The Septuagint Translation (Michael Kalopoulos, 2003)

NOTE: This article is excerpted from the 6th chapter of Biblical Religion: The Great Lie:

http://www.greatlie.com/en/

Michael Kalopoulos

Since the biblical authors were obviously anything but fools, how can we explain the fact that all those peculiar details concerning the history of the patriarchs were recorded in the narrative? It is with great pleasure that I can give you the answer to that most difficult of questions; it was provided (unintentionally) by the famous mythologist Robert Graves and his Hebrew collaborator Dr. Raphael Patai in their book “Hebrew Myths”:

“It was common wisdom among the Hebrews, that the worst day in the history of Israel was not that of their captivity…by Sennacherib, neither the destruction of the Temple by Nebuchadnezzar, but the day the Seventy men translated into Greek the Bible, according to the command of Ptolemy the Second (285-246 B.C.) They (the Hebrews) believed that their Scriptures included records of the evil actions of their forefathers…that should never have been revealed to the enemies of Israel.” 1

The Burning of the Library at Alexandria in 391 AD (via orders of Patriarch Theophilus of Alexandria)
The Burning of the Library at Alexandria in 391 AD (via orders of Patriarch Theophilus of Alexandria)

It is freely admitted here that a great disaster befell the Hebrews when the contents of their holy scriptures were suddenly translated into Greek! At the same time, it is explicitly admitted that the cause for the translation of the Septuagint was the command of King Ptolemy II. A later, more widely circulated but totally fabricated Jewish version of those same events has claimed that the Septuagint translation was supposedly initiated after persistent requests of the Jews themselves to King Ptolemy II (as contained in the fake letter of Aristeas). The historian Flavius Josephus2 initiated that historical forgery; being a Rabbi, he had every reason to produce such a fabrication. According to Josephus, a Jew called Aristeas who was employed in the court of King Ptolemy and knew of the King’s love for books, proposed to procure for him a translation of the Hebrew Bible in exchange for the liberation of 120.000 Jewish slaves that had been captured in Jerusalem. That tale claims the powerful Ptolemy agreed to every Jewish term; not only did he liberate the Hebrew slaves, but he supposedly compensated both them and their masters with vast amounts of money. The credibility of that tale is nil; every scholar has agreed that this tale was a fabrication of Josephus (whose writings do not represent a paragon of objectivity in any case). Modern orthodox priests, of high status also agree on that. 3

The Letters of Aristeas
The Letters of Aristeas

The fact that the task of producing the Septuagint translation was finally undertaken by secular bilingual Hebrew intellectuals rather than initiated priests, who might have tried to hide the incriminating evidence in the Bible, proves that the real cause for the Septuagint translation was indeed the command of the bibliophile Greek King Ptolemy II, in Egypt that was ruled by Macedonian Greeks at the time.

“Ptolemy, the King of Egypt, constructed a Library in Alexandria and collected all sorts of books for it… hearing that there existed recorded ancient histories of the Hebrews… he ordered seventy (Hebrew) wise men to translate the Hebrew Scriptures (into Greek)…he ordered them to reside not in the city, but rather (isolated them) on the Island of Pharos, living by themselves in separate houses to provide an accurate interpretation (translation). He also ordered those supervising to provide them with every assistance; however he explicitly forbid any discussions among them to avoid any understanding between them, in order to extract the precise interpretation.” 4

St. Epiphanius of Cyprus
St. Epiphanius of Cyprus

The Jewish Episcope of Cyprus Epiphanius (310-404 AD) admitted:

“In order to avoid any bargains among them and secure an unadulterated translation, Ptolemy II ordered thirty six small houses to be built; he then confined the wise men in couples (to the houses) and provided slaves that would take care of them… however those houses were constructed without any windows, leaving just a skylight open for light in the roof of the rooms. The Seventy (wise men) spent their time accordingly translating from dawn till dusk until they procured the translation.” 5

Ptolemy II certainly did not require any assistance from Jerusalem, as claimed in the letter of Aristeas; he had the best Greek-speaking Hebrews at his disposal, right in his own capital, Alexandria. Seventy Alexandrian Scholars,6 rather than Rabbis, guarded and in a certain sense imprisoned, yielded to the authority of Ptolemy the II, on that small Island of Pharos. Indeed, as they had been separated from each other in independent pairs they were compelled to deliver the most accurate Greek translation of the Hebrew narrative of their patriarchs’ history.

