Npnf-201 iii.xi.xvi Pg 9
We know very little about these anonymous Greek versions of the Old Testament. Eusebius’ words (“which had been concealed from remote times,” τὸν π€λαι λανθανούσας χρόνον) would lead us to think them older than the versions of Aquila, Theodotion, and Symmachus. One of them, Eusebius tells us, was found at Nicopolis near Actium, another in a jar at Jericho, but where the third was discovered he did not know. Jerome (in his Prologus in expos. Cant. Cant. sec. Originem; Origen’s works, ed. Lommatzsch, XIV. 235) reports that the “fifth edition” (quinta editio) was found in Actio litore; but Epiphanius, who seems to be speaking with more exact knowledge than Jerome, says that the “fifth” was discovered at Jericho and the “sixth” in Nicopolis, near Actium (De mens. et pond. 18). Jerome calls the authors of the “fifth” and “sixth” Judaïcos translatores, which according to his own usage might mean either Jews or Jewish Christians (see Redepenning, p. 165), and at any rate the author of the “sixth” was a Christian, as is clear from his rendering of Heb. iii. 13: ἐξῆλθες τοῦ σῶσαι τὸν λαὸν σου διὰ ᾽Ιησοῦ τοῦ χριστοῦ. The “fifth” is quoted by Origen on the Psalms, Proverbs, Song of Songs, minor prophets, Kings, &c.; the “sixth,” on the Psalms, Song of Songs, and Habakkuk, according to Field, the latest editor of the Hexapla. Whether these versions were fragmentary, or were used only in these particular passages for special reasons, we do not know. Of the “seventh” no clear traces can be discovered, but it must have been used for the Psalms at any rate, as we see from this chapter. As to the time when these versions were found we are doubtless to assign the discovery of the one at Nicopolis near Actium to the visit made by Origen to Greece in 231 (see below, p. 396). Epiphanius, who in the present case seems to be speaking with more than customary accuracy, puts its discovery into the time of the emperor Alexander (222–235). The other one, which Epiphanius calls the “fifth,” was found, according to him, in the seventh year of Caracalla’s reign (217) “in jars at Jericho.” We know that at this time Origen was in Palestine (see chap. 19, note 23), and hence Epiphanius’ report may well be correct. If it is, he has good reason for calling the latter the “fifth,” and the former the “sixth.” The place and time of the discovery of the “seventh” are alike unknown. For further particulars in regard to these versions, see the prolegomena to Field’s edition of the Hexapla, the article Hexapla in the Dict. of Christ. Biog., and Redepenning, II. 164 sq.