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Another New LXX Book: The Legend of the Septuagint

6th June 2006

Legend_Septuagint.jpgThere is a new book on the Septuagint that focuses on the legends surrounding its origins (the Letter of Aristeas), as well as its reception history:

The Legend of the Septuagint: From Classical Antiquity to Today, Abraham Wasserstein and David J. Wasserstein (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006; Buy from Amazon.ca | Buy from Amazon.com).

Here is the blurb from the Cambridge site:

The Septuagint is the most influential of the Greek versions of the Torah. The exact circumstances of its creation are uncertain, but different versions of a legend about the translation have existed since antiquity. Begun with the Letter of Aristeas, the legend describes how Ptolemy Philadelphus (285 247 BCE) commissioned 72 Jewish scribes to translate the sacred Hebrew scriptures for his library in Alexandria. The Letter and subsequent variations on the story recount how the scribes, working independently, produced word-for-word, identical Greek versions. The story has been adapted and changed for many reasons: to tell a story, to explain historical events, and – most frequently – to lend authority to the Greek text for the institutions that used it. This book offers the first account of all of these versions over the last two millennia, providing a history of the uses and abuses of the legend in various cultures around the Mediterranean.

Here is the table of contents for the volume. As you can see, it covers an impressive amount of material.

  1. The Letter of Aristeas
  2. The Hellenistic Jewish tradition
  3. The Rabbis and the Greek Bible
  4. The Ptolemaic changes
  5. The church fathers and the translation of the Septuagint
  6. Among the Christians in the Orient
  7. The Muslims and the Septuagint
  8. Yosippon and the story of the seventy
  9. Karaites, Samaritans and Rabbanite Jews in the Middle Ages
  10. The Septuagint in the Renaissance and the modern world

It looks quite interesting; I just may have to order it. (via the b-greek list).


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