By Rabbi Julian Sinclair, March 6, 2009
Septuagint is the word for the first Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible. It became the basis for Bible translations into many other languages, including Ethiopian, Arabic and Armenian.
The name Septuagint, which means 70 in Latin, comes from the story of the books creation. The Talmud, in tractate Megillah (9a-9b), recounts how Ptolemy, a third-century-BCE Egyptian Pharaoh, gathered together 72 Jewish sages (close to 70), put them in 72 separate house and demanded that each produce independently a Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible.