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The septuagint as a result of the diaspora of Jews in Egypt - Research Paper Example

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The septuagint as a result of the diaspora of Jews in Egypt

locations.1 Under the reign of several foreign kings, most of the members of the Jewish faith were removed out of Judea. These people had to adapt to the languages of the ruling empires to continue trade and commerce, aside from being under the rule of another empire. Under Persian rule, apart from Hebrew as the language of Jews, Aramaic also became the lingua franca, and eventually was accepted as an official language. So profound was the effect of the Persians that prayer books of Jews during that time were written in Aramaic.2 During the reign of Alexander the Great, there was a wide spread of the Hellenistic culture, and as a result aside from being able to speak Aramaic and Hebrew, most Jews were able to speak fluent Greek as well. The flexibility of Jews in adapting to the reigning empire’s generic laws such as the choice of languages enabled them not only to translate some of their scriptures into Aramaic, but to Greek as well. The Septuagint, also known as LXX, is a collection of Jewish scriptures that were translated into Greek, and was believed to have been written sometime during the Ptolemaic rule in Egypt, under Ptolemy II Philadelphus’ reign (282-246 BC).3 The original title of the Septuagint is interpretation septuaginta vivorum, or “the translation of seventy men” in English, and according to some legends these 70 or 72 men were composed of six scholars from each tribe of Judea. The collection of writings was considered to be the gift of Jews to the Greek-speaking world, as described by the Jewish author Philo of Alexandria in Egypt.4 For some scholars, the prototypes or the earliest forms of the translated scriptures were called Old Greek, abbreviated as OG, and the succeeding materials were collectively known as Septuagint.5 The texts were originally composed of the translations of the Pentateuch, but other scriptures were added to the collection.6 It can be deduced that the monotheistic nature of the Jews persisted during several periods under different rulers, which they considered to be polytheistic or Gentile. The resilience as well as the continuous faith of the Jews in their God has been proven by a number of works that have survived numerous centuries under the reign of several empires. Thus, the Septuagint, though being described by most Hebrew scholars during its time as a controversial document due to some deviations from the original Hebrew texts, is considered a testament of the Jews staying monotheistic regardless of where they are or who the reigning emperor is. THE DIASPORA OF JEWS The idea of leaving the homeland has been a recurring theme in the history of Jews, since the time of Abraham, and being exiled is the punishment of God that is to be accepted.7 Thus most of the stories in the Pentateuch were about the exile of Jews in search of the one true God. While the numerous travels and the long durations of being away from the homeland proved to be both harsh and not, for most Jews this also served as a blessing to them, especially with regard to the continuation of the Judean ...Show more

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THE SEPTUAGINT AS A RESULT OF THE DIASPORA OF JEWS IN EGYPT TABLE OF CONTENTS TABLE OF CONTENTS………………………………………………………………ii INTRODUCTION…………………………………………………………………….3 THE DIASPORA OF JEWS……………
Author : cschaefer
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