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abs. = absolute, absolutely.

acc. = accusative.

acc. to = according to.

act. = active, actively.

adj. = adjective, adjectively.

adv.= adverb, adverbial, adverbially.

Aeol. = Aeolic.

antec. = antecedent.

aor. = aorist.

apod. = apodosis.

App. = Appendix.

appos. = apposition, ‘appositive.

art. = article.

Att. = Attic.

attrib. = attributive.

aug. = augment.

c., cc. = chapter, chapters (when nu- merals follow).

ef. = compare.

chap. = chapter.

comp. = comparative.

cond. = condition, conditional.

conj. = conjunction.

const. = construe, construction.

contr. = contraction, contracted.

co-ord, = co-ordinate.

dat. = dative.

decl. = declension.

def. = definite.

dem. = demonstrative.

dep. = deponent.

dim. = diminutive.

dir. = direct.

disc. = discourse.

Dor. = Doric.

edit..= edition, editor.

editt. = editions, editors.

e.g. = for example.

encl. = enclitic.

Eng. = English.

Ep. = Epic.

epith. = epithet.

equiv. = equivalent.

esp. = especial, especially.

etc. = and so farth.

excl. = exclamation.

f., ff. = following (after numerical statements).

fem. = feminine.

fin. = sub fine.

freq. = frequently.

fut. = future.

G. = Goodwin’s Greek Grammar.

gen. = genitive.

GMT.= Goodwin's Moods and Tenses. Ι

H. = Hadley’s Greek Grammar, re- vised by F..D. Allen (1884).

hist. pres. = historical present.

ibid. = in the same place.

id. = the same.

i.e. = that is.

impers. = impersonal, impersonally.

impf. = imperfect.

imv. = imperative.

= oe ee ee re ππππππσ στὰ


pronoun, roper, properly. rotasis.

reflexive, reflexively. relative, relatively.

remark. Schmidt’s Rhythmic and Metric. sc. = scilicet. SOG, = Gildersleeve's, Syntaz of First Part.

subjunctive. ubordinate.

substantive, substantively.


sub voce.

transitive, transitively.

§, §§ = section, sections. Plurals are formed generally by add- ing 8.

Generally small’ Roman numerals (lower-case letters) are used in Teferring to the books of an author ; but A, B, I, ete. in re- ferring to the books of the Iliad, and a, β, γ, ete. in referring to the books of the Odyssey.

In abbreviating the names of Greek authors and of their works, Lid- dell and Scott’s practice is gener- ally followed.

Nw ait. “7

= .











Cotsen, 1905 By GISN “δ COMPANY


55.10 -

"Zhe Athenxum Press


O/-157-3/ Lu

sand, ἀντί ἔνα

~3I- 242:


In dealing with the Septuagint in and for itself we feel that we are in a humble way acting as pioneers. For hitherto the Septuagint has been regarded only as an aid to the under- standing of the Hebrew. We have reversed that procedure and have regarded the Hebrew only as an aid to the under- standing of the Septuagint. This would be in a strict sense preposterous, were it not for the admitted fact that the Greek translation of the Old Testament has occasionally preserved . traces of readings which are manifestly superior to those of the Massoretic text. That text, it should be remembered, was constituted centuries after the Septuagint was already in vogue in the Greek-speaking portion of the Jewish and Christian world.

For permission to use Dr. Swete’s text we beg to offer our respectful thanks to the Syndics of the Cambridge Pitt Press and to Dr. Swete himself. To our own university also we owe a debt of gratitude. The Concordance to the Septua- gint, edited by Dr. Hatch and Dr. Redpath, is a magnificent work worthy of a university press. Without this aid it would be impossible to speak, with the precision demanded by modern scholarship, about the usage of words in the Sep- tuagint. It is greatly to be regretted that the list of con- tributors to this work should somehow have got lost owing to the lamented death of Dr. Edwin Hatch. The labour of

many good men, such as the Rev. W. H. Seddon, now Vicar iii


of Painswick, and the Rev. Osmond Archer, to name two who happen to fall under our own knowledge, has thus been left without acknowledgement. They toiled silently for the advancement of learning, like the coral insects who play their part beneath the waters in rearing a fair island for the abode of man.

No one can well touch on Old Testament studies without being indebted to Professor Driver, but our obligations in that and other directions have been acknowledged in the body of the work.

