From BiblePortal Wikipedia

Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament [1]

SEPTUAGINT. —The Version ‘according to the Seventy.’ 1. This name for the Greek translation of the OT has its origin in the legend that Ptolemy ii. Philadelphus was advised by his librarian Demetrius Phalereus to procure from Jerusalem copies of the Hebrew Scriptures, and men learned in the Hebrew and Greek languages to translate them. Ptolemy accordingly sent ambassadors to Eleazar the high priest, who sent back to Alexandria seventy-two elders, six from each tribe, with magnificent copies of the Hebrew Scriptures. They were treated with the highest honour; they were assigned a quiet and convenient building on the island of Pharos, removed from the distractions of the city; and there, in seventy-two days, they translated the Hebrew Bible into Greek, for the enrichment of Ptolemy’s library; and the translation was received with delight by king and people.

This legend is related in a pseudonymous letter purporting to be written by Aristeas (an Alexandrian, and one of Ptolemy’s ambassadors to Jerusalem) to his brother Philocrates. The text, edited by St. J. Thackeray, is printed at the end of Swete’s Introduction to the OT in Greek , and a translation by Mr. Thackeray appeared in the JQR [Note: QR Jewish Quarterly Review.] , April 1903. Other forms of the tradition are given by the Alexandrian writers Aristobulus and Philo, and by Josephus. And the early Fathers or the Christian Church from the 2nd century onwards received the story without suspicion, and amplified it. What amount of truth underlies the legend it is difficult to decide; but the following facts are probable: (1) that the translation was begun at Alexandria; (2) that it was not undertaken officially, by order of the king (though he probably encouraged it), but resulted from the needs of the Alexandrian Jews, who knew no Hebrew and probably little or no Aramaic; (3) it may be true that Hebrew rolls were brought from Jerusalem; (4) the translation was, as might be expected, cordially received by Hellenistic Jews, who would be glad to have a Greek account of the origins of the Hebrew people.

The Alexandrian version embraced only the Pentateuch; and the letter of Aristeas professes no more. Josephus and Jerome recognized this, but Christian writers, generally, failed to notice the limitation. It could not, indeed, have embraced more in the reign of Ptolemy ii., for the Torah alone was complete by that time, secure in its position as a collection of sacred books and ready for translation (Ryle, Canon of the OT , p. 113). But other books would be translated from time to time when they reached Egypt with Palestinian recognition of their canonicity. And before the Christian era Alexandria probably possessed the whole of the Hebrew Bible in a Greek translation, with the possible exception of Ecclesiastes.

2. The importance of the LXX Septuagint version to the student of Hebrew literature and philology can scarcely be overestimated (see Swete, Introduction , Pt. iii. c. 4). And it is hardly less essential to the student of early Christian writings. Patristic writers for the most part accepted it not merely as the best version of the Hebrew OT, but as no less inspired than the original. Even Augustine could say: ‘Spiritus qui in prophetis erat quando illa dixerunt, idem ipse erat in LXX Septuagint viris quando illa interpretati sunt’ ( de Civ. Dei , xviii. 43). Being entirely dependent on it, and unable to appeal to or form comparisons with any other version, ‘they adopted without suspicion and with tenacity its least defensible renderings, and pressed them into the service of controversy, dogma, and devotion.’ ‘It was argued that the errors of the Greek text were due to accidents of transmission, or that they were not actual errors, but Divine adaptations of the original to the use of the future Church’ (Swete, Pt. iii. c. 5).

But the present article is concerned with that which is the chiefest importance of the LXX Septuagint—its relation to ( a ) the beginnings and the growth of Christianity, ( b ) the expression of Christian doctrines and ideas.

( a ) The LXX Septuagint was an important factor in preparing the way for the reception of the Christian religion . In our Lord’s time the Jews were scattered throughout the known world. And though they preserved their religious connexion with Jerusalem by payments of money and by frequent attendance at the three annual festivals (see art. Dispersion), yet one and all had lost the knowledge of the classical Hebrew of the Scriptures, with the exception of the learned—the priests and Rabbis—of whom the original language of the OT was almost the exclusive property. It may be realized, therefore, what a blessing was conferred upon the Jewish race by Alexandria when she gave them their own Scriptures in the universal language of the day. They were provided with a valuable controversial weapon, whereby they could prove to their heathen neighbours the real importance and the hoary antiquity of the Hebrew nation. An army of apologists was raised up, of whom Josephus and Philo are, for us, the chief, because so much of their work is extant; but they must have been well-nigh equalled in weight and influence by such writers as the historians Alexander Cornelius (‘Polyhistor’), Demetrius, Eupolemus, Artapanus, and Aristeas, the poets Philo, Theodotus, and Ezekiel, the philosopher Aristobulus, and Cleodemus or Malchas, small fragments of whose writings are preserved in Clem. Alex. [Note: Alexandrian.] Stromateis , i. 22, 141, 153 ff., and Euseb. Praep. Evang . viii. 10, ix. 6, 17–34, 37, 39, xiii. 12.

But though she knew it not, Alexandria provided them with something greater. Christianity, by the power of God and by the coming of Christ, sprang out of Judaism. ‘Novum Testamentum in Vetere latet; Vetus in Novo patet’ (Aug.). By enabling Jews and Gentiles to read the OT Scriptures, the Greek version, in spite of all its mistakes and grotesque mistranslations, revealed the guiding providence of God in Hebrew history, and the gradual development of religious ideas of which the OT is the record; and above all it gave a lasting impetus to the growth of Messianic expectations. A train was laid which only needed the Divine spark to burst into flame. Christ came ‘to send fire upon the earth,’ and the LXX Septuagint had been instrumental in supplying fuel.

The quotations from the OT in the NT are seldom mere literary adornments, such as a modern writer might introduce from Shakespeare or other classical authors; they are for the most part used as a definite foundation for Christian teaching, or at least weighty illustrations of the writers’ statements and arguments. Our Lord’s teaching struck His hearers with amazement, because it did not blindly follow the footsteps of the scribes. Against the Jews He used their own Scriptures with conclusive force; and with His loving but fainthearted and ignorant disciples He adopted the same course; ‘beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself’ ( Luke 24:27). And His disciples afterwards followed His example both in their speeches and in their writings ( Acts 8:35).

( b ) The LXX Septuagint played a large part in the moulding of Christian terminology . It is difficult to gauge the extent to which religious conceptions were affected by the results which ensued from the wedding of the Greek language to Hebrew thought. Their offspring the LXX Septuagint was the parent of a yet nobler heir. There are few more interesting lines of study than to trace the debt which Christianity owed to the LXX Septuagint in the matter of words and terms, and to see how the borrowed terminology was consecrated and adapted to higher uses.

3. The LXX Septuagint must now be studied in two aspects, so far as it affected the four Gospels and the Apostolic conceptions of Christ’s Person and work.

A. Direct quotations .—It will be convenient to give a list of the direct quotations from the OT in the Gospels, taken from Swete’s Introduction , pp. 386 ff.





 Matthew 1:23

 Isaiah 7:14*

 Luke 2:23

 Exodus 13:12

 Matthew 2:6

 Micah 5:2*

Matthew 2; Matthew 15

 Hosea 11:1*

 Matthew 2:18

 Jeremiah 38:15

 Matthew 3:3

 Mark 1:3

 Luke 3:4-6

 Isaiah 40:3-5*

 Matthew 4:4

 Luke 4:4

 Deuteronomy 8:3

 Matthew 4:6

 Luke 4:10 f.

 Psalms 90:11 f.

 Matthew 4:7

 Luke 4:12

 Deuteronomy 6:16

 Matthew 4:10

 Luke 4:8


 Matthew 4:15 f.

 Isaiah 9:1 f.*

 Matthew 5:21

 Exodus 20:13

 Matthew 5:27


 Matthew 5:31

 Deuteronomy 24:1

 Matthew 5:31

 Numbers 30:3 (cf.  Deuteronomy 23:21)

 Matthew 5:38

 Exodus 21:24

 Matthew 5:43

 Leviticus 19:18

 Matthew 8:17

 Isaiah 53:4*

 Matthew 9:13 ( Matthew 12:7)

 Hosea 6:6

 Matthew 11:10

 Mark 1:2

 Luke 7:27

 Malachi 3:1*

 Matthew 12:7

 Hosea 6:6

 Matthew 12:18-21

 Isaiah 42:1*

 Matthew 13:14 f.

 Isaiah 6:9 f.

 Matthew 13:35

 Psalms 77:2*

 Luke 4:18 f.

 Isaiah 61:1 ff. +  Isaiah 58:6*

 Matthew 15:4

 Mark 7:10

 Exodus 20:12;  Exodus 21:17

 Matthew 15:8 f.

 Mark 7:6

 Isaiah 29:13

 Mark 9:48

 Isaiah 66:24

 Matthew 19:5 f.

 Mark 10:6-8

 Genesis 1:27 +  Genesis 2:24

 Matthew 19:18 f.

 Mark 10:19

 Luke 18:20 f.

 Exodus 20:12-17

 Matthew 21:5

 Zechariah 9:9 +  Isaiah 62:11*

 Matthew 21:13

 Mark 11:17

 Luke 19:46

 Isaiah 56:7 +  Jeremiah 7:11

 Matthew 21:16

 Psalms 8:2

 Matthew 21:42

 Mark 12:10

 Luke 20:17

 Psalms 118:22 f.

 Matthew 22:24

 Mark 12:19

 Luke 20:28

 Deuteronomy 25:5 (cf.  Genesis 38:8)

 Matthew 22:32

 Mark 12:26

 Luke 20:37

 Exodus 3:6

 Matthew 22:37

 Mark 12:29 f.

 Luke 10:27 a

 Deuteronomy 6:4 f.

 Matthew 22:39

 Mark 12:31

 Luke 10:27 b

 Leviticus 19:18

 Matthew 22:44

 Mark 12:36

 Luke 20:42 f.

 Psalms 109:1*

 Mark 12:32 f.

 Deuteronomy 4:35

 Matthew 24:15

 Mark 13:14

 Daniel 12:11

 Luke 22:37

 Isaiah 53:12*

 Matthew 26:31

 Mark 14:27

 Zechariah 13:7*

 Matthew 27:9 f.

