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The Creation Of The Septuagint Began In The First-Century CE

Updated: 7 days ago



The Septuagint


'From 1 BCE to 4 CE a Septuagint 'Canon' seems to be unknown to both Jews and Christians...'


The title of this article may be a bit misleading, so for clarification the argument here presents evidence that the Septuagint known to us today is an altered version of the translation into Greek of the Hebrew Old Testament organised by King Ptolemy II.

Some state that because Greek was the common language of the Roman Empire, the Septuagint became popular among Jews living under Roman rule, with the translation being read aloud to the assembled Jewish community (see - 'The Letter of Aristeas and the Question of Septuagint Origins Redux' by Professor Benjamin G. Wright III.)

The evidence points to the Old Testament being partly translated into Greek during the time of King Ptolemy II. The traditional belief is that the Septuagint, the oldest surviving Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible (Pentateuch), is said to have been written in the third century BCE by 72 Jewish scholars. Scholars, through the use of Palaeography, believe the first five books of the Old Testament (Pentateuch or Torah) were written sometime in the third century BCE, with the rest of the translation being done in the second century BCE. The earliest complete manuscripts we have of the Septuagint are from the fourth century CE; little survives of the earliest translations. Papyrus Fouad 266 has been assigned to the first century BCE and one papyri fragment, P.Ryl. III 458, dates from the second century BCE.

The evidence presented here aims to show that the commencement of the altering of the Greek translation of the Old Testament to be more compatible with Christianity began in the first century CE; the authors were the surviving members of the Herodian royal family and their in-laws the Piso family. Some state that because Greek was the common language of the Roman Empire, the Septuagint became popular among Jews living under Roman rule, with the translation being read aloud to the assembled Jewish community; also see 'The Letter of Aristeas and the Question of Septuagint Origins Redux' by Professor Benjamin G. Wright III.  


The information currently stated regarding the creation of the Septuagint is as follows:


  • translation began in in the third-century BCE

  • it was completed in 132 CE

  • it was probably the increasing significance of educated (the 10%) Greek-speaking Jews in Egypt that prompted the translation of the Old Testament into Greek; this view relates to another reason suggested for a third-century BCE dating of the translation, that the Greek used is representative of early Koine Greek.

  • high Jewish demand

But the third point above is confusing. If the translation was because educated Jews were speaking Greek, then surely they would have known Hebrew and Aramaic too? But in the publication A history of the Hebrew language,’ pp. 170–7, the late Angel Sáenz-Badillos, a distinguished scholar of Hispano-Hebrew literature stated that Aramaic was the common language of the Eastern Mediterranean (Greece, Egypt, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Turkey, and Israel) and remained so in the first century CE. The importance of Greek was increasing, but Aramaic use was also expanding, and it would eventually be dominant among Jews around 200 CE (Also see Charlesworth, Scott D. (2014), Recognizing Greek Literacy in Early Roman Documents from the Judean Desert, The Bulletin of the American Society of Papyrologists, Vol. 51, pp. 161-189.)

The Jews did not lose their Hebrew; this is further evidenced by the Pharisees’ use of the Hebrew scriptures.

Concerning a ‘high Jewish demand’ for a Greek translation, Nina Collins, a widely published British scholar, says in her book The Library in Alexandria and the Bible in Greek, on p. 117, that she agrees the Jews in Alexandria may have lost their Hebrew, but that it is an irrelevant fact. Her opinion was that the translation was strongly opposed by the Jews, and the initial purpose for translation was not religiously driven.

On page 122 Collins states:

 

Aristeas and Josephus both suggest that the translation was destined for the library of Alexandria and Epiphanius specifically notes this fact. This clearly indicates that the translation could not have been made for the use of the Jews. The library was part of the Temple of the Muses, a religious institution in the eyes of the Greeks. For the Jews however, it could only have been considered a most heathen place...it is difficult to believe that the Jews would have proceeded with a project in which a carefully prepared version of this most sacred Jewish text which included numerous references to the name of God, would be housed in a building which promoted practices and ideas totally abhorrent to Judaism, and which would be handled in a way that could not reflect Jewish veneration and belief. If the translation was made expressly for the library, it is unlikely that the project itself was conceived by the Jews...a careful evaluation of some of the events described by Aristeas suggests not only that the project of the translation was initiated by the Greeks, but that the Jews attempted to thwart the plan.

On p. 181 she states:

 

There is little doubt therefore that the Aramaic speaking Jews of Hellenistic Egypt in the early third century BCE, did not want or need a translation of the Hebrew Pentateuch into Greek. As Aristeas hints at the beginning of his account...”

