Greek To Me
The Septuagint, also known as the Greek Old Testament, is an early translation of the Hebrew Bible into Koine Greek, the Greek spoken in first century CE Alexandria. The translation brought the Hebrew texts to the Jews of Alexandria because most were no longer familiar with Hebrew. Originally, at the direction of Ptolemy II in the third century BCE, only the first five books, the Torah or Pentateuch, were translated and included, but over the centuries additional books were added to the collection.
The term “Septuagint” comes from the Latin septuaginta, which literally means seventy, because according to legend, it was translated by 70 Jewish scholars. This original translation, however, does not survive except as rare fragments.
I was struck by the astringent cleanliness and Spartan simplicity of Judah’s living quarters. With the few watery slices of light filtering in from the single, louvered, east-facing window, I could see the sparse furnishings, only a covered sleeping couch, a washstand and basin, and a table and chair. Two raw pine shelves held a mirror, razor, and comb; a chamber pot; two amphorae joined by a knotted rope (for hauling water from the public fountain); and a smaller amphora (this one of wine) …. Attached to the lower shelf were several hooks on which he hung his himation… and a scroll of the Septuagint in an embroidered silk case.