In composing the Grammar of Septuagint Greek we have had before us as a model Dr. Swete’s short chapter on that subject in his Introduction to the Septuagint. Help has also - been derived from the grammars of New Testament Greek by Winer and by Blass, and from the great historical grammar of the Greek language by Jannaris. But in the main our work in that department is the direct result of our own observation. |

To come now to more personal debts, our common friend, Walter Scott, sometime Professor of Greek in the University of Sydney, not merely gave us the benefit of his critical judge- ment in the early stages of the work, but directly contributed to the. subject-matter. We have accepted his aid as freely as it was offered. No Higher Critic is likely to trouble himself about disentangling the different strands of author- ship in our Introductions and Notes. Still, if anyone should be tempted to- exercise his wits in that direction by way of practice for the Pentateuch, we will give him one clue: If anything should strike him as being not merely sound but brilliant, he may confidently set it down to this third source.

To the Rev. Samuel Holmes, M.A., Kennicott Scholar in the University of Oxford, our thanks are due for guarding us against mistakes in relation to the Hebrew: but he is not


- to be held responsible for any weakness that may be detected in that direction.

It remains now only to express our sincere gratitude to Professor Thomas D. Seymour for his vigilant and scholarly care of our work during its passage through the press; and to tender our thanks to Messrs. Ginn & Company for extend- ing their patronage to a book produced in the old country. May the United Kingdom and the United States ever form a Republic of Letters one and indivisible !

Oxrorp, May 22, 1906.


ALEXANDEIA. (Page 1.) The Museum. The Library. Mixed population. Jews in Alexandria. Did the translation of the Old Testament arise out of their needs ? This is not the traditional account.

Tue LETTER oF ARIsTEAs. (Page 4.)

Three points to be noted—(1) reason for the name Septuagint; (2) it applies properly only to the translation of the Pentateuch; (8) no claim made to inspiration.

THE INSPIRATION OF THE SEPpTuAGINT. (Page 8.) —(1) maintained by Philo, but not by Josephus; (2) how viewed by the early Christian Fathers: Justin Martyr. Irenzeus. Clement of Alexandria. Eusebius. Epiphanius. St. Jerome and St. Augustine.


External Evidence Aristobulus. Philo.

Internal Evidence Difficulty with respect to Demetrius of Phalerum. Irenzus’ account intrinsically more credible. Minor objections against the Letter. Signs of a late origin. The work of Aristobulus may itself be a forgery; in any case both it and the Letter seem to belong to the same period. Wendland’s view as to date. The work pre- Roman, notwithstanding a plausible argument against this view.

Wat was THE DaTE or THE SEPTUAGINT? (Page 14). Two forms of the tradition with respect to its origin. Karlier than the Prologue to Ecclesiasticus. Philo’s acquaintance with it. The making of it a long process, not a single act.


TRANSLATIONS OF THE OLD TESTAMENT PRIOR TO THE SEPTUAGINT. (Page 16.) The mention of such probably fictitious.

TRANSLATIONS OF THE OLD TESTAMENT SUBSEQUENT TO THE SEPTUAGINT. (Page 17). Aquila. -Theodotion. Symmachus. All three emanated from the side of Judaism. Anonymous versions. Origen’s Hexapla. His Tetrapla. Lucian’s recension.

SUPREMACY OF THE SErruaGinT. (Page 19.) The Vulgate. Influence of the Septuagint. Its bearing on the interpretation of the New Testa- ment.

HELLENIstic Greek. (Page 21.) Relation of the Septuagint to Alexandrian Greek. Propriety of the term ‘Biblical Greek.’ The Greek of Josephus contrasted with that of the Septuagint. The Hebraism of the Septuagint due to reverence for the sacred text. Occasional doubt as to whether the Greek has a meaning. Necessity of express- ing ideas foreign to the Greek mind. The Septuagint a factor in the evolution of Greek as it is.




Tue work of the Bible Society may be said to have been begun at Alexandria under the Ptolemies: for there the first translation of the Bible, so far as it then existed, was made.

