The Greek Bible of the Ancient Jewish Diaspora
A literary and social study of the translation of the Hebrew Bible into Greek - a work of seminal importance, without which there would have been no Western Jewish disapora, and no Christianity. Tessa Rajak places its production in historical context, and examines its role in the religious culture of Jews in the Mediterranean during this period.
The translation of the Hebrew Bible into Greek was the first major translation in Western culture. Its significance was far-reaching but largely forgotten. Without a Greek Bible, European history would have been entirely different - no Western Jewish diaspora and no Christianity. Translation and Survival is a radical new study of the ancient creators and receivers of the translations and of their impact. The Greek Bible sustained Jews who spoke Greek and made the survival of the first Jewish diaspora possible: indeed, the translators invented the term 'diaspora'. The translations were a tool for the preservation of group identity and for the expression of resistance. They devised a new kind of language: many of the words they coined are still with us. The Greek Bible translations ended up as the Christian Septuagint, taken over along with the entire heritage of Hellenistic Judaism when the Church parted from the Synagogue. Here, a brilliant creation is restored to its first owners, and to its historical context among Jews, Greeks and Christians.
Introduction; 1. The Letter of Aristeas between History and Myth; 2. Going Greek: Culture and Power in Ptolemaic Alexandria; 3. The Jewish Diaspora in Graeco-Roman Antiquity; 4. Staying Jewish: Language and Identity in the Greek Bible; 5. Themes of Power and Subversion in the Greek Bible; 6. The Uses of Scripture in Hellenistic Judaism; 7. Scripture in Action: Parallels and Myths; 8. The Bible among Greeks and Romans; 9. The Septuagint between Jews and Christians