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The Septuagint was a translation of the Old Testament from Hebrew into the Greek language. The word "Septuagint" means "seventy." This translation is named "The Septuagint" (or "The LXX") because tradition teaches that seventy Jewish elders completed this Old Testament translation in Alexandria in the third century B.C. This translation of the Old Testament was used by most Jews living in the Roman Empire when Jesus was on earth. It provided the possiblity for gentile people to read the Old Testament when Paul was undertaking his missionary labors.

As Latin began to be accepted as the official language throughout the western world, various Latin translations of Bible books and portions began to appear. To eliminate confusion arising from differing translations, Pope Damasus I authorized Jerome to complete a Latin translation of the entire Bible in A.D. 382. Jerome used the Septuagint, Hebrew Old Testament and Greek New Testament manuscripts, as well as other Latin translations as sources for his work.

Jerome's Latin translation of the Bible became known as the Vulgate ("Vulgate" means "common"). His translation was more accurate and precise in some parts of Scripture than in others, but considerable freedom was taken in translating the text. Numerous changes and variations continued to multiply through the more than 8,000 variations of the Vulgate known to have been made during the Middle Ages.

English Translations

The translation of the Bible into English is of primary interest to us. Numerous English translations have appeared over the past centuries.

Study the charts on the following two pages which summarize the most important past and present English Bible translations. Versions based upon the Traditional Text are clearly distinguished from those based upon the Westcott and Hort Text.

  • Septuagint - An ancient translation (third century B.C.) of the Old Testament from Hebrew into the Greek language

  • Eliminate - To end; to cut away; to reduce

  • Jerome - (348-420 A.D.) A great scholar and famous early church father

  • Vulgate - Jerome's translation of the Bible into the Latin language

  • Numerous - Several or many in number

  • Variations - Different forms; alterations; changes

  • Why could it be misleading to use the Vulgate, or an English translation based on the Vulgate, as one's Bible?

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