I agree with Collins’ conclusions above. However, regarding dates given in historical times, on p. 56 she says:

 

When the date preserved in a Jewish text is evaluated against the date deduced from Eusebius and Epiphanius, and in accordance with information from the Letter of Aristeas, it seems that the translation was completed towards the end of 281 BCE. As it is unlikely within historical times that a date would be recorded for an event which never took place... The dates preserved by the Jewish and Christian texts are thus strong indications that the completion of the translation was a real event which involved both the Jews and the Greeks in the time of Ptolemy II...”

This is quite a naive view by Collins concerning dates, and those who have read my work will hopefully understand why I state this. We also have the conclusions of Michael Owen Wise who concludes, based on a large historical context, that Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek were all used in both speaking and writing in Roman Judea, with Aramaic likely being the dominant spoken and written native language of the majority of Judeans (see - Wise, Michael Owen, 2015: Language and Literacy in Roman Judaea: A Study of the Bar Kokhba Documents; also see Doering, Lutz, 2012: Ancient Jewish Letters; Mor, Uri, 2015: Judean Hebrew: The Language of the Hebrew Documents from Judea between the First and the Second Revolts.)



Scholarly Agreement



Why then the need for a translation? The question has been asked as to whether the task was initiated due to the Greek Ptolemy II Philadelphus (308 – 246 BCE) wanting to understand the Hebrew texts. According to a letter, which early sources actually describe as a book, written by an individual named ‘Aristeas of Marmora’ to his brother Philocrates, a letter which ‘Josephus’ paraphrases in Jewish Antiquities, the Greek translation of the Hebrew Law was done by 72 interpreters, who were requested by the librarian of Alexandria to come from Jerusalem to Egypt. The letter is the first text that provides information regarding the founding of the Library of Alexandria, but all evidence points to this letter as being fake.



Septuagint Letter of Aristeas
The Letter Of Aristeas

Aristeas’ states he is a Greek holding a high position at the court of Ptolemy II Philadelphus (309-246 BCE). However, a man named Henry St. John Thackeray, who was a British biblical scholar at King’s College, Cambridge, and was an expert on Koine Greek, Josephus, and the Septuagint, states in the introduction of his book The Letter of Aristeas, with an Appendix of the Ancient Evidence on the Origin of the LXX.:


That the Letter is not what it professes to be, a contemporary record of a Greek who played a prominent part in the actions described, has long been recognized. In various ways the writer betrays himself.
He was not a contemporary of Ptolemy Philadelphus. On two occasions he momentarily forgets his role and reveals the interval of time which has elapsed since the age of that monarch. He alludes to the scrupulous care with which “all business used to be transacted by these kings”, as though he were looking back over an epoch of a long dynasty of Ptolemies. Again, he tells us that the arrangements made at the Alexandrian court for the entertainment of foreigners “may still be seen to this day.

Another critic of the authenticity of the 'Aristeas' letter was the English scholar and theologian, Humphrey Hody. In his book Contra historiam Aristeae de LXX (Oxford) 1705, he argued that the letter was created by a Hellenistic Jew, to lend authority to the creation of the Septuagint version of the Old Testament; Hellenistic Jews are first mentioned in Acts 6:1. The conclusion of Hody has the support of modern scholarship, and the scholarly consensus was described by the late Professor Victor Tcherikover of the Hebrew University in 1958 in The Ideology of the Letter of Aristeas, Harvard Theological Review 51.2, pages, 59-85:


Modern scholars commonly regard the “Letter of Aristeas” as a work typical of Jewish apologetics, aiming at self-defense and propaganda, and directed to the Greeks.”

Tcherikover continues to inform the reader of fellow scholars’ views:


Pfeiffer says: “This fanciful story of the origin of the Septuagint is merely a pretext for defending Judaism against its heathen denigrators, for extolling its nobility and reasonableness, and first striving to convert Greek-speaking Gentiles to it.” (see - Pfeiffer, Robert Henry 1949: History of New Testament Times, p. 225.)

In 1903, in a book titled Geschichte Der Jüdischen Apologetik (History of Jewish Apologetics), Moriz Friedlander wrote that the glorification of Judaism in the letter was no more than self-defense, though:


the book does not mention the antagonists of Judaism by name, nor does it admit that its intention is to refute direct attacks.

M. Stein, in The author of the Letter of Aristeas as a defender of Judaism, p. 132, sees in the letter:


a special kind of defense, which practices diplomatic tactics.

