Re: Questions re: LXX

From: Nichael Lynn Cramer (
Date: Thu Feb 12 1998 - 09:36:12 EST

Many folks havve answered John's request for references. To answer a
couple of the other questions:

John Reece wrote:
>What is the best estimate for the time period during which the LXX was

As you no doubt are aware, this is a topic of some debate. As we can see
below, we have a bound of "before the 2nd cent BCE" for the translation of
at least some the books of the HS. OTOH some --e.g. E. Tov-- have argued
that the translation didn't take something approaching a final form until
quite late (e.g. the "3rd or 4th cent CE").

The tradtional dating, based on the "Letter or Aristeas", dates the initial
translation (N.B. of the Torah only) to the mid 3rd cent BCE.

>What is the approximate date of the earliest surviving manuscripts?

The oldest --essentially-- complete manuscripts date from the mid-4th cent
CE, in the great uncial codicies (Sinaiticus, Alexandrus) that also contain
the earliest complete manuscripts of the NT.

The earliest fragment of the LXX is the Ryland Papyrus 957, containing
portions of a couple verses Deut 25 and dated to the early 2nd cent BCE. A
few other fragments exist from the 1st cent BCE, at least one of which is
from Qumran.

(Photos of some of these, including the P. Ryland 458, can be found in
Metzger's _Manuscripts of the Greek Bible.)

Hope this is of some help.

Nichael Gather the folks, tell the stories, break the bread. -- John Shea

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