Home > Content Index > Judaism > The Writings of Judaism > Septuagint

What is the Septuagint?


Septuagintaudio
Question: "What is the Septuagint?"

Answer:
The Septuagint (also known as the LXX) is a translation of the Hebrew Bible into the Greek language. The name Septuagint comes from the Latin word for “seventy.” The tradition is that 70 (or 72) Jewish scholars were the translators behind the Septuagint. The Septuagint was translated in the third and second centuries BC in Alexandria, Egypt. As Israel was under the authority of Greece for several centuries, the Greek language became more and more common. By the second and first centuries BC, most people in Israel spoke Greek as their primary language. That is why the effort was made to translate the Hebrew Bible into Greek—so that those who did not understand Hebrew could have the Scriptures in a language they could understand. The Septuagint represents the first major effort at translating a significant religious text from one language into another.

In comparing the New Testament quotations of the Hebrew Bible, it is clear that the Septuagint was often used. Many of the New Testament quotes from the Hebrew Bible are taken from the Septuagint. This is the result of the fact that by the late first century BC, and especially the first century AD, the Septuagint had “replaced” the Hebrew Bible as the Scriptures most people used. Since most people spoke and read Greek as their primary language, and the Greek authorities strongly encouraged the use of Greek, the Septuagint became much more common than the Hebrew Old Testament.

As faithful as the Septuagint translators strove to be in accurately rendering the Hebrew text into Greek, some translational differences arose. But the fact that the apostles and New Testament authors felt comfortable, under the direction of the Holy Spirit, in using the Septuagint should give us assurance that a translation of the original languages of the Bible is still the authoritative Word of God.

Recommended Resource: The Canon of Scripture by F.F. Bruce

More insights from your Bible study - Get Started with Logos Bible Software for Free!

Related Topics:

What were the 400 years of silence?

What is the Latin Vulgate Bible?

Why is it important to know Greek and Hebrew when studying the Bible?

What are the Apocrypha / Deuterocanonical books? Do the Apocryphal / Deuterocanonical books belong in the Bible?

What are the Dead Sea Scrolls and why are they important?

Return to:

Questions about the Bible



What is the Septuagint?

Share this page on:

Find Out How to...






Navigation
Statement of Faith
The Gospel
Crucial Questions
Content Index
Top 20 Questions
International

Question of the Week

Preferred Bible Version:



Search


Subscribe to our Question of the Week

Get our Questions of the Week delivered right to your inbox!