a branch of textual scholarship, philology, and of literary criticism that is concerned with the identification of textual variants, or different versions, of either manuscripts or of p ...
s of the Greek Old Testament are based on the Codices
Alexandrinus
Alexandrinus
,
Sinaiticus Codex Sinaiticus ( ell, Σιναϊτικός Κώδικας, ''Sinaïtikós Kṓdikas''; ShelfmarkA shelfmark is a mark in a book or manuscript that denotes the cupboard or bookcase where it is kept as well as the shelf and possibly even its loc ...
, and Vaticanus. These fourth- and fifth-century Greek Old Testament manuscripts have different lengths. The Codex Alexandrinus, for example, contains all four
books of the MaccabeesThe Books of the Maccabees or Sefer Hamakabim, ''Book of the Maccabees'', recount the history of the Maccabees, the leaders of the Jews, Jewish rebellion against the Seleucid dynasty. List of books The Book of the Maccabees refers to a series of deu ...
; the Codex Sinaiticus contains 1 and 4 Maccabees, and the Codex Vaticanus contains none of the four books.


Names

"Septuagint" is derived from the
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became the ...

Latin
phrase ''versio septuaginta interpretum'' ("translation of the seventy interpreters"), which was derived from the grc , Ἡ μετάφρασις τῶν Ἑβδομήκοντα, hē metáphrasis tōn hebdomḗkonta, The Translation of the Seventy. It was not until the time of (354–430 CE) that the Greek translation of the Jewish scriptures was called by the Latin term ''Septuaginta''. The Roman numeral LXX (seventy) is commonly used as an abbreviation, in addition to \mathfrak or ''G''.


Composition


Jewish legend

According to the legend, seventy-two Jewish scholars were asked by
Ptolemy II Philadelphus ; egy, Userkanaenre wikt:mry-jmn, Meryamun#Clayton06, Clayton (2006) p. 208 , predecessor = Ptolemy I Soter , successor = Ptolemy III Euergetes , horus = ''ḥwnw-ḳni'Khunuqeni''The brave youth , nebty = ''wr-pḥtj ...

Ptolemy II Philadelphus
, the Greek Pharaoh of Egypt, to translate the
Torah Torah (; he, תּוֹרָה, "Instruction", "Teaching" or "Law") has a range of meanings. It can most specifically mean the first five books (Pentateuch or Five Books of Moses) of the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: ...

Torah
from
Biblical Hebrew Biblical Hebrew ( ''Ivrit Miqra'it'' or ''Leshon ha-Miqra''), also called Classical Hebrew, is an archaic form of Hebrew language, Hebrew, a language in the Canaanite languages, Canaanite branch of Semitic languages, Semitic languages, spoken b ...
to Greek for inclusion in the
Library of Alexandria The Great Library of Alexandria in Alexandria, Egypt, was one of the largest and most significant libraries of the ancient world. The Library was part of a larger research institution called the Musaeum, Mouseion, which was dedicated to the ...

Library of Alexandria
.Jennifer M. Dines, ''The Septuagint,'' Michael A. Knibb, Ed., London: T&T Clark, 2004. This narrative is found in the
pseudepigraphic Pseudepigrapha (also :wikt:anglicized, anglicized as "pseudepigraph" or "pseudepigraphs") are false attribution, falsely attributed works, texts whose claimed author is not the true author, or a work whose real author attributed it to a figure o ...
Letter of Aristeas The Letter of Aristeas or Letter to Philocrates is a Hellenistic The Hellenistic period covers the period of Mediterranean history between the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC and the emergence of the Roman Empire, as signified by t ...
to his brother Philocrates, and is repeated by
Philo of Alexandria Philo of Alexandria (; grc, Φίλων, Phílōn; he, , Yedidia (Jedediah) HaCohen; ), also called Philo Judaeus, was a Hellenistic Jewish philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy. The term ''philosopher'' comes from ...
,
Josephus Titus Flavius Josephus (; ; 37 – 100), born Yosef ben Matityahu ( he, יוסף בן מתתיהו ''Yōsef ben Matiṯyāhu''; grc-gre, Ἰώσηπος Ματθίου παῖς ''Iṓsēpos Matthíou paîs''), was a first-century Romano-Jewish ...

Josephus
(in ''
Antiquities of the Jews ''Antiquities of the Jews'' ( la, Antiquitates Iudaicae; el, Ἰουδαϊκὴ ἀρχαιολογία, ''Ioudaikē archaiologia'') is a 20-volume historiographical work, written in Greek, by the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus in the 13th ye ...
''), and by later sources (including ). It is also found in the Tractate Megillah of the
Babylonian Talmud The Talmud (; he, תַּלְמוּד ''Tálmūḏ'') is the central text of Rabbinic Judaism and the primary source of Jewish religious law (''halakha ''Halakha'' (; he, הֲלָכָה, ; also Romanization of Hebrew, transliterated as ''ha ...

