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The miracles of The Septuagint- The Library of Alexandria, the Great Synagogue of Alexandria
January 29, 2020, 12:26 pm
Filed under: Archeology, EGYPT, History, Septuagint, Uncategorized

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The Library of Alexandria was one of the largest and most prestigious libraries of the ancient world. It was said to have 900,000 volumes of writings. in 48 BC, during Caesar’s Civil War, Julius Caesar was besieged at Alexandria. His soldiers set fire to his own ships while trying to clear the wharves to block the fleet belonging to Cleopatra’s brother Ptolemy XIV. This fire spread to the parts of the city nearest to the docks, causing considerable devastation. The first-century AD Roman playwright and Stoic philosopher Seneca the Younger quotes Livy’s Ab Urbe Condita Libri, which was written between 63 and 14 BC, as saying that the fire started by Caesar destroyed 40,000 scrolls from the Library of Alexandria.The Greek Middle Platonist Plutarch (c. 46–120 AD) writes in his Life of Caesar that, “[W]hen the enemy endeavored to cut off his communication by sea, he was forced to divert that danger by setting fire to his own ships, which, after burning the docks, thence spread on and destroyed the great library.

Jews settled in Alexandria at the beginning of the third century B.C.E. (according to Josephus, already in the time of Alexander the Great). At first, they dwelt in the eastern sector of the city, near the sea; but during the Roman era, two of its five quarters (particularly the fourth (= “Delta”) quarter) were inhabited by Jews, and synagogues existed in every part of the city. From the legal aspect, the Jews formed an autonomous community at whose head stood at first its respected leaders, afterward – the ethnarchs, and from the days of Augustus, a council of 71 elders. According to Strabo, the ethnarch was responsible for the general conduct of Jewish affairs in the city, particularly in legal matters and the drawing up of documents. Among the communal institutions worthy of mention were the bet din and the “archion” (i.e., the office for drawing up documents). The central synagogue, famous for its size and splendor, may have been the “double colonnade” (diopelostion) of Alexandria mentioned in the Talmud (Suk. 51b; Tosef. 4:6),

In 66 C.E., influenced by the outbreak of the war in Ereẓ Israel, the Jews of Alexandria rebelled against Rome. The revolt was crushed by Tiberius Julius Alexander and 50,000 Jews were killed (Jos., Wars, 2:497). During the widespread rebellion of Jews in the Roman Empire in 115–117 C.E. the Jews of Alexandria again suffered, the great synagogue going up in flames. As a consequence of these revolts, the economic situation of the community was undermined, and its population diminished.

A marble slab with the following inscription in Greek: “In honor of King Ptolemy and Queen Berenice, his sister and wife, and their children, the Jews dedicate this synagogue” The stone was found in the ancient Schedia, 20 kilometers from Alexandria; the king mentioned on it is Ptolemy, according to Th. Reinach (in “R. E. J.” xlv. 164). Similar dedicatory inscriptions have been discovered in Lower Egypt, one of them declaring that the king had bestowed the rights of asylum (ἄσυλον) on the synagogue (ib. xlv. 163). In III Macc. vii. 20 there is an account of the founding of a synagogue at Ptolemais (on the right bank of the Baḥr Yusuf) during the reign of King Ptolemy IV. Philo expressly states (“De Legatione ad Caium,” § 20) that the large population of Alexandria had many synagogues in various quarters of the city, and he says also (ib.) that when the Alexandrian synagogues were destroyed the same fate was shared by the shields, golden wreaths, stelæ, and inscriptions which in honor of the emperors had been set up in the open halls (περιβολαι) of the courts of the synagogues (Philo, “In Flaccum,” § 7). The great synagogue of Alexandria, which was destroyed during the reign of Trajan, was especially famous, its size and splendor being made the subject of glowing descriptions in the schools of Palestine and Babylon (Suk. 51a; Tosef., ib. iv.; Yer. Suk. 55a).

The Greek Old Testament, or Septuagint (from the Latin: septuāgintā, lit. ‘seventy’; often abbreviated 70. The first five books of the Hebrew Bible, known as the Torah or the Pentateuch, were translated in the mid-3rd century BCE; they did not survive as original translation texts, however, except as rare fragments. The full title (Ancient Greek: Ἡ μετάφρασις τῶν Ἑβδομήκοντα, lit. ‘The Translation of the Seventy’) derives from the story recorded in the Letter of Aristeas that the Hebrew Torah was translated into Greek at the request of Ptolemy II Philadelphus (285–247 BCE) by 70 Jewish scholars or, according to later tradition, 72: six scholars from each of the Twelve Tribes of Israel, who independently produced identical translations, this had to be miraculous. According to the legend, seventy-two Jewish scholars were asked by Ptolemy II Philadelphus, the Greek king of Egypt, to translate the Torah from Biblical Hebrew to Greek for inclusion in the Library of Alexandria.[13] This narrative is found in the Letter of Aristeas to his brother Philocrates, and is repeated by Philo of Alexandria, Josephus (in Antiquities of the Jews), and by later sources (including Augustine of Hippo). It is also found in the Tractate Megillah of the Babylonian Talmud. King Ptolemy once gathered 72 Elders. He placed them in 72 chambers, each of them in a separate one, without revealing to them why they were summoned. He entered each one’s room and said: “Write for me the Torah of Moshe, your teacher”. God put it in the heart of each one to translate identically as all the others did, , this had to be miraculous.

Some other writing not Septuagint included in the Tanach as we have it today include

Books of Tobias,Judith, Esther with additions 1 Maccabees 2 Maccabee, Wisdom (or Wisdom of Solomon), Sirach or Ecclesiasticus, Baruch, Letter of Jeremiah

Daniel (with additions) 1 Esdras, 3 Maccabees, 4 Maccabees

Psalm 151Prayer of Manasseh, Psalms of Solomon

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