Pere Vincnet, sees it as:


a small unapologetic novel written for the Egyptians” (the Greeks in Egypt) in his Jerusalem d’apres la Lettre d’Aristée (Jerusalem from Aristeus’ Letter) in Revue Biblique (Bible Review) 1908, pages 520-532 and 1909, pages 555-75.

Emil Schürer, a German Protestant theologian, classes the letter as, “Jewish propaganda in Pagan disguise, whose works are directed to the pagan reader, in order to make propaganda for Judaism among the Gentiles.in Geschichte des jüdischen Volkes im Zeitalter Jesu Christi (Volume 3) (History of the Jewish People in the Age of Jesus Christ). In Robert Henry Charles’ The Apocrypha and Pseudoepigrapha, 1923, volume II, p. 84, Herbert Tom Andrews, who was a Professor of New Testament Exegesis, Hackney and New College, London, believes that the role of a Greek was assumed by Aristeas in order “to strengthen the force of the argument and commend it to non-Jewish readers.

Even J. Gutman, states in his The Origin and Main Purpose of the Letter of Aristeas, Ha-Goran, 1928, p. 54, that “The Letter of Aristeas contains clear and frank propaganda for the basic doctrines of Judaism and for spreading the knowledge of the Torah in the Greek world.” And “from an inner need of the educated Jew,” sees in it “a strong means for making Jewish propaganda in the Greek world.”

Bruce Metzger, who was a professor at Princeton Theological Seminary, stated in 2001, that:


"Most scholars who have analyzed the letter have concluded that the author cannot have been the man he represented himself to be but was a Jew who wrote a fictitious account in order to enhance the importance of the Hebrew Scriptures, by suggesting that a pagan king had recognized their significance and therefore arranged for their translation into Greek.”

So here we have a scholarly agreement that the letter written by Aristeas is not what it appears to be, and was not written when stated. The agreement is saying that Aristeas’ letter was written to convince the Greeks that the Torah is a literary masterpiece and establish the Septuagint Bible version as better than the original Hebrew version.

The description of the Septuagint’s creation in the letter of Aristeas was cited in other works by other ancient writers, and so the origin letter became accepted. Furthermore, apparently Philo of Alexandria stated that the number of scholars chosen was done so by selecting six scholars from each of the twelve tribes of Israel. Is this statement accurate? It appears to imply that the twelve tribes were still in existence during Ptolemy Philadelphus’ reign. It also implies that ten of the twelve tribes of Israel were not lost when forcibly resettled/deported after the Neo-Assyrian Empire conquered Israel in approximately 722 BCE, almost 500 years previously (see - Shavitsky, Ziva 2012: The Mystery of the Ten Lost Tribes: A Critical Survey of Historical and Archaeological Records relating to the People of Israel in Exile in Syria, Mesopotamia and Persia up to ca. 300 BCE. UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.)

The Babylonian Talmud, in the Tractate Megillah 9a, also states:


King Ptolemy once gathered 72 Elders. He placed them in 72 chambers, each of them in a separate one, without revealing to them why they were summoned. He entered each one’s room and said: “Write for me the Torah of Mosche, your teacher. God put it in the heart of each one to translate identically as all the others did.”

So the Elders all effectively produced identical translations? I find that very doubtful, even The Oxford Handbook of the Septuagint states on page 122:


As it is, no modern-day scholar accepts the Letter of Aristeas for what it claims to be. Its version of events contains too many historical inaccuracies to be a genuine eyewitness account from the third century BCE; besides, its claims on Septuagint origins have been firmly contradicted by the findings of twentieth-century Septuagint Studies. The historical inaccuracies are conveniently summarized by Hadas [Hadas, Moses (1973). Aristeas to Philocrates (Letter of Aristeas: pages 5–9]. The most blatant would be the involvement of Demetrius of Phalerum, the royal librarian, who fell from grace early in the reign of Ptolemy II, for backing another claimant to the throne.
Other revealing errors include the anachronistic use of court titles and official formulas, which points rather to the second century BCE (Bickermann 1976) [E. J. Bickerman, The Dating of Pseudo-Aristeas, in Studies in Jewish and Christian History. A New Edition in English including The God of the Maccabees, 2 vols., Leiden/Boston 2007, vol. 1: 108-133.] By contrast, the author’s knowledge of contemporary Jewish matters is strikingly accurate, suggesting that he was not a Gentile but himself a Jew.
Furthermore, linguistic analysis of the Greek Pentateuch has shown that the individual books each reflect a different (set of) translator(s) from a decidedly Egyptian background (Evans 2001: 263–4) [ Trevore Vivian Evans, Verbal Syntax in the Greek Pentateuch: Natural Greek Usage and Hebrew Interference, Oxford University Press, 2001.] The translations, therefore, could not have been produced by a single team of translators from Jerusalem, as the Letter of Aristeas claims.
All of this has led to the following being accepted as scholarly consensus: the Letter of Aristeas was not written by Aristeas, a Greek courtier in the early third century BCE, but by an anonymous Jewish author (‘Pseudo-Aristeas’), academically schooled and close to the Alexandrian court, somewhere in the second century BCE. The discussion on the date of the Letter is not yet closed (see most recently Rappaport 2012) [Rappaport, Uriel. The Letter of Aristeas Again. JStP 21: 285–303], but the finer points of this discussion do not really concern us here. The fact remains that, with the pseudepigraphic nature of the Letter of Aristeas established beyond doubt, its version of events can no longer be accepted at face value.