Babylonian Talmud
: Philo of Alexandria writes that the number of scholars was chosen by selecting six scholars from each of the
twelve tribes of Israel The Twelve Tribes of Israel ( he, שבטי ישראל, translit=Shivtei Yisrael, lit=Tribes of Israel) are, according to Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic religious texts, the descendants of the biblical Patriarchs (Bible), patriarch Jacob, also kno ...
. Caution is needed here regarding the accuracy of this statement by
Philo of Alexandria Philo of Alexandria (; grc, Φίλων, Phílōn; he, , Yedidia (Jedediah) HaCohen; ), also called Philo Judaeus, was a Hellenistic Jewish philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy. The term ''philosopher'' comes from ...

Philo of Alexandria
, as it implies that the twelve tribes were still in existence during reign, and that the
Ten Lost Tribes The ten lost tribes were the ten of the Twelve Tribes of Israel that were said to have been Resettlement policy of the Neo-Assyrian Empire, exiled from the Kingdom of Israel (Samaria), Kingdom of Israel after its conquest by the Neo-Assyrian Emp ...
of the twelve tribes had not been forcibly resettled by
Assyria Assyria () ( akk, 𒀸𒋩, syc, ܐܬܘܪ or ), also at times called the Assyrian Empire, was a Mesopotamian kingdom and empire of the Ancient Near East that existed as a state from perhaps as early as the 25th century BC (in the form of the ...
almost 500 years previously. According to later rabbinic tradition (which considered the Greek translation as a distortion of sacred text and unsuitable for use in the synagogue), the Septuagint was given to Ptolemy two days before the annual
Tenth of Tevet Tenth of Tevet ( he, עשרה בטבת, ''Asarah BeTevet''), the tenth day of the Hebrew calendar, Hebrew month of Tevet, is a Taanit, fast day in Judaism. It is one of the minor fasting, fasts observed from before dawn to nightfall. The fasti ...
fast.


History

The 3rd century BCE is supported for the Torah translation by a number of factors, including its Greek being representative of early
Koine Greek Koine Greek (, , Greek approximately ;. , , , lit. "Common Greek"), also known as Alexandrian dialect, common Attic, Hellenistic or Biblical Greek, was the koiné language, common supra-regional form of Greek language, Greek spoken and written d ...
, citations beginning as early as the 2nd century BCE, and early
manuscript A manuscript (abbreviated MS for singular and MSS for plural) was, traditionally, any document written by hand – or, once practical typewriter A typewriter is a machine, mechanical or electromechanical machine for typing characters s ...

manuscript
s datable to the 2nd century. After the Torah, other books were translated over the next two to three centuries. It is unclear which was translated when, or where; some may have been translated twice (into different versions), and then revised. The quality and style of the translators varied considerably from book to book, from a
literal translation Literal translation, direct translation or word-for-word translation, is a translation of a text done by translating each word separately, without looking at how the words are used together in a phrase or sentence. In translation theory, anoth ...
to
paraphrasing A paraphrase is a restatement of the meaning of a text or passage using other words. The term itself is derived via Latin ' from Ancient Greek language, Greek , meaning "additional manner of expression". The act of paraphrasing is also called " ...
to an interpretative style. The translation process of the Septuagint and from the Septuagint into other versions can be divided into several stages: the Greek text was produced within the social environment of
Hellenistic Judaism Hellenistic Judaism was a form of Judaism Judaism ( he, יהדות, ''Yahadut''; originally from Hebrew , ''Yehudah'', "Kingdom of Judah, Judah", via Ancient Greek, Greek ''Ioudaismos''; the term itself is of Anglo-Latin origin c. 1400) i ...
, and completed by 132 BCE. With the spread of
Early Christianity The history of Christianity concerns the Christianity, Christian religion, Christendom, Christian countries, and the Christian Church, Church with its various Christian denomination, denominations, from the Christianity in the 1st century, 1st ...
, this Septuagint in turn was rendered into Latin in a variety of versions and the latter, collectively known as the ''
Vetus Latina ''Vetus Latina'' ("Old Latin" in Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through th ...
'', were also referred to as the Septuagint initially in
Alexandria ) , name = Alexandria ( or ; ar, الإسكندرية ; arz, اسكندرية ; cop, ⲣⲁⲕⲟϯ, Rakotī; el, Αλεξάνδρεια ''Alexándria'') is the third-largest city in Egypt after Cairo Cairo ...

Alexandria
but elsewhere as well. The Septuagint also formed the basis for the Slavonic,
SyriacSyriac may refer to: *Syriac language, a dialect of Middle Aramaic * Syriac alphabet ** Syriac (Unicode block) ** Syriac Supplement * Neo-Aramaic languages also known as Syriac in most native vernaculars * Syriac Christianity, the churches using Syr ...
, Old
Armenian Armenian may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to Armenia, a country in the South Caucasus region of Eurasia * Armenians, the national people of Armenia, or people of Armenian descent ** Armenian language, the Indo-European language spoken ...
, Old
Georgian Georgian may refer to: Common meanings * Anything related to, or originating from Georgia (country) **Georgians, an indigenous Caucasian ethnic group **Georgian language, a Kartvelian language spoken by Georgians **Georgian scripts, three scripts ...
, and
Coptic Coptic may refer to: Afro-Asia * Copts, an ethnoreligious group mainly in the area of modern Egypt but also in Sudan and Libya * Coptic language, a Northern Afro-Asiatic language spoken in Egypt until at least the 17th century * Coptic alphabet, th ...
versions of the Christian
Old Testament The Old Testament (often abbreviated OT) is the first division of the Christian biblical canon, which is based primarily upon the 24 books of the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical c ...
.Ernst Würthwein, ''The Text of the Old Testament,'' trans. Errol F. Rhodes, Grand Rapids, Mich.: Wm. Eerdmans, 1995.


