The Septuagint - LXX

The Septuagint, or LXX is the Jewish Scriptures in Greek. The Jews of Alexandria who made the translation a century before Jesus, included 7 books which are not in the Palestinian Canon or in the Protestant Bible. A book written by Jews was destined to make a great impact on the Greco-Roman world with the effect that Jewish theology began to have on Greek philosophy and literature. The translation of the Old Testament turned out to be a great piece of Greek literature.

The Septuagint project was undertaken for the gratification of Ptolemy Philadelphus, who wished to have a specimen of the Bible in the great Alexandrian library. Ptolemy Philadelphus is called by moderns as the first apostle of the gentiles. For the first time the heathen of every land were enabled to read and judge for themselves of all that Moses delivered. Ptolemy sent to the High Priest in Jerusalem asking for six Hebrew scholars from each of the 12 tribes of Israel to be sent to Egypt to translate the scriptures. When 70 scholars arrived in Egypt each translator was shut up in separate cells by pairs in 36 cells, where they might work alone. For 70 days not a word was heard from the 70 scholars. When compared all were found to be identical. Each translation produced an exact agreement proving the work was inspiration from God.

Septuagint means of seventy, therefore the habit of calling it the LXX. It was the first extensive translation ever made of a national literature and it became one of the most influential books in the world. For Judaism the Septuagint became the strong bond uniting all Greek-speaking Jews of the dispersion and transmitting to them the literary and religious heritage of their fathers.

It was a best seller which found its way into more pagan than Jewish homes. It was the conquering word that spread Jewish humanism and philosophy to the Greeks and Romans, so not a totally strange creed. Through reading the Septuagint, many Gentiles became converts to Judaism. The people were already familiar with the Old Testament. When Jesus came they were prepared for the Christian message. Finally, the Septuagint was the first Bible of the early Christian church. The Septuagint had given the Hellenists a Bible in the universal language of the New Testament world. In the fullness of time, when the great message came, a language was prepared to receive it.
[304, 318, 327, 330, 343, 351, BD]

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