Under the old kings of Egypt there was no city on the site of Alexandria, but only a coast-guard station for the exclusion of for- eigners, and a few scattered huts of herdsmen. These monarchs had no enlightened appreciation of the benefits of commerce, and cher- ished a profound distrust of strangers, especially of Greeks, whom they regarded as land-grabbers.! But when the Greeks knocked at the doors of Egypt in a way that admitted of no refusal, the lonely coast-guard station saw a great change come over itself. Founded by Alexander the Great in B.c. 331, Alexandria became the capital of the new Greek kingdom of Egypt and took its place as a great centre both of commerce and of literature, the rival of Carthage in the one, of Athens in the other. -

Alexander is credited with having perceived the advantages of situation which conferred upon Alexandria its rapid rise to prosper- ity. With the Mediterranean on the north and Lake Mareia or Mareotis on the south, it received the products of the inland, which came down the Nile and were conveyed into the lake by canal-boats, and then exported them from its harbours. Under the Romans it became of still greater commercial importance as the emporium of the trade then developed between the East and the West, of which it had a practical monopoly.

The vicinity of sea and lake had advantages also in the way of health: for in the summer the etesian winds set in from the north, and the lake, instead of stagnating, was kept full and sweet by the

1 Strabo XVII § 6, p. 792 πορθηταὶ γὰρ ἦσαν καὶ ἐπιθυμηταὶ τῆς ἀλλοτρίας κατὰ σπάνιν γῆς. 1


rise of the Nile at that season. The kings too by their successive enclosures secured those breathing-places which are so necessary for the health of a great city. It is estimated by Strabo that a quarter, or even a third, of the whole area was occupied by parks and palaces.

Among the royal buildings was the famous Museum with its cov- ered walk and arcades, and its hall for the “fellows” of the Museum, as Professor Mahaffy aptly calls them, to dine in.’ This institution had endowments of its own, and was presided over by a priest, who was appointed by the King, and, at a later period, by the Emperor.

What relation, if any, the Alexandrian Library, which was the great glory of the Ptolemies, bore to the Museum, is not clear. The Museum stood there in Roman times, and became known as “the old Museum,” when the emperor Claudius reared a new structure by its side, and ordained that his own immortal histories of the Etruscans and Carthaginians should be publicly read aloud once every year, one in the old building and the other in the new (Suet. Claud. 42). The library however is related to have been burnt during Czesar’s operations in Alexandria. Not a word is said on this subject by the historian of the Alexandrian War, but Seneca,’ incidentally refers to the loss of 400,000 volumes.

The inhabitants of Alexandria are described by Polybius, who visited the city under the reign of the second Euergetes, commonly known as Physcon (s.c. 146-117), as falling into three classes. There were first the native Egyptians, whom he describes as intel- ligent and civilised; secondly the mercenary soldiers, who were many and unmannerly; and thirdly- the Alexandrian citizens, who were better behaved than the military element, for though of mixed origin they were mainly of Greek blood.®

Polybius makes no mention of Jews in Alexandria, but we know

18trabo XVII § 8, p. 794 τῶν δὲ βασιλείων μέρος ἐστι καὶ τὸ Μουσεῖον, ἔχον περίπατον καὶ ἐξέδραν καὶ οἶκον μέγαν, ἐν τὸ συσσίτιον τῶν μετεχόντων τοῦ Μουσείου φιλολόγων ἀνδρῶν.

2 De Trang. An. 9—Quadringenta millia librorum Alexandriz arserunt: pulcherrimum regize opulentie monumentum. Ac- cording to Tertullian (Apol. 18) the MS. of the translators of the Old Testament was still to be seen in his day in the Serapeum along with the Hebrew original.

8’ Polyb. XXXIV 14, being a fragment quoted by Strabo XVII 1 8 12, p. 797,

i “᾿͵᾿τπΠπΠπΦοΠᾳ8«Ὕ Ἕ4Πιἂ«ψψ«ΦὌοἘἝΠἔΠἘΠΕὋὭιδΤυιἔοὦι΄νΚο’οΕοινὁἕὁῆΨο2΄ἔὲῪ)3͵΄͵΄3΄ὥ ͵,᾿, -.-- --



