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The Formation of the Jewish Canon$
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Timothy H. Lim

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780300164343

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300164343.001.0001

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The Letter of Aristeas and Its Early Interpreters

The Letter of Aristeas and Its Early Interpreters

(p.74) 5 The Letter of Aristeas and Its Early Interpreters
The Formation of the Jewish Canon

Timothy H. Lim

Yale University Press

It has been asserted that the Septuagint was the Bible of the Jewish diaspora during the period after the return of the Jews from exile to the emergence of Rabbinic Judaism. However, the reality is much more complicated. This chapter looks at the role of the Letter of Aristeas in attesting to the existence of a canon, not in its literary setting of the third century bce, but among the Alexandrian Jewish community of the first and perhaps also the second century bce. This canon of Jewish laws probably consisted of the first five books of the Bible, the Pentateuch. But as the legend of the origins of the Greek translation was passed on, it was adapted to changed circumstances, and the translated texts came to mean more than the Pentateuch in the writings of the church fathers.

Keywords:   Septuagint, Bible, Jewish diaspora, Rabbinic Judaism, Pentateuch, church fathers

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