The name given to a Greek version of the books of the Old Testament, from its being supposed to be the work of seventy-two Jews, who are usually called the seventy interpreters, because seventy is a round number.
Aristobulus, who was a tutor to Ptolemy Physcon; Philo, who lived in our Saviour’s time, and was contemporary with the apostles; and Josephus, speak of this translation as made by seventy-two interpreters, by the care of Demetrius Phalereus, in the reign of Ptolemy Philadelphus. All the Christian writers, during the first fifteen centuries of the Christian aera, have admitted this account of the Septuagint as an undoubted fact; but, since the reformation, critics have boldly called it in question. But whatever differences of opinion there have been as to the mode of translation, it is universally acknowledged that such a version, whole or in part, existed; and it is pretty evident that most of the books must have been translated before our Saviour’s time, as they are quoted by him. It must also be considered as a wonderful providence in favour of the religion of Jesus. It prepared the way for his coming, and afterwards greatly promoted the setting up of his kingdom in the world; for hitherto the Scriptures had remained locked up from all other nations but the Jews, in the Hebrew tongue, which was understood by no other nation; but now it was translated into the Greek language, which was a language commonly understood by the nations of the world. It has also been with great propriety observed, “that there are many words and forms of speech in the New Testament, the true import of which cannot be known but by their use in the Septuagint. This version also preserves many important words, some sentences, and several whole verses which originally made a part of the Hebrew text, but have long ago entirely disappeared. This is the version, and this only, which is constantly used and quoted in the Gospels and the apostles, and which has thereby received the highest sanction which any writings can possibly receive.”
There have been various editions of the Septuagint; such as Breitenger’s edition, 1730; Boss’s edition, 1709; Daniel’s edition, 1653; Mill’s edition, 12mo. 1725; bishop Pearson’s printed by Field, 12mo. 1665; but Grabe’s edition, published in 1707, is in great repute.
Dr. Holmes, canon of Christ Church, was employed for some years on a correct edition of the Septuagint. He had been collating from more than three hundred Greek manuscripts; from twenty or more Coptic, Syriac, Arabic, Sclavonian, and Armenian manuscripts; from eleven editions of the Greek text and versions; and from near thirty Greek fathers, when death prevented him from finishing this valuable work. He printed the whole of the Pentateuch in five parts follo; and lately edited the prophecy of Daniel according to Theodotian and the LXX., departing from his proposed order, as if by a presentiment of his end. This valuable work is now continued by Mr. Parsons, of Cambridge.
Charles Buck (1771-1815) was an English Independent minister, best known for the publication of his “Theological Dictionary”. According to the “Dictionary of National Biography”, a Particular Baptist minister named John C. Ryland (1723-1792) assisted Buck by writing many of the articles for the aforementioned publication. One may conclude, based not only Buck’s admiration for his friend Ryland, but also on the entries in his Theological Dictionary, that he stood head and shoulders with the High-Calvinists of his day.