Who Used The Septuagint?




The current academic understanding is that multiple factors led to most Jews abandoning the Septuagint, or LXX, in the 2nd century CE. Some argue that the association of the Septuagint with the early Christian sect may have brought about suspicion in the eyes of Jewish scholars and the Jewish people.

Another understanding is that following the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans, the use of Greek declined among the Jewish people as they fled to the Aramaic-speaking Persian Empire. Jewish teaching was originally oral, being transferred from one generation to the next. Rabbis explained and debated the Torah (the Hebrew Bible) and discussed the Tanakh (the canonical collection of the Hebrew scriptures, which included the Torah). After the destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem by Rome, things drastically changed, and the preservation of scripture became of the utmost importance, fearing that the important Jewish teachings would be lost forever.

But the evidence to support the current understanding of the Septuagint’s creation is very weak, and the understanding seems to be based on the current academic understanding of the history of Early Christianity. It is taught that many of the early Christians did not know Hebrew, so they naturally embraced this popular Greek translation, but the only evidence we have for early Christians comes from Roman historians, who were all related,  Pliny the Younger, Tacitus, and Suetonius. Even ‘Josephus’ states, in 93 CE, in Jewish Antiquities, Volume 4, Book 1 p. 7 (Loeb) that he translated some of the original Hebrew texts because they had not been translated at that point. ‘Josephus’ says:


I found then that the second of the Ptolemies, that king who was so deeply interested in learning and such a collector of books, was particularly anxious to have our Law and the political constitution based thereon translated into Greek... Accordingly, I thought that it became me also both to imitate the high priest's magnanimity and to assume that there are still to-day many lovers of learning like the king. For even he failed to obtain all our records: it was only the portion containing the Law which was delivered to him by those who were sent to Alexandria to interpret it."

This means the translation under Ptolemy Philadelphus would not have gone further than the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Hebrew Bible).

The consensus is that the Bible of ‘Paul’ was the Septuagint, when 'Paul' wanted to share an Old Testament passage with a Greek-speaking audience, he used the Septuagint’s translation, and later, leaders of the early Christian church, the ‘Apostolic Fathers’ and ‘Greek Church Fathers’, quoted it as well; however, as briefly highlighted in my last book, but worth mentioning here, the professors at Oxford University concluded that the Pauline Epistles were not written by the individual known as ‘Paul’.

The Pauline Epistles are generally viewed as having been written before the Gospels, and scholars maintain ‘Paul’ wrote in the 50’s CE based solely on the internal references in the epistles, for example, the interactions he has with ‘Peter’, ‘James’ and ‘John’. The epistles leave out details from the gospels to present the impression that they were written before. Omitting these details gives them a sense of authenticity. Their purpose is to make people believe that the character, Paul, had an authentic encounter with Jesus long before the Gospels were written and show that a supposed Pharisee had received the ultimate revelation of Christ, which is very much a piece of irony.

But the Septuagint departs from the Hebrew Old Testament in some areas, as it includes books not found in the Protestant Bible, as well as additions to the Protestant canon. The Protestant Bible is seven books shorter than the Roman Catholic Bible, as the Protestants used a different standard to decide what should be in their Bible. The Hebrew Bible has 24 books, and the Protestant Old Testament includes exactly the same books, only organized into 39 books. The Hebrew Bible, for example, has only one book of Samuel, the Protestant Bible on the other hand has 1 and 2 Samuel, which is the same book, just divided into two parts. However, the Catholic Old Testament (Septuagint) has extra books called Tobit, Judith, Wisdom of Solomon, Ecclesiasticus (Sirach), Baruch (includes the Letters of Jeremiah), I and II Maccabees, and it has additions to the books of Daniel and Esther.



