The Septuagint refers exclusively to the Greek translation of the Old Testament, and the Masoretic text refers solely to the Old Testament but the Hebrew text. Biblical history tells us that the first translation of the Old Testament was made around 0250 BC and its importance throughout the centuries.
The Septuagint is the earliest translation of the Old Testament into Greek, the dominant language in the eastern Mediterranean basin at the time of Alexander the Great. The Greek translation of the original Hebrew text of the Old Testament was done in several stages during the third and second centuries BC in Alexandria, Egypt, with the final version being presented before 132 BC. The Septuagint is called, in many writings, by the Roman numerals LXX meaning 70, translating as the interpretation of the 72 men.
According to historical accounts and biblical records, the Bible was written by 72 scholars, all from the 12 tribes of Israel. Based on all the scrolls and works written by Moses, Isaiah, Job, Joshua, and all those who recorded their experiences.
In 0336 BC. Alexander III became emperor of Macedonia in place of his father, Philip II. As you know, he began his military campaigns by conquering the city-states of Greece, despite being only 20 years old. By 32, he had conquered all the territory between Greece and India, from the Indian Ocean to the Nile River. A vast part was under the rule of a single king, but he died in 323 BC.
What is the Septuagint in the Bible?
The Septuagint has been highly honored since ancient times, so much so that writers such as Philo of Alexandria and Josephus Flavius even dared to say that its translators worked under divine inspiration.
According to historical records, the Septuagint in the Bible translates the Torah, the Old Testament, into Greek around 0282 BC. The following books of the Tanakh were translated by the end of the 2nd century BC. These later translations were of lower quality, depending on the book to book. The Septuagint forms the primary basis for later biblical interpretations and other Latin text versions. The following books of the Tanakh were translated by the end of the 2nd century BC. Depending on the book’s text, these later translations were of lower quality.
The Septuagint is quoted in the New Testament and the writings of the Apostolic Fathers. The current translation of the Old Testament in the Orthodox Church was made after the Septuagint.
Biography of the first biblical patriarch of the Septuagint
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Biblical places from the times of The Father of Faith
- Arabian Desert- Is the Arabian Desert the place Abraham, the first biblical patriarch, went to?
- Moriah- Does the Mountain of Moriah still exist today?
Where is the history of the composition of the Septuagint described?
The Septuagint was initially considered the Greek version of the first five books of the Hebrew Bible, the Pentateuch. Also, later, the name was extended to all the books of the Old Testament.
The history of the composition of the Septuagint is mentioned in the Letter of Aristeas, which is the earliest known testimony to the origin of this translation. From it, we learn that Ptolemy II Philadelphus, king of Egypt, contacted the high priest Eleazar of Jerusalem, asking him to send him the best translators from Hebrew into Greek. So Eleazar, the priest, chose six translators from each of the twelve nations of Israel. Then the 72 wise men set off for Alexandria.
The seventy-two men translated, at first, only the Pentateuch, which are the five books of the Law of Moses; later, over the next few centuries, the other books of the Old Testament were added.
Is the Septuagint different from the Bible?
The Septuagint and the Bible proclaim the same message. But there is, however, a difference in the way the message is presented. Although the Septuagint and the Bible are both revelations of God’s grace, they differ. These differences lie in the way God administered His grace.
According to the manuscripts found at the Dead Sea, there is a significant difference between the Septuagint and the Bible. The Septuagint is only the Old Testament. Which includes the Law and the Prophets. And the New Testament contains salvation through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
The Septuagint was a piece of the religion of the Jews. The New Testament is from Jesus and is the introductory text of Christianity. Christians also took up the Septuagint in Christianity. Also, it was impersonal and impossible to obey. In the Bible, the Law becomes personal through the New Testament, written in us by the Lord himself. And it is the Lord who gives us the grace to fulfill it: I will put My law within them, I will write it on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. But, no one shall teach his neighbor or brother, saying: Know the Lord, but all shall know me.
Did Jesus read from the Septuagint?
