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and some related texts into Koine Greek. The title and its Roman numeral acronym "LXX" refer to the seventy finest Jewish scholars that completed the translation as early as the late 2nd century BCE. Its contents comprise the Eastern Orthodox Old Testament,for which reason it is sometimes called the "Greek Old Testament" ("Η μεηάθραζη ηων Εβδομήκονηα or Ο'"). This translation is quoted in the New Testament, particularly in the writings of Paul the Apostle, and also by the Apostolic Fathers and later Greek Church Fathers. The traditional story is that Ptolemy II sponsored the translation for use by the many Alexandrian Jews who were not fluent in Hebrew but fluent in Koine Greek, which was the lingua franca of Alexandria, Egypt and the Eastern Mediterranean from the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BCE until the development of Byzantine Greek around 600 CE. The Septuagint should not be confused with the seven or more other Greek versions of the Old Testament, most of which did not survive except as fragments (some parts of these being known from Origen's Hexapla, a comparison of six translations in adjacent columns, now almost wholly lost). Of these, the most important are "the three:" those by Aquila, Symmachus, and Theodotion. Theodotion (AD 200) was a Hellenistic Jewish scholar, perhaps working in Ephesus, who in ca. AD 150 translated the Hebrew Bible into Greek. Whether he was revising the Septuagint, or was working from Hebrew manuscripts that represented a parallel tradition that has not survived, is debated. In the 2nd century Theodotion's text was quoted in the Shepherd of Hermas and in the Christian apologist Justin Martyr's Trypho. His finished version, which filled some lacunae in the Septuagint version of the Book of Jeremiah and Book of Job, formed one column in Origen of Alexandria's Hexapla, ca. AD 240. (The Hexapla, now only extant in fragments, presented six Hebrew and Greek texts side-by-side: two Greek versions, by Aquila and Symmachus, preceding the Septuagint, and Theodotion's version following it, apparently reflecting a contemporary understanding of their historical sequence.) Theodotion's translation was so widely copied in the Early Christian church that its version of the Book of Daniel virtually superseded the Septuagint's. Jerome (in his preface to Daniel, AD 407) records the rejection of the Septuagint's version of that book in Christian usage. Jerome's preface also mentions that the Hexapla had notations in it, indicating several major differences in content between the Theodotion Daniel and the earlier versions in Greek and Hebrew. However, Theodotion's Daniel is closer to the modern Hebrew Masoretic Text version (the Hebrew text said to have been finalized ca. AD 130), that is the basis for most modern translations. Theodotion's Daniel is also the one embodied in the authorised edition of the Septuagint published bySixtus V in 1587. Theodotion's caution in transliterating Hebrew words for plants, animals, vestments and ritual regalia, and words of uncertain meaning, rather than adopting a Greek rendering, gave him a reputation of being "unlearned" among more confident postRenaissance editors, such as Bernard de Montfaucon.
Aquila: Translator of the canonical Scriptures from Hebrew into Greek. He was by birth a Gentile from Pontus, and is said by Epiphanius to have been a connection by marriage of the emperor Hadrian and to have been appointed by him about the year 128 to an office concerned with the rebuilding of Jerusalem as "Ælia Capitolina." At some unknown age he joined the Christians, but afterward left them and became a proselyte to Judaism. According to Jerome he was a disciple of Rabbi Akiba. The Talmud states that he finished his translations under the influence of R. Akiba and that his other teachers were Eliezer ben Hyrcanus and Joshua ben Hananiah. It is certain, however, that Aquila's translation had appeared before the publication of Irenæus' "Adversus Hæreses"; i.e., before 177. The work seems to have been entirely successful as regards the purpose for which it was intended (Jerome speaks of a second edition which embodied corrections by the author), and it was read by the Greek-speaking Jews even in the time of Justinian (Novella, 146). It was used intelligently and respectfully by great Christian scholars like Origen and Jerome, while controversialists of less merit and learning, such as the author of the "Dialogue of Timothy and Aquila" (published in 1898 by F. C. Conybeare), found it worth their while to accuse Aquila of anti-Christian bias, and to remind their Jewish adversaries of the superior antiquity of the Septuagint. But no manuscript until quite recently was known to have survived, and our acquaintance with the work came from the scattered fragments of Origen's "Hexapla." The reason of this is to be found in the Mohammedan conquests; the need of a Greek version for Jews disappeared when Greek ceased to be the lingua franca of Egypt and the Levant.