The Dead Sea Scrolls


The Dead Sea Scrolls are scrolls that were hidden in caves when the Romans occupied Qumran. The Essenes stored manuscripts in the caves for fear of them being destroyed. Eventually, Qumran was conquered in 68 CE, and archeological remains show that the Romans burnt this area to the ground, and, after the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE, they then turned their attention to Masada to complete their victory in 73 CE. The conquering of Qumran forced the Jews to try and save the scrolls by hiding them in the caves.

When the scrolls were discovered, they contained more than 200 biblical books, including a nearly complete manuscript of the Hebrew Bible that was 500 years older than the oldest copy of the Septuagint. Some of the Hebrew scrolls found corresponded with the Septuagint's translation, no surprise there really; in my next publication I will present evidence showing that the Jewish leadership, after 70 CE, were forced to insert additions into their Hebrew texts.

The Septuagint was not considered authoritative according to Jewish tradition. The "early Christian church" started using the Septuagint to point to Jesus, at which point errors in its translation were spotted. The Dead Sea Scrolls provide new information on whether the differences in the Septuagint were "errors" or possibly translations based on a different manuscript, one which was rejected by Jewish tradition.


Two examples of 'errors' in the Septuagint are:


YHWH - There is no Greek equivalent to YHWH, the name of God, so the LXX in later copies replaced this divine name by using κύριος (Kurios), which means Lord. Earlier copies of the LXX did contain the name YHWH but in Hebrew letters, not Greek (Ref - Papyrus_Fouad_266).


Virgin - Found in Isaiah 7:14, of the Hebrew text, we have "the young woman shall conceive", which is replaced in the Septuagint with "a virgin shall conceive". Now, the word for 'virgin', παρθένος, did not mean ‘virgin’ exclusively in ancient Greek, it could mean 'young woman' or 'unmarried woman'. So this may not be an error in the Septuagint, only an "error" by the author of the gospel of 'Matthew', who used the LXX. The reason was to say the Bible predicted Jesus to be born of a virgin.



Its Use By The New Testament Authors


Again, the current understanding is that the Septuagint was seen as the most accessible way to bring the words of the Hebrew Bible to a Greek-speaking audience, but that is not entirely accurate.

From 1 BCE to 4 CE a Septuagint 'Canon' seems to be unknown to both Jews and Christians, who only cite the Hebrew Canon in the second century, again, even 'Josephus' states that the Jews only have twenty-two books containing the account of their history, from the creation of the world until the Persian period (Against. Apion. 1.37–42). Philo of Alexandria does not cite the deuterocanonical books (secondary canon) books - Tobias, Judith, Baruch, Ecclesiasticus, Wisdom, First and Second Machabees, and certain additions to Esther and Daniel, he only cites the books of the Law and the Prophets.

So what's really going on? The evidence we have for the Septuagint's creation is very dubious, one piece of evidence is even considered pseudepigraphic (a falsely attributed work), and evidence shows that the Jews did not 'lose their Hebrew'; – it has even been noted that the author of ‘Mark’ 7:1-23 quotes the Septuagint version, not the Hebrew, for Jesus’ argument against the Pharisees (see - Hoffman and Laurie, Jesus in History and Myth, p. 44). There it says:


"Mark makes Jesus argue against the Pharisees (7:1-23) by quoting a passage from the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament used in gentile Christian communities. The Hebrew original of this passage, however, says something different, which would not have supported his case. As Nineham concedes (Gospel of St. Mark, 189), "it is hardly likely that Jesus, teaching in Palestine, quoted Isaiah in Greek." It is still less likely that orthodox Jews would be floored by an argument based on mistranslation of their scriptures."

If you are familiar with my work, you will know that the history of the creation of Christianity and the New Testament is nothing like what those who wrote the histories have told us. Just before the destruction of Jerusalem, it is written in the Babylonian Talmud that the Rabbi/Pharisee leader, and the first sage, Yohanan ben Zakkai, snuck out of the city and made a prophecy that Vespasian would become emperor. Yohanan was then granted permission to establish a school at Yavne, which in the Bible is known as Jabneh, on the condition that Yochanan would not resist Roman rule and not participate in the rebellion. Respecting the imperial wishes of Vespasian meant the Rabbis were now teaching pacifism and accommodation (see - Gittin 56a-56b; Avot D’Rabbi Nathan A, Chapter 4; Avotor: B, Chapter 6; Lam.Rabbah 1:29).

