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Richard Rushden Ottley

The Septuagint and Early Christianity

"Thus we find, that by the time of the Apostles, the Septuagint was widely used and known ; and it seems to have been generally welcomed, by all classes that used it. We have already seen how it is quoted, though not exclusively, by the writers of the New Testament;

Philo (A.D. 40) makes constant and copious use of it ; Josephus knows the Greek version, as well as the Hebrew ; and fragments of other less known writers have been preserved, which tell the same tale, and carry it rather further back in time; the Alexandrian historian Demetrius, and the poet Ezekiel, quoted by Clement of Alexandria, are instances. . .

The use of the Septuagint is so far a tradition, gradually accumulating ; and among Greek-speaking Jews it had hardly a serious rival, up to the close of the first century after Christ. There were, however, in Palestine, still some who spoke Aramaic, and held to the Semitic idiom, as to their ancestral customs.

When Christianity arose, and its converts came from among the Hellenist Jews, the Dispersion, and the Gentiles, the LXX. rapidly became the Bible of the Christian Church. So few Christians had any knowledge of Hebrew, that they could scarcely test, and did not doubt, the correctness and faithfulness of the version; if corruptions had by now arisen in the text, they were in no position to criticise.

Eventually, when the Faith spread to regions East, West, and South, where even Greek was not well enough known, the Western and Southern regions had Latin and Coptic translations made, not from the original Hebrew, but from the Septuagint, behind which they could not go. In the East, the Syriac version of the O.T., circulating among a comparatively isolated people, was made from the Hebrew; but even this Semitic version was not entirely free from the LXX's influence.

The great Greek version spread widely, and where it spread, men believed in it, almost as the inspired original. The Christians had no wish to doubt, and no knowledge to detect any reason for doubting."

Ottley, Richard Rushden "A Handbook to the Septuagint" (London: Methuen & Go. Ltd, 1920) p. 37