EXPLANATION: First, let's define what the LXX is
supposed to be. An ancient document called "The Letter of
Aristeas" revealed a plan to make an OFFICIAL translation of
the Hebrew Bible (the Old Testament) in Greek. This translation
was to be accepted as the official Bible of the Jews and was to
replace the Hebrew Bible. Supposedly this translation work
would be performed by 72 Jewish scholars (?), six from each of
the twelve tribes of Israel. The supposed location of the work was
to be Alexandria, Egypt. The alleged date of translation was
supposedly around 250 BC, during the 400 years of silence
between the close of the Old Testament in 397 BC and the birth
of Christ in approximately 4 BC (due to a four year error in the
It has become known as the Septuagint, "The Interpretation of
the 70 Elders". Also it is represented by the Roman (?) numerals
whose combined value is 70, hence L-50, X-10, X-10. Why it
isn't called the LXXII I'll never know.
This so called "Letter of Aristeas" is the sole evidence for the
existence of this mystical document. There are absolutely NO
Greek Old Testament manuscripts existent with a date of 250 BC
or anywhere near it. Neither is there any record in Jewish history
of such a work being contemplated or performed.
When pressed to produce hard evidence of the existence of
such a document, scholars quickly point to Origen's Hexapla
written around 200 AD, or approximately 450 years later than the
LXX was supposedly penned, and more than 100 years after the
New Testament was completed. The second column of Origen's
Hexapla contains his own (hardly 72 Jewish scholars) Greek
translation of the Old Testament including spurious books such as
"Bel and the Dragon", "Judith" and "Tobit" and other apocryphal
books accepted as authoritative only by the Roman Catholic
Proponents of the invisible LXX will try to claim that Origen
didn't translate the Hebrew into Greek, but only copied the LXX
into the second column of his Hexapla. Can this argument be
correct? No. If it were, then that would mean that those astute 72
Jewish scholars added the Apocryphal books to their work
before they were ever written.(!) Or else, Origen took the
liberty to add these spurious writings to God's Holy Word (Rev.
Thus we see that the second column of the Hexapla is Origen's
personal, unveilable translation of the Old Testament into Greek
and nothing more.
Eusebius and Philo, both of questionable character, make
mention of a Greek Pentateuch. Hardly the entire Old Testament
and not mentioned as any kind of an officially accepted translation.
Is there ANY Greek manuscript of the Old Testament written
BEFORE the time of Christ? Yes. There is one minute scrap
dated at 150 BC, the Ryland's Papyrus, #458. It contains
Deuteronomy chapters 23-28. No more. No less. If fact, it may
be the existence of this fragment that led Eusebius and Philo to
assume that the entire Pentateuch had been translated by some
scribe in an effort to interest Gentiles in the history of the Jews. It
most certainly cannot be a portion of any pretended official Old
Testament translation into Greek. We can rest assured that those
72 Jewish scholars supposedly chosen for the work in 250 BC
would be just a mite feeble by 150 BC.
Besides the non-existence of any reason to believe such a
translation was ever produced are several hurdles which the "Letter
of Aristeas", Origen's Hexapla, Ryland's #458, and Eusebius and
Philo just cannot clear.
The first one is the "Letter of Aristeas" itself. There is little doubt
amongst scholars today that it was not written by anyone named
Aristeas. In fact, some believe its true author is Philo. This would
give it an A.D. date. If this were true, then its REAL intention
would be to deceive believers into thinking that Origen's second
column is a copy of the LXX. A feat that it has apparently
accomplished "in spades".
If there was an Aristeas, he was faced with two insurmountable
First, how did he ever locate the twelve tribes in order to pick
his six representative scholars from each? Having been thoroughly
scattered by their many defeats and captivities, the tribal lines of
the 12 tribes had long since dissolved into virtual non-existence. It
was impossible for anyone to distinctly identify the 12 individual
Secondly, if the 12 tribes had been identified, they would not
have undertaken such a translation for two compelling reasons.
(1) Every Jew knew that the official caretaker of Scripture was
the tribe of Levi as evidenced in Deuteronomy 17:18, 31:25,26
and Malachi 2:7. Thus, NO Jew of any of the eleven other tribes
would dare join such a forbidden enterprise.
(2) It is obvious to any reader of the Bible that the Jews were
to be distinctly different from the Gentile nations around them.
Unto them was given such distinct practices as circumcision,
Sabbath worship, sundry laws of cleansing and their own
homeland. Added to this is the heritage of the Hebrew language.
Even today, practicing Jews in China and India refuse to teach
their children any language but Hebrew. The Falasha Jews of
Ethiopia were distinct among the many tribes of their country by
the fact that they jealously retained the Hebrew language as an
evidence of their Jewish heritage.
Are we to be so naive as to believe that the Jews who
considered Gentiles nothing more than dogs, would willingly
forsake their heritage, the Hebrew language, for a Gentile language
into which would be translated the holiest possession of all, their
Bible? Such a supposition is as insane as it is absurd.
"What then," one might ask, "of the numerous quotes in the
New Testament of the Old Testament that are ascribed to the
LXX?" The LXX they speak of is nothing more than the second
column of Origen's Hexapia. The New Testament quotations are
not quotes of any LXX or the Hexapla. They are the author, the
Holy Spirit, taking the liberty of quoting His work in the Old
Testament in whatever manner He wishes. And we can rest
assured that He certainly is not quoting any non-existent
Only one more question arises. Then why are scholars so quick
to accept the existence of this LXX in the face of such irrefutable
arguments against it? The answer is sad and simple.
Hebrew is an extremely difficult language to learn. It takes years
of study to attain a passing knowledge of it. And many more to be
well enough versed to use it as a vehicle of study. By comparison
a working knowledge of Greek is easily attainable. Thus, IF
THERE WAS an official translation of the Old Testament into
Greek, Bible critics could triple the field of influence overnight
without a painstaking study of biblical Hebrew. Unfortunately, the
acceptance of the existence of the Septuagint on such thin
evidence is based solely on pride and voracity.
But stop and think. Even if such a spurious document as the
LXX really did exist, how could a Bible critic, who, in reference to
the King James Bible, say that "No translation has the authority of
the original language, " claim in the same breath that his pet LXX
has equal authority with the Hebrew Original? This scholarly
double-talk is nothing more than a self exalting authority striving to
keep his scholarly position above those "unschooled in the original
If you accept such an argument, I have a bridge to sell you in
Chick Publications is best known for Chick cartoon tracts. The gospel tracts that people actually like to read! These gospel cartoon tracts are available in over 100 languages and are very popular, with over 900 million sold. (Read more)