from other sources that there was a large colony of: that people there. Their presence in Egypt was partly compulsory and partly voluntary. The first Ptolemy, surnamed Soter, who had a long and prosperous reign (B.c. 323-285), had invaded Palestine and captured Jerusalem on the sabbath-day, on which the Jews offered no de- fence.’ He carried away with him many captives from the hill- country of Judza and from the parts about Jerusalem, and also from Samaria. These were all planted in Egypt, where they car- ried on their quarrel as to which was the true temple, whither yearly offerings should be sent that at Jerusalem or the one on Gerizim. (Cp. Jn. 43.) Soter, recognising the fidelity of the Jew to his oath, employed many of these captives to garrison important posts, and gave them equal citizenship with the Macedonians. This liberal treatment of their countrymen induced many more Jews to immi- grate voluntarily into Egypt, in spite of the prohibition in the Mosaic law —“ Ye shall henceforth return no more that way (Dt. 17"). There were also. Jews in Egypt before this time, who came there under the Persian domination, and others before them who had been sent to fight with Psammetichus (Β.ο. 671-617) against the king of the Ethiopians (Aristeas 13). Jeremiah, it will be remembered, was carried perforce by his countrymen into Egypt (Jer. 43°’, 44"), some of whom may have escaped the destruction which he prophesied against them (Jer. 42%). This was shortly after the reign of Psam- metichus. Thus the return of the Jews to: Egypt was no new thing, and there they again multiplied exceedingly, even as they are recorded to have done at the first. Philo, who was a contempo- rary of Jesus Christ, but lived into the reign of Claudius, declares that of the five districts of Alexandria, which were named according to the first five letters of the alphabet, two were especially known as Jewish quarters, and that the Jews were not confined to these (Lib. in Flac. § 8, II 525).

With this large Jewish population in Alexandria, whose native language was now Greek, and to whom Hebrew had ceased to be

1 Josephus Ant. XII 1 confirms his statement of this fact by a quotation from Agatharchides of Cnidos, who wrote the history of the successors of Alexander --- Ἔστιν ἔθνος ᾿Ιουδαίων λεγόμενον; of πόλιν ὀχυρὰν καὶ μεγάλην ἔχοντες ‘Iepordédupa, ταύτην ὑπερεῖδον ὑπὸ Πτολεμαίῳ γενομένην, ὅπλα λαβεῖν οὐ θελήσαντες, ἀλλὰ διὰ τὴν ἄκαιρον δεισιδαιμονίαν χαλεπὸν ὑπέμειναν ἔχειν δεσπότην.


intelligible, we see an obvious reason why the first translation of the Bible should have been made in that city. Arguing a priori we should certainly be inclined to assume that it was the necessities of the Alexandrian synagogue that brought about the translation. This however is not the account which has come down to us, and which worked its way into the fabric of Christian belief. That account represents the desire of the second Ptolemy for the com- pleteness of his library, and Pagan curiosity about the sacred books of the Jews, as having been the motives which led to their transla- tion into Greek. It is contained in a letter purporting to be written by one Aristeas to his brother Philocrates.

Aristeas, we gather, was a person of high account at the court of Ptolemy Philadelphus (3.c. 285-247), probably one of the three captains of the royal body-guard, Sosibius of Tarentum and Andreas (88 12, 40) being the other two.1 He was a warm admirer of the Jewish religion, but not himself a Jew by race.? Rather we are invited to think of him as a philosophic Pagan interested in the national customs of the Jews 306). On one occasion he was present when King Ptolemy addressed a question to his librarian, Demetrius of Phalerum, the Athenian statesman and philosopher, as to the progress of the library. Demetrius replied that it already contained more than 200,000 volumes, and that he hoped in a short time to bring the number up to 500,000; at the same time he men- tioned that there were some books of the Jewish law which it would be worth while to have transcribed and placed in the library. ‘Then why not have it done?’ said the king. ‘You have full powers in the matter.’ Demetrius mentioned a difficulty about translation, and the king came to the conclusion that he must write to the High- priest of the Jews in order to have his purpose effected. Hereupon Aristeas seized an opportunity, for which he had long been waiting. He represented to the king that he could hardly with any grace ask a favour of the High-priest while so many of his countrymen were in bondage in Egypt. This suggestion being seconded by silent

1 That Aristeas was himself captain of the body-guard is not stated in the letter, but it is not unnaturally inferred from it by Josephus.