 Zechariah 11:13*

 Matthew 27:46

 Mark 15:34

 Psalms 21:1*

 John 1:23

 Isaiah 40:3

 John 2:17

 Psalms 68:10*

 John 6:31

 Exodus 16:4;  Exodus 16:15 (Ps 77:24 f.)

 John 6:45

 Isaiah 54:13

 John 10:34

 Psalms 81:6

 John 12:15

 Zechariah 9:9*

 John 12:38

 Isaiah 53:1*

 John 12:40

 Isaiah 6:10

 John 13:18

 Psalms 40:10 ( Psalms 41:10)

 John 15:25

 Psalms 34:19 ( Psalms 68:5)*

 John 19:34

Psa 21:19*

 John 19:36

 Exodus 12:46 ( Numbers 9:12,  Psalms 33:21)*

 John 19:37

 Zechariah 12:10*

(i.) As regards the matter and purpose of these quotations, it is noticeable that of the 46 in the Synoptic Gospels 17 (marked with*) are ‘Messianic,’ i.e. they are quoted as being predictions of facts connected with the life and work of Christ; and of these, 6 ( Matthew 21:42;  Matthew 22:44;  Matthew 26:31;  Matthew 27:46,  Luke 4:18 f.,  Luke 22:37) are cited by our Lord Himself. With these may be reckoned  Matthew 22:32, quoted as a proof of the resurrection of the dead. 6 ( Matthew 2:18;  Matthew 13:14 f.,  Matthew 15:8 f.,  Matthew 21:13;  Matthew 21:16,  Matthew 24:15) are quoted as predictions which have found—or, in the last passage, will find—fulfilment in the lives and characters of persons other than Christ, all except the first occurring in His own discourses. 19 of the remainder are quoted by our Lord (except  Mark 12:32 f.), and consist of legal and moral precepts, mostly from the Pentateuch, which should guide men’s actions (with the exception of those in Matthew 5, which He quotes in order to contrast with them His own higher moral law). 3 which come under none of these heads are  Luke 2:23,  Matthew 4:6;  Matthew 22:24. Of the 13 in the Fourth Gospel, 7 (marked with*) are ‘Messianic,’ all being quoted by the writer (except  John 15:25, which is by our Lord). In the rest of the NT, ‘Messianic’ quotations occur chiefly in the Apostolic speeches in the Acts ( Acts 2:17-21;  Acts 2:25-28;  Acts 2:34 f.,  Acts 3:22 f. (=  Acts 7:37),  Acts 4:25 f.,  Acts 8:32 f.,  Acts 13:33-35), and in Hebrews ( Hebrews 1:5, (=  Hebrews 5:5)  Hebrews 1:6;  Hebrews 1:8 f.,  Hebrews 1:10-13,  Hebrews 2:6-8;  Hebrews 2:12-13,  Hebrews 5:6 (=  Hebrews 7:17;  Hebrews 7:21)  Hebrews 9:20,  Hebrews 10:5-9), in the other Epistles see  Romans 9:33;  Romans 10:11;  Romans 15:3,  1 Corinthians 15:45,  Galatians 3:13,  Ephesians 4:8,  1 Peter 2:6.

(ii.) As regards the form of the quotations, the dependence upon the LXX Septuagint shown by the NT writers may be seen by the following facts, which are summarized from Swete’s Introduction , pp. 391–398.

Every part of the NT affords evidence of a knowledge of the LXX Septuagint, and a great majority of the passages cited from the OT are in general agreement with the Greek version. In the Synoptic Gospels there is a marked contrast between (α) quotations belonging to the common narrative or to the sayings reported by all three or by two of them, and (β) quotations which are peculiar to one of them. (α) The former (with the exception of  Matthew 15:8 f.,  Matthew 26:31) adhere closely to LXX Septuagint. (β) Of the 16 in Mt. which are not found in Mk. or Luke , 4 ( Luke 5:38;  Luke 9:13;  Luke 13:14 f.,  Luke 21:16) are in the words of the LXX Septuagint with slight variants; 4 exhibit important variants; and the remaining 7 bear little or no resemblance to the Alexandrian Greek. Neither Mk. nor Lk. has any series of independent quotations;  Mark 9:48;  Mark 12:32 are from the LXX Septuagint, but show affinities to the text of A;  Luke 4:18 f. differs from the LXX Septuagint in important particulars.

The causes which have produced variation are manifold: (1) loose citation, (2) the substitution of a gloss for the precise words which the writer professes to quote, (3) a desire to adapt a prophetic context to the circumstances under which it was thought to have been fulfilled, (4) the fusing together of passages from different contexts. Further, (5) some variations are recensional. The Evangelists appear to have employed a recension of the LXX Septuagint which came nearer to the text of A than to that of our oldest uncial B. In some cases it may be argued that the text of the LXX Septuagint Manuscripts was influenced by the NT; but this objection is greatly minimized by the fact that Josephus, and to a less extent Philo, show the same tendency. And there are occasional signs that NT writers used a recension to which the version of the later translator Theodotion shows some affinities. (6) Some variations are translational, and imply an independent use of the original, whether by the Evangelist or by the author of some collection of excerpts which he employed. Prof. Swete (pp. 396 ff.) prints in full, and annotates, five of these passages from Mt ( Matthew 2:6;  Matthew 4:15 f.,  Matthew 8:17;  Matthew 13:35;  Matthew 27:9 f.), together with the corresponding passages in the LXX Septuagint; and he comes to the conclusion that while ‘the compiler of the First Gospel has more or less distinctly thrown off the yoke of the Alexandrian version, and substituted for it a paraphrase, or an independent rendering of the Hebrew,’ ‘our evidence does not encourage the belief that the Evangelist used or knew another complete Greek version of the OT or of any particular book.’

The writer of the Fourth Gospel quotes from the LXX Septuagint, with varying degrees of exactness. The citations in  John 2:17;  John 10:34;  John 12:38;  John 19:24-36 are verbatim or nearly so; those in  John 6:31;  John 6:45,  John 13:18,  John 15:25 are freer; in  John 1:23,  John 12:15;  John 12:40 he paraphrased loosely, with a general reminiscence of the LXX Septuagint wording; in  John 19:37, ὄψονται εἰς ὃν ἐξεκέντησαν is a non-Septuagintal rendering of  Zechariah 12:10, which was perhaps current in Palestine, since εἰς ὃν ἐξεκέντησαν appears also in Theod. [Note: Theodotion.] (Aq. [Note: Aquila.] ἐξεκέντησαν, cf.  Revelation 1:7; Symm. [Note: Symmachus.] ἐπεξεκέντησαν).

The quotations in the Acts are exclusively from the LXX Septuagint, but sometimes they are inclined to be free and paraphrastic.

In St. Paul’s quotations the same phenomena appear: the majority are verbally exact, but many contain important variants; sometimes the Apostle appears to quote from memory; in some cases he freely conflates two or more passages. In Hebrews, in which the argument is carried on largely by a catena of quotations from the LXX Septuagint, ‘the text of the quotations agrees in the main with some form of the present text of the LXX Septuagint’ (Westcott, Hebrews , p. 476). On  1 Peter 2:6 see Hort, St. Peter, in loc.

In this short summary of Prof. Swete’s results enough has been said to show the large extent to which the Alexandrian Greek version influenced the direct quotations made by the NT writers. But direct citation formed only a fraction of the immense use which they made of the LXX Septuagint. Their writings, and the utterances of our Lord, abound in expressions and phrases from the LXX Septuagint which are not formal quotations, but which were due to their intimate knowledge of the OT. These are conveniently marked by uncial type in WH [Note: H Westcott and Hort’s text.] ’s text of the NT. In many cases the force and meaning of the NT passage are multiplied when the OT context is taken into consideration. [N.B.—There are no quotations from the Apocryphal books which were included in the Greek Bible. There are, however, in the Epistles some half-dozen reminiscences; see  Wisdom of Solomon 7:26;  Wisdom of Solomon 9:15;  Wisdom of Solomon 13:1;  Wisdom of Solomon 15:7,  Sirach 5:11;  Sirach 7:34;  Sirach 15:11].

B. Borrowed terminology .—It must not be forgotten that the LXX Septuagint was but a very small part of a large Greek literature whose ideas and vocabulary and grammar differed materially from those of the old classical writers. New philosophical and theological conceptions, changes political and social, developments in the arts of life, increased opportunities of intercourse with foreign nations, all combined to alter the language. The κοινή or Ελληνικὴ διάλεκτος ‘was based on Attic Greek, but embraced elements drawn from all Hellenic dialects. It was the literary language of the cosmopolitan Hellas created by the genius of Alexander’ (Swete, Intr . p. 294). ‘The language used by the writers of the Greek Diaspora may be regarded as a subsection of an early stage of the κοινή’ ( ib. ), and of this subsection the LXX Septuagint and the NT are the best representatives in Egypt and Palestine respectively. Though a change began to appear as early as Xenophon, the era of the κοινή may be said to have opened in the latter half of the 4th cent. b.c.; and its golden age extends from c. [Note: circa, about.] b.c. 145 (Polybius) to c. [Note: circa, about.] a.d. 160 (Pausanias). The NT vocabulary, then, was derived not only from the LXX Septuagint but from the current language of the day. See the Appendix in Grimm-Thayer’s Gr.-English Lexicon of the NT ( pp. 691–696), in which are collected a large number of non-classical words which find parallels in Greek writings (including LXX Septuagint) from b.c. 322 to a.d. 100.

