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The Translation of the Septuagint – Then and Now

   | 08. Mai 2018


The program of „translating faith” was also inherent to the coming-into-existence of the so-called Septuagint. Jews living in Egypt began to translate their holy texts for pedagogical needs. The awareness of Greek cultural superiority required efforts to demonstrate that Jewish culture is equally valuable. Because of the non-Jewish political rulership, Jews had to emphasize their loyalty (Ex. 22.27 [28]; Deut. 17.15); anti-Jewish oppression built the desire of liberation (Isa. 9.3). The translation of the Septuagint therefore includes elements of inculturation (e.g. Gen. 1.26; Ex. 3.14) and dissociation (e.g. Prov. 3.19). Common language (between Jews and non-Jews) did not refer to a common religious feeling; and differences of language (between the Jews in Egypt and the Jews in Israel) did not imply “confessional controversies”. The translation of holy texts into Greek is hence no direct model for shaping ecumenical relationships nowadays, but an appeal to an ethos of speaking, writing, and translating in one’s own way.

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