(A) VERSIONS IN ANCIENT LANGUAOES. I. Grcek.—(1) According to Aristobulus, the pseudo-liecatieus, and pseudo-Aristeas, who prob ably all flourished at the beginning of the First Century A.D., there existed long before Ptolemy II. Philadelphus (me. 235-247), a translation of the Jewish Law, with which the great legislators and philosophers of Greece became acquainted. While the general character of these writings and the evident desire to magnify Moses threw doubt upon the assertion, it may reflect the confused memory of some translation supplanted by the officially recognized version. If so, it is lost, ex cept as it may have been incorporated in the (2) The origin of the most important Greek version is minutely described in the letter of Aristeas to his brother, Philaerates. This docu ment relates how Ptolemy II. Philadelphus was persuaded by his librarian, Demetrius of Pim. leron, to send an embassy to the high-priest, Ele azar, with a request for a copy of the Jewish Law and six men from each tribe to translate it. Sev enty-two men were dispatched to Alexandria with a copy written in golden letters. They were led to the island of Pharos, 'where, in 72 days, they produced a work that greatly delighted Phila delphus as well as the Jews.
The spurious character of this epistle was al ready recognized by John Louis \rives (1522), Joseph Scaliger and Richard Simon (1678), and fully demonstrated by Humphry Body (1684). The author professes to be a Greek, while he manifestly is a Jew. He claims to be employed at the Court of Ptolemy Phila delphns, while his ignorance of the King's reign and his familiarity with later conditions render it probable that he lived in the days of Augustus or of Tiberius. His official documents are forger ies: his story is based on mythical and legendary motives, and while it throws light on the Ptole maic dynasty and the beginning of Roman rule, it can give no aid in determining the origin and date of the version. The name derived from this legend (Septuaginta et duo. Septuagint, LXXII., LXX.) is most misleading, being generally ap plied to the Sixtine edition, and it is, therefore, avoided by accurate scholars.
The earliest external evidence is probably found in Eupolemus. This writer seems to have used a translation of Chronicles. • lie apparently wrote his History of the Kings hi .17td(ra not long before Alexander Poiyhistor, who (lied in B.C. 40. Demetrius, who likewise lived some years before Alexander Polybistor, seems to have used the Greek Pentateuch. Two hooks give direct statements as to when and by whom they were translated. A colophon to Esther states
that the 'letter of l'hurai.' or Purim, by which probably the hook of Esther is meant, was brought to Egypt in the fourth year of the reign of Ptolemy and Cleopatra, by Dositheus and his son Ptolemy, having been translated in Jeru salem by Lysinutehus. Ptolemy's son. The year meant is probably either B.C. 113, the fourth year of Ptolemy X. Soler 11. (Lathyrus), or n.c. 48, the fourth of Ptolemy XIV. and Cleo patra VII. But the statement itself is unre liable. Of greater value is the preface to E•cle siastieus (q.v.). in which the grandson of Jesus Siraeides refers to books that bad already been translated, such as the Law, the Prophets, and some other works, and mentions that he came to Egypt in the thirty-eighth year of Euergetes, who must be Ptolemy 1X. Euergetes IL (Phy sem). consequently in B.C. 132. He does not state bow many years he had been in Egypt. The impression is that translations were the order of the day. valuable works had already been done into Greek; others remained untranslated. The Law, no doubt, was first trans lated. Whether this was done already in the time of Ptolemy Philadelphus. as many scholars, influenced by the Aristeas letter, still think, or in the days of Ptolemy V11. Philometor (u.c. 181.145), as others maintain. cannot be deter mined with certainty. But as yet there is no evidence of any considerable body of Jews having been in Egypt in the time of Ptolemy Philadel pits. Papyri from the reign of Ptolemy Euer getes I. (247-221) mention a town called Sama ria in the Fayum, as well as sonic ,Jewish settlers in Pseruris, and this King greatly favored the Jews in Alexandria. The version is likely to have grown out of the necessities of synagogue and temple rather than out of royal curiosity. It was an oral, and then a written, targum, or interpretation, accompanying the reading of the text. before it became a substitute for the He brew. Such a targum to the Law may well have developed in the synagogues of Alexandria. But it is more likely that the Psalter was translated for use in a temple. From Isaiah xix. we know that 'the language of Canaan' was maintained for a while by the colonies that went with Onias 11 f, into the Heliopolitan Home n.c. 170; but this cannot have lasted long, and particularly in the Temple of Leontopolis (see OsnAs's TEMPLE) the need of a version of the Psalter for liturgical purposes would be felt. There is much that points to the reign of Ptolemy Philometor for the beginning of the prowess of translation. The version was probably completed by the begin ning of our era.