For our present purpose, however, a supreme interest attaches to the NT words which, though found in classical Greek, have acquired a new moral or theological meaning. Many words as used in the NT are exclusively Christian, and their special significance is not derived from any literary source ( e.g. ἀνακεφαλαιοῦμαι, ἀντίτυπον, ἀντίχριστος, δύναμις (miracle), πρωτότοκος, σταυρός—ὁω, χάρις). But many others have gained, or at least advanced towards, their new meaning by contact with Hebrew thought. The following are among the more important, and will repay careful investigation with the help of Thayer’s Lexicon and the NT commentaries. The short notes here attached to each word are not intended to be in any way exhaustive of their meanings or applications, but may be helpful in suggesting lines for study. Words which do not

Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary [2]

Among the Greek versions of the Old Testament, says Mr. Horne, the Alexandrian or Septuagint is the most ancient and valuable, and was held in so much esteem both by the Jews as well as by the first Christians, as to be constantly read in the synagogues and churches. Hence it is uniformly cited by the early fathers, whether Greek or Latin; and from this version all the translations into other languages which were anciently approved by the Christian church were executed, with the exception of the Syriac; as the Arabic, Armenian, Ethiopic, Gothic, and old Italic or the Latin version in use before the time of Jerom; and to this day the Septuagint is exclusively read in the Greek and most other oriental churches. This version has derived its name either from the Jewish account of seventy-two persons having been employed to make it, or from its having received the approbation of the sanhedrim or great council of the Jews, which consisted of seventy, or, more correctly, of seventy-two persons. Much uncertainty, however, has prevailed concerning the real history of this ancient version; and while some have strenuously advocated its miraculous and Divine origin, other eminent philologists have laboured to prove that it must have been executed by several persons and at different times. According to one account, Ptolemy Philadelphus, king of Egypt, caused this translation to be made for the use of the library which he had founded at Alexandria at the request and with the advice of the celebrated Demetrius Phalereus, his principal librarian. For this purpose, it is reported, that he sent Aristeas and Andreas, two distinguished officers of his court, to Jerusalem, on an embassy to Eleazar, then high priest of the Jews, to request of the latter a copy of the Hebrew Scriptures, and that there might also be sent to him seventy-two persons, six chosen out of each of the twelve tribes, who were equally well skilled in the Hebrew and Greek languages. These learned men were accordingly shut up in the island of Pharos; where, having agreed in a translation of each period after a mutual conference, Demetrius wrote down their version as they dictated it to him; and thus, in the space of seventy-two days, the whole was accomplished. This relation is derived from a letter ascribed to Aristeas himself, the authenticity of which has been greatly disputed. If, as there is every reason to believe is the case, this piece is a forgery, it was made at a very early period; for it was in existence in the time of Josephus, who has made use of it in his Jewish Antiquities. The veracity of Aristeas's narrative was not questioned until the seventeenth or eighteenth century, at which time, indeed, Biblical criticism was, comparatively, in its infancy. Vives, Scaliger, Van Dale, Dr. Prideaux, and, above all, Dr. Hody, were the principal writers in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries who attacked the genuineness of the pretended narrative of Aristeas; and though it was ably vindicated by Bishop Walton, Isaac Vossius, Whiston, Brett, and other modern writers, the majority of the learned of our own time are fully agreed in considering it as fictitious. Philo, the Jew, who also notices the Septuagint version, was ignorant of most of the circumstances narrated by Aristeas; but he relates others which appear not less extraordinary.

According to him, Ptolemy Philadelphus sent to Palestine for some learned Jews, whose number he does not specify; and these, going over to the island of Pharos, there executed so many distinct versions, all of which so exactly and uniformly agreed in sense, phrases, and words, as proved them to have been not common interpreters, but men prophetically inspired and divinely directed, who had every word dictated to them by the Spirit of God throughout the entire translation. He adds, that an annual festival was celebrated by the Alexandrian Jews in the isle of Pharos, where the version was made, until his time, to preserve the memory of it, and to thank God for so great a benefit.

It is not a little remarkable that the Samaritans have traditions in favour of their version of the Pentateuch, equally extravagant with these preserved by the Jews. In the Samaritan chronicle of Abul Phatach, which was compiled in the fourteenth century from ancient and modern authors, both Hebrew and Arabic, there is a story to the following effect: that Ptolemy Philadelphus, in the tenth year of his reign, directed his attention to the difference subsisting between the Samaritans and Jews concerning the law, the former receiving only the Pentateuch, and rejecting every other work ascribed to the prophets by the Jews. In order to determine this difference, he commanded the two nations to send deputies to Alexandria. The Jews entrusted this mission to Osar, the Samaritans to Aaron, to whom several other associates were added. Separate apartments in a particular quarter of Alexandria were assigned to each of these strangers, who were prohibited from having any personal intercourse, and each of them had a Greek scribe to write his version. Thus were the law and other Scriptures translated by the Samaritans; whose version being most carefully examined, the king was convinced that their text was more complete than that of the Jews. Such is the narrative of Abul Phatach, divested, however, of numerous marvellous circumstances with which it has been decorated by the Samaritans, who are not surpassed, even by the Jews, in their partiality for idle legends.

A fact, buried under such a mass of fables as the translation of the Septuagint has been by the historians who have pretended to record it, necessarily loses all its historical character, which, indeed, we are fully justified in disregarding altogether. Although there is no doubt but that some truth is concealed under this load of fables, yet it is by no means an easy task to discern the truth from what is false: the following, however, is the result of our researches concerning this celebrated version:—

It is probable that the seventy interpreters, as they are called, executed their version of the Pentateuch during the joint reigns of Ptolemy Lagus and his son Philadelphus. The pseudo Aristeas, Josephus, Philo, and many other writers whom it were tedious to enumerate, relate that this version was made during the reign of Ptolemy II, or Philadelphus; Joseph Ben Gorion, however, among the rabbins, Theodoret, and many other Christian writers, refer its date to the time of Ptolemy Lagus. Now, these two traditions can be reconciled only by supposing the version to have been performed during the two years when Ptolemy Philadelphus shared the throne with his father; which date coincides with the third and fourth years of the hundred and twenty-third Olympiad, that is, about B.C. 286 and 285. Farther, this version was neither made by the command of Ptolemy, nor at the request nor under the superintendence of Demetrius Phalereus; but was voluntarily undertaken by the Jews for the use of their countrymen. It is well known, that, at the period above noticed, there was a great number of Jews settled in Egypt, particularly at Alexandria: these, being most strictly observant of the religious institutions and usages of their forefathers, had their sanhedrim or grand council composed of seventy or seventy-two members, and very numerous synagogues, in which the law was read to them on every Sabbath; and as the bulk of the common people were no longer acquainted with Biblical Hebrew, the Greek language alone being used in their ordinary intercourse, it became necessary to translate the Pentateuch into Greek for their use. This is a far more probable account of the origin of the Alexandrian version than the traditions above stated. If this translation had been made by public authority, it would unquestionably have been performed under the direction of the sanhedrim, who would have examined and perhaps corrected it, if it had been the work of a single individual, previously to giving it the stamp of their approbation, and introducing it into their synagogues. In either case the translation would probably be denominated the Septuagint, because the sanhedrim was composed of seventy or seventy-two members. It is even possible that the sanhedrim, in order to ascertain the fidelity of the work might have sent to Palestine for some learned men of whose assistance and advice they would have availed themselves in examining the version. This fact, if it could be proved, for it is offered as a mere conjecture, would account for the story of the king of Egypt's sending an embassy to Jerusalem: there is, however, one circumstance which proves that, in executing this translation, the synagogues were originally in contemplation, namely, that all the ancient writers unanimously concur in saying that the Pentateuch was first translated. The five books of Moses, indeed, were the only books read in the synagogues until the time of Antiochus Epiphanes, king of Syria; who having forbidden that practice in Palestine, the Jews evaded his commands by substituting for the Pentateuch the reading of the prophetic books. When, afterward, the Jews were delivered from the tyranny of the kings of Syria, they read the law and the prophets alternately in the synagogues; and the same custom was adopted by the Hellenistic or Graecising Jews.

But, whatever was the real number of the authors of the version, their introduction of Coptic words, such as οιφι αχι ρεμφαν , &c, as well as their rendering of ideas purely Hebrew altogether in the Egyptian manner, clearly prove that they were natives of Egypt. Thus, they express the creation of the world, not by the proper Greek word κτισις , but by γενεσις , a term employed by the philosophers of Alexandria to express the origin of the universe. The Hebrew word thummim,   Exodus 28:30 , which signifies "perfections," they render αληθεια , truth. The difference of style also indicates the version to have been the work not of one but of several translators, and to have been executed at different times. The best qualified and most able among them was the translator of the Pentateuch, who was evidently master of both Greek and Hebrew: he has religiously followed the Hebrew text, and has in various instances introduced the most suitable and best chosen expressions. From the very close resemblance subsisting between the text of the Greek version, and the text of the Samaritan Pentateuch, Louis De Dieu, Selden, Whiston, Hassencamp, and Bauer, are of opinion that the author of the Alexandrian version made it from the Samaritan Pentateuch. And in proportion as these two correspond, the Greek differs from the Hebrew. This opinion is farther supported by the declarations of Origen and Jerom, that the translator found the venerable name of Jehovah, not in the letters in common use, but in very ancient characters; and also by the fact that those consonants in the Septuagint are frequently confounded together, the shapes of which are similar in the Samaritan, but not in the Hebrew, alphabet. This hypothesis, however ingenious and plausible, is by no means determinate; and what militates most against it is, the inveterate enmity subsisting between the Jews and Samaritans, added to the constant and unvarying testimony of antiquity, that the Greek version of the Pentateuch was executed by Jews. There is no other way by which to reconcile these conflicting opinions than by supposing either that the manuscript used by the Egyptian Jews approximated toward the letters and text of the Samaritan Pentateuch, or that the translators of the Septuagint made use of manuscripts written in ancient characters. Next to the Pentateuch, for ability and fidelity of execution, ranks the translation of the book of Proverbs, the author of which was well skilled in the two languages: Michaelis is of opinion that, of all the books of the Septuagint, the style of the Proverbs is the best, the translator having clothed the most ingenious thoughts in as neat and elegant language as was ever used by a Pythagorean sage, to express his philosophical maxims.

