Were the Apocrypha in the Septuagint during the time of the Apostle Paul?

Yes, the Apostle Paul died in AD 67, the translation of the Septuagint itself began in the 3rd century BC and was completed by 132 BC, initially in Alexandria, but in time, elsewhere as well.

The Septuagint is the basis for the Old Latin, Slavonic, Syriac, Old Armenian, Old Georgian and Coptic versions of the Christian Old Testament.The Septuagint contains the standard 39 books of the Old Testament canon, as well as certain apocryphal books.The Septuagint is the early Greek translation of the Old Testament dating to 250 B.C.

The history behind a Greek translation dates back to the days of Alexander the Great. When the armies of Alexander defeated the Persians in 331 B.C., and established themselves in the lands of Israel, Greek became one of the common languages in the Mediterranean world. After Alexander died, his four generals divided his kingdom between themselves.

Two of his Generals established competing Greek kingdoms, the Ptolemy and the Seleucids kingdoms, each battling over the lands of Israel from the time of Alexander’s death to the Maccabean war (165 B.C.), which established an independent Jewish Kingdom for about 100-years. During this time, the Jewish Greek-speaking population of Alexandria Egypt continued to grow and flourish.

The primary language of the Jews in Alexandria was Greek; Hebrew became more archaic over time, in Egypt.Spoken and written Hebrew remained strong in the lands of Judea/Palestine, as opposed to Alexandria. This lack of familiarity with the Hebrew Scriptures gave impetus for Greek speaking Jews, to translate the Hebrew scriptures. At this time, during the reign of Ptolemy II Philadelphus (285–246 BC), the ruler of Ptolemaic Kingdom, sent a request to Eleazar, the chief priest in Jerusalem.

He wanted him to send translators, to translate the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek, for his library at Alexandria. The letter known as the Letter of Aristeas describes how Ptolemy II requested translators and Eleazar sent 72 scribes, who translated the Septuagint in 72-days. Hence, the name Septuagint, means Seventy from the Latin septuaginta, “70”, seventy-two translators translating the scriptures in seventy-two days.Many scholars feel the Pentateuch; the Laws of Moses, were translated about 250B.C., with the other books of the Bible, following a 100-year period, until the complete Old Testament was translated.

Greeks could now read and comment on the Hebrew Scriptures without having to learn Hebrew.The Septuagint became the Jewish Bible for the Jews of the Diaspora who communicated in the Greek language. In 63 B.C., the Jewish Maccabean Kingdom fell to the Romans, and Judea became a Roman province. By this time, the Greek language was well established in the Mediterranean world, Christianity began to spread in the Roman world, the Jewish Bible, the Old Testament, for the Greek-speaking world was the Septuagint.

The basis of Christianity is Jesus, who is the Messiah of the Old Testament. Christians, those who believe Jesus Christ is Messiah presented Jesus to the Jews of Asia and Rome, they used the Septuagint as their proof text.

Showing how Jesus fulfilled Jewish prophecy about the Messiah. In fact, at the writing of the Gospels and epistles, many of the quotes from the Hebrew Scriptures come from the Septuagint because they were widely accepted in the Roman and Greek worlds.The term "Apocrypha" was coined by the fifth-century biblical scholar, Jerome, and generally refers to the set of ancient Jewish writings written during the period between the last book in the Jewish scriptures, Malachi, and the arrival of Jesus the Christ.

The apocryphal books include Judith, Tobit, Baruch, Sirach (or Ecclesiasticus), the Wisdom of Solomon, First and Second Maccabees, the two Books of Esdras, additions to the Book of Esther, additions to the Book of Daniel, and the Prayer of Manasseh.The word Apocrypha comes from the Greek word, meaning “hidden” or “concealed”. The term has several meanings, which are important to distinguish.

The term generally refers to religious writings found in the Septuagint and Latin Vulgate, but not in the Hebrew Bible. The names for these writings can differ between Protestants and Catholics. The Catholics consider these writings as canonical, while Protestants do not, and Orthodox churches consider some as canon to a lesser extent then Catholics.

The Apocryphal books were included in the Septuagint for historical and religious purposes, but are not recognized by Protestant Christians or Orthodox Jews as canonical (inspired by God).Most reformed teachers will point out that the New Testament writers never quoted from the Apocryphal books, and that the Apocrypha was never considered part of the canonical Jewish scripture.

However, the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox churches include the Apocrypha in their Bible (except for the books of Esdras and the Prayer of Manasseh).Since Catholics consider these books canon, they do not call them Apocrypha but deuterocanonical, meaning later or second canon.

The Council of Trent in 1546, declared the Apocrypha as canon, except for 3 Esdras, 4 Esdras and the Prayer of Manasseh which they call apocryphal.In the Catholic Bible, these writings are extensions of the first cannon within the books themselves, for example, “Susana” becomes Daniel 13, and “Bel and the Dragon” becomes Daniel 14, while the Protestant Bible only has 12 chapters to the book of Daniel.

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