2 This again, while only implied in the letter, is explicitly stated by Josephus, who makes Aristeas say (Ant. XII 2 § 2) Ἴσθι μέντοι ye, βασιλεῦ, ὡς οὔτε γένει προσήκων αὐτοῖς, οὔτε ὁμόφυλος αὐτῶν ὧν ταῦτα περὶ αὐτῶν ἀξιῶ.


prayer on the part of Aristeas and by the concurrence of Sosibius and Andreas, the result was an immense act of emancipation, by which all the Jewish slaves in Egypt, amounting to over 100,000, regained their freedom, at a cost to the king of more than 660 tal- ents. The way was now clear for the contemplated accession to the library. The king called upon the librarian to send in his report, which is quoted as from the royal archives. In it Demetrius recom- mended that the king should write to the High-priest at Jerusalem, asking him to send to Egypt six elders from each of the twelve tribes, men of approved life and well versed in their own law, in order that the exact meaning of it might be obtained from the agree- ment among the majority 32). Not content with his munificence in the redemption of the slaves, the king further displayed his magnificence in the handsome presents he prepared for the Temple, consisting of a table inlaid with precious stones together with gold and silver vessels for the use of the sanctuary.' The conduct of the embassy was intrusted to Andreas and to Aristeas himself, who gives his brother an interesting account of the Temple and its ser- vices and the magnificent vestments of the High-priest, the conjoint effect of which he declares is enough to convert the heart of any man.? Notices are also given of the citadel and of the city and country its cultivation, its commerce, its harbours, and its popu- lation which in some respects show the temerity of the tourist, for the writer speaks of the Jordan as flowing ‘at the country of the Ptolemzans’ (8 117) into another river, which in its turn empties itself into the sea.

The High-priest Eleazar, in compliance with the request of Phila- delphus, selected seventy-two venerable elders, six from each tribe, whose names are given, men not only learned in the law, but also skilled in the language and literature of the Greeks,’ who were to accompany the ambassadors to Egypt on the understanding that they were to be sent back when their work was done. Before their

1 The description of these presents occupies a considerable portion of the letter, §§ 51-82.

99 καὶ διαβεβαιοῦμαι πάντα ἄνθρωπον προσελθόντα τῇ θεωρίᾳ τῶν προειρημένων εἰς ἔκπληξιν ἥξειν καὶ θαυμασμὸν ἀδιήγητον, μετατραπέντα τῇ διανοίᾳ διὰ τὴν περὶ ἑκαστὴν ἁγίαν κατασκευήν.

α 121: cp. Philo Vita Mosis II § 6, p. 189.


departure Eleazar held a conversation with his guests, in which he offered a defence of the ceremonial ordinances of the Jewish law, and expounded views on the symbolic meaning of clean and unclean animals, resembling those set forth in the Epistle which goes under the name of Barnabas.

When the deputation arrived in Egypt, the king waived the requirements of court ceremonial and received the elders in audi- ence at once. He first paid reverence to the volume of the law written in letters of gold, which they carried with them, and then extended a welcome to its bearers. After this they were entertained for a week at banquets, at which everything was arranged by a special court functionary in accordance with their own customs, so that there might be nothing to offend their suggeptibilities. Elisha, the eldest of the Seventy-two, was asked to say grace, the ordinary court-chaplains being superseded for the occasion. The grace he pronounced was as follows: ‘May God almighty fill thee, O King, with all the good things which he hath created; and grant to thee and to thy wife and to thy children and to those who think with thee to have these things without fail all the days of thy life!’ 185). The delivery of this benediction was followed by a round of applause and clapping of hands.

The feast of reason was added to the enjoyment of the royal fare. For at a certain point in the proceedings the king addressed ques- tions of a vaguely ethico-political character to the elders, which were answered by them to the admiration of all, especially of the philosophers who had been invited to meet them, among whom was Menedemus of Eretria.' Each evening for five days ten elders were interrogated, but on the sixth and seventh evenings eleven were taken, so as to complete the whole number. The questions were elaborated by the king beforehand, but the answers were given im- promptu by the elders. The record of them occupies a considerable portion of the letter (§§ 187-294). The law of the answer, if we may so put it, seems to be that each should contain a reference to God and a compliment to the king. We are assured that we have them as they were taken down by the royal recorders.

At the close of this week’s festivities an interval of three days

1 Diog. Laert. II § 140 ᾿Επρέσβευσε δὲ καὶ πρὸς Πτολεμαῖον (probably Soter) καὶ Λυσίμαχον.


was allowed, after which the elders were conducted by Demetrius to the island of Pharos, which was connected with the mainland by a dam nearly a mile long! and a bridge. At the north end of this island they were lodged in a building overlooking the sea, where they would enjoy absolute quiet. Demetrius then called upon them to perform their work of translation. We have particulars of their habit of life while it was going on. Early in the morning every day they presented themselves at court and, having paid their respects to the king, returned to their own quarters. Then they washed their hauds in the sea, offered up a prayer to God, and betook themselves to the task of reading and translating. Their work was harmonized by collation, and the joint result was taken down by Demetrius 302). After the ninth hour they were free to betake themselves to recreation. It so happened, we are told, that the work of tran- scription was accomplished in seventy-two days, just as though it had been done on purpose 307).