The problem is, the individual known to us as 'Josephus' describes himself giving the exact same prophecy. But the time in which 'Josephus' gives the prophecy fits within the historical context, the story in the Babylonian Talmud does not, but there is a reason for that. The reason Josephus' account fits, is because the person who wrote as Flavius Josephus, wrote it that way.

The Jewish leaders were humiliated in the New Testament, so they, in return, provided information as to who the actual authors of the New Testament were in the Babylonian Talmud, as that was written in an area the Roman aristocracy did not control, Persia. The key to understanding the real history behind this religion is understanding who Flavius Josephus really was, I cover some of that here.


But, briefly, the background of Josephus becomes very suspicious due to what he does and does not tell us, such as:

  • The fact that enemy generals, as 'Josephus' claims to be, were taken back to Rome to be publicly executed. But Josephus tells us that the exact opposite happened to him, for example, he lived in Vespasian's house and apparently even got adopted into the Flavian family, I find this very difficult to believe.

  • He tells us that he was a son of Matthias, meaning his descent would be from the Hasmonean royal house, but, as discussed in the genealogy linked above, because of what is known about that royal house, his genealogy makes no sense, the way he gives it.


Flavius Josephus
Bust of 'Flavius Josephus'

The reason Josephus' background is highly suspicious, and why his genealogy makes no sense, is because it is not the genealogy of "Flavius Josephus". The genealogy given actually leads to the Roman senatorial family called the Calpurnius Pisos, a very rich and powerful family, who were related to both the Flavians and the Herodian royal family, as the genealogies on this site show.

The genealogy that "Josephus" gives, is actually the genealogy of a member of the Calpurnius Piso family called Arrius Calpurnius Piso, and it was this individual who likely initiated the altering of the Septuagint, although the altered version would not be finished until the time of Emperor Marcus Aurelius. How can this be claimed?, well the Babylonian Talmud AND the Septuagint provide clues to its actual authorship.

After Jerusalem and the Temple were destroyed in 70 CE, a man named Arrius Calpurnius Piso was in charge of the Piso family. At that point, the New Testament writings only consisted of the Gospel of Mark, which was a creation of Arrius' father, Gaius Calpurnius Piso, Arrius' uncle, Lucius Calpurnius Piso, and Seneca the Younger. At that point, additional versions of Jesus' life were about to be created, but, although the Piso family were related to the Herodian royal house, through a lady called Arria the Younger, the Pisos may not have been as knowledgeable in Hebrew as their Herodian relations. The Herodians had gone to Rome to live just before Jerusalem's destruction and must have been fluent in both Greek and Hebrew.

The particular Herodian who would have been available at that time was Arrius Piso's cousin, Herod Agrippa II. , whose cousin was Tiberius Julius Alexander, descendant of Alexander, another son of Herod the Great (see - E.G. Turner, Journal of Roman Studies, Volume 44, pages 54-64). Logically, we can conjecture that he would have overseen the translation of the Hebrew Torah, Prophets, and Psalms, into Greek during the approximate years of 70 - 80 CE. And also logically we can assume, based on the later writings, that the Piso family (including Arrius) would have been familiarizing themselves with the existing Hebrew Bible, Hebraic beliefs, and history, which is evidenced by Seneca's works being used to create passages in the initial Gospels.

The Pisos (mainly at this point, Arrius) undoubtedly knew many Hebraic words/phrases, but either he needed a fluent Greek translation to work from in order to compose the stories about Jesus, or it was created so there would be a version of the Old Testament that corresponded to what was being written in the New Testament. Of course, the reason may well be a mixture of the two. But, seeing as the Septuagint was not finished until approximately 132 CE, the time of Emperor Marcus Aurelius, the remaining Herodians must have helped him with the Hebrew words and meanings.

In or around the year 90 CE, Arrius would of either written himself or dictated an account of how the Septuagint's translation had been created several centuries earlier. In this account, he hinted at his Piso family name and his name, the reason must have been to take credit for the translation, albeit, secretly.

As explained earlier, the story goes that King Ptolemy II Philadelphus of Egypt (285-274 BCE) wrote to Eleazar, the high priest of the Judaeans in Jerusalem, stating he wanted the Law translated into Greek and deposited in his library. In response, Eleazar sends six elders from each of the 12 tribes of Israel, along with the Law, to translate it.