The Septuagint version, though originally made for the use of the Egyptian Jews, gradually acquired the highest authority among the Jews of Palestine, who were acquainted with the Greek language, and subsequently also among Christians: it appears, indeed, that the legend above confuted, of the translators having been divinely inspired, was invented in order that the LXX might be held in the greater estimation. Philo, the Jew, a native of Egypt, has evidently followed it in his allegorical expositions of the Mosaic law; and though Dr. Hody was of opinion that Josephus, who was a native of Palestine, corroborated his work on Jewish antiquities from the Hebrew text, yet Salmasius, Bochart, Bauer, and others, have shown that he has adhered to the Septuagint throughout that work. How extensively this version was in use among the Jews, appears from the solemn sanction given to it by the inspired writers of the New Testament, who have in very many passages quoted the Greek version of the Old Testament. Their example was followed by the earlier fathers and doctors of the church, who, with the exception of Origen and Jerom, were unacquainted with the Hebrew: notwithstanding their zeal for the word of God, they did not exert themselves to learn the original language of the sacred writings, but acquiesced in the Greek representation of them, judging it, no doubt, to be fully sufficient for all the purposes of their pious labours. The Greek Scriptures were the only Scriptures known to or valued by the Greeks.

This was the text commented on by Chrysostom and Theodoret; it was this which furnished topics to Athanasius, Nazianzen, and Basil. From this fountain the stream was derived to the Latin church, first by the Italic or Vulgate translation of the Scriptures, which was made from the Septuagint, and not from the Hebrew; and, secondly, by the study of the Greek fathers. It was by this borrowed light that the Latin fathers illumined the western hemisphere; and, when the age of Cyprian, Ambrose, Augustine, and Gregory, successively passed away, this was the light put into the hands of the next dynasty of theologists, the schoolmen, who carried on the work of theological disquisition by the aid of this luminary, and none other. So that, either in Greek or in Latin, it was still the Septuagint Scriptures that were read, explained, and quoted as authority, for a period of fifteen hundred years.

Fausset's Bible Dictionary [3]

Designated Septuagint. The Greek version of Old Testament, made for the Greek speaking (Hellenistic) Jews at Alexandria. The oldest manuscripts in capitals ("uncials") are the Cottonian ("fragments") in British Museum; Vatican (Representing Especially The Oldest Text) at Rome; Alexandrian in British Museum, of which Baber in 1816 published a facsimile; Sinaitic at Petersburgh. Alexandrian is of the fifth century, the others are of the fourth. The ancient text current before Origen was called "the common one"; he compared this with the versions of Aquila, Theodotion, and Symmachus, and marked the Septuagint with an obelos mark where he found superfluous words, and supplied deficiencies of Septuagint from those three, prefixing an asterisk.* Its wide circulation among Hellenistic Jews before Christ providentially prepared the way for the gospel. Its completion was commemorated by a yearly feast at Alexandria (Philo, Vit. Mos. 2) . Its general use is proved by the manner of its quotation in New Testament. The Jews in Justin Martyr's Apology questioned its accuracy.

A letter of Aristeas to his brother Philocrates (Hody, Bibl. Text. Orig., 1705) describes the origin of Septuagint; King Ptolemy (Philadelphus) , by the advice of his librarian Demetrius Phalereus, obtained from the high priest at Jerusalem 72 interpreters, six from each tribe; by conference and comparison in 72 days they completed the work. Aristobulus (Second Century B.C., In Clemens Alex. Strom.) says that, before Demetrius, others had made a translation of the Pentateuch and Joshua (The History Of The Going Forth From Egypt, Etc.) . Aristeas' letter is probably a forgery of an Alexandrian Jew; nevertheless the story gave its title to the Septuagint (70, The Round Number For 72) . The composition at Alexandria begun under the earlier Ptolemies, 280 B.C.; the Pentateuch alone at first; these are the main facts well established. The Alexandrian Macedonic Greek forms in the Septuagint disprove the coming of 72 interpreters from Jerusalem, and show that the translators were Alexandrian Jews.

The Pentateuch is the best part of the version, being the first translated; the other books betray increasing degeneracy of the Hebrew manuscripts, with decay of Hebrew learning. The Septuagint translators did not have Hebrew manuscripts pointed as ours; nor were their words divided as ours. Different persons translated different books, and no general revision harmonized the whole. Names are differently rendered in different books. The poetical parts (except Psalms and Proverbs) are inferior to the historical. In the greater prophets important passages are misunderstood, as  Isaiah 9:1;  Isaiah 9:6;  Jeremiah 23:6; Ezekiel and the lesser prophets are better. Theodotion's version of Daniel was substituted for Septuagint, which was not used.

The delicate details of the Hebrew are sacrificed in Septuagint, the same word in the same chapter being often rendered by differing words, and differing words by the same word, the names of God ( Υahweh , Κurios , and 'Εlohim , Τheos ) being confounded; and proper names at times being translated, and Hebrew words mistaken for words like in form but altogether different in sense ( Sh being mistaken for S , Shin ( ש ) (pronounced "sheen") for Sin ( ש ) (pronounced "seen") [The Same Letter (With A Different "Point") Pronounced Different] , R for D , Resh ( ר ) for Daleth ( ד )). Some of the changes are designed;  Genesis 2:2, "sixth" for "seventh." Strong Hebrew expressions are softened, "God's power" for "hand," "word" for "mouth"; so no stress can be laid on the Septuagint words to prove a point. (See Old TESTAMENT.)

Use of Septuagint. Being made from manuscripts older far than our Masoretic text (From 280 To 180 B.C.) , it helps towards arriving at the true text in doubtful passages; so  Psalms 22:16, where Septuagint "they pierced" gives the true reading instead of "as a lion," Aquila a Jew (A.D. 133) so translated "they disfigured"; ( Psalms 16:10) "Thy Holy One" singular, instead of our Masoretic "Thy holy ones." The Septuagint is an impartial witness, being ages before the controversy between Jews and Christians. In  Genesis 4:8 Septuagint has "and Cain said to Abel his brother, Let us go into the plain" or "field" (So Samaritan Pentateuch) ; but Aquila, Symmachus, Theodotion, and the Targum of Onkelos agree with our Hebrew.

Of 350 quotations of the Old Testament in the New Testament only 50 differ materially from Septuagint Its language molded the conceptions of the New Testament writers and preachers. The Hebrew ideas and modes of thought are transfused into its Greek, which is wholly distinct from classic Greek in this. Expressions unknown to the latter are intelligible from Septuagint, as "believe in God," "faith toward God," "flesh," "spirit," "justify," "fleshly mindedness." "The Passover" includes the after feast and sacrifices ( Deuteronomy 16:2), illustrating the question on what day Christ kept it ( John 18:28).

Charles Buck Theological Dictionary [4]

The name given to a Greek version of the books of the Old Testament, from its being supposed to be the work of seventy-two Jews, who are usually called the seventy interpreters, because seventy is a round number. Aristobulus, who was a tutor to Ptolemy Physcon; Philo, who lived in our Saviour's time, and was contemporary with the apostles; and Josephus, speak of this translation as made by seventy-two interpreters, by the care of Demetrius Phalereus, in the reign of Ptolemy Philadelphus. All the Christian writers, during the first fifteen centuries of the Christian aera, have admitted this account of the Septuagint as an undoubted fact; but, since the reformation, critics have boldly called it in question. But whatever differences of opinion there have been as to the mode of translation, it is universally acknowledged that such a version, whole or in part, existed; and it is pretty evident that most of the books must have been translated before our Saviour's time, as they are quoted by him. It must also be considered as a wonderful providence in favour of the religion of Jesus. It prepared the way for his coming, and afterwards greatly promoted the setting up of his kingdom in the world; for hitherto the Scriptures had remained locked up from all other nations but the Jews, in the Hebrew tongue, which was understood by no other nation; but now it was translated into the Greek language, which was a language commonly understood by the nations of the world.

It has also been with great propriety observed, "that there are many words and forms of speech in the New Testament, the true import of which cannot be known but by their use in the Septuagint. This version also preserves many important words, some sentences, and several whole verses which originally made a part of the Hebrew text, but have long ago entirely disappeared. This is the version, and this only, which is constantly used and quoted in the Gospels and the apostles, and which has thereby received the highest sanction which any writings can possibly receive." There have been various editions of the Septuagint; such as Breitenger's edition, 1730; Boss's edition, 1709; Daniel's edition, 1653; Mill's edition, 12mo. 1725; bishop Pearson's printed by Field, 12mo. 1665; but Grabe's edition, published in 1707, is in great repute. Dr. Holmes, canon of Christ Church, was employed for some years on a correct edition of the Septuagint. He had been collating from more than three hundred Greek manuscripts; from twenty or more Coptic, Syriac, Arabic, Sclavonian, and Armenian manuscripts; from eleven editions of the Greek text and versions; and from near thirty Greek fathers, when death prevented him from finishing this valuable work. He printed the whole of the Pentateuch in five parts follo; and lately edited the prophecy of Daniel according to Theodotian and the LXX., departing from his proposed order, as if by a presentiment of his end. This valuable work is now continued by Mr. Parsons, of Cambridge. Those who desire a larger account of this translation, may consult Hody de Bib. Textibus; Prideaux's Connections; Owen's Inquiry into the Septuagint Version; Blair's Lectures on the Canon; and Michaelis's Introduction to the New Testament; Clarke's Bibliotheca.

Bridgeway Bible Dictionary [5]

After the conquests of Alexander the Great in the fourth century BC, the Greek language spread throughout Alexander’s empire and within a short time was the most commonly spoken language. In Alexandria in Egypt, the large Jewish population was almost entirely Greek-speaking, and for their sake the Hebrew Bible (our Old Testament) was translated into Greek. According to stories handed down by the Jews, the number of translators was about seventy. The translation was therefore called the Septuagint, meaning ‘seventy’ and abbreviated as LXX. The work was done some time during the third and second centuries BC. The quality of the translation varied, being good in some parts but poor in others.

Though the Septuagint was originally prepared for orthodox Jews of the pre-Christian era, the people who benefited most from it were the early Christians. In fact, the Septuagint’s popularity with the Christians was one reason why it lost favour with the Jews. In New Testament times most of the Christians were Greek-speaking, even those of Jewish background, and the Septuagint provided them with a ready-made translation of the Old Testament in their own language. New Testament writers, in quoting from the Old Testament, usually used the Septuagint rather than translate from the Hebrew (see Quotations ).