Language

The Septuagint is written in Koine Greek. Some sections contain Semiticisms, idioms and phrases based on Semitic languages such as Hebrew language, Hebrew and Aramaic language, Aramaic. Other books, such as book of Daniel, Daniel and Book of Proverbs, Proverbs, have a stronger Greek influence. The Septuagint may also clarify pronunciation of pre-Masoretic Text, Masoretic Hebrew; many proper nouns are spelled with Greek vowels in the translation, but contemporary Hebrew texts lacked Niqqud, vowel pointing. However, it is unlikely that all
Biblical Hebrew Biblical Hebrew ( ''Ivrit Miqra'it'' or ''Leshon ha-Miqra''), also called Classical Hebrew, is an archaic form of Hebrew language, Hebrew, a language in the Canaanite languages, Canaanite branch of Semitic languages, Semitic languages, spoken b ...
sounds had precise Greek equivalents.


Canonical differences

As the translation progressed, the Biblical canon, canon of the Greek Bible expanded. The
Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection of Hebrew language, Hebrew scriptures, including the Torah, the Nevi'im, and the Ketuvim. These texts are almost exclusively in Biblical Hebrew, with a fe ...

Hebrew Bible
, also called the Tanakh, has three parts: the Torah "Law", the Nevi'im "Prophets", and the Ketuvim "Writings". The Septuagint has four: law, history, poetry, and prophets. The books of the Biblical apocrypha, Apocrypha were inserted at appropriate locations. Extant copies of the Septuagint, which date from the 4th century CE, contain books and additions not present in the Hebrew Bible as established in the Palestinian Jewish canon and are not uniform in their contents. According to some scholars, there is no evidence that the Septuagint included these additional books. These copies of the Septuagint include books known as ''anagignoskomena'' in Greek and in English as Deuterocanonical books, deuterocanon (derived from the Greek words for "second canon"), books not included in the Development of the Hebrew Bible canon, Jewish canon. These books are estimated to have been written between 200 BCE and 50 CE. Among them are the first two books of Books of the Maccabees, Maccabees; Tobit; Judith; the Wisdom of Solomon; Sirach; Baruch (including the Letter of Jeremiah), and additions to Esther and Daniel. The Septuagint version of some books, such as Daniel and Book of Esther, Esther, are longer than those in the Masoretic Text, which were affirmed as canonical by the rabbis. The Septuagint Book of Jeremiah is shorter than the Masoretic Text. The Psalms of Solomon, 3 Maccabees, 4 Maccabees, the Letter of Jeremiah, the Book of Odes (Bible), Book of Odes, the Prayer of Manasseh and Psalm 151 are included in some copies of the Septuagint. Several reasons have been given for the rejection of the Septuagint as scriptural by mainstream rabbinic Judaism since late antiquity. Differences between the Hebrew and the Greek were found. The Hebrew source texts in some cases (particularly the Book of Daniel) used for the Septuagint differed from the Masoretic Text. The rabbis also wanted to distinguish their tradition from the emerging tradition of Christianity, which frequently used the Septuagint. As a result of these teachings, other translations of the Torah into Koine Greek by early Jewish rabbis have survived only as rare fragments. The Septuagint became synonymous with the Greek Old Testament, a Christian canon incorporating the books of the Hebrew canon with additional texts. Although the Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church include most of the books in the Septuagint in their canons, Protestantism, Protestant churches usually do not. After the Reformation, many Protestant Bibles began to follow the Jewish Biblical canon, canon and exclude the additional texts (which came to be called the Apocrypha) as noncanonical. The Apocrypha are included under a separate heading in the King James Version of the Bible.