What makes this story fiction? Well for one, Arrius inserts his name to claim authorship, which means 'Aristeas', or 'Aristaios' in many manuscripts and as it appears in Jewish Antiquities , Volume 7, Book 12, Verse 100, p. 50 (Loeb), was not writing somewhere in the second century BCE:


  • Aristaios, a Jewish friend of the king, convinces him to free Jewish captives taken in subduing Judea, leading to the king's decision to also commission the translation. Aristaios in Greek totals 19, which is the total of the name Piso in 'small' Greek numbers, that is, when zeros are omitted (Latin did not use zero). Also, Aristaios is 1) a longer form of Arias (Arius), and 2) Ἀρισταῖος (Aristaios), is a Greek name derived from ἄριστος (aristos), which means "best", a word used to describe Arrius (see - Creating Christianity, pages 161-2, 240-1).

  • Aristaios was the son of Apollo, who appears in a virgin birth story similar to Jesus', which was referenced by later Christian writers, for example, the third-century CE Christian theologian, known as 'Origen', retells a legend of Plato's mother Perictione virginally conceiving him after the god Apollo had appeared to her husband Ariston.

  • Ariston ties in with the New Testament, because in Matt 26:26 'Jesus' says: 'Take, eat; this is my body.' Then looking back to Matt. 22:4, it says: '... Behold! My dinner, I (have) prepared...' The word for dinner in this instance is 'ariston' (Aristo). The word is also used in Luke 11:38, and Luke 14:12 . So the name used here links to 'Jesus'.

  • The story of the twelve tribes is fiction as ten of the twelve tribes were deported and lost 500 years previously.

  • An individual named 'Nicanor' is the official who receives the translators. This name also appears in I Maccabees as the Syrian general whom the Judaeans defeat and kill, and in Acts he is one of seven deacons of the young church in Antioch. Arrius may have used this name because it derives from the Greek νικη (nike) meaning 'victory' and ανηρ (aner) meaning 'man'.

  • Dorotheos is ordered by Nicanor to provide and serve food to the arriving translators. In Greek, Dorotheos meant 'gift of God', the same meaning as the Hebrew name Mattathias, a longer form of Josephus' apparent family name, Matthias, in the fictional Vita (Biography).

  • The translators supposedly work until the ninth hour, the same hour Jesus is said to have died on the cross (Matthew 27:45-50, et al).

  • The very first account of the Septuagint's creation appears in the Antiquities of 'Josephus'. To take the focus away from this being the first account, Arrius' grandson Arrian three-quarters of a century later wrote The Anabasis of Alexander account, allegedly being from the "400 hidden years", to make the Antiquities version seem not the original account.


Septuagint in Greek meant 'the 70', even though the account tells of 72 translators. Arrius also writes about a delegation of twelve and then of 70 being dispatched in his Vita (Biography) as 'Josephus'. We also have 'Jesus' dispatching a delegation of 70 in Luke 10:l, although some manuscripts read 72. The number 70 was the name 'Peison ' (Piso) in Greek and Kalpournios in Greek, their combined alpha-numeric numbers totalled 70, as Peison = 29 and Kalpournios = 41.

Within the texts of the Babylonian Talmud, the Jewish leaders also gave hints as to who authored the New Testament and Arrius' heavy involvement in the creation of the Septuagint. The statement 'Key Matu Sus' is seen on page 94a of the Tractate (Treatise) Sanhedrin in the Babylonian Talmud. It says 'for when they came to Shush' (Susa being an ancient city north of the Persian Gulf.) However, this statement can also be read as 'wrote Matthew, a/the horse' ( Sus (Hebrew for horse). In Greek beast or horse is Ippos/Piso, in the Book of Revelations), or when syntax comes in, we have 'the Ippos (Piso) wrote Matthew'.

Just after the statement above comes 'Arayin key Matai/Matu', which is also seen on p. 94a of the Tractate (Treatise) Sanhedrin. 'Key' in Hebrew was similar to an adverb, a word that joins thoughts together, so it can be used as the word 'because', 'as', 'when', 'like', or 'but'. 'Key' was also used as an acrostic for 'ktav yad', meaning 'written by hand' or 'he wrote'. 'Matai' is a version of the name Matthew, as well as meaning 'time' or 'when', 'Matu' is also a version of the name Matthew.

