The Book of Ecclesiastes

The author of the Old Testament’s Book of Ecclesiastes called himself “the preacher.” And he claimed to be a “son of David,” an expression used commonly to describe oneself as a Jew rather than as an actual son of David. But some in modern times would believe that Ecclesiastes was written by Solomon, despite it being unlikely that Solomon in his old age would have turned his view of the world upside down and written about futility and the evils of oppression. Some others estimate that Ecclesiastes was written several hundred years after Solomon: around 200 BCE. Continue reading The Book of Ecclesiastes

Septuagint & Greek translation of the Torah

Perhaps because most literate Jews could no longer read Hebrew, Jewish scribes in Alexandria were put to work translating into Greek the Five Books of Moses. The finished product became known as the Septuagint. Demonstrating their conviction that the Septuagint was the final word on Jewish history, the high priests in charge of the work proclaimed a curse upon any changes that might be made to it. Judaic doctrine would hold that seventy-two translators had worked independently of each other on the translation and had produced exactly the same result, word for word — a miracle in keeping with the belief that the books were the works of divine intervention. Continue reading Septuagint & Greek translation of the Torah