In matters concerning God and religion, the Septuagint was particularly helpful to preachers and writers of New Testament times. Greek religious words usually had meanings that related to pagan religious practices of the Greek world, and because of this the Septuagint translators chose their words carefully. Often they gave words new meaning or significance in the context of Hebrew Old Testament ideas.

This is important for present-day readers of the New Testament. In their consideration of teaching concerning God and Christian belief, they should understand Greek words in relation to the Hebrew words they represent, rather than in relation to the pagan ideas of the Greeks.

American Tract Society Bible Dictionary [6]

The seventy, is the name of the most ancient Greek version of the Old Testament, and is so called because there were said to have been seventy translators.

The accounts of its origin disagree, but it should probably be assigned to the third century before Christ. This ancient version contains many errors, and yet as a whole is a faithful one, particularly in the books of Moses; it is of great value in the interpretation of the Old Testament, and is very often quoted by the New Testament writers, who wrote in the same dialect. It was the parent of the first Latin, the Coptic, and many other versions, and was so much quoted and followed by the Greek and Roman fathers as practically to supersede the original Hebrew, until the last few centuries. The chronology of the Septuagint differs materially from that of the Hebrew text, adding, for example, 606 years between the creation and the deluge. See Alexandria .

King James Dictionary [7]

SEP'TUAGINT, n. L. septuaginta, seventy septem, seven, and some word signifying ten. A Greek version of the Old Testament, so call because it was the work of seventy, or rather of seventy-two interpreters. This translation from the Hebrew is supposed have been made in the reign and by the order of Ptolemy Philadelphus, king of Egypt, about two hundred and seventy or eighty years before the birth of Christ.

SEP'TUAGINT, a. Pertaining to the Septuagint contained in the Greek copy of the Old Testament.

The Septuagint chonology makes fifteen hundred years more from the creation to Abraham, than the present Hebrew copies of the Bible. Encyc.

Holman Bible Dictionary [8]

Apocrypha[[Texts And Versions Bible]]

Webster's Dictionary [9]

(n.) A Greek version of the Old Testament; - so called because it was believed to be the work of seventy (or rather of seventy-two) translators.

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [10]

SEPTUAGINT . See Greek Versions of OT, § 1 .

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [11]

is the common title of the earliest and most important version of the Old Testament, namely, into Greek, and is generally held to have derived its title (seventy) from the traditionary number of its translators (see below), rather than (as Eichhorn thought) from the authority of the Alexandrian Sanhedrim as consisting of seventy members. In the following account we shall endeavor to sift the truth out of the traditions on this subject. (See Greek Versions).

I. Origin Of The Version . This is as great a riddle as the sources of the Nile. The causes which produced the translation, the number and names of the translators, the times at which different portions were translated, are all uncertain.

1. Ancient Testimony On The Subject .

(1.) The oldest writer who makes mention of the Septuagint is Aristobulus, an author referred to by Eusebius ( Proepar. Evangel. 13, 12) and Clement of Alexandria ( Stromata, 5, 595). According to Eusebius, he was a Jew, who united the Aristotelian with the Jewish philosophy, and composed a commentary on the law of Moses, dedicated to Ptolemy Philometor. He is also mentioned in 2 Maccabees 1, 10. Both Clement and Eusebius make him contemporary with Philometor (2d century B.C.). for the passages in their writings, in which they speak of him under Philadelphus must either have been corrupted by ignorant transcribers or have been so written by mistake (Valckenaer, § 10, 11; D Ä hne, p. 81 sq.). His words relative to the Septuagint are these:

"It is manifest that Plato has followed our law, and studied diligently all its particulars; for before Demetrius Phalereus a translation had been made by others of the history of the Hebrews' going forth out of Egypt, and of all that happened to them, and of the conquest of the land, and of the exposition of the whole law. Hence it is manifest that the aforesaid philosopher borrowed many things, for he was very learned, as was Pythagoras, who also transferred many of our doctrines into his system. But the entire translation of our whole law ( Δὲ Ὅλη Ἑρμήνεια Τῶν Διὰ Τοῦ Νόμου Πάντων ) was made in the time of the king named Philadelphus, a man of greater zeal, under the direction of Demetrius Phalereus."

The entire passage has occasioned much conjecture and discussion. It is given by Valckenaer (Diatribe, etc.), Thiersch (De Versione Alexandrina), and Frankel (Vorstudien, etc.). It appears that the words of Aristobulus do not speak of any prior Greek translation, as Hody supposes, or indeed of any translation whatever. They rather refer to some brief extracts relative to Jewish history, which had been made from the Pentateuch into a language commonly understood by the Jews in Egypt, before the time of Demetrius. The entire law was first rendered into Greek under Philadelphus. Hody, and after him Eichhorn, conjectured that the fragments of Aristobulus preserved by Eusebius and Clement were written in the 2d century by another Aristobulus, a Christian, and that Aristobulus, the professed Peripatetic, was a heathen. But the quotation of Cyril of Alexandria (Contra Julianum, lib. 6), to which they appeal, was erroneously made by that father, as may be seen by comparing it with Clement. Richard Simon also denied the authenticity of Aristobulus's remains (Histoire Critique du V.T. p. 189). But Valckenaer has sufficiently established their authenticity.

The testimony of Aristobulus is corroborated by a Latin scholion recently found in a MS. of Plautus at Rome, which has been described and illustrated by Ritschl in a little book entitled Die alexandrinischen Bibliotheken, etc. (Berlin, 1838). From the passage of Aristobulus already quoted, it appears that in the time of Aristobulus, i.e. the beginning of the 2d century B.C., this version was considered to have been made when Demetrius Phalereus lived, or in the reign of Ptolemy Soter. Hody, indeed, has endeavored to show that this account contradicts the voice of certain history, because it places Demetrius in the reign of Philadelphus. But the version may have been begun under Soter and completed under Philadelphus, his successor. In this way may be reconciled the discordant notices of the time when it originated; for it is well known that the Palestinian account, followed by various fathers of the Church, asserts that Ptolemy Soter carried the work into execution, while according to Aristeas, Philo, Josephus, etc., his son Philadelphus was the person. Hody harmonizes the discrepancy by placing the translation of the Pentateuch in the two years during which father and son reigned conjointly (B.C. 286 and 285). The object of Demetrius in advising Soter to have in his library a copy of the Jewish laws in Greek is not stated by Aristobulus, but Aristeas relates that the librarian represented it to the king as a desirable thing that such a book should be deposited in the Alexandrian library. Some think that a literary rather than a religious motive led to the version. So H Ä vernick. This, however, may be reasonably doubted. Hody, Sturz, Frankel, and others conjecture that the object was religious or ecclesiastical. Eichhorn refers it to private impulse; while Hug takes the object to have been political. It is not probable, however, that the version was intended for the king's use, or that he wished to obtain from it information respecting the best mode of governing a nation and enacting laws for its economic well-being. The character and language of the version unite to show that an Egyptian king, probably ignorant of Greek, could not have understood the work. Perhaps an ecclesiastical motive prompted the Jews who were originally interested in it, while Demetrius Phalereus and the king may have been actuated by some other design.

It is difficult, if not impossible, to ascertain whether Aristobulus' words imply that all the books of the Old Test. were translated into Greek under Philadelphus, or simply the Pentateuch. Hody contends that Νόμος , the term used by Aristobulus, meant at that time the Mosaic books alone, although it was afterwards taken in a wider sense so as to embrace all the Old Test. Valckenaer thinks that All the books were comprehended under it, It is certainly more natural to restrict it to the Pentateuch. The Pentateuch, therefore, was completed under Philadelphus.

(2.) The next historical testimony regarding the Septuagint is the prologue of Jesus the son of Sirach, a document containing the judgment of a Palestinian Jew concerning the version before us. His words are these: "And not only these things, but the law itself, and the prophets, and the rest of the books, have no small difference when they are spoken in their own language." Frankel has endeavored to throw suspicion on this passage, as if it were unauthentic, but his reasons are extremely slender (p. 21, note w). It appears from it that the law, the prophets, and the other books had been translated into Greek in the time of the son of Sirach, i.e. that of Ptolemy Physcon, B.C. 130.

(3.) The account given by Aristeas comes next before us (see Rosenm Ü ller, Handb. D. Lit. D. Bibl. Kritik U. Exeg. 2, 413 sq.). This writer pretends to be a Gentile, and a favorite at the court of Ptolemy Philadelphus, king of Egypt. In a letter addressed to his brother Philocrates, he relates that Philadelphus, when forming a library at great expense, was advised by Demetrius Phalereus to apply to the Jewish high priest Eleazer for a copy of the book containing the Jewish laws. Having previously purchased the freedom of more than a hundred thousand captive Jews in Egypt, the king sent Aristeas and Aidreas to Jerusalem with a letter requesting of Eleazer seventy-two persons as interpreters, six out of each tribe. They were dispatched accordingly with a magnificent copy of the law, and were received and entertained by the king for several days with great respect and liberality. Demetrius led them to an island, probably Pharos, where they lodged together. The translation was finished in seventy-two days, having been written down by Demetrius piece by piece, as agreed upon after mutual consultation. It was then publicly read by Demetrius to a number of Jews whom he had summoned together. They approved of it, and imprecations were uttered against any one who should presume to alter it. The Jews requested permission to take copies of it for their use, and it was carefully preserved by command of the king. The interpreters were sent home loaded with presents.

The work of Aristeas, which was first published in the original Greek by Simon Schard (Basel, 1561, 8vo), and several times reprinted, was also given by Hody in Greek and Latin, in his book entitled De Bibliorum Textibus Originalibus, Versionibus Groecis, et Latina Vulgata (Oxon. 1705, fol.). The most accurate edition, however, is that by Galland, in the Bibliotheca Vet. Patrum, vol. 2. It was translated into English by Whiston, and published at London in 1727, 8vo. See also Aristeas, Hist. 72 Int. ex Rec. Eld. de Parchum (Francf. 1610; Oxon. 1692).