When the whole was finished, Demetrius summoned all the Jews in Alexandria to the island of Pharos, and read the translation aloud to them all in the presence of the interpreters, after which a solemn curse was pronounced upon any one who altered it. Then the whole work was read over to the king, who expressed much admiration at the deep insight of the law-giver and asked how it was that histo- rians and poets had combined to ignore his legislation. Demetrius of Phalerum replied that this was because of its sacred character. He had heard from Theopompus? that that historian had once wished to avail himself in his history of some inaccurate renderings from the Jewish law, and had suffered from mental disturbance for more than thirty days. In a lucid interval he prayed that it might be revealed to him why he was thus afflicted. Thereupon he was informed in a dream that it was because he had presumed to divulge divine things to ‘common’ men (8 315: cp. Acts 10"). 41 have also,’ added Demetrius, ‘received information from Theodectes, the tragic poet,® that, when he wished to transfer some of the contents of the

801 τὸ τῶν ἑπτὰ σταδίων ἀνάχωμα τῆς θαλάσσης : cp. Strabo XVII 6, p. 792 τῷ ἑπτασταδίῳ καλουμένῳ χώματι.

3 Theopompus came to Egypt during the reign of Ptolemy Soter.

8 Theodéctes died at the age of forty-one, about sB.c. 334, i.e. at least half a century before the time of speaking: but the expression παρὰ Θεοδέκτου . ..


Bible into a play of his own, he found himself suffering from cata- ract on the eyes, from which he only recovered after a long time, when he had propitiated the god.’ On hearing this the king paid reverence to the books, and ordered them to be kept with religious care.

The elders, having now accomplished the work for which they had come, were dismissed by the king with handsome presents both to themselves and to Eleazar, to whom Philadelphus at the same time wrote a letter begging that, if any of the elders purposed to come and see him again, the High-priest would not prevent it.

Such is the traditional account of the origin of the Septuagint, of which we have next to consider the value. But first there are a few points to be noted.

To begin with, we see the reason of the name. The Seventy (Lat. LXX: Gk. of O') is a round number for the Seventy-two. There were seventy-two interpreters, who took seventy-two days over their work.

Next we see that the name is a misnomer as applied to the Greek version of the Old Testament generally. There is no word in Aris- teas as to a translation by the Elders of anything but the Law. But the name, having once been applied to the Greek translation, was gradually extended, as the Prophets and the Books were added in a Greek dress to the Law.

Thirdly we have to notice that in the Letter of Aristeas no claim to inspiration is advanced on behalf of the translators.

That the Bible, as we have it in English, is inspired, has often been tacitly assumed, but seldom laid down as a doctrine. But the inspiration of the Greek version was a point of belief with those who used it, and presumably is so to the present day in the Greek church. Already in Philo we find this claim advanced. He says that the interpreters all agreed in employing exactly the same words, ‘as though by the whispering of some unseen prompter’

μετέλαβον ἐγώ (ὃ 316), as contrasted with ἔφησεν ἀκηκοέναι Θεοπόμπου (ὃ 314), seems to imply that the communication was not direct.

1See §§ 30, 38, 309, 312: Jos. Ant. Procem. § 3 οὐδὲ γὰρ πᾶσαν ἐκεῖνος (sc. "Ered{apos) ἔφθη λαβεῖν τὴν ἀναγραφὴν, ἀλλ᾽ αὐτὰ μόνα τὰ τοῦ νόμον παρέδοσαν ol πεμφθέντες ἐπὶ τὴν ἐξήγησιν εἰς τὴν ᾿Αλεξάνδρειαν.


(Vita Mosis IT 7, II 140), and that a comparison of the original with the translation by those who are acquainted with both tongues will clearly show that they were not mere translators, but inspired hierophants and _ prophets.

Josephus (Ant. XII 2), presumably because he was not a Hellen- ist, and could read his Bible in the Hebrew, does not see the neces- sity for this doctrine of the inspiration of the Septuagint. He follows Aristeas closely, except at the end, where he actually turns the curse pronounced on alteration into an invitation to retrench superfluities or supply defects !!

