The only evidence of the Septuagint translation is the pseudepigraphical letter of Aristeas. It says: “six elders out of every tribe of Israel wrote it.” First, 10 tribes of Israelites had already been lost in history a long time ago, before this time, which shows that this story is fabricated. Second, if they wrote, then they wrote only the First Five Books, not the whole OT. What’s your reply?


There are so many mistakes in this statement!  First of all, the letter of Aristeas is a real document, but it is a stretch of the definition to call it pseudepigraphal. Most likely it was written by Aristeas.  It is true that this letter contains a story of the origin of the Septuagint, and it is almost certainly is an invention. That part of the comment is true.  However, the idea of 10 “lost” tribes is an exaggeration, as the northern tribes were never completely “lost.”  Even today, many Jews can trace their ancestry to the ten northern tribes.  It is true that when Samaria was defeated by the Assyrians, they lost their territory and many were deported from the Promised Land, but these tribes did not completely disappear. Besides, even at that time the majority of Benjamites, Simeonites and Levites lived in Judah, not in Samaria, making the idea of 10 lost tribes a fiction.
Next, it is true that the story of Aristea is of the translation of only the first five books, which was done around 250 BC, but we know from the evidence that the entire Hebrew Old Testament was also translated by 100 BC for sure, but probably all by 200 BC.  The exact date is unknown, but a likely date for the completion of the Septuagint is around 200 BC.
The most obviously false statement above is that the “only evidence” of the Septuagint is the letter of Aristeas.  What does this even mean—the “only” evidence?  There is a LOT of evidence for the Septuagint.  It was the Bible of the first century Church.  It was the Bible of the Greek-speaking Jews in Egypt in the second century BC.  The Dead Sea Scrolls have much in common with the Septuagint.  We have entire manuscripts of the Septuagint from about 350 AD, including the Codex Vaticanus, the Codex Alexandrinus and the Codex Sinaiticus.  We have thousands of quotes from the Septuagint, including in the New Testament.  A majority of the quotes in the New Testament from the Old Testament are from the Septuagint.  There is massive and incontrovertible evidence for the Septuagint Greek translation being in existence in the first century BC.  Why would ANYONE say that the Letter of Aristeas is the “only evidence” of the Septuagint translation?  I do not understand why anyone would say this, as it is so obviously wrong.
Besides, what is the point of the person making this statement?  What are they trying to prove?  Are they trying to undermine our confidence in the reliability of the Old Testament?  If so, why go after the Septuagint?  How would this undermine the reliability of the Hebrew Bible, as it is a translation?  In any case, that the Septuagint was in existence in the time of Christ in its entirety is not in doubt in the slightest.
John Oakes

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