(4.) In all discussions relative to the name of Septuagint, so universally appropriated to the Greek version of Alexandria, the scholion discovered by Osann and published by Ritschl ought to be considered. The origin of this Latin scholion is curious. The substance of it is stated to have been extracted from Callimachus and Eratosthenes, the Alexandrian librarians, by Tzetzes, and from his Greek note an Italian of the 15th century has formed the Latin scholion in question. The writer has been speaking of the collecting of ancient Greek poems carried on at Alexandria under Ptolemy Philadelphus, and then he thus continues: "Nam rex ille philosophis affertissimus [corr. "differtissimus," Ritschl; "affectissimus," Thiersch] et caeteris omnibus auctoribus claris, disquisitis impensa regiae munificentiae ubique terrarum quantum valuit voluminibus opera Demetrii Phalerei phzxa senum duas bibliothecas fecit, alteram extra regiam alteram autem in regia." The scholion then goes on to speak of books in many languages: "Quae summa diligentia rex ille in suam linguam fecit ab optimis interpretibus converti" (see Thiersch, De Pentateuchi Versione Alexandrina [Erlang. 1841], p. 8, 9). Bernhardy reads instead of "phzxa senum," "et lxx senum," and this correction is agreed to by Thiersch, as it well may be: some correction is manifestly needed, and this appears to be right. This gives us seventy elders associated in the formation of the library. The testimony comes to us from Alexandrian authority; and this, if true (or even if believed to be true), would connect the Septuagint with the library a designation which might most easily be applied to a version of the Scriptures there deposited; and, let the translation be once known by such a name, then nothing would be more probable than that the designation should be applied to the translators. This may be regarded as the first step in the formation of the fables. Let the Septuagint be first known as applying to the associates in the collection of the library, then to the library itself, and then to that particular book in the library which to so many had a far greater value than all its other contents. Whether more than the Pentateuch was thus translated and then deposited in the royal library is a separate question.

2. Confirmation By Later Authorities.

(1.) Of Jewish writers, Josephus ( Ant. 12, 2) agrees in the main with Aristeas; but Philo's account ( De Vita Mosis, lib. 2) differs in a number of circumstances.

(2.) Among the Greek Church fathers Irenaeus (lib. 3, c. 24) relates that Ptolemy Lagi, wishing to adorn his Alexandrian library with the writings of all nations, requested from the Jews of Jerusalem a Greek version of their Scriptures; that they sent seventy elders well skilled in the Scriptures and in later languages; that the king Separated Them From One Another and bade them all translate the several books. When they came together before Ptolemy and showed their versions, God was glorified, for They All Agreed Exactly, from beginning to end, in every phrase and word, so that all men may know That The Scriptures Are Translated By The Inspiration Of God.

Justin Martyr (Cohort. ad Groecos, p. 34) gives the same account, and adds that he was taken to see the cells in which the interpreters worked.

Epiphanius says that the translators were divided into pairs, in thirty-six cells, each pair being provided with two scribes; and that thirty-six versions agreeing in every point were produced, by the gift of the Holy Spirit (De Pond. et Mens. c. 3-6).

(3.) Among the Latin fathers Augustine adheres to the inspiration of the translators "Non autem secundum LXX interpretes, qui etiam ipsi divino Spiritu interpretati, ob hoc aliter videntur nonnulla dixisse, ut ad spiritualem sensum scrutandum magis admoneretur lectoris intentio" ( De Doctr. Christ. 4, 15).

But Jerome boldly throws aside the whole story of the cells and the inspiration "Et nescio quis primus auctor Septuaginta cellulas Alexandriae mendacio suo extruxerit, quibus divisi eadem scriptitarent, cum Aristseus ejusdem Ptolemaei Ὑπερασπιστής , et multo post tempore Josephus, nihil tale retulerint: sed in una basilica congregatos, contulisse scribant, non prophetasse. Aliud est enim vatem, aliud esse interpretem. Ibi Spiritus ventura praedicit; hic eruditio et verborum copia ea quae intelligit transfert" (Proef. ad Pent.).

3. Modern Opinions .

(1.) Until the latter half of the 17th century the origin of the Sept. as given by Aristeas was firmly believed; while the numerous additions that had been made to the original story in the progress of centuries were unhesitatingly received as equally genuine. The story was first reckoned improbable by L. Vives (in a note to Augustine's De Civitate Dei ) ; then Scaliger asserted that it was written by a Jew; and Richard Simon was too acute a critic not to perceive the truth of Scaliger's assertion. Hody was the first who demonstrated with great learning, skill, and discrimination that the narrative could not be authentic (De Bibl. Text. Orig. Vers. Groec. et Lat. Vulg. [Oxford, 1705] lib. 4). It is now universally pronounced fabulous.

(2.) But the Pseudo-Aristeas had a basis of fact for his fiction; on three points of his story there is no material difference of opinion and they are confirmed by the study of the version itself: ( A .) The version was made at Alexandria. ( B .) It was begun in the time of the earlier Ptolemies, about B.C. 280. ( C .) The law (i.e. the Pentateuch) alone was translated at first. It is also very possible that there is some truth in the statement that a copy was placed in the royal library. (The emperor Akbar caused the New Test. to be translated into Persian.)

(3.) But by whom was the version made? As Hody justly remarks, "It is of little moment whether it was made at the command of the king or spontaneously by the Jews; but it is a question of great importance whether the Hebrew copy of the law and the interpreters (as Pseudo-Aristeas and his followers relate) were summoned from Jerusalem and sent by the high priest to Alexandria." On this question no testimony can be so conclusive as the evidence of the version itself, which bears upon its face the marks of imperfect knowledge of Hebrew, and exhibits the forms and phrases of the Macedonic Greek prevalent in Alexandria, with a plentiful sprinkling of Egyptian words. The forms Ἤλθοσαν Παρενεβάλοσαν , betray the fellow-citizens of Lycophron, the Alexandrian poet, who closes his iambic line with Κἀπὸ Γῆς Ἐσχάζοσαν . Hotldy (2, 4) gives several examples of Egyptian renderings of names and coins and measures; among them the hippodrome of Alexandria for the Hebrew Cibrath ( Genesis 48:7), and the papyrus of the Nile for the rush of Job ( Job 8:11). The reader of the Sept. will readily agree with his conclusion, "Sive regis jussu, sive sponte a Judaeis, a Judaeis Alexandrinus fuisse factam." The question as to the moving cause which gave birth to the version is one which cannot be so decisively answered either by internal evidence or by historical testimony. The balance of probability must be struck between the tradition, so widely and permanently prevalent, of the king's intervention, and the simpler account suggested by the facts of history and the phenomena of the version itself. It is well known that after the Jews returned from the captivity of Babylon, having lost in great measure the familiar knowledge of the ancient Hebrew, the readings from the books of Moses in the synagogues of Palestine were explained to them in the Chaldaic tongue in Targums or paraphrases; and the same was done with the books of the prophets when, at a later time, they also were read in the synagogues. The Jews of Alexandria had probably still less knowledge of Hebrew; their familiar language was Alexandrian Greek. They had settled in Alexandria in large numbers soon after the time of Alexander and under the earlier Ptolemies. They would naturally follow the same practice as their brethren in Palestine; the law first, and afterwards the prophets, would be explained in Greek, and from this practice would arise in time an entire Greek version. All the phenomena of the version seem to confirm this view; the Pentateuch is the best part of the version; the other books are more defective, betraying probably the increasing degeneracy of the Hebrew MSS. and the decay of Hebrew learning with the lapse of time.

(4.) Nevertheless, the opinion that the Pentateuch was translated a considerable time before the prophets is not warranted by the language of Justin, Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, Epiphanius, and Hilary of Poitiers; although we are aware that Aristeas, Josephus, Philo, the Talmudists, and Jerome mention The Law Only as having been interpreted by the seventy-two. Hody thinks that the Jews first resorted to the reading of the prophets in their synagogues when Antiochus Epiphanes forbade the use of the law, and therefore that the prophetic portion was not translated till after the commencement of Philometor's reign. It is wholly improbable, however, that Antiochus interdicted the Jews merely from reading the Pentateuch (comp.  1 Maccabees 1:41, etc.; and Josephus, Ant. 12, 5; Frankel, p. 48, 49). The interval between the translating of the law and the prophets, of which many speak, was probably very short. Hody's proof that the book of Joshua was not translated till upwards of twenty years after the death of Ptolemy Lagi, founded upon the word Γαισός , is perfectly nugatory, although the time assigned cannot be far from the truth. The epilogue to the book of Esther does not state that this part of the Old Test. was translated under Ptolemy Philometor or that it was dedicated to him. On the contrary it refers to a certain epistle containing apocryphal additions to the canonical book of Esther (Valckenaer, p. 33, 63). It is a fruitless task to attempt to ascertain the precise times at which separate portions of the version were made. All that can be known with any degree of probability is that it was begun under Lagi and finished before the thirty-eighth year of Ptolemy Physcon. It is obvious from internal evidence that there were several translators, but certainly not seventy-two. Hody has endeavored to parcel out their version into small portions, assigning each part to a separate person, and affirming that they were put together in one cento without revision; but his notions of rigid uniformity in the translators are such as exclude perspicuity, freedom, variety, and elegance. There is no ground for believing that the Pentateuch proceeded from more than one interpreter, who was unquestionably the most skilful of all. The entire work was made by five or six individuals at least, and must, consequently, be of unequal value. Comp. Amersfoordt, De Variis Lectio. Holmes. Loc. quorund. Pent. Mos. (Lugd. 1815); Thiersch, De Pent. Vers. Al. Libri III (Erlang. 1841); Frankel, Ueber d. Einfluss d. palest. Exeg. auf d. alex. Hermen. (Leips. 1851); Rosenm Ü ller, op. cit. p. 435 sq.

(5.) In opposition to the Pseudo-Aristeas, we cannot but maintain that the translators were Alexandrian, not Palestinian, Jews. The internal character of the entire version, particularly of the Pentateuch, sufficiently attests the fact. We find, accordingly, that proper names and terms peculiar to Egypt are rendered in such a manner as must have been unintelligible to a Greek- speaking population other than the Egyptian Jews. That the translators were Egyptians has been proved, to the satisfaction of all, by Hody; although some of his examples are not appropriate or conclusive. Frankel supposes that the version was made not only at different times, but at different places. This is quite arbitrary. There is no reason for believing with him that different books originated after this fashion, the impulse having gone forth from Alexandria and spreading to localities where the Jews had settled, especially Cyrene, Leontopolis, and even Asia Minor.