The early Christian Fathers gave play to their imagination over the story of the Septuagint. Justin Martyr (Apol. I 31 §§ 2-5) has a brief allusion to it, but the amount of credit which is due to him in this connexion may be judged from the fact that he makes Ptol- emy send to King Herod for interpreters of the sacred books!

Irenzus about a quarter of a century later (a.p. 175) says that Ptolemy, being afraid lest the translators might combine to conceal the truth in some matter by their interpretation, had them isolated, and ordered each to translate the whole. When it was found that they all agreed word for word, then of a truth the Gentiles knew that the Scriptures were interpreted by inspiration of God. But this, he adds, was nothing surprising, seeing that, when the Scrip- tures had been lost during the captivity in Babylon, God inspired Ezra to rewrite them.?

Clement of Alexandria (about a.p. 190) follows to the same effect as to literal inspiration, and adds the prophetic writings to the work of the first interpreters (Strom. I § 148, p. 409 P).

Eusebius, with his exceptional regard for truth, is content to give us an epitome of Aristeas.®

Epiphanius however (died a.p. 402) is lavish of details. He tells us that the king had thirty-six houses constructed on the island of

1Cp. Aristeas § 211 with Jos. Ant. XII 2 § 18 ad jin.

2 Irenzus quoted by Eus. HF. V 8.

8 Prep. Ev. VIII 2-5 and 9. Josephus, Tertullian, Eusebius, and most subse- quent writers with the exception of St. Jerome call Aristeas ᾿Αρισταῖος. The two forms would appear not to have differed appreciably in pronunciation. In ths names of two of the interpreters there is a similar variation, Baeéas and Bavéa; appearing also as Bacalas and Βαναίας, whence it is an easy step to the more familiar Greek termination -aios.


Pharos, in which he shut up the interpreters two together. In these houses, which had no windows in the wall, but only skylights, the interpreters worked from morning till evening under lock and key. In the evening they were taken over in thirty-six different boats to the palace of Ptolemy Philadelphus, to dine with him. Then they slept two together in thirty-six different bedrooms. All these pre- cautions were taken to prevent communication between the pairs, and yet when the thirty-six copies of each book of the Bible were compared together, they were found to be identical. ‘So manifestly were these men inspired by the Holy Ghost, and where there was ap addition made to the original, it was made by all, and where there was something taken away, it was taken away by all; and what they took away is not needed, and what they added is needed.’

This explicit assertion of the plenary inspiration of the Septua- gint is manifestly prompted by the craving for an infallible Bible, which was felt in ancient as in modern times. St. Jerome, who, unlike the bulk of the Christian Fathers, made himself acquainted with the text of the original, nailed this false coin to the counter; nevertheless his younger? contemporary Augustine gave it full cur- rency again, declaring that the same Spirit which spoke through the prophets spoke also through their interpreters, and that any diversi- ties there may be between the translation and the original are due to prophetic depth.’

These later embellishments of the story of the Septuagint may unhesitatingly be set aside as the outcome of pious imagination. But what of the original narrative which goes under the name of Aristeas? Is that to be regarded as fact or fiction?

At first sight we seem to have strong external evidence for its truth. There was an Alexandrian Jew named Aristobulus, who is

1 Preface to the Pentateuch —et nescio quis primus auctor septua- ginta cellulas Alexandris mendacio suo exstruxerit, quibus divisi eadem scriptitarint, cum Aristeas eiusdem Ptolemei ὑπερασπιστὴς et multo post tempore Iosephus nihil tale retule- rint, sed in una basilica congregatos contulisse scribant, non prophetasse,

2 Jerome died a.p. 420, Augustine a.p. 430.

8 Aug. de Civ. Dei XVIII 42 and 43.


mentioned at the beginning of Second Maccabees as ‘the teacher of king Ptolemy’ (1%). The Ptolemy in question was the sixth, sur- named Philometor (s.c. 180-145). Aristobulus, though a Jew, was also a Peripatetic philosopher, and anticipated Philo as an exponent of the allegorical method of interpreting Scripture. So at least we gather from Eusebius, who in his Preparatio Evangelica several times quotes a work on the ‘Interpretation of the Holy Laws’! addressed by Aristobulus to Philometor. The interest of this work to us is that in it Aristobulus refers to the translation made in the reign of his majesty’s ancestor Philadelphus under the superinten- dence of Demetrius Phalereus. This seems decisive in favour of the historic character of the main facts recorded in the Letter of Aristeas. And there is another piece of external evidence to be added. For Philo, who himself lived at Alexandria, tells us that a festival was held every year on the island of Pharos in honour of the place whence the blessing of the Greek Bible first shone forth (Vita Mosis II § 7, II 141).

