Re: Quality of the Septuagint - Which books?

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Sat Oct 11 1997 - 07:45:10 EDT

At 7:02 PM -0500 10/10/97, Jim West wrote:
>At 06:52 PM 10/10/97 -0700, you wrote:
>>I`d like to read the Septuagint and I am curious to know which books of
>>Septuagint are good translations.
>Some of the LXX is quite literal; while other parts of it are quite
>paraphrastic. A good introduction to the OT will discuss the LXX and its
>many idiosyncresies (or some such spelling!!!).
>> I've heard that there were many (~70)
>This is myth pure and simple. The LXX is a text which was translated by
>various persons in various places over decades if not centuries.

I think it's fair to say that it is myth, but not that it is pure and
simple. The story is told in a little work called, if I recall aright, the
"Letter of Aristeas," and narrated amusingly by E.M. Forster in his 20th
century classic, _Alexandria: a History and a Guide_: the story is that
when Ptolemy wanted to include in the great Alexandrian library the sacred
works of the peoples of the world, he got in touch with authorities in
Jerusalem who sent seventy (whence the Latin title, Septuaginta) scholars
to Alexandria. They were housed in huts or tents individually on the island
of Pharos and asked each individually to write a version of the Pentateuch.
When they were finished, they all were in verbatim agreement, and the
resulting version was duly cataloged in the great library. If anybody
believes that, I have a bridge I'd like to sell as soon as possible. But it
remains a great story.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics/Washington University
One Brookings Drive/St. Louis, MO, USA 63130/(314) 935-4018
Home: 7222 Colgate Ave./St. Louis, MO 63130/(314) 726-5649 OR

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