A picture from an ancient codex that depicts the 72 translators of the Septuagint receiving gifts from Ptolemy.
A picture from an ancient codex that depicts the 72 translators of the Septuagint receiving gifts from Ptolemy.

That translation represented an immense historical mistake made by those seventy-two Hebrew scholars of Alexandria; the translation preserved for us a version of the biblical narrative ‘frozen’ in the exact form it had at that specific moment! At least for the first four centuries of the Christian Church, the Septuagint translation was the only translation of the Scriptures used by the ecclesiastical authors, the Fathers and founders of the Christian Church. 7

Statue of Achilles thniskon (dying) at the Corfu Achilleion.
Statue of Achilles thniskon (dying) at the Corfu Achilleion.

Ever since that time, the Septuagint translation has been the greatest weakness, a veritable Achilles’ heel of the Hebrew Scriptures. Despite all that and with the silent consent of the Christian Orthodox Church for which the Septuagint translation is still the official translation of the Bible, the Septuagint version has almost disappeared from public view. The reason can be but one: That translation was compiled by scholars who were not aware of the danger of correctly translating the original Hebrew scriptures; they were surrendering ‘uncovered’ to the Greek-speaking persons of those times the terrible secrets recorded in their hieratical book! The Rabbis reacted with mourning, lamentation and intense anxiety when those revealed secrets of the Hebrew clergy were handed over to the Greek-speaking Gentiles.

“The Rabbis called the day the translation of the Septuagint was published in Greek an ill-fated, terrible day for the Jewish people. The representatives of the Hebrew clergy started a methodical effort to undermine the validity of the translation of the Septuagint.” 8

However, the biblical texts translated by Hebrew scholars in the form of the Septuagint translation in the third century BC, could not be altered any more or be adapted to the changing circumstances of human history! For almost seven centuries, they remained safeguarded and unaltered on the shelves of the Library of Alexandria!

http://www.crystalinks.com/libraryofalexandria.html
http://www.crystalinks.com/libraryofalexandria.html

Ever since that time, two hundred and seventy years B.C., the Septuagint Translation, has precluded any possibility to cover up the real record of the patriarchs’ behavior. It appears that precisely that translation was the reason why those biblical texts have reached us half ‘naked’ and full of all those ‘wondrous’ details that have proved so helpful in deciphering that unprecedented recipe of Chaldean hieratical sorcery!

Unfortunately, that unique gift of Ptolemy II was not properly exploited. The Rabbis, in an effort to contain the damage, reacted in a different manner, gradually imposing that confusing allegorical 9 type of interpretation we are all acquainted with. By perpetually suggesting milder and milder allegorical interpretations for the events in those biblical texts, they managed to cover with rose petals of dreamlike interpretations even the most odious and negative deeds described in detail in the biblical narratives! Even the most hair-raising descriptions were gradually obscured by a cloud of theological mist and intricate religious absurdities! In their labyrinth of multiple explanations, probable and improbable interpretations, they managed to conceal the obvious and simple interpretation of the biblical texts. Using their sacred jargon they were able to put aside any type of question and disturbing suspicion.

Charles Duplus 10 wrote, confirming our previous thoughts: “The Hebrew and Christian scholars agree that the books attributed to Moses (Pentateuch) were written in an allegorical manner, often including in their verses an entirely different meaning from the apparent one”.

Rabbi Maimonides
Rabbi Maimonides

The eminent Rabbi Maimonides 11 clearly and directly exhorted the faithful to avoid looking under that allegorical veil and to refrain from confronting the terrible facts of the Bible. Here are the words of Maimonides, the wisest of the Rabbis: “One must not listen to or interpret what is included in the book of the creation in a literal manner, neither must he entertain (interpretative) ideas such as those of the laymen; otherwise our ancient wise men would not counsel us with such care to hide those meanings and to refrain from raising that allegorical veil covering the truths included (in the Bible)… But whoever might guess the true meaning (of the biblical texts) should avoid revealing it to the public.” 12

