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February 18, 2008 / vivator

Septuagint (LXX) & Catholic and Protestant’s Old Testament

Septuagint or LXX is Greek translation of Old Testament books. According to a story recorded in the Letter of Aristeas, translation of five books of Law (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Number and Deuteronomy) was made during the reign of King Ptolemy II of Egypt (287 to 247 BC).  Seventy-two elders, six from each twelve Jewish tribes, did the translation in seventy-two days, hence the name Septuagint or LXX (Latin numeral for seventy).  Greek translations of other books were made subsequently.  In LXX Samuel and Kings are referred as four books of Kings (or Reigns) while the Greek name of Chronicles is Paralipomenon and Esdras is the Greek name of Ezra. Esther and Daniel have more chapters in LXX – those of Daniel are Prayer of Azariah, Song of Three Young Men, Suzanna and Bel & Dragon. Without its LXX chapters, as in Jewish and Protestant Bible,  Esther is the book of the Bible that does not mention God or Lord. Most of quotations in New Testament are taken from Septuagint. Well-known example is Isaiah 7:14 quoted in Matthew 1:23: a virgin shall conceive and bear a son (RSV). The word “virgin” appears in LXX while the same verse in Hebrews uses “young woman”. Luke relied on LXX when he wrote the name Cainan as one of the ancestors of Christ (Luke 3:36, compare with Genesis 11:12). 

The oldest manuscript of LXX we have now belongs to fourth century AD.  The number of books and their arrangement differ in different manuscript. The following Table gives books of LXX, Catholic and Protestant’s Old Testament.  Note that grouping of books in both Catholic and Protestant’s Old Testament follows that of LXX.

LXX (Septuagint) Catholic Old Testament Protestant Old Testament
The Law

  • Genesis
  • Exodus
  • Leviticus
  • Number
  • Deuteronomy

The Law

  • Genesis
  • Exodus
  • Leviticus
  • Number
  • Deuteronomy

The Law

  • Genesis
  • Exodus
  • Leviticus
  • Number
  • Deuteronomy

Historical books

  • Joshua
  • Judges
  • Ruth
  • 1 Kings
  • 2 Kings
  • 3 Kings
  • 4 Kings
  • 1 Paralipomenon
  • 2 Paralipomenon
  • 1 Esdras
  • 2 Esdras 1 – 10
  • 2 Esdras 11 – 23
  • Tobit
  • Judith
  • Esther with LXX chapters
  • Books of Maccabees (up to four books)

Historical books

  • Joshua
  • Judges
  • Ruth
  • 1 Samuel
  • 2 Samuel
  • 1 Kings
  • 2 Kings
  • 1 Chronicles
  • 2 Chronicles
  • Ezra
  • Nehemiah
  • Tobit
  • Judith
  • Esther with LXX chapters
  • 1 Maccabees
  • 2 Maccabees
Historical books

  • Joshua
  • Judges
  • Ruth
  • 1 Samuel
  • 2 Samuel
  • 1 Kings
  • 2 Kings
  • 1 Chronicles
  • 2 Chronicles
  • Ezra
  • Nehemiah
  • Esther without LXX chapters

Poetical or Wisdom books

  • Job
  • Psalms (151 chapters)
  • Proverbs
  • Ecclesiastes
  • Song of Songs
  • Wisdom of Solomon
  • Sirach (Ecclesiasticus)

Poetical or Wisdom books

  • Job
  • Psalms (150 chapters)
  • Proverbs
  • Ecclesiastes
  • Song of Songs
  • Wisdom of Solomon
  • Sirach (Ecclesiasticus)

Poetical or Wisdom books

  • Job
  • Psalms (150 chapters)
  • Proverbs
  • Ecclesiastes
  • Song of Songs
The Prophets

  • Isaiah
  • Jeremiah
  • Lamentations
  • Baruch
  • Letter of Jeremiah
  • Ezekiel
  • Daniel with LXX chapters
  • Hosea
  • Joel
  • Amos
  • Obadiah
  • Jonah
  • Micah
  • Nahum
  • Habakkuk
  • Zephaniah
  • Haggai
  • Zechariah
  • Malachi
The Prophets

  • Isaiah
  • Jeremiah
  • Lamentations
  • Baruch
  • Letter of Jeremiah
  • Ezekiel
  • Daniel with LXX chapters
  • Hosea
  • Joel
  • Amos
  • Obadiah
  • Jonah
  • Micah
  • Nahum
  • Habakkuk
  • Zephaniah
  • Haggai
  • Zechariah
  • Malachi
The Prophets

  • Isaiah
  • Jeremiah
  • Lamentations
  • Ezekiel
  • Daniel without LXX chapters
  • Hosea
  • Joel
  • Amos
  • Obadiah
  • Jonah
  • Micah
  • Nahum
  • Habakkuk
  • Zephaniah
  • Haggai
  • Zechariah
  • Malachi

Nomenclature of books of Esdras is confusing. The same name can refer to different books or the same book can have different names.  The following Table provides the detail:

Septuagint
(LXX)
Vulgate English Bible
(RSV, KJV)
Slavonic Bible
2 Esdras
(1 to 10)
1 Esdras Ezra 1 Esdras
2 Esdras
(11 to 23)
2 Esdras Nehemiah Nehemiah
1 Esdras 3 Esdras (apocrypha) 1 Esdras (apocrypha) 2 Esdras
  4 Esdras (apocrypha) 2 Esdras (apocrypha) 3 Esdras
Vulgate is Latin translation of the Bible
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One Comment

Leave a Comment
  1. Kent / Feb 26 2009 6:51 pm

    Logos Bible Software has begun working on the Göttingen LXX. This version will be morphologically tagged, and the apparati will be linked directly to the primary sources.

    I thought you might be interested!

    Göttingen Septuagint

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