SEPTUAGINT. THE. This Greek translation of the Old Testament, which was the Bible of Greek-speaking Jews, was called the Septuagint because it was supposed to have been made by seventy or seventy-two Jewish elders. The full title in Latin is " Interpretatio septua giuta virorum (or senionim)," and in Greek it is referred to as the version Kara e 1380msovx a. The tradition as to how the translation was planned and prepared is given in the Epistle of Aristeas, a Jewish-Alexandrine production which must have been written earlier than 19S B.C. The work purports to be a letter written by Aristeas, an officer of King Ptolemy II. Philadelphus (284-247 B.C.). to his brother Philocrates. It tells bow the king's librarian, Demetrius Phalereus, advised the king to add a Greek translation of the Law of the Jews to the royal library of Alexandria. The king sends to the High Priest Eleazar at Jerusalem and begs him to send scholars to undertake the work. " The high priest is filled with joy at the request of the king, and seventy two men, six from every tribe, are sent to Alexandria with a copy of the Law written in golden letters. During seven days they have daily audiences of the king, and excite the admiration of all by the wisdom with which they answer the seventy-two questions proposed to them in philosophy, politics, and ethics. Thereafter they are transported to the island of Pharos, where, in a beautiful residence, they engage diligently in the work of trans lation. Every day they all translate, each one by him self, a portion of the Law, and then, after comparison of the various renderings, they produce a common text. In seventy-two days the work is completed " (F. Buhl, Canon and Text of the Old Testament, 1S92). Philo (c. 20 B.C.-45 A.D.) adds that all the translators were inspired to choose the same expressions (cp. INSPIRA TION). The Church Fathers further embellish the story by stating that each of the translators was shut up in a separate cell. There is no reason to doubt that Ptolemy Philadelphus encouraged the Greek translation in its earliest form, which included only the five books of the Law. This was the first Greek Bible. The other books followed in due course. In the Preface to Ecclesiasticus, Ben Sira, who arrived in Egypt in 132 B.C., implies the existence of a Greek version of the Former and Latter Prophets and of some at least of the Hagiographa, as well as of the Law. He says: " For things originally spoken in Hebrew have not the same force in them, when they are translated into another tongue : and not only these, but the law itself, and the prophecies, and the rest of the books, have no small difference, when they are spoken in their original language." This may
be taken to mean that the books had been translated before 132 B.C. There is a footnote to the Greek version of Esther which says that it was brought to Egypt in the fourth year of Ptolemy and Cleopatra. lf, as seems probable, Ptolemy VI. Philometor is referred to, the date would be 178 B.C. It is probable, however. that some of the books of the Hagiographa (q.v.) were not translated much before the beginning of the Christian era. The different styles in which books are translated is a further indication that the translations were the work of a number of authors. Some of the translations are extremely literal; others are very paraphrastic. The Septuagint, as we have it. includes our Apocrypha. The apocryphal books are not printed as an appendix. but are placed among the canonical works: and, in general, the books of the Greek Bible are placed together according to similarity of character or subject. Some other peculiarities call for remark. The apocryphal additions to Esther are distributed through the Book of Esther. Some of the apocryphal additions to Daniel, in cluding the writings known to us as " The Song of the Three Holy Children " and " The Prayer of Azarias," are distributed through the Book of Daniel. The Epistle of Jeremy is appended to Baruch. Further, 1. and II. Samuel and I. and II. Kings are regarded as four books of "Kingdoms" (basfleiOn): our Ezra-Nehemiah is called Second Esdras; while First Esdras (" Greek Esdras ") " consists of an independent and somewhat free version of portions of II. Chronicles and Ezra-Nehemiah, broken by a long context which has no parallel in the Hebrew Bible " (H. B. Swete, Intr. to the O.T. in Greek, 1900). The order of books in Swete's standard edition of the Septuagint is as follows: The Pentateuch in the usual order, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, four books of Kingdoms, I. and II. Chronicles, I. and II. Esdras. Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, Job, Wisdom of Solomon, Wisdom of Sirach, Esther, Judith, Tobit, Hosea, Amos, Micah, Joel. Obadiah, Jonah, Nahum. Habakkuk,. Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi, Isaiah, Jere miah, Baruch, Lamentations, Letter of Jeremiah, Ezekiel. Daniel, Susanna, Bel and the Dragon, and the four books of Maccabees. The common or accepted text of the Septuagint is found in the Hexapla of Origen. Lucian (died A.D. 311) of Antioch issued a revised text, and Hesychins (died in Egypt A.D. 310-11) another. Paul de Lagarde published a restoration of part of the Iucianic recension in 1S83. Cp. further GREEK VERSIONS. See H. P. Swete, intr.; A. S. Geden, Intro. to the Heb. Bible, 1900.