Other Greek Old Testament Translations

The Septuagint is the oldest and most recognized of the Greek Old Testament translations. The others that are mentioned in the NIV introduction are: Aquila, Symmachus and Theodotion. The predominate thinking seems to be that these latter translations are based on the Septuagint although some think that they were independent efforts.

The problem of a standardized Greek text is old as we see from Origen's efforts. Origen (ca 185-254) was one of the first of the Church Fathers whose writings have survived for us. His Hexapla was an effort to come to grips with the varying translations. With our many English versions today we have similar confusion so parallel English versions of the Bible are commonly available today.

Aqila's Translation (126 AD) is said to be a word for word translation. It is thought to be an attempt to make a Greek translation that was acceptable to the anti-Christian Jews.

Theodotian's Translation tried to bring Greek text into harmony with the accepted Hebrew it is thought to be a revision of older, pre-Christian Greek texts, completed in second century AD. Theodotian was a Helenistic Jewish scholar.

Symmachus' translation is known for its literary elegance. It is named for its author Symmachus the Ebionite. Some say the the Ebionites were a sect of practicing Jews who accepted Jesus as a prophet. The Catholic Encyclopedia tell us that they were one of the earliest of the Judiazing sects of Christianity. Some fragments of Symmachus' version survive in what remains of Origen's Hexapla.

Origen's Hexapla was an attempt to find a standard Greek text of the Old Testament. The name Hexapla is Greek for "sixfold." There are six columns, including the above four Greek translations, with his own transliteration in Greek, along with the Hebrew text.