Monday, October 29, 2012

Marcion and Aquila [Part Nine]

When Origen organized his Bible in six versions or Hexapla (Ἑξαπλά: Gr."sixfold") he used the following order:
  1. Hebrew 
  2. Literal Hebrew text transliterated into Greek characters 
  3. Aquila's Greek translation
  4. Symmachus's Greek translation 
  5. Septuagint (= LXX or 'seventy') Greek translation
  6. Theodotion's Greek translation
Few people have asked the most fundamental question - why this particular order?  Aside from the LXX, the particular order Aquila, Symmachus, Theodotion follows what almost everyone considers to be a chronological order.  Is it possible then that what is called 'the seventy' by the early Church Fathers only appeared after Aquila and Symmachus but before Theodotion?

We must be careful not fall into the trap of assuming that the LXX in the Christians was identical with that produced by the original seventy (or seventy two) translators in Alexandria.  It is clear from Philo's citation of this text in the first century the Christian LXX differs significantly from the original Jewish Greek translation.  Yet it is also important to note that there is no evidence that the original translators ever went beyond translating the Pentateuch - the five books of Moses.  The idea then that Origen might have followed a chronological order by placing the third, fourth, fifth and sixth columns - Aquila, Symmachus, LXX, Theodotion - is a quite reasonable but unrecognized possibility.  

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