LXX Torah only, or Genesis-Malachi?

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Puritan Board Freshman
ALright, Im curious. I was told that the LXX(as translated by the 70 Jewish Rabbis/Scholars) includes Genesis- Malachi. Here is a problem with that teaching.

The earliest, and best known, source for the story of the Septuagint is the Letter of Aristeas, a lengthy document that recalls how Ptolemy (Philadelphus II [285–247 BC]), desiring to augment his library in Alexandria, Egypt, commissioned a translation of the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek. Ptolemy wrote to the chief priest, Eleazar, in Jerusalem, and arranged for six translators from each of the twelve tribes of Israel. The seventy-two (altered in a few later versions to seventy or seventy-five) translators arrived in Egypt to Ptolemy's gracious hospitality, and translated the Torah (also called the Pentateuch: the first five books of the Hebrew Scriptures) in seventy-two days. Although opinions as to when this occurred differ, 282 BC is a commonly received date.
Philo of Alexandria(fl. 1st c AD) confirms that only the Torah was commissioned to be translated, and some modern scholars have concurred, noting a kind of consistency in the translation style of the Greek Pentateuch."

"Antiquities of the Jews 1:10 I found, therefore, that the second of the Ptolemies was a king who was extraordinarily diligent in what concerned learning, and the collection of books; that he was also peculiarly ambitious to procure a translation of our law, and of the constitution of our government therein contained, into the Greek tongue."

"Antiquities of the Jews 12:14 But be said he had been informed that there were many books of laws among the Jews worthy of inquiring after, and worthy of the king's library, but which, being written in characters and in a dialect of their own, will cause no small pains in getting them translated into the Greek tongue;

Even Jerome, attest to what Josephus said.

so my question is. SInce on the testimony of 2 maybe 3 witness it seems that only the Torah was translated by the 70, where and when did the rest of the greek OT come in?

Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Hello Jeff,

Here is a PB thread which touches on your topic, and has a number of links to books, and to another thread, all discussing the LXX: http://www.puritanboard.com/f63/apostles-bible-18828/

A link to an e-book in the above thread I see is now defunct -- Floyd Nolen Jones' The Septuagint: A Critical Analysis -- so here it is elsewhere: http://www.frugalwater.com/LXX.pdf. This is a good book, and I suggest downloading it while it is still available.

Hope this helps.



Puritan Board Sophomore
Hi Jeff,

In addition to what Elder Raflasky provided I would suggest the work of Humphrey Hody, De Bibliorum Textibus Originalibus, 1704.

He seems to be the final authority on the veracity of the Letter of Aristreas, to which no one has surpassed or contradicted, on the "Septuagint". Either way, you are correct, the entire Greek Old Testament is not "Septuagint." In other words, in researching this a half dozen or more sources trace directly back to his 1704 publication as being decisively authoritative that the Letter of Aristreas and the whole legend is bogus. This is as late as 2005 in Wasserstein's "Legend of the Septuagint: From Classical Antiquity to Today," in which he says:

"The Letter's [of Aristreas] reputation was finally destroyed, thoroughly
and effectively, by Humphrey Hody.....[he] is clear from the title page onward: the very first word of his title is "Contra," and the title goes on to say "in which it is demonstrated that [the Letter] was forged by some Jew in order
to give authority to the Greek version." Wasserstein, Legend of the Septuagint, p. 254, Dec 13, 2005

The International Standard Bible Encylopedia of 1994 echos the same

It is where the Apocrapha comes from and is the foundation of the heretical doctrines of Rome like Indulgences, worship of Saints, &c and like the modern critical texts of the New Testament is a counterfeit gem. This should not surprise us, the Papacy itself rests upon the forged documents called the Donation of Constantine and the Isidorian Decretals. It was Valla who proved these were fraudulent, Erasmus followed Valla on the identity of the authentic texts of the New Testament which is the basis of rejecting the Alexandrian New Testament - which is the New Testament appended to what is called the "Septuagint."

This is an important question because if Hody is correct, and I believe that he is, then it's just another of the historical frauds developed by antichrist to prop up the illegitimacy of the Roman Catholic Church. Apologists for modern criticism will fight you tooth and nail over this though as it is what they call the "oldest and best manuscript."

Theologically, there are major problems with accepting the Greek Old Testament as a BC "Septuagint", here are some Scripture references for your consideration:

Malachi 2:7
Dueteronomy 17:18, 31:24-26
Ezra 7:1-11
Romans 3:1-4

All of these texts teach that the custodians of the Scriptures were the tribe of the Levi, and them alone. So, if you hold the Letter is true, then you've got the theological basis for rejecting the Greek Old Testament because they claim that six of each of the twelve tribes were engaged in this activity - of which eleven tribes are not ordained unto that purpose.

Ultimately, we need to trust Scripture: "Beware of the Scribes..."
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