[b-hebrew] Septuagint vs Hebrew, effect on Christianity

Harold Holmyard hholmyard at ont.com
Mon Oct 16 10:09:41 EDT 2006

Schmuel wrote:

> Schmuel
>>> One good book is by Floyd Nolen Jones.
>>> http://www.floydjones.org/LXX.pdf The Septuagint: A Critical Analysis
>> HH: This does not look like a good piece of  writing, as reviewed here: http://ecclesia.org/truth/defense.html
> Harold, that is not a "review", not even close.

HH: Yes, it is a review, though not as formal as 
you might like.

> Do you just cruise for a link and not even check it out carefully ?

HH: Here is one assertion by Jones that I have had 
a chance to check out. He says:

2. A letter, purporting to be written by a certain 
Aristeas to his brother Philocrates during the
reign of Ptolemy II Philadelphus (285-246 B.C.), 
relates how Philadelphus, persuaded by his
librarian (Demetrius of Phalerum) to obtain a 
translation of the Hebrew Scriptures for his royal
library, appealed to the high priest at Jerusalem.

HH: Later he adds:

Others speculate that the LXX was primarily 
prepared for the benefit of a large population of 
Greek-speaking Jews living in and around 
Alexandria, Egypt. Yet, it is unlikely that in a 
space of approximately 35 years the Jews of 
Alexandria would have found such a translation 
needful or desirable. It is noteworthy that we 
find no vestige of any versions having been made 
by the Jews into the languages of other countries 
– countries in which they had settled for much 
longer periods than in Alexandria.

HH: But his figure of approximately 35 years is 
skewed at best. Here is a note from Wikipedia on 
the presence of Jews in Alexandria. I include a 
large paragraph to show the somewhat independent 
position of the Jews in this city as compared with 
many other places:

The history of the Jews of Alexandria dates from 
the foundation of the city by Alexander the Great, 
332 B.C., at which they were present. From the 
very beginning their numbers seem to have been 

HH: Before continuing with the quotation, let me 
say that 332 minus 285 gives 47 years, not 
"approximately 35" count of Jones. That 47 year 
figure uses the 285 B.C. date, which was the first 
year of the reign of Ptolemy Philadelphus and not 
necessarily the year the Old Greek translation 
began. There were evidently large numbers of Jews 
in Alexandria from the start, probably because 
Jews had been living in Egypt in considerable 
numbers from the time of the Babylonian Captivity 
in 587 B.C. The line of reasoning Jones pursues is 
inaccurate and misleading.

HH: Here is the rest of the quote:

at all events, they formed a very large portion of 
the population under the successors of Alexander. 
A separate section of the city was assigned to 
them by the first Ptolemies, so that they might 
not be hindered in the observance of their laws by 
continual contact with the pagan population. 
Moreover, the whole city was divided into five 
districts, which were named after the first five 
letters of the Greek alphabet. Of these five 
districts two were denominated Jewish districts, 
because the majority of their inhabitants were 
Jews. As regards number and position, the Jews in 
Alexandria enjoyed a greater degree of political 
independence there than elsewhere. While the 
Jewish inhabitants of other cities of the Roman 
empire, without any political separation, formed 
private societies for religious purposes, or else 
became a corporation of foreigners like the 
Egyptian and Phenician merchants in the large 
commercial centers, those of Alexandria 
constituted an independent political community, 
side by side with that of the heathen population.

HH: Perhaps it was their political independence 
and integration into the society that allowed the 
Jews in Alexandria to pursue a Greek translation 
of the Bible.

Harold Holmyard

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