The Samaritan Pentateuch, sometimes called Samaritan Torah, (Hebrew: תינורמוש הרותtorah shomroniyt), is a version of theHebrew language Pentateuch, the first five books of the Bible, traditionally written in the Samaritan alphabet and used by theSamaritans. It constitutes their entire biblical canon. Samaritan practices are based on their version of the Five Books of Moses, which is slightly different from the Masoretic text or the Greek Septuagint texts. Some six thousand differences exist between the Samaritan and the Masoretic text. Most are minor variations in the spelling of words or grammatical constructions, but others involve significant semantic changes such as the uniquely Samaritan commandment to construct an altar on Mount Gerizim. Nearly two thousand textual variations from the Masoretic text agree with the Septuagint and some are shared with the Latin Vulgate. Throughout their history, Samaritans have made use of translations of the Samaritan Pentateuch into Aramaic, Greek and Arabic as well as liturgical and exegetical works based upon it. Its value for determining the original text of the Pentateuch has been a subject of contentious debate especially after the publication of a manuscript of the Samaritan Pentateuch in Europe in the 17th century. Some Pentateuchal manuscripts discovered among the Dead Sea Scrolls have been identified as bearing a "pre-Samaritan" text type. Wide agreement now exists among textual critics that the Samaritan Pentateuch represents an authentic ancient textual tradition despite the presence of some unique variants introduced by the Samaritans.
Targum is the distinctive designation of the Aramaic translations or paraphrases of the Old Testament. After the return from exile Aramaic gradually won the ascendancy as the colloquial language over the slowly decaying Hebrew until, from probably the last century before the Christian era, Hebrew was hardly more than the language of the schools and of worship. As the majority of the population ceased to be conversant with the sacred language it became necessary to provide translations for the better understanding of the passages of the Bible read in Hebrew at the liturgical services. Thus to meet this need it became customary to add to the portions of the Scriptures read on the Sabbath an explanatory oral translation -- a Targum. At first this was probably done only for the more difficult passages, but as time went on, for the entire text. TheMishna gives more elaborate instructions as to the way in which this translating should be done. According to the Megillah (IV, 4), when the lesson to be read aloud was from the Torah only one verse was to be read to the translator (Methurgeman). When the lesson was from the Nebi'im it was permitted to read three to him, unless each verse formed a special division. The directions also state which portions are to be read aloud but not translated (cf. for instance Meg., IV, 10), and a warning is given against translations that are either to free, palliative, allegorical, etc. Another regulation was that the Targum was not to be written down ( Jer. Meg., IV, i = fol. 74d). This prohibition, however, probably referred only to the interpretation given in the synagogue and did not apply to private use or to its employment in study. In any case, written Targums must have existed at an early date. Thus, for instance, one on the Book of Job is mentioned in the era of Gamaliel I (middle of the first century A.D.), which he, however, was not willing to recognize (Sabb., 115a; cf. Tos. Sabb., 13,2 = p.128, ed. Zuckermandel). If Matt., xxvii, 46, gives the Aramaic form of Ps., xxi, 2, the last utterance of the Saviour upon the Cross, this shows that even then the Psalms were current among the people in the Aramaic language; moreover, Ephes., iv, 8, has a closer connection with the Targum to Ps., lxvii, 19, than with the Masoretic text. In addition, the Mishna Yadayim, IV, 5, and Sabb., XVI, also indicates the early existence of MSS. of the Targum. These MSS., however, were only owned privately not officially as for a long period the Targums were without authoritative and official importance in Palestine. This authoritative position was first gained among the Babylonian Jews and through their influence the Targums were also more highly esteemed in Palestine, at least the two older ones. In the form in which they exist at present no Targum that has been preserved goes back further than the fifth century. Various indication, however, show the great antiquity of the main contents of many Targums, their theology among other things. That as early as the third century the text, for instance, of the Targum on the Pentateuch was regarded by the synagogue as traditionally settled is evident from the Mishna Meg., IV, 10, Jer. Meg., 74d, Hab. Kidd., 49d, Tos. Meg., IV, 41. There are Targums to all the canonical books excepting Daniel, Ezra, and Nehemiah; for some books of the Bible there are several Targums. As regards age and linguistic character they may be divided into three classes: (1) Targum of Onkelos and Targum of Jonathan; (2) Jerusalem Targums; (3) Targum on the Hagiographa. The form of language used in the Targums is called specifically Targum dialect. It belongs to western Aramaic and more particularly to the Aramaic of Palestine. Its home in to be sought in Judea, the ancient seat of the learning of the scribes. It should be borne in mind that this Targumic language does not represent the spoken Aramaic, but is the result of the labours of scholars. Consequently the point under discussion turns on a literary Aramaic originally formed in Judea. This is particularly true of the two earlier Targums; the later ones show generally an artificially mixed type of language. The traditional pointing of the texts is valueless and misleading: a more certain basis was first offered by MSS. from Southern Arabia in which the pointing for the vowels was placed above the line. In Arabia the old synagogal custom of reciting the Targum at the religious services had been retained, and consequently more interest was felt there in the pronunciation. It must be acknowledged, however, that this cannot be regarded as a direct pronunciation