Final form

All the books in Western Old Testament biblical canons are found in the Septuagint, although the order does not always coincide with the Western book order. The Septuagint order is evident in the earliest Christian Bibles, which were written during the fourth century. Some books which are set apart in the Masoretic Text are grouped together. The Books of Samuel and the Books of Kings are one four-part book entitled Βασιλειῶν (Of Reigns) in the Septuagint. The Books of Chronicles, known collectively as Παραλειπομένων (Of Things Left Out) supplement Reigns. The Septuagint organizes the minor prophets in its twelve-part Book of Twelve. Some ancient scriptures are found in the Septuagint, but not in the Hebrew Bible. The additional books are Book of Tobit, Tobit; Judith; the Book of Wisdom, Wisdom of Solomon; Sirach, Wisdom of Jesus son of Sirach; Book of Baruch, Baruch and the Letter of Jeremiah, which became chapter six of Baruch in the Vulgate; additions to Daniel (The Prayer of Azariah, The Prayer of Azarias, the The Prayer of Azariah and Song of the Three Holy Children, Song of the Three Children, Susanna (Book of Daniel), Susanna, and Bel and the Dragon); additions to Book of Esther, Esther; 1 Maccabees; 2 Maccabees; 3 Maccabees; 4 Maccabees; 1 Esdras; Book of Odes (Bible), Odes (including the Prayer of Manasseh); the Psalms of Solomon, and Psalm 151. Fragments of deuterocanonical books in Hebrew are among the Dead Sea Scrolls found at Qumran. Sirach, whose text in Hebrew was already known from the Cairo Geniza, has been found in two scrolls (2QSir or 2Q18, 11QPs_a or 11Q5) in Hebrew. Another Hebrew scroll of Sirach has been found in Masada (MasSir). Five fragments from the Book of Tobit have been found in Qumran: four written in Aramaic language, Aramaic and one written in Hebrew (papyri 4Q, nos. 196-200). Psalm 151 appears with a number of canonical and non-canonical psalms in the Dead Sea scroll 11QPs(a) (also known as 11Q5), a first-century-CE scroll discovered in 1956. The scroll contains two short Hebrew psalms, which scholars agree were the basis for Psalm 151. The canonical acceptance of these books varies by Christian tradition.


Theodotion's translation

In the most ancient copies of the Bible which contain the Septuagint version of the Old Testament, the Book of Daniel is not the original Septuagint version but a copy of Theodotion's translation from the Hebrew which more closely resembles the Masoretic Text. The Septuagint version was discarded in favor of Theodotion's version in the 2nd to 3rd centuries CE. In Greek-speaking areas, this happened near the end of the 2nd century; in Latin-speaking areas (at least in North Africa), it occurred in the middle of the 3rd century. The reason for this is unknown. Several Old Greek texts of the Book of Daniel have been discovered, and the original form of the book is being reconstructed.


Use


Jewish use

It is unclear to what extent
Alexandrian Jews The history of the Jews in Alexandria, Egypt, dates back to the founding of the city by Alexander the Great in 332 BCE. Jews in Alexandria played a crucial role in the political, economic, and religious life of Hellenistic period, Hellenistic and Ro ...
accepted the authority of the Septuagint. Manuscripts of the Septuagint have been found among the Dead Sea Scrolls, and were thought to have been in use among various Essenes, Jewish sects at the time. Several factors led most Jews to abandon the Septuagint around the second century CE. The earliest gentile Christians used the Septuagint out of necessity, since it was the only Greek version of the Bible and most (if not all) of these early non-Jewish Christians could not read Hebrew. The association of the Septuagint with a rival religion may have made it suspect in the eyes of the newer generation of Jews and Jewish scholars. Jews instead used Hebrew or Aramaic Targum manuscripts later compiled by the Masoretes and authoritative Aramaic translations, such as those of Targum Onkelos, Onkelos and Targum Jonathan, Rabbi Yonathan ben Uziel. Perhaps most significant for the Septuagint, as distinct from other Greek versions, was that the Septuagint began to lose Jewish sanction after differences between it and contemporary Hebrew scriptures were discovered. Even Hellenistic Judaism, Greek-speaking Jews tended to prefer other Jewish versions in Greek (such as the translation by Aquila of Sinope, Aquila), which seemed to be more concordant with contemporary Hebrew texts.


Christian use

The Early Christianity, Early Christian church used the Greek texts, since Greek was a ''lingua franca'' of the Roman Empire at the time and the language of the Greco-Roman Church while Aramaic was the language of Syriac Christianity. The relationship between the apostolic use of the Septuagint and the Hebrew texts is complicated. Although the Septuagint seems to have been a major source for the Apostles, it is not the only one. St. Jerome offered, for example, Matthew 2:15 and Matthew 2:23, 2:23, , , and St. Jerome, ''Apology Book II''. as examples found in Hebrew texts but not in the Septuagint. Matthew 2:23 is not present in current Masoretic tradition either; according to Jerome, however, it was in Isaiah 11:1. The New Testament writers freely used the Greek translation when citing the Jewish scriptures (or quoting Jesus doing so), implying that Jesus, his apostles, and their followers considered it reliable.H. B. Swete, ''An Introduction to the Old Testament in Greek,'' revised by R.R. Ottley, 1914; reprint, Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson, 1989. In the early Christian Church, the presumption that the Septuagint was translated by Jews before the time of Christ and that it lends itself more to a Christological interpretation than 2nd-century Hebrew texts in certain places was taken as evidence that "Jews" had changed the Hebrew text in a way that made it less Christological. Irenaeus writes about Isaiah 7:14 that the Septuagint clearly identifies a "virgin" (Greek ''παρθένος''; ''bethulah'' in Hebrew) who would conceive. The word ''almah'' in the Hebrew text was, according to Irenaeus, interpreted by Theodotion and Aquila of Sinope, Aquila (Jewish Proselyte, converts), as a "young woman" who would conceive. Again according to Irenaeus, the Ebionites used this to claim that Joseph was the biological father of Jesus. To him that was Heresy in Christianity, heresy facilitated by late anti-Christian alterations of the scripture in Hebrew, as evident by the older, pre-Christian Septuagint.Irenaeus, ''Against Herecies Book III''. Jerome broke with church tradition, translating most of the
Old Testament The Old Testament (often abbreviated OT) is the first division of the Christian biblical canon, which is based primarily upon the 24 books of the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical c ...
of his Vulgate from Hebrew rather than Greek. His choice was sharply criticized by Augustine of Hippo, Augustine, his contemporary. Although Jerome argued for the superiority of the Hebrew texts in correcting the Septuagint on philological and theological grounds, because he was accused of heresy he also acknowledged the Septuagint texts.Rebenich, S., ''Jerome'' (Routledge, 2013), p. 58. Acceptance of Jerome's version increased, and it displaced the Septuagint's Vetus Latina, Old Latin translations. The Eastern Orthodoxy, Eastern Orthodox Church prefers to use the Septuagint as the basis for translating the Old Testament into other languages, and uses the untranslated Septuagint where Greek is the liturgical language. Critical translations of the Old Testament which use the Masoretic Text as their basis consult the Septuagint and other versions to reconstruct the meaning of the Hebrew text when it is unclear, corrupted, or ambiguous. According to the New Jerusalem Bible foreword, "Only when this (the Masoretic Text) presents insuperable difficulties have emendations or other versions, such as the [...] LXX, been used."New Jerusalem Bible Readers Edition, 1990: London, citing the Standard Edition of 1985 The translator's preface to the New International Version reads, "The translators also consulted the more important early versions (including) the Septuagint [...] Readings from these versions were occasionally followed where the Masoretic Text, MT seemed doubtful""Life Application Bible" (NIV), 1988: Tyndale House Publishers, using "Holy Bible" text, copyright International Bible Society 1973


