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Lesson 3

Written in the prevailing Greek language, the Septuagint is credited as the first translation of the original Hebrew scrolls. Completed during the 3rd. and 2nd. century BC, it was commissioned for those who did not know ancient Hebrew, as the ability to read Hebrew waned during the second temple period the Septuagint became widely accepted. The New Testament quotes the Greek Septuagint, more than the original Hebrew scrolls and became the accepted Old Testament text used by Christian’s to derive many of the prophecies fulfilled by Jesus. Considering this to be a misuse of their Holy Scripture, the Jews abandoned using the Septuagint and turned to one written by a Jewish scholar named Theodotion who translated the Hebrew Bible into Greek around 150 AD. Whether he was working solely from the original Hebrew text, or revising gaps, and misunderstandings in the Septuagint is not known but his version brought about a greater understanding of scripture. Theodotion’s version is championed by Christian translator Jerome in his commentary for the Book of Daniel. had this to say about Jerome.

Jerome, in his preface to Daniel (407 CE), records the rejection of the Septuagint version of that book in Christian usage: “I … wish to emphasize to the reader the fact that it was not according to the Septuagint version but according to the version of Theodotion himself that the churches publicly read Daniel.”[3] Jerome’s preface also mentions that the Hexapla had notations in it, indicating several major differences in content between the Theodotion Daniel and the earlier versions in Greek and Hebrew. However, Theodotion’s Daniel is closer to the surviving Hebrew Masoretic Text version, the text which is the basis for most modern translations. Theodotion’s Daniel is also the one embodied in the authorized edition of the Septuagint published by Sixtus V in 1587.[4]

Rather than the original Hebrew, Greek texts were primarily used for the Coptic, Georgian, Old Latin, Armenian, Slavonic, Ethiopic, and has been the standard version for the Greek churches Old Testament. Recognising there are translational and cultural variations in all translations of the Bible should not diminish the authority of God’s word but bring a deeper appreciation for his words. What other book has had so much time and effort spent in making it understandable and relevant to different cultures worldwide? Knowing you are reading a translation of the Bible, do you verify your beliefs against the original text?

1 Thessalonians 5:21 Living Bible
21 but test everything that is said to be sure it is true, and if it is, then accept it.

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