Jesus is the Son of God, the Son of The Almighty Yahve, and He was preaching to the crowds who listen to Him, and people see that no one has ever spoken like this. Also, he has spoken to them many times like this, in the sermon on the mountain and other places. But, He answers the Pharisees who were trying to catch him in his word, giving them those lines to which they didn’t know what to say.
According to the New Testament, Jesus read and quoted the Septuagint. Mark 7:6 refers directly to Isaiah 6:9. The Dead Sea Scrolls contain several copies of the Old Testament, some used in the Savior’s time and others much older. Also, thanks to these discoveries, strong similarities between the Septuagint and pre-Masoretic Hebrew texts have been observed.
Several scholars have concluded that many Hebrew texts constitute the primary text for the Septuagint translations, which shows that the Septuagint translations are indeed reliable, thus giving new authority to the Greek translations over the Masoretic text.
Biography of Jesus, the prophesied One in Septuagint
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Key Verse related to Jesus quoting the Septuagint
“He replied, Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written:
These people honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.”
Is the Quran older than the Septuagint?
The Septuagint contains 39 canonical books, received by the Church to be inspired by God, and 14 non-canonical books, recommended by the Church to be read. Also, it contains the teachings God revealed to men through Moses and the prophets, chosen men guided by the Holy Spirit who lived before Jesus Christ came into the world.
According to the Dead Sea Scrolls and historical sources, the Quran is not older than the Septuagint because the Septuagint is also based on specific books of the 72 men. The Qur’an is the most important Muslim holy book. The Qur’an contains basic information that can also be found in the Hebrew Bible and revelations made to the Prophet Muhammad. The text is considered the word of God and is above all other writings. However, this does not mean that it is older than the Septuagint.
The Qur’an is made up of 114 chapters, which are called surahs. Scholars believe the text was written shortly after the death of the Prophet Muhammad, under the supervision of the Caliph Abu Bakr. Which attests that it is newer than the Septuagint.
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- Therefore, Aristeas determined that 72 scribes took part in translating the Bible from Hebrew into Greek, calculating six elders for each of the 12 tribes of Israel.
- The text from Septuagint recounts the Israelites from creation to the taking of Moses. The books are Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.
- Also, the Septuagint contains Greek expressions that express events differently from how they were described in the Hebrew Old Testament.
From the current level of historical knowledge, the earliest Greek version of the Old Testament books is one of humanity’s major cultural adventures. The Septuagint is important because it is the divine inspiration from which the Savior, the Holy Apostles, and Holy Fathers quote from the Old Testament. Because God gave the people of Israel His covenant, many other privileges, and even His presence among them. Also, He cared for Israel as a beloved child. But, the other nations were regarded as strangers and were removed from their midst. God sanctified Israel while the other nations were left in their sin.
Therefore, the Septuagint was a uniquely Jewish work created by Diaspora Jews for their spiritual needs. Later, after the birth of the Saviour and the universal propagation of his teaching by the Apostles, the Septuagint became the Bible of the Christians and was definitively repudiated by the Jews.
Thank you for your time, and please, if you have a few more minutes, play the following Quizlet about the biblical characters from the Septuagint. Also, have a wonderful day! And may God bless you and keep you safe!
Trivia About The Characters of Septuagint
Explanation of biblical words
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- Bickerman, E. (1986). The Septuagint as a Translation. In Studies in Jewish and Christian History, Volume 1 (pp. 167-200). Brill.
- Olofsson, S. (1990). The Lxx Version a Guide to the Translation Technique of the Septuagint.
- Rösel, M. (2006). Towards a “Theology of the Septuagint.” Septuagint research: issues and challenges in the study of the Greek Jewish scriptures, 239-52.
- Thackeray, H. S. J., & Thackeray, H. S. J. (1909). A grammar of the Old Testament in Greek: According to the Septuagint (Vol. 1). University Press.
- Tov, E. (1988). The Septuagint. Mikra: Text, translation, reading, and interpretation of the Hebrew bible in ancient Judaism and early Christianity, 50, 161-88.