Similar protective curses can be found in the texts of Josephus: “No one has ever taken the risk to interpret those laws, on account of their divine and terrible nature. Some who attempted that were punished by the (Hebrew) God. A certain person who tried to give an account of (to criticize) some of them (i.e. the laws of the Bible) lost his head for more than thirty days. When he came to his senses, he always tried to pacify God, suspecting that his affliction originated from Him… (does the tune remind you of the curses in Deuteronomy)? That disaster befell him because he showed great curiosity about divine matters and tried to reveal them to the common people. Accordingly he cancelled his project and was restored to his senses”. Antiq. Jud. 12 111-113

The romanticized engraving of Flavius Josephus appearing in William Whiston's translation of his works
The romanticized engraving of Flavius Josephus appearing in William Whiston’s translation of his works

We have nothing further to add to the revealing advice of Maimonides and to the protective superstitions of Josephus. Unfortunately, the acquisition of the revealing Septuagint translation was followed by twenty-two centuries of ‘complete’ inaction! Even the ablest minds among us did not take the time for a second, critical examination of that supposedly religious text, presented to us as ‘divinely authored’ with such intense religious passion! Alas, our fathomless naivety, our silly assumptions, our obstinate day-dreaming were the main factors that allowed that Chaldean chronicle of sorcerer’s feats to pass itself off as an enlightened religious tale. Miserable men, we showed such criminal negligence, that we even used the biblical tales as educational texts for instructing our sensitive and defenseless children!

“I leave the evidence I have produced, to be refuted, if anyone can do it: and I leave the ideas that are suggested in the conclusion of this work, to rest on the mind of the reader; certain as I am, that when opinions are free, either in matters of government or religion, truth will finally and powerfully prevail.”

Thomas Paine: The Age of Reason Part II

NOTES:

  • Robert Graves & Raphael Patai: Hebrew Myths: The Book of Genesis, 48.1 1963 Josephus also admits that: “this legislation (the Bible) is sacred and should not be revealed through sacrilegious (gentile) mouths.” Antiq. Jud.12.39.
  • Flavius Josephus Antiq. Jud. 12.17.
  • Metropolitan Methodios of Pisidia, formerly Archbishop of Thyateira and Great Britain , in his book Hellenism and Judaism , in a part titled : ‘The letter of Aristeas’ concludes that the letter is a forgery and a trick. (see page 111,114, and 123) He also refers to many eminent British and other scholars who hold the same view.
  • Pseudo-Justinus Martyr 2.13.D.
  • Epiphanius Eccl De mensuris et Ponderibus 77.
  • The view that: “the translators did not come from Palestine, but were requisitioned from Alexandria itself” is accepted by Methodius Fougias in his book: The Hellenic-Judaeic tradition, pp. 61 , 65 . J. A. Fitzmyer in his book, The language of Palestine in the first century (1972): “Knowledge of the Greek language among the Hebrews of that era was rudimentary. So much can be surmised from the bilingual inscriptions of that time”. The same reasonable explanation is advanced by Robert H. Pfeiffer (History of New Testament Times), Feldman and Hengel (Judaism and Hellenism) Gunther Zuntz (Aristeas on the translation of the Torah) and Sidney Jellicoe (The Septuaginta and Modern Study) Oxford 1968 pp 59-63
  • For the Eastern Orthodox Church, “The Septuagint Translation is the official version used by the Orthodox Church…and is the most trustworthy one including those Hebrew ones (Masoretic) that have been altered”. Those revealing facts were admitted by the Orthodox Church in her official statute, Holy Rudder, Publ. Astir pp 113,116 and 614 In the Prologue of the Septuagint that I have in my hands, we read that the Septuagint translation is: “The Bible of the first eight pre-Christian centuries. The Bible of the Apostles, of the fathers of the church and of the ecumenical synods, the base of all other old church translations, that continues to be officially the Bible of The Eastern Orthodox Church”.
  • G. Kordatos, The Old Testament in the light of criticism, pp 314.
  • “Allegorical: Metaphorical, not true” Hesychius Lexicon.
  • Duplus Charles, Interpretation of the myth of the Sun worshipped by the name of Jesus Christ, pp 25-28.
  • Rabbi Moses Ben Maimon – The most influential Rabbi of the Middle Ages (1135-1204 A.D.).
  • G..Sietos, The Mosaic Mysteries, pp 131.
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