A Link to the Post: The Septuagint

septuagintIn the most recent episode of Count Joy, I (Thomas) mentioned the Septuagint in talking about 1st Peter 5:4 (cf. Septuagint reading of Exodus 34:29-30, and 2nd Corinthians 3:7-11).  Since some of our listeners might not know what the Septuagint is, and since it is very important to New Testament studies, I did some searching for a good introduction of it.  There’s not much of brevity about it online, unfortunately, but I did locate the following short article:

The Septuagint  (for a longer, more exhaustive treatment, see here)

A few thoughts of my own for those who just want the barest-bones:

  • The Septuagint is the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible (which we call the Old Testament)
  • The name means “seventy” and is sometimes abbreviated as LXX.   This is because according to legend the initial round of translation (which was limited to the Pentateuch, the first 5 books of the Bible) was done by approximately 70 (or 72, or 75, accounts vary) Jewish scholars
  • It was done several centuries before Christ, and was the primary text for Greek-speaking Jews (called the “Diaspora” – the Dispersion) who by-and-large did not return to the land of Israel after being scattered by Babylon and often lost the ability to speak Hebrew (the same way most of the descendants of German immigrants to America do not speak the mother-tongue)
  • This would have been the version of the Scriptures read in the Greek-speaking synagogues (i.e. those in Rome, Galatia, Corinth, and those other places Paul wrote to and beyond)
  • I like to think of the Septuagint as the King James Bible of the ancient world: a translation into the common tongue that is pervasively used by the folk who do not speak (or read) the original language
  • Most of the New Testament (which was written in Greek) quotations of the Old Testament are taken from the Septuagint
  • Moreover, there are many allusions and partial quotations that the NT makes to the OT that are hard to pick up on for someone going from the Hebrew text, but appear as if under a black-light when being compared with the Septuagint (see this example on 1st Peter 3:15 – a text we recently covered on the show)

There’s obviously more depths to plumb on this topic, but I will leave those interested to the links above for now!


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