In Aramaic, 'Arayin' meant 'our land', with the statement apparently meaning 'this is as good as our land', but if Arayin is divided in two, we get 'Ari', (which can be an acrostic of Arrius), and 'Ayin', the Hebrew word for 70, i.e., the Septuagint. So the statement 'Arayin key Matai/Matu' reads as 'Arrius of the Septuagint wrote Matthew'.




Conclusion

All the accounts of the Septuagint's creation are dubious, and the accepted reason for its creation makes no reasonable sense, based on the thorough research done into the literacy abilities of the Jewish people. There is no evidence they forgot their Hebrew or Aramaic, and the Septuagint 'Canon' seems to be unknown to them. The letter describing why and how it was created is viewed as fake by a majority of scholars, and Philo of Alexandria seems to make a historically inaccurate statement regarding the twelve tribes of Israel.

The real reason for its creation, taking into account the context, seems to have been to create a version of the Hebrew Bible that would conform to what was going to be written into the New Testament. The Apocrypha, for example, contained stories supposedly written in prior centuries concerning the "400 lost years" since the completion of the Hebrew Prophetic books. These additional writings were created for various reasons. One was that at a number of places the Jewish Antiquities writings (by Arrius/'Josephus') had gone in a different direction from the Jewish history in the Hebrew bible. To correct the "errors", Arrius wrote new "ancient" books in which the errors could be consistent; the alternative was to produce new writings that would correct his errors and be consistent with the Hebrew Bible.

Arrius made the Judaism and Judaean heroes of the past more consistent with Christianity, as they would appear almost 'saviour-like' deliverers of their people, the book of Judith is an example of that. Their speeches would also be written to better agree with his view of the 'law'. The New Testament was intended to be read to and eventually accepted by, the pagan slaves and poor people of the empire. To achieve this, the history of Judaism needed to be brave and victorious.

Therefore, Jewish Antiquities had created two stories of great Judaean victories which showed Judaeans being very brave and triumphant against great government oppression, but not Roman oppression, of course. No, the stories would be about the Persian oppression at the time of Esther (479 BCE), in the Septuagint; and Greek/Syrian oppression at the time of the Maccabees, in the Apocrypha. The story of Esther was about a Queen Esther intervening to stop the plans of ‘Haman’ to kill the Jews in the Persian kingdom. Regarding the story of Esther, the Encyclopaedia Iranica states, “the story of the Book of Esther has not been corroborated by historical sources, and the figure of Haman could well be fictitious.Both, it would be written, developed into Judaean holiday celebrations.

After additional works had been written for the Apocrypha and Septuagint, the Piso family, mainly Arrius and his sons, would historicize the writings by mentioning them in the New Testament:


  • Apocryphal Enoch would be mentioned in Jude 14, and later in Hebrews 11:5

  • Apocryphal Noah (which no longer exists) would be mentioned in 1 Peter 3:20 and 2 Peter 2:5, and later in Hebrews 11:7.

  • Daniel was mentioned in Matthew 24:15 and Mark 13:14. Daniel also appears along with Baruch, most likely written by Arrius for his Apocrypha, in the Septuagint Nehemiah 10:6. Then the Judaeans must have been made to add this verse to their Hebrew Bible, where it appears as Nehemiah 10:7.

  • Job was previously mentioned only in Genesis 46:13 in the Old Testament, but praise of him for his endurance was put into the Letter of James 5:11. The Judaeans, at their new location of Bnai Brak, must have then been forced to add Job along with Daniel and Noah to the existing Book of Ezekiel, in chapter 14, being praised for his righteousness.


Ultimately, most of the translation from Hebrew to Greek must have been done by the surviving Herodians, the family is even written into the New Testament:


Herod-Agrippa I - Acts 12

Agrippa II - Acts 25, 13-27, 26

'Salute Herodion, my kinsman' - Romans 16, 11

Herod the Great - Matt. 2, 1-22, Luke 1, 5

Archelaus - Matt. 2, 22

Antipas - Matt. 14, 1-10, Mark 6, 14-28, Luke 3, 1,19, Luke 8, 3, Luke 9, 7-9

Luke - 13, 31, Luke 23, 7-15

Philip - Luke 3, 1

Herod-Philip - Matt. 14, 3-11, Mark 6, 17-28, Luke 3,19

Herodias - Matt. 14, 3-11, Mark 6, 17-28, Luke 3, 19

Salome - Matt. 14, 6-11, Mark 6, 22-28

Berenice - Acts 25, 13-27, 26

Drusilla - Acts 24

Aristobulus - Romans 16, 10

Tiberius Julius Alexander - Acts 4,6







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