The Septuagint (often abbreviated LXX) is a translation of the Hebrew Bible into Greek in the 3rd century BC. The LXX was made for the Jewish community when Greek was the common language of the day, and for many Jews was their primary language.
The Septuagint was the first attempt to reproduce the Hebrew Scriptures in another language. Rather than being a scholarly or academic translation, the LXX was made for the people in the language of their dailiy life.
Tradition claims the translation was made by 70 or 72 scholars (hence the name; from the Latin septuaginta, “70”). Ptolemy II requested that Eleazar, the high priest in Jerusalem, send 72 scholars (6 from each tribe) to Alexandria for the purpose of translating the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek.
The LXX is the version of usually quoted by the New Testament authors. When early controversies arose between Christians and Jews in the early church and Christians appealed to the LXX, the Jews denied that it agreed with the Hebrew original. The translation was eventually rejected by the Jews, although it was highly valued by them before the coming of Christ.
However, it remained popular among Christians. When the Scriptures were later translated into other languages, they were made most often from the Septuagint, not the original Hebrew. For example, Jerome’s Latin Bible, the Vulgate, was translated from the LXX.
Dictionaries & Encyclopedias
- International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: Septuagint
- McClintock and Strong: Septuagint ; Septuagint, Linguistic Character of ; Septuagint, Talmudic Notices Concerning
- The Nuttall Encyclopedia: Septuagint
- The Jewish Encyclopedia: Septuagint
- Encyclopedia Britannica: Septuagint
- Gotquestions.org: Septuagint