The Septuagint is the most influential of the Greek versions of the Torah, the first five books of the Hebrew Bible. The exact circumstances of its creation are uncertain, but different versions of a legend about the miraculous nature of the translation have existed since antiquity. Beginning in the Letter of Aristeas, the legend describes how Ptolemy Philadelphus commissioned seventy-two Jewish scribes to translate the sacred Hebrew scriptures for his famous library in Alexandria. Subsequent variations on the story recount how the scribes, working independently, produced word-for-word, identical Greek versions. In the course of the following centuries, to our own time, the story has been adapted and changed by Jews, Christians, Muslims and pagans for many different reasons: to tell a story, to explain historical events and to lend authority to the Greek text for the institutions that used it. This book offers the first account of all of these versions over the last two millennia, providing a history of the uses and abuses of the legend in various cultures around the Mediterranean.
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(228mm x 152mm x 24mm)
Cambridge University Press
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
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Author Biography - Abraham Wasserstein
Abraham Wasserstein (born Frankfurt am Main, 1921, died Jerusalem, 1995) taught at the universities of Glasgow and Leicester before taking up a chair in Greek at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, in 1969, where he stayed until his death in 1995. He had special interests in Greek literature and science, and wrote widely in these fields. His publications include an edition of the medieval Hebrew translation of Galen's commentary on Hippocrates' Airs, Waters and Places (lost in the original Greek). The present book was begun by him and left incomplete at his death. David J. Wasserstein, AW's son, read classics and oriental studies at Oxford (D.Phil. 1982). He lectured in Arabic and Hebrew at University College, Dublin, and was professor of Islamic history at Tel Aviv University, before taking up a chair of History and of Jewish Studies at Vanderbilt University, in Nashville, Tennessee, in 2004. He is the author of The Rise and Fall of the Party-Kings (1985) and The Caliphate in the West (1993), as well as of many articles on medieval Islamic and Jewish topics.