of the Palestinian pronunciation; it may have sprung from a formal treatment of the Targum of Onkelos customary among the Babylonian scholars. As regards the method of translation all Targums in common strive to avoid as much as possible anthropomorphisms and anthropopathic terms, as well as other apparently undignified expressions concerning, and descriptive of God. The Targums are printed in the Rabbinical and Polyglot Bibles, although the two do not always contain the same Targums or an equal number of them. See below for particulars as to individual editions. Syria played an important or even predominant role in the beginning of Christianity. Here is where the Gospel of Matthew, the Gospel of Luke, theDidache, Ignatiana, and the Gospel of Thomas were written. Syria was the country in which the Greek language intersected with the Syriac, which was closely related to the Aramaic dialect used by Jesus and the Apostles. That is why Syriac versions are highly esteemed by textual critics. Scholars have distinguished five or six different Syriac versions of all or part of the New Testament. It is possible that some translations have been lost. The majority of the manuscripts are now held in the British Library and in other European libraries. They came from countries like Lebanon,Egypt, Sinai, Mesopotamia, Armenia, Georgia, India, and even from China. This is good evidence for the great historical activity of the Syriac church. The Vulgate is a late 4th-century Latin translation of the Bible. It was largely the work of St. Jerome, who was commissioned by Pope Damasus I in 382 to make a revision of the Vetus Latina (old Latin translations). Its widespread adoption eventually led to their eclipse. By the 13th century this revision had come to be called the versio vulgata, that is, the "commonly used translation". In the 16th century it became the definitive and officially promulgated Latin version of the Bible in the Roman Catholic Church. Coptic: There have been many Coptic versions of the Bible, including some of the earliest translations into any language. Several different versions were made in the ancient world, with different editions of the Old and New Testament in all four of the major dialects of Coptic: Bohairic (northern),Fayyumic, Sahidic (southern), Akhmimic, and Mesokemic. Biblical books were translated from the Alexandrian Greek version. The Sahidic was the leading dialect in the pre-Islamic period, after the 11th century Bohairic became dominant and only used dialect of the Coptic language. Partial copies of a number of Coptic Bibles survive. A considerable number of apocryphal texts also survive in Coptic, most notably the Gnostic Nag Hammadi library. Coptic remains the liturgical language of the Coptic Church and Coptic editions of the Bible are central to that faith. ETHIOPIC VERSIONS - e-thi-op'-ik vur'-shuns: Christianity was introduced into Abyssinia by Tyrian missionaries, who probably spoke Greek, about the time of Constantine the Great. The Bible was translated into Ethiopic, or, to use the native name, Ge`ez, the Old Testament being from the Septuagint, between the 4th and 5th centuries, by various hands, though the work was popularly ascribed to Frumentius, the first bishop. The fact of the Scriptures having been translated into Ethiopic was known to Chrysostom (Hom. II, in Joannem). The versions thus made were revised some time about the 14th century, and corrected by means of the Massoretic Text. The Ethiopic Scriptures contain the books found in the Alexandrine recension with the exception of the Books of Macc; but their importance lies in their pseudepigraphic writings, the Asc Isa, the Book of Enoch and the Book of Jubilees. The 1st edition of the New Testament appeared at Rome in 1545-49 (reprinted in Walton), but a critical edition has yet to be made; one issued by the British and Foreign Bible Society in 1830 contains many errors. The Old Testament canonical books and Apocrypha have been edited by Dillmann (the Octoteuch and 1-4 Kings and Apocrypha), Bachmann (died 1894) (Isa, Lam, Ob and Mal), and Ludolph (Pss). The Psalter has been often printed from 1513 on. The Book of Enoch was first translated by Richard Laurence and published at Oxford in 1821, but the standard editions are those of Dillmann (Leipzig, 1853) and R. H. Charles (Oxford, 1893). The importance of this work lies in the fact that "the influence of Enoch on the New Testament has been greater than that of all the other apocryphal and pseudepigraphal books taken together" (Charles, 41). Not only the phraseology and ideas, but the doctrines of the New Testament are greatly influenced by it. Of the canonical books and Apocrypha the manuscripts are too poor and too late to be of any value for the criticism of the Greek text.
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