Textual history


Textual analysis

Modern scholarship holds that the Septuagint was written from the 3rd through the 1st centuries BCE, but nearly all attempts at dating specific books (except for the Pentateuch, early- to mid-3rd century BCE) are tentative. Later Jewish revisions and recensions of the Greek against the Hebrew are well-attested. The best-known are Aquila of Sinope, Aquila (128 CE), Symmachus the Ebionite, Symmachus, and Theodotion. These three, to varying degrees, are more-literal renderings of their contemporary Hebrew scriptures compared to the Old Greek (the original Septuagint). Modern scholars consider one (or more) of the three to be new Greek versions of the Hebrew Bible. Although much of Origen's ''Hexapla'' (a six-version critical edition of the Hebrew Bible) is lost, several compilations of fragments are available. Origen kept a column for the Old Greek (the Septuagint), which included readings from all the Greek versions in a critical apparatus with diacritical marks indicating to which version each line (Gr. στίχος) belonged. Perhaps the ''Hexapla'' was never copied in its entirety, but Origen's combined text was copied frequently (eventually without the editing marks) and the older uncombined text of the Septuagint was neglected. The combined text was the first major Christian recension of the Septuagint, often called the ''Hexaplar recension''. Two other major recensions were identified in the century following Origen by Jerome, who attributed these to Lucian of Antioch, Lucian (the Lucianic, or Antiochene, recension) and Hesychius of Alexandria, Hesychius (the Hesychian, or Alexandrian, recension).


Manuscripts

The oldest manuscripts of the Septuagint include 2nd-century-BCE fragments of Leviticus and Deuteronomy (Rahlfs nos. 801, 819, and 957) and 1st-century-BCE fragments of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, and the Twelve Minor Prophets (Alfred Rahlfs nos. 802, 803, 805, 848, 942, and 943). Relatively-complete manuscripts of the Septuagint postdate the Hexaplar recension, and include the fourth-century-CE Codex Vaticanus Graecus 1209, Codex Vaticanus and the fifth-century Codex Alexandrinus. These are the oldest-surviving nearly-complete manuscripts of the Old Testament in any language; the oldest extant complete Hebrew texts date to about 600 years later, from the first half of the 10th century. The 4th-century Codex Sinaiticus also partially survives, with many Old Testament texts. The Jewish (and, later, Christian) revisions and recensions are largely responsible for the divergence of the codices. The Codex Marchalianus is another notable manuscript.


Differences from the Vulgate and the Masoretic Text

The text of the Septuagint is generally close to that of the Masoretes and Vulgate. is identical in the Septuagint, Vulgate and the Masoretic Text, and to the end of the chapter is the same. There is only one noticeable difference in that chapter, at 4:7: The differences between the Septuagint and the MT fall into four categories: # ''Different Hebrew sources for the MT and the Septuagint''. Evidence of this can be found throughout the Old Testament. A subtle example may be found in ; the meaning remains the same, but the choice of words evidences a different text. The MT reads ''"...al tedaber yehudit be-'ozne ha`am al ha-homa"'' [speak not the Judean language in the ears of (or—which can be heard by) the people on the wall]. The same verse in the Septuagint reads, according to the translation of Brenton: "and speak not to us in the Jewish tongue: and wherefore speakest thou in the ears of the men on the wall." The MT reads "people" where the Septuagint reads "men". This difference is very minor and does not affect the meaning of the verse. Scholars had used discrepancies such as this to claim that the Septuagint was a poor translation of the Hebrew original. This verse is found in Qumran (1QIsa''a''), however, where the Hebrew word ''"haanashim"'' (the men) is found in place of ''"haam"'' (the people). This discovery, and others like it, showed that even seemingly-minor differences of translation could be the result of variant Hebrew source texts. # ''Differences in interpretation'' stemming from the same Hebrew text. An example is , shown above. # ''Differences as a result of idiomatic translation issues'': A Hebrew idiom may not be easily translated into Greek, and some difference is imparted. In , the MT reads: "The shields of the earth belong to God"; the Septuagint reads, "To God are the mighty ones of the earth." # ''Transmission changes in Hebrew or Greek'': Revision or recension changes and copying errors


