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approx. 285 B.C.



For the needs of the large Jewish Diaspora in Alexandria, ancient writings have been translated from Hebrew into Greek between 250 and 150 B.C. The work had started during the reign of Ptolemy II Philadelphus, king of Egypt, at the instigation of Faleronu Demetrios, curator of the Library of Alexandria.


The later name of this translation is Septuagint , which means the number seventy ­ the number of translators involved in its work. Some books of the Old Testament were translated right away, while others were translated years later.. Gradually, this collection was also supplemented with the Jewish historical works, written in Greek. Since the translation was bdone over a long period of time and it was the work of many people, the degree of accuracy of translation varied ­ from literal translation in the five books of Moses and Psalms, to greater freedom in the Wisdom Books.. Until IV A.D. the text had been copied many times. The total number of copies surviving into our day reaches 1550 copies.


We have few complete copies that survived into our day from the fourth century: Codex Vaticanus, Sinaiticus and Alexandrinus. The Septuagint was important because it preserved Judaism among the Jews who spoke Greek an lived far away from their homeland. On the other hand, since Greek was a common language throughout the Mediterranean, the translation gave other cultures an opportunity to read the Bible. The Septuagint, signed by "LXX", was the most common translation of Hebrew writings at that time and was most often cited in the Greek text of the New Testament.




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