(6.) The division into verses and chapters is much later than the age of the translators. Our present editions have been printed in conformity with the division into chapters made in the 12th century, though they are not uniform in this particular. Still, however, many MSS. have separations in the text. The Alexandrine Codex is said by Grabe to have 140 divisions, or, as they may be called, chapters, in the book of Numbers alone (Prolegomena, c. 1, § 7).

The titles given to the books, such as Γένεσις , etc., could hardly have been affixed by the translators, since often they do not harmonize with the version of the book itself to which they belong.

II. Textual Basis Of The Version.

1. It has been inquired whether the translator of the Pentateuch followed a Hebrew or a Samaritan codex. The Sept. and Samaritan harmonize in more than a thousand places, where they differ from the Hebrew. Hence it has been supposed that the Samaritan edition was the basis of the version. Various considerations have been adduced in favor of this opinion; and the names of De Dieu, Selden, Whiston, Hottinger, Hassencamp, and Eichhorn are enlisted on its behalf. But the irreconcilable enmity subsisting between the Jews and the Samaritans, both in Egypt and Palestine, effectually militates against it. Besides, in the prophets and Hagiographa, the number of variations from the Masoretic text is even greater and more remarkable than those in the Pentateuch; whereas the Samaritan extends no further than the Mosaic books. No solution, therefore, can be satisfactory which will not serve to explain at once the cause or causes both of the differences between the Seventy and the Hebrew in the Pentateuch, and those found in the remaining books. The problem can be fully solved only by such a hypothesis as will throw light on the remarkable form of the Sept. in Jeremiah and Esther, where it deviates most from the Masoretic MSS., presenting such transpositions and interpolations as excite the surprise of the most superficial reader. The above solution of the question must be rejected not only for the reasons assigned, but also for the following.

(1.) It must be taken into account that if the discrepancies of the Samaritan and Jewish copies be estimated numerically, the Sept. will be found to agree Far More Frequently with the latter than the former.

(2.) In the cases of considerable and marked passages occurring in the Samaritan which are not in the Jewish, the Sept. does not contain them.

(3.) In the passages in which slight variations are found, both in the Samaritan and Sept., from the Jewish text, they often differ among themselves, and the amplification of the Sept. is less than that of the Samaritan.

(4.) Some of the small amplifications in which the Samaritan seems to accord with the Sept. are in such incorrect and non-idiomatic Hebrew that it is suggested that these must be translations, and, if so, probably from the Sept.

(5.) The amplifications of the Sept. and Samaritan often resemble each other greatly in character, as if similar false criticism had been applied to the text in each case. But as, in spite of all similarities such as these, the Pentateuch of the Sept. is more Jewish than Samaritan, we need not adopt the notion of translation from a Samaritan codex, which would involve the subject in greater difficulties, and leave more points to be explained. (On some of the supposed agreements of the Sept. with the Samaritan, see bishop Fitzgerald in Kitto's Journal Of Sacred Literature, Oct. 1848, p. 324-332.)

Some suppose that the one was interpolated from the other a conjecture not at all probable. Jahn and Bauer imagine that the Hebrew MS. used by the Egyptian Jews agreed much more closely with the Samaritan in., the text and forms of its letters than the present Masoretic copies. This hypothesis, however, even if it were otherwise correct, would not account for the great harmony existing between the Samaritan and Sept.

Another hypothesis has been put forth by Gesenius (Commentatio de Pent. Samar. Orig. Indole, et Auctor.), viz. that both the Samaritan and Sept. flowed from a common recension ( Ἔκδοσις ) of the Hebrew Scriptures, one older than either, and different in many places from the recension of the Masoretes now in common use. "This supposition," says Prof. Stuart, by whom it is adopted, "will account for the differences and for the agreements of the Sept. and Samaritan." The following objections have been made to this ingenious and plausible hypothesis.

(a.) It assumes that before the whole of the Old Test. was written there had been a recension or revision of several books. But there is no record or tradition in favor of the idea that Inspired Me n applied a correcting hand in this manner till the close of the canon. To say that Others did so is not in unison with right notions of the inspiration of Scripture, unless it be equally affirmed that they Corrupted, under the idea of Correcting, the holy books.

(b.) This hypothesis implies that a recension took place at a period comparatively early, before any books had been written except the Pentateuch, Joshua, Judges, and the writings of David and Solomon. If it be improbable that a revised edition was made before the completion of the canon, it is much more improbable that it was undertaken when few books were written.

(c.) It supposes that an older recension was still current after Ezra had revised the whole collection and closed the canon. In making the Sept. version, it is very improbable that the Jews, who were the translators, followed a recension far inferior in their estimation to the copy of the sacred books corrected by Ezra. This objection rests on the assumption that Ezra completed the canon of the Old Test., having been prompted, as well as inspired, to arrange and revise the books of Scripture. Such is the Jewish tradition; and although a majority of the German critics disallow its truth, yet it is held by very able and accomplished men.

Prof. Lee (Prolegomena to Bagster's Polyglot) accounts for the agreement between the Sept. and Samaritan in another way. He conjectures that the early Christians interspersed their copies with Samaritan glosses, which ignorant transcribers afterwards inserted in the text. But he has not shown that Christians in general were acquainted with the Samaritan Pentateuch and its additions to the Hebrew copy; neither has he taken into account the reverence entertained by the early Christians for the sacred books. We cannot, therefore, attribute the least probability to this hypothesis.

Another hypothesis has been mentioned by Frankel, viz. that the Sept. flowed from a Chaldee version, which was used before and after the time of Ezra a version inexact and paraphrastic, which had undergone many alterations and corruptions. This was first proposed by R. Asaria di Rossi, in the midst of other conjectures. Frankel admits that the assumption of such a version is superfluous, except in relation to the Samaritan Pentateuch, where much is gained by it. This Chaldee version circulated in various transcripts here and there; and as the same care was not applied in preserving its integrity as was exercised with respect to the original Hebrew, the copies of it presented considerable differences among themselves. Both the Greek version and the Samaritan Pentateuch were taken from it. Frankel concedes that this hypothesis is not satisfactory with regard to the Sept., because the mistakes found in that version must have frequently originated in misunderstanding the Hebrew text. There is no evidence, however, that any Targum or Chaldee version had been made before Ezra's time, or soon after. Explanations of the lessons publicly read by the Jews were given in Chaldee, not regularly perhaps, or uniformly; but it can scarcely be assumed that a Chaldee version had been made out in writing, and circulated in different copies. Glosses, or short expositions of words and sentences, were furnished by the public readers for the benefit of the people; and it is by no means improbable that several of these traditional comments were incorporated with the version by the Jewish translators, to Whom they were familiar.

In short, no hypothesis yet proposed commends itself to general reception, although the Vorstudien of Frankel have probably opened up the way towards a correct solution. The great source from which the striking peculiarities in the Sept. and the Samaritan flowed appears to us to have been early traditional interpretations current among the Jews, targums, or paraphrases not written, perhaps, but orally circulated. Such glossarial versions, which must have circulated chiefly in Palestine. require to be traced back to an early epoch to the period of the second Temple. They existed, in substance at least, in ancient times, at once indicating and modifying the Jewish mode of interpretation. The Alexandrian mode of interpretation stood in close connection with the Palestinian; for the Jews of Egypt looked upon Jerusalem as their chief city, and the Sanhedrim of Jerusalem as their ecclesiastical rulers. If, therefore, we can ascertain the traditional paraphrases of the one. those of the other must have been substantially the same (see Gieseler's Eccles. Hist., transl. by Cunningham, 1, 30).

Tychsen (Tentamen de Variis Codd. Heb. V.T. Mss Gener.) thought that the Sept. was made from the Hebrew transcribed into Hebrew-Greek characters. It is almost unnecessary to refer to such a notion. It never obtained general currency, having been examined and refuted by Dathe, Michaelis, and Hassencamp.

2. Evidence As To The Verbal Condition Of The Original. Here we naturally inquire as, to two obvious points:

(1.) Was the version made from Hebrew MSS. with the vowel-points now used? A few examples will indicate the answer.

A. Proper Names



 Exodus 6:17, לַבְנַי , Libni.

Λοβενεί .

 Exodus 6:19, מִחְלַי , Machli.

Μοολεί .

 Exodus 13:20, אֵתָם , Etham.


 Deuteronomy 3:10, סִלְכָה , Salchah.

῾Ελχᾶ .

 Deuteronomy 34:1, פַּסְגָּה , Pisgah.

Φασγά .

B. Other Words



 Genesis 1:9, מָקום , Place.

Συναγωγή ( מַקְוֶה ).

 Genesis 15:11, וִיֵּשֶׁב אֹתָם

Καὶ Συνεκὰθισεν Αὐτοῖς

And He Drove Them Away.

( וִיֵּשֶׁב אַתָּם ).

 Exodus 12:17, אֶתאּהִמִּצּוֹת ,

Τὴν Ἐντολὴν Ταύτην

Unleavened Bread.

אֶתאּהִמַּצְוָה ) .

 Numbers 16:5, בֹּקֶר , In The



( בָּקִר ) .

 Deuteronomy 15:18, מַשְׁנֵה , double.

Ἐπέτειον , ( מַשָּׁנָה ).

 Isaiah 9:8, דָּבָר , A Word.

Θάνατον ( דֶּבֶר ).

Examples of these two kinds are innumerable. Plainly the Greek translators had not Hebrew MSS. pointed as at present. In many cases (e.g.  Exodus 2:25;  Nahum 3:8) the Sept. has possibly preserved the true pronunciation and sense where the Masoretic pointing has gone wrong.

(2.) Were the Hebrew words divided from one another, and were the final letters וֹ ,, ן , ם ,, ִ in use when the Sept. was made? Take a few out of many examples:



(1)  Deuteronomy 26:5, אֹבֵדאֲרִמַּי ,

Συρίαν Ἀπέβαλεν

A Perishing Syrian.

