It is recorded that Jesus read from the Septuagint in the synagogue during His ministry. As an example, Luke 4:16-20 has Jesus reading from an Isaiah scroll in a synagogue, and the text provided appears to be a mixture of the Greek and Hebrew texts.

The Hebrew of Isa. 61:2 reads merely “the opening to them that are bound,” which may mean the opening of prisons. Luke in 4:18 follows the Septuagint interpretation, “the recovering of sight to the blind,” in which the “opening” is of blind eyes, but adds “to set at liberty the afflicted” as an alternative interpretation of the Hebrew. The phrase “to bind up the broken-hearted” (Septuagint “to heal the broken-hearted”) has been left out of the quotation.

Is there any other evidence that the LXX was used in the synagogues within Israel, either in the inter-testamental period or during the period of Jesus's ministry?

  • First of all, it would be surprising if a copy of the LXX scriptures would have been found in a Palestinian synagogue, where it would have sat alongside the Hebrew scriptures, and it is the Hebrew scriptures that were considered sacred. Moreover, those opposed to Jesus would quickly have realised that his reading was inconsistent with the Hebrew scriptures and could have used this against him. If Jesus read the LXX, then he would have been reading in Greek, and then it is moot whether Palestinian Jews would be likely to understand. – Dick Harfield Apr 22 '16 at 7:15
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    I kind of disagree with the original question closure here on BH and have migrated the closed version from C.SE back here and tweaked it a little. More refinement could probably be done but this is squarely in the area of expertise of this site. If there are further objections to it here it's probably worth opening a Biblical Hermeneutics Meta post about it. – Caleb Apr 22 '16 at 11:02
  • @DickHarfield To me Greek and Aramaic 'replaced' Hebrew in much the same way Latin faded from the Catholic mass in the 60's. Josephus, who was a Pharisee and Governor of Galilee if I'm not mistaken, wrote in and was skilled in Greek. Speaking of inscriptions "In Jerusalem itself about 40 percent of the Jewish inscriptions from the first century period (before 70 C.E.) are in Greek. (W. Van Der Horst, "Jewish Funerary Inscriptions - Most Are in Greek," Biblical Archaeology Review, Sept.-Oct. 1992, p. 48.) So Greek would have been common in Jerusalem. This my question... – Tonyg Apr 22 '16 at 11:53
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    "It is recorded that Jesus read from the Septuagint in the synagogue during His ministry." -- I'm not sure that's a totally straightforward conclusion to draw from the text, but I think it's an interesting question. Feel free to roll back whatever you don't like, but speculation about later revisionism seemed to me out of place here. – Susan Apr 22 '16 at 12:33
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    Just so you know -- on this site answers will not be required to share your commitment to the connection between Luke's writing and Jesus's words (and those who do share this sort of commitment may well find this kind of thing within bounds). Also keep in mind that just because we have exactly two versions of Isaiah (Hebrew [MT=DSS here] | Greek), that wasn't necessarily the situation in the 1st C. – Susan Apr 22 '16 at 12:57

Was the LXX used in Palestine in the First Century?

Yes. The Septuagint was used in Palestine in the 1st century.

"The Jews made use of it [i.e the LXX] long before the Christian Era, and in the time of Christ it was recognised as a legitimate text, and was employed in Palestine even by the rabbis." (New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia).

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    Yes. We still have some of them found in the dead sea scrolls. You can even see them online through Israel's Antiquity Authority. – Dan S. May 14 '16 at 14:34
  • The New Advent is definitely a credible source but unfortunately I didn't see anything other than anecdotal evidence on their site other than them saying it was. It leaves me wondering 'How' they know or How can they say it was. – Tonyg May 17 '16 at 21:48
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    Letter of Aristeas (2nd c.) and similar apocryphal story of LXX origin in baraita on Babylonian tractate Megilla 9a (Jerusalem Talmud Megilla chap 1:9) justifying Pharisaic acceptance of de facto practice of fulfilling the obligation of public reading of the Law using LXX in Alexandria and Palestine. A first century Mishna on Bab. Megila 8b that states that the Bible can be written (and read) in any language contains a later addendum by R. Shimon ben Gamliel (early 2nd cent.) restricting to Greek only, and later opinion (not accepted) by R. Yehuda (late 2nd c.) restricting to the Law only.. – Abu Munir Ibn Ibrahim Apr 17 '17 at 21:47

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