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The Septuagint’s Reading of the Shema

Q. This is my first post to this message board. My question is simple. When the sacred authors wrote the words in the Septuagint “Hear, O Israel” were they normally speaking to the local community of Israel or the scattered children of Israel?


A. Well, I looked up the Shema in the Septuagint,

ἄκουε Ισραηλ κύριος θεὸς ἡμῶν κύριος

“Here O Israel, the LORD is our God is one LORD” This reading differs from all English translations that I am aware, and I have checked about 40 translations!

The Septuagint was written for the Jews and Gentiles alike; it enabled the Jewish community to follow the weekly Torah reading, since the majority of Jews did not know Hebrew. By the same token, the Septuagint served to help spread the knowledge of Judaism to the Gentile world, and as a result, many Gentiles came to embrace the faith of Israel. In fact, a large number of the early Rabbis were descendants from those who embraced the Jewish faith that came as a direct result of the Septuagint’s publication.


What Alexander the Great attempted to do with the power of the sword, Judaism, at this time of history, embarked on a mission to convert the Gentile world to ethical monotheism.