Re: Hebrew -> LXX

From: Paul J. Bodin (
Date: Thu Mar 20 1997 - 01:22:10 EST


At 01:10 PM 3/20/97 +0930, Andrew Kulikovsky wrote:
> I wish to know how good the translation from the Hebrew is, to the Greek
> of the LXX?

It varies considerably for different books. At some points quite good, at
others wooden and clearly "translation Greek".
> The LXX was produced by 70 Jewish scholars - do we know who they are and
> how well they mastered the Greek language?

This is a not-very-reliable tradition which we have from the "Letter of
Aristeas". It is a nice story, but not likely true. More likely different
books were translated at different times and places, and then underwent a
process of revision and collection. The whole point of the Letter of
Aristeas, if you accept the story of the seventy, is to establish that the
translation is divinely inspired and perfectly accurate--that's the upshot
of the statement that all seventy scholars, working independently and
inspired by God, delivered exactly the same text to the King of Egypt, word
for word. If you take the seventy scholar part seriously it seems to me
that you are also buying into the perfect accuracy part, too.

> Are there any significant textual problems?

There are lots of interesting textual features. It seems apparent that some
of the Hebrew texts underlying the Old Greek differ notably from the MT.
Different parts of the Bible reflect this phenomenon to different degrees.
In some of the prophets the text differs so much that the books are of
different lengths! There are also entire books in the LXX for which we have
no extant Hebrew text, and some that seem to have been actually composed in
Greek to begin with.

 Paul J. Bodin <>
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