Dead Sea Scrolls

The Biblical manuscripts found in Qumran, commonly known as the Dead Sea Scrolls (DSS), have prompted comparisons of the texts associated with the Hebrew Bible (including the Septuagint). Emanuel Tov, editor of the translated scrolls,Edwin Yamauchi, "Bastiaan Van Elderen, 1924– 2004", SBL Forum
Accessed 26 March 2011.
identifies five broad variants of DSS texts:Tov, E. 2001. Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible (2nd ed.) Assen/Maastricht: Van Gocum; Philadelphia: Fortress Press. As cited i
Flint, Peter W. 2002. The Bible and the Dead Sea Scrolls as presented in Bible and computer: the Stellenbosch AIBI-6 Conference: proceedings of the Association internationale Bible et informatique, "From alpha to byte", University of Stellenbosch, 17–21 July, 2000 Association internationale Bible et informatique. Conference, Johann Cook (ed.) Leiden/Boston BRILL, 2002
/ref> # Proto-Masoretic: A stable text and numerous, distinct agreements with the Masoretic Text. About 60 percent of the Biblical scrolls (including 1QIsa-b) are in this category. # Pre-Septuagint: Manuscripts which have distinctive affinities with the Greek Bible. About five percent of the Biblical scrolls, they include 4QDeut-q, 4QSam-a, 4QJer-b, and 4QJer-d. In addition to these manuscripts, several others share similarities with the Septuagint but do not fall into this category. # The Qumran "Living Bible": Manuscripts which, according to Tov, were copied in accordance with the "Qumran practice": distinctive, long orthography and Morphology (linguistics), morphology, frequent errors and corrections, and a free approach to the text. They make up about 20 percent of the Biblical corpus, including the Isaiah Scroll (1QIsa-a). # Pre-Samaritan: DSS manuscripts which reflect the textual form of the Samaritan Pentateuch, although the Samaritan Bible is later and contains information not found in these earlier scrolls, (such as God's holy mountain at Shechem, rather than Jerusalem). These manuscripts, characterized by orthographic corrections and harmonizations with parallel texts elsewhere in the Pentateuch, are about five percent of the Biblical scrolls and include 4QpaleoExod-m. # Non-aligned: No consistent alignment with any of the other four text types. About 10 percent of the Biblical scrolls, they include 4QDeut-b, 4QDeut-c, 4QDeut-h, 4QIsa-c, and 4QDan-a. The textual sources present a variety of readings; Bastiaan Van Elderen compares three variations of Deuteronomy 32:43, the Song of Moses:


Print editions

The text of all print editions is derived from the recensions of Origen, Lucian, or Hesychius: * The ''editio princeps'' is the Complutensian Polyglot Bible. Based on now-lost manuscripts, it is one of the received texts used for the KJV (similar to ''Textus Receptus'') and seems to convey quite early readings. * The by Brian Walton (bishop), Brian Walton is one of the few versions that includes a Septuagint not based on the Egyptian Alexandria-type text (such as Vaticanus, Alexandrinus and Sinaiticus), but follows the majority which agree (like the Complutensian Polyglot). * The Aldine Bible, Aldine edition (begun by Aldus Manutius) was published in Venice in 1518. The editor says that he collated ancient, unspecified manuscripts, and it has been reprinted several times. * The Roman Septuagint, Roman or Sixtine Septuagint, which uses ''Codex Vaticanus'' as the base text and later manuscripts for the Lacuna (manuscripts), lacunae in the Uncial script, uncial manuscript. It was published in 1587 under the direction of Antonio Carafa, with the help of Roman scholars Gugliemo Sirleto, Antonio Agelli and Petrus Morinus and by the authority of Sixtus V, to assist revisers preparing the Latin Vulgate edition ordered by the Council of Trent. It is the ''textus receptus'' of the Greek Old Testament and has been published in a number of editions, such as: those of Robert Holmes (priest), Robert Holmes and James Parsons (clergyman), James Parsons (Oxford, 1798–1827), the seven editions of Constantin von Tischendorf which appeared at Leipzig between 1850 and 1887 (the last two published after the death of the author and revised by Nestle), and the four editions of Henry Barclay Swete (Cambridge, 1887–95, 1901, 1909). A detailed description of this edition has been made by H. B. Swete in ''An Introduction to the Old Testament in Greek'' (1900), pp. 174–182. * Grabe's edition was published in Oxford from 1707 to 1720 and reproduced, imperfectly, the Codex Alexandrinus of London. For partial editions, see Fulcran Vigouroux, ''Dictionnaire de la Bible'', 1643 and later. * Alfred Rahlfs' edition of the Septuagint. Alfred Rahlfs, a Septuagint researcher at the University of Göttingen, began a manual edition of the Septuagint in 1917 or 1918. The completed ''Septuaginta'', published in 1935, relies mainly on the ''Vaticanus'', ''Sinaiticus'' and ''Alexandrinus'' and presents a critical framework with variants from these and several other sources. * The Göttingen Septuagint ''(Vetus Testamentum Graecum: Auctoritate Academiae Scientiarum Gottingensis editum)'', a critical version in multiple volumes published from 1931 to 2009, is not yet complete; the largest missing parts are the history books Joshua through Chronicles (except Ruth) and the Solomonic books Proverbs through Song of Songs. Its two critical frameworks present variant Septuagint readings and variants of other Greek versions. * In 2006, a Revision of Alfred Rahlfs' Septuaginta, revision of Alfred Rahlfs' ''Septuaginta'' was published by the Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, German Bible Society. This revised edition includes over a thousand changes. The text of this revised edition contains changes in the diacritics, and only two wording changes: in Isaiah 5:17 and 53:2, Is 5:17 ''ἀπειλημμένων'' became ''ἀπηλειμμένων'', and Is 53:2 ''ἀνηγγείλαμεν'' became by conjecture ''ἀνέτειλε μένà''. * The ''Apostolic Bible Polyglot'' contains a Septuagint text derived primarily from the agreement of any two of the Complutensian Polyglot, the Sixtine Septuagint, Sixtine, and the Aldine Bible, Aldine texts. *''Septuaginta: A Reader's Edition'', a 2018 reader's edition of the Septuagint using the text of the 2006 revised edition of Rahlf's Septuaginta.