( ארם יאֹבד ) .

(2)  2 Kings 2:14, אִ Šאּהוּאַ ,


He Also.

[it joins the two words in one].

(3)  2 Kings 22:20, לָכֵן

Οὐχ Οὕτως


( לאֹאּכֵן )

(4)  1 Chronicles 17:10, וָאִגַּד לְךָ ,

Καὶ Αὐξήσω Δε

And I Told Thee.

( וִאֲגִדֶּלְךָ ),

(5)  Hosea 6:5, יֵצֵא וּמַשְׁפָּטֶיךָ אוֹר

Καὶ Τὸ Κρίμα Μον Ὡς Φῶς Ἐξελεύ Σεταί

And Thy Judgments

The Sept. reads:

[are as] the light [that] goeth forth

וּמִשְׁפָטִי כָאוֹר

(6)  Zechariah 11:7, עֲנַיֵּי הִצּאֹןלָכֵן

Εἰς Τὴν Χανανῖτιν

Even You, O Poor Of The Flock.

[it joins the first two words].

Here we find three cases (2, 4, 6) where the Sept. reads as one word what makes two in the present Hebrew text; one case (3) where one Hebrew word is made into two by the Sept.; two cases (1, 5) where the Sept. transfers a letter from the end of one word to the beginning of the next. By inspection of the Hebrew in these cases it will be easily seen that the Hebrew MSS. must have been written without intervals between the words, and that the present final forms were not then in use. In three of the above examples (4, 5, 6), the Sept. has perhaps preserved the true division and sense. In the study of these minute particulars, which enable us to examine closely the work of the translators, great help is afforded by Cappelli Critica Sacra, and by the Vorstudien of Frankel, who has most diligently anatomized the text of the Sept. His projected work on the whole of the version has not been completed, but he has published a part of it in his treatise Ueber den Einfluss der pal Ä stinischen Exegese auf die alexandrinische Hermeneutik, in which he reviews minutely the Sept. version of the Pentateuch.

III. Ecclesiastical Authority And Influence . The Sept. does not appear to have obtained general authority among the Jews so long as Hebrew was understood at Alexandria. It is remarkable that Aristobulus quotes the original, even where it departs from the text of the Sept. The version was indeed spread abroad in Egypt, Northern. Africa, and Asia Minor. It seems to have been so highly esteemed by the Jews as to be publicly read in some of their synagogues. From the 146th Novella of Justinian, it would seem that some Jews wished the public interpreter, who read the lessons out of the law and the prophets in Hebrew, to give his explanations of them in Greek, while others desired to have them in Chaldee. The reader, therefore, employed this translation as, explanatory of the sections recited in the original, yet, although they highly esteemed the Greek, they did not regard it as equal to the Hebrew. Even the Talmudists make honorable mention of its origin. It is true that the Talmud also speaks of it as an abomination to the Jews in Palestine; but this refers to the 2d century and the time following, not to the period immediately after the appearance of Christ. When controversies arose between Christians and Jews, and the former appealed with irresistible force of argument to this version, the latter denied that it agreed with the Hebrew original. Thus by degrees it became odious to the Jews as much execrated as it had before been commended. They had recourse to the translation of Aquila, who is supposed to have undertaken a new work from the Hebrew, with the express object of supplanting the Sept. and favoring the sentiments of his brethren,

Among the Christians the ancient text, called Κοινή , was current before the time of Origen. We find it quoted by the early Christian fathers in Greek by Clemens Romanus, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus; in Latin versions by Tertullian and Cyprian. We find it questioned as inaccurate by the Jews (Just. Martyr, Apol. ) , and provoking them to obtain a better version (hence the versions of Aquila, etc.). We find it quoted by Josephus and Philo; and thus we are brought to the time of the apostles and evangelists, whose writings are full of citations and references, and imbued with the phraseology of the Sept. From all this we are justified in the following conclusions on this head:

1. This version was highly esteemed by the Hellenistic Jews before the coming of Christ. An annual festival was held at Alexandria in remembrance of the completion of the work (Philo, De Vita Mosis, lib. 2). The manner in which it is quoted by the writers of the New Test. proves that it had long been in general use. Wherever, by the conquests of Alexander or by colonization, the Greek language prevailed; wherever Jews were settled, and the attention of the neighboring Gentiles was drawn to their wondrous history and law, there was found the Sept., which thus became, by Divine Providence, the means of spreading widely the knowledge of the One True God and his promises of a Savior to come throughout the nations; it was indeed ostium gentibus ad Christum. To the wide dispersion of this version we may ascribe, in great measure, that general persuasion which prevailed over the whole East (percrebuerat Oriente toto) of the near approach of the Redeemer, and which led the magi to recognize the star that proclaimed the birth of the King of the Jews.

2. Not less wide was the influence of the Sept. in the spread of the Gospel. Many of those Jews who were assembled at Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost, from Asia Minor, from Africa, from Crete and Rome, used the Greek language; the testimonies to Christ from the law and the prophets came to them in the words of the Sept.; St. Stephen probably quoted from it in his address to the Jews; the Ethiopian eunuch was reading the Sept. version of Isaiah in his chariot ( Ὡς Πρόβατον Ἐπὶ Σφαγὴν Ἤχθη ); they who were scattered abroad went forth into many lands, speaking of Christ in Greek, and pointing to the things written of him in the Greek version of Moses and the prophets; from Antioch and Alexandria in the East to Rome and Massilia in the West, the voice of the Gospel sounded forth in Greek; Clemens of Rome, Ignatius at Antioch, Justin Martyr in Palestine, Irenaeus at Lyons, and many more, taught and wrote in the words of the Greek Scriptures; and a still wider range was given to the Sept. by the Latin version (or versions) made from it for the use of the Latin churches in Italy and Africa; and in later times by the numerous other versions into the tongues of Egypt, Ethiopia, Armenia, Arabia, and Georgia. For a long period the Sept. was the Old Test. of the far larger part of the Christian Church (see the Hulsean Prize Essay, by W.R. Churton, On The Influence of the Sept. on the Progress of Christianity [Camb. 1861J; and an art. in the Zeitschr. f. wissensch. Theol. 1862, vol. 3).

A number of other versions have been founded on the Sept.

1. Various early Latin translations, the chief of which was the Vetus Itala;

2. The Coptic and Sahidic, belonging to the James, 2 d centuries;

3. The Ethiopic, belonging to the 4th century;

4. The Armenian, of the 5th century;

5. The Georgian, of the 6th century;

6. Various Syriac versions, of the 6th and 8th centuries;

7. Some Arabic versions, (See Arabic Versions);

8. The Slavonic, belonging to the 9th century.

IV. Liturgical Origin Of Portions Of The Version. This is a subject for inquiry which has received but little attention; not so much, probably, as its importance deserves. It was noticed by Tregelles many years ago that the headings of certa

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [12]

The task of reconstructing the Oldest text is still unaccomplished. Materials have accumulated, and much preliminary "spade-work" has been done, by Lagarde in particular (see his "axioms" in Swete, Introduction , 484, ff) and more recently by Nestle and Rahlfs; but the principles which the editor must follow are not yet finally determined. The extent to which "mixture" has affected the documents is the stumbling-block. Clearly no single Moabite Stone presents the oldest text. That of codex B, as in the New Testament, is on the whole the purest. In the 4 books of "Reigns" (1 Samuel through 2 Kings), e.g., it has escaped the grosser interpolations found in most manuscripts, and Rahlfs ( Sept.-Studien , I, 1904) regards its text as pre-Origenic. It is, however, of unequal value and by no means an infallible guide; in Judges, e.g., its text is undoubtedly late, no earlier than the 4th century AD, according to one authority (Moore," Jgs," ICC ). In relation to two of the 4th-century recensions its text is neutral, neither predominantly Lucianic nor Hexaplaric; but it has been regarded by some authorities as Hesychian. Possibly the recension made in the country which produced the Septuagint adhered more closely than others to the primitive text; some "Hesychian" features in the B text may prove to be original. Still even its purest portions contain marks of editorial revision and patent corruptions. Codex Alexandrinus presents a quite different type of text, approximating to that of the Massoretic Text. In the books of "Reigns" it is practically a Hexaplaric text without the critical signs, the additional matter being mainly derived from Aquila. Yet that it contains an ancient element is shown by the large support given to its readings by the New Testament and early Christian writers. Individual manuscripts must give place to groups. In order to reconstruct the texts current before Origen's time, it is necessary to isolate the groups containing the three 4th-century recensions, and to eliminate from the recensions thus recovered all Hexaplaric matter and such changes as appear to have been introduced by the authors of those recensions. Other groups brought to light by the larger Cambridge text have also to be taken into account. The attempt to Renetrate into the earlier stages of the history is the hardest task. The Old Latin version is here the surest guide; it has preserved readings which have disappeared from all Greek manuscripts, and affords a criterion as to the relative antiquity of the Greek variants. The evidence of early Christian and Jewish citations is also valuable. Ultimately, after elimination of all readings proved t

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Bibliography Information Orr, James, M.A., DD General Editor. Entry for 'Septuagint'. International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. 1915.

The Nuttall Encyclopedia [13]

A version, and the oldest of any known to us, of the Hebrew Scriptures in Greek, executed at Alexandria, in Egypt, by different translators at different periods, commencing with 280 B.C.; it is known as the Alexandria version, while the name Septuagint, or LXX., was given to it on the ground of the tradition that it was the work of 70, or rather 72, Jews, who had, it is alleged, been Drought from Palestine for the purpose, and were fabled, according to one tradition, to have executed the whole in as many days, and, according to another, to have each done the whole apart from the rest, with the result that the version of each was found to correspond word for word with that of all the others; it began with the translation of the Pentateuch and was continued from that time till 130 B.C. by the translation of the rest, the whole being in reality the achievement of several independent workmen, who executed their parts, some with greater some with less ability and success; it is often literal to a painful degree, and it swarms with such pronounced Hebraisms, that a pure Greek would often fail to understand it. It was the version current everywhere at the time of the planting of the Christian Church, and the numerous quotations in the New Testament from the Old are, with few exceptions, quotations from it.