The Septuagint

Questions to think about during this lesson…

  • What language was the Old Testament written in?
  • What language was the New Testament written in?
  • Why did the Apostles write in Greek when Jesus spoke in Aramaic?
  • Who was Alexander the Great, what does the term “hellenize” mean, and how can we indirectly “thank” him for the Septuagint?
  • What do we mean when we say “diaspora?”
  • The Jews of diaspora were heavily influenced by Greek thought, language and culture. For example, in 2 Maccabees 4:7-9, we see that the name of the Jewish high priest is Jason. But Jason isn’t a Jewish name — it’s a name of a hero from Greek mythology. In John 19:38-42,  Nicodemus brings the spices for the burial of Christ. But Nicodemus isn’t a Jewish name — it’s a Greek name. And Nicodemus wasn’t Greek… he was a first century Jew that lived in Palestine and was a member of the Sanhedrin. The point is that Judaism was already thoroughly influenced by Greek thought and culture well before Christianity appeared on the scene. What are your thoughts on all of this?
  • What is a hellenistic Jew?
  • As time went on, why did fewer and fewer hellenized Jews speak Hebrew?
  • How is it possible that synangogue services were conducted in Greek?
  • What is the Septuagint/LXX?
  • Why was it important for the Fathers to affirm that the Septuagint was a divinely-approved translation? Why don’t we need to believe this?
  • The Septuagint was translated by Jews for Jews… and it was used by Jews since around 250 BC until around 200 AD. But even though the Septuagint is a product of the Jews, they ended up completely rejecting it by around 200 AD. Why is this?

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