The Septuagint and the Cultural World of the Translators


The Septuagint—a collection of Jewish writings dating roughly from the last three centuries BCE and encompassing both works translated from Hebrew and Aramaic and works originally composed in Greek—is an important corpus. It is the form in which the Hebrew scriptures first came to the attention of the wider world and a fundamental document to understand Hellenistic Judaism. It eventually became the “Old Testament” of the early church. 

The translation of the Hebrew Scriptures involved momentous changes. Translation can be viewed as a process of cultural exchange: with the creation of the Septuagint, new concepts and ideas entered the Hellenistic world; but at the same time, the Greek language and culture transformed the content of Israel’s writing into something different. 

The research unit aims to recover processes of cultural exchange reflected in the Septuagint. The Septuagint’s words, expressions, and stylistic usages are like so many windows on to the thought world of the translators, seeking to situate themselves as Jews in a Hellenistic context, struggling to preserve what they perceived to be unique in their Jewish heritage while also accepting what they came to value in Greek thought and culture.



Septuagint, Greek Language, Papyrology, Translation Studies


Romina Vergari
University of Florence

Anna Angelini
University of Zurich

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