Onomastics

One of the main challenges, faced by translators during their work, emanated from the need to implement appropriate Greek forms for various onomastic terms, used in the Hebrew Bible. Most onomastic terms (toponyms, anthroponyms) of the Hebrew Bible were rendered by corresponding Greek terms that were similar in form and sounding, with some notable exceptions. One of those exceptions was related to a specific group of onomastic terms for the region of Aram (region), Aram and ancient Arameans. Influenced by Greek onomastic terminology, translators decided to adopt Greek custom of using "Syrian" labels as designations for Arameans, their lands and language, thus abandoning endonymic (native) terms, that were used in the Hebrew Bible. In the Greek translation, the region of Aram (region), Aram was commonly labeled as "Syria", while Arameans were labeled as "Syrians". Such adoption and implementation of terms that were foreign (exonymic) had far-reaching influence on later terminology related to Arameans and their lands, since the same terminology was reflected in later Latin and other translations of the Septuagint, including the English translation. Reflecting on those problems, American orientalist Robert W. Rogers (d. 1930) noted in 1921: "it is most unfortunate that Syria and Syrians ever came into the English versions. It should always be Aram and the Aramaeans".


English translations

The first English translation (which excluded the apocrypha) was Thomson's Translation, Charles Thomson's in 1808, which was revised and enlarged by C. A. Muses in 1954 and published by the Falcon's Wing Press. The Septuagint version of the Old Testament (Brenton), The Septuagint with Apocrypha: Greek and English was translated by Lancelot Brenton in 1854. It is the traditional translation and most of the time since its publication it has been the only one readily available, and it has continually been in print. The translation, based on the Codex Vaticanus, contains the Greek and English texts in parallel columns. It has an average of four footnoted, transliterated words per page, abbreviated ''Alex'' and ''GK''. ''The Complete Apostles' Bible'' (translated by Paul W. Esposito) was published in 2007. Using the Masoretic Text in the 23rd Psalm (and possibly elsewhere), it omits the apocrypha. New English Translation of the Septuagint, A New English Translation of the Septuagint and the Other Greek Translations Traditionally Included Under that Title (NETS), an academic translation based on the New Revised Standard version (in turn based on the Masoretic Text) was published by the International Organization for Septuagint and Cognate Studies (IOSCS) in October 2007. The ''Apostolic Bible Polyglot,'' published in 2003, features a Greek-English Interlinear gloss, interlinear Septuagint. It includes the Greek books of the Hebrew Bible, Hebrew canon (without the apocrypha) and the Greek New Testament; the whole Bible is numerically coded to a new version of the Strong's Concordance, Strong numbering system created to add words not present in the original numbering by Strong. The edition is set in Greek diacritics, monotonic orthography. The version includes a Concordance (publishing), concordance and index. The ''Orthodox Study Bible'', published in early 2008, features a new translation of the Septuagint based on the Alfred Rahlfs' edition of the Septuagint, Alfred Rahlfs' edition of the Greek text. Two additional major sources have been added: the 1851 Brenton translation and the New King James Version text in places where the translation matches the Hebrew Masoretic text. This edition includes the NKJV New Testament and extensive commentary from an Eastern Orthodox perspective. Nicholas King completed ''The Old Testament'' in four volumes and ''The Bible''. ''Brenton's Septuagint, Restored Names Version'' (SRNV) has been published in two volumes. The Hebrew-names restoration, based on the Westminster Leningrad Codex, focuses on the restoration of the Divine Name and has extensive Hebrew and Greek footnotes. The ''Eastern Orthodox Bible'' would have featured an extensive revision and correction of Brenton's translation (which was primarily based on the Codex Vaticanus). With modern language and syntax, it would have had extensive introductory material and footnotes with significant inter-LXX and LXX/MT variants, before being cancelled. ''The Holy Orthodox Bible'' by Peter A. Papoutsis and ''The Old Testament According to the Seventy'' by Michael Asser are based on the Greek Septuagint text published by the Apostoliki Diakonia of the Church of Greece. In 2012, Lexham Press published the ''Lexham English Septuagint'' (LES), providing a literal, readable, and transparent English edition of the Septuagint for modern readers. In 2019, Lexham Press published the ''Lexham English Septuagint,'' Second Edition (LES2), making more of an effort than the first to focus on the text as received rather than as produced. Because this approach shifts the point of reference from a diverse group to a single implied reader, the new LES exhibits more consistency than the first edition. "The Lexham English Septuagint (LES), then, is the only contemporary English translation of the LXX that has been made directly from the Greek."


