Cambridge Encyclopedia » Cambridge Encyclopedia Vol. 67

Septuagint - Naming and designation, Textual history, Use of the Septuagint, Language of the Septuagint

hebrew jews translation canon

A translation into Greek of the Hebrew Bible, obtaining its name (meaning ‘translation of the 70’) from a legend in the Letter of Aristeas (2nd-c BC) about its composition as the work of 72 scholars, six from each of the 12 tribes of Israel. The translation was begun c.3rd-c BC to meet the need of Greek-speaking Jews in the Diaspora, but work progressed by several stages over about a century. It has a different order of books from that in the Hebrew canon, and contains some works not in that canon. When it was adopted by Christians as their preferred version of the Old Testament, it lost favour among the Jews.

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