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Historical importance of the SeptuagintThe importance of the Septuagint Version is shown by the following considerations:(1) The Septuagint is the most ancient translation of theOld Testamentand consequently is invaluable tocritics for understanding and correcting the Hebrew text(Massorah), the latter, such as it has come downto us, being the text established by theMassoretesin the sixth century A.D. Many textual corruptions,additions, omissions, or transpositions must have crept into the Hebrew text between the third and secondcenturies B.C. and the sixth and seventh centuries of our era; themanuscriptstherefore which the Seventyhad at their disposal, may in places have been better than theMassoreticmanuscripts.(2) The Septuagint Version accepted first by the AlexandrianJews, and afterwards by all the Greek-speaking countries, helped to spread among theGentilestheideaand the expectation of theMessias, andto introduce into Greek thetheologicalterminology that made it a most suitable instrument for thepropagation of the Gospel of Christ.(3) TheJewsmade use of it long before theChristian Era, and in the time of Christ it was recognised as alegitimate text, and was employed in Palestine even by the rabbis. The Apostles andEvangelistsutilised italso and borrowedOld Testamentcitations from it, especially in regard to the prophecies. The Fathers andthe otherecclesiasticalwriters of the early Church drew upon it, either directly, as in the case oftheGreekFathers, or indirectly, like theLatinFathersand writers and others who employed Latin,Syriac,Ethiopian, Arabic and Gothic versions. It was held in high esteem by all, some even believed itinspired. Consequently, aknowledgeof the Septuagint helps to a perfect understanding of theseliteratures.(4) At the present time, the Septuagint is the official text in theGreek Church, and the ancient LatinVersions used in the western church were made from it; the earliest translation adopted in theLatinChurch, the Vetus Itala, was directly from the Septuagint: the meanings adopted in it, the Greek namesand words employed (such as: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers [Arithmoi], Deuteronomy), and finally,the pronunciation given to the Hebrew text, passed very frequently into the Itala, and from it, at times, intotheVulgate, which not rarely gives signs of the influence of the Vetus Itala; this is especially so in thePsalms, theVulgatetranslation being merely the Vetus Itala corrected bySt. Jeromeaccording to thehexaplar text of the Septuagint.Origin of the SeptuagintAccording to TraditionThe Septuagint Version is first mentioned in a letter ofAristeasto his brother Philocrates. Here, insubstance, is what we read of the origin of the version. Ptolemy II Philadelphus, King ofEgypt(287-47 BC)had recently established a valuablelibraryat Alexandria. He was persuaded by Demetrius of Phalarus,chief librarian, to enrich it with a copy of the sacred books of theJews. To win the goodgracesof thispeople, Ptolemy, by the advice of

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Term
Spring
Professor
AARRIETA

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