The external evidence being thus favourable, let us now examine the internal.

Time is the great revealer of secrets, and it is also, in another sense, the great detector of forgeries. We have therefore first to inquire whether the document is consistent in point of chronology with its own claims. Who are the persons mentioned, and did they live together? With regard to what may be called the minor char- acters there is no difficulty. Aristeas himself, Andreas, and Sosibius are otherwise unknown, while in the case of Menedemus of Eretria, Theodectes, and Theopompus, we are not debarred by considerations of time from accepting what is said of them, though it would fit in better with the reign of the first than of the second Ptolemy. But the relations between Ptolemy Philadelphus and Demetrius of Pha- lerum, as represented in the Letter, are inconsistent with what we know from other sources. Demetrius was expelled from Athens in B.c. 307 by his namesake Demetrius the Besieger of Cities. Having subsequently found his way to Egypt, he became the chief friend

of Ptolemy Soter, by whom he was even intrusted with legislation.” |

Unfortunately for himself he advised that monarch to leave the king-

1Eus. Pr. Ev. VII 18, 14: VIII 9, 10: IX 6: XIII 11, 12. 2 Alian V.H. III 17: Plut. de Exsilio Ὁ. 602.


dom to his children by his first wife Eurydice. Soter however left it to Philadelphus, the son of Berenice, on whose accession Demetrius was disgraced. He died soon after owing to a snake-bite received during his sleep.!. This account is given by Diogenes Laertius (V § 78) on the authority of Hermippus, whom Josephus? declares to have been a very exact historian. If his authority is good in favour of the Jews, it must be equally good against them.

It would seem then that, if Demetrius of Phalerum had anything to do with the translation of the Jewish Scriptures, that translation must have been made under the first Ptolemy. This is actually asserted by Irenzeus,? who seems here to have followed some account independent of Aristeas. And in another respect this alternative version of the facts is intrinsically more credible. For, whereas the Letter of Aristeas represents Eleazar as an independent potentate, Irenzus expressly says that the Jews were then subject to the Macedonians, by whom he doubtless means Ptolemy Soter, who is recorded to have subdued the country. But, if the Letter of Aris- teas is wrong on so vital a point of chronology, it is plain that it cannot have been written by its assumed author, who can hardly be supposed to have been mistaken as to whose reign he was living under. In that case its historical character is gone, and we are at liberty to believe as much or as little of it as we please.

There are some minor points which have been urged as proofs of historical inaccuracy in the Letter, which do not seem to us to have any weight. One is connected with the letter of Eleazar, which be- gins thus 41) ‘If thou thyself art well, and the queen Arsinoé, thy sister, and the children, it will be well, and as we would have it” Now Philadelphus had two wives in succession, both named Arsinoé. By the first, who was the daughter of Lysimachus, he had three children, Ptolemy, Lysimachus, and Berenice; by the second, who was his own sister, he had none. But then, as Eleazar was

1 Cicero pro Rab. Post. § 23 implies that Demetrius was intentionally got rid of in this way —Demetrium et ex republica, quam optime gesse- rat, et ex doctrina nobilem et clarum, qui Phalereus vocitatus ᾿ est, in eodem isto Agyptio regno aspide ad corpus admota vita esse privatum. |

2 Against Apion I 22 --- ἀνὴρ περὶ πᾶσαν ἱστορίαν ἐπιμελής.

8 Quoted in Eusebius V 8.


addressing Ptolemy, who was aware of these facts, it would have been superfluous for him to guard himself against misconstruction (cp. § 45). Again 180) Philadelphus is made to speak of his victory ‘in the sea-fight against Antigonus.’ It is asserted that Philadelphus was really defeated in this battle: but, if so, this fal- sification of fact is not inappropriate in the monarch’s own mouth. Who does not know the elasticity of the term ‘victory’?

More important than the preceding are two passages in which the author, despite his cleverness, seems to forget that he is Aristeas, and to speak from the standpoint of his own later age. For in § 28, in commenting on the systematic administration of the Ptolemies, he says ‘for all things were done by these kings by means of decrees and in a very safe manner.’ Now it is conceivable that Aristeas might say this with reference to Philadelphus and his father Soter, but it seems more like the expression of