Society and journal

The International Organization for Septuagint and Cognate Studies (IOSCS), a non-profit learned society, promotes international research into and study of the Septuagint and related texts. The society declared 8 February 2006 International Septuagint Day, a day to promote the work on campuses and in communities. The IOSCS publishes the ''Journal of Septuagint and Cognate Studies''..


See also

* Biblical apocrypha * Biblical canon * Book of Job in Byzantine illuminated manuscripts * Books of the Bible * Brenton's English Translation of the Septuagint * Deuterocanonical books * Documentary hypothesis – Theory that the Torah was composed over a long period by many authors * ''La Bible d'Alexandrie'' * Samareitikon


Notes


References


Further reading

* Eberhard Bons and Jan Joosten, eds. ''Septuagint Vocabulary: Pre-History, Usage, Reception'' (Society of Biblical Literature; 2011) 211 pages; studies of the language used * Bart D. Ehrman. ''The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings''; 608 pages, Oxford University Press (July, 2011); * W. Emery Barnes
''On the Influence of Septuagint on the Peshitta''
JTS 1901, pp. 186–197. * * * Andreas Juckel

JOURNAL OF SYRIAC STUDIES * Kantor, Mattis, ''The Jewish time line encyclopedia: A yearby-year history from Creation to the present'', Jason Aronson Inc., London, 1992. * * Timothy Michael Law, ''When God Spoke Greek'', Oxford University Press, 2013. * Hyam Maccoby. ''The Mythmaker: Paul and the Invention of Christianity''; 238 pages, Barnes & Noble Books (1998); * Makrakis, Apostolos, ''Proofs of the Authenticity of the Septuagint'', trans. by D. Cummings, Chicago, Ill.: Hellenic Christian Educational Society, 1947. ''N.B''.: Published and printed with its own pagination, whether as issued separately or as included together with 2 other works of A. Makrakis in a single volume published by the same film in 1950, wherein the translator's name is identified on the common t.p. to that volume. * * * * Alfred Rahlfs
''Verzeichnis der griechischen Handschriften des Alten Testaments, für das Septuaginta-Unternehmen''
Göttingen 1914. * Rajak, Tessa, ''Translation and survival: the Greek Bible of the ancient Jewish Diaspora'' (Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2009). * * * *


External links

General
The Septuagint Online
– Comprehensive site with scholarly discussion and links to texts and translations
The Septuagint Institute

''Jewish Encyclopedia'' (1906): Bible Translations








* Texts and translations *

LXX finder, listing dozens of editions, both print and digital, in various languages and formats. A good place to start.
Elpenor's Bilingual (Greek / English) Septuagint Old Testament
Greek text (full polytonic unicode version) and English translation side by side. Greek text as used by the Orthodox Churches.

(advanced research tool)
Septuagint published by the Church of Greece

Plain text of the whole LXX

Bible Resource Pages
– contains Septuagint texts (with diacritics) side-by-side with English translations
The Septuagint in Greek
as a Microsoft Word document. Introduction and book abbreviations in Latin. Non-fre
Antioch (Vusillus Old Face, Vusillus)
TrueType font file required.
The New English Translation of the Septuagint (NETS), electronic edition

EOB: Eastern / Greek Orthodox Bible: includes comprehensive introductory materials dealing with Septuagintal issues and an Old Testament which is an extensive revision of the Brenton with footnotes.

The Holy Orthodox Bible translated by Peter A. Papoutsis
from the Septuagint (LXX) and the Official Greek New Testament text of the Ecumenical Patriarch.

– The Septuagint with Apocrypha, translated from Greek to English by Sir Lancelot C. L. Brenton and published in 1885, with some language updates by Michael Paul Johnson in 2012 (American English) The LXX and the NT

by John Salza
An Apology for the Septuagint
– by Edward William Grinfield {{Authority control Septuagint, Early versions of the Bible Hebrew Bible versions and translations Hellenism and Christianity Judaism-related controversies