Differences Between Septuagint and Masoretic

Last Updated on March 19, 2022 by QCity Editorial Stuff

The Septuagint is a translation of the Hebrew Bible into Ancient Greek. The Masoretic text, on the other hand, is an edition of the Hebrew bible that has been standardized for centuries. These two texts are not identical and there are many differences between them which have led scholars to investigate these discrepancies to understand what they may be able to tell us about how biblical texts were transmitted over time. 

The Septuagint was translated by Jewish scholars who had become Hellenized during their exile in Alexandria around 250 BCE. It differs from the Masoretic Text in numerous places because it does not follow all of its conventions or rules concerning language or textual criticism. For example, when translating particular words that do not have a precise equivalent in Greek, the translators often elected to use a more general term or to paraphrase the text.

Comparison between Septuagint and Masoretic

Parameters of Comparison  SeptuagintMasoretic
SystemThe Septuagint was written in Koine GreekMasoretic text is a Hebrew translation
Books1 Esdras and 2 EsdrasNot exists
TranslatedThe Septuagint is a 3rd century BC translation from Hebrew to GreekIt was translated by 70 Jewish scholars in Alexandria, Egypt 
AncientMore ancientLess ancient
InterestingMore interestingInteresting

What is Septuagint?

The Septuagint is a translation of the Hebrew Bible into Greek, commissioned in the mid-3rd century BCE by Ptolemy II Philadelphus. The title means “seventy” in Latin, referring to the number of translators who were said to have been involved. The Septuagint was not simply a direct translation from Hebrew to Greek but rather was modeled on the current Attic dialect of Greece. As such, it included books and passages that did not appear in the Hebrew Bible. It became the primary source for texts quoted in the New Testament and is still consulted today for its historical value.

The Septuagint is a translation of the Hebrew Bible into Koine Greek, undertaken in Alexandria during the 3rd century BC. The Septuagint was commissioned by Ptolemy II Philadelphus and was probably completed by the mid-3rd century BC. It contains books not present in the Hebrew Bible, such as Tobit, Judith, 1, and 2 Maccabees. The LXX also includes three texts not found in any other ancient manuscript of the Bible: Psalm 151, Prayer of Manasseh, and 3 Maccabees. These three additions are preserved only in late medieval manuscripts of the LXX (i.e., 16th to 18th centuries).

Differences Between Septuagint and Masoretic

What is Masoretic?

The Masoretic Text is the traditional Hebrew Bible text that underlies the Tanakh and modern Jewish Bible translations. It consists of consonantal text with vocalization symbols above or below the letters. The Masoretic Text is also used as a source for biblical quotations in rabbinic literature. In general, it is considered to be more accurate than other ancient versions of the Hebrew Bible such as the Septuagint. However, there are some passages where scholars differ on which reading represents the original text.

Masoretic texts (MT) are ancient Hebrew manuscripts of the Tanakh, the canonical scriptures of Judaism. They comprise the oldest surviving biblical manuscripts in existence, dating from the late 9th century to the early 10th century AD. The Masoretic tradition arose between the 6th and 10th centuries CE and continues to this day. It is named after the Masoretes, Jewish scribes and scholars who worked between the 7th and 11th centuries A.D., who produced a large number of commentaries on the text, called Masorah, to ensure its fidelity.

Differences Between Septuagint and Masoretic

10 Differences Between Septuagint and Masoretic

1. The Septuagint was written in Koine Greek, while the Masoretic text is a Hebrew translation.

2. The Septuagint includes books that are not found in the Masoretic text, such as 1 Esdras and 2 Esdras.

3. In some cases, there are differences between how words are spelled or pronounced.

4. There is disagreement about whether the order of verses differs from one text to another.

5. Some versions have been translated into English for easier reading.

6. The word “Septuagint” comes from Latin meaning seventy because it is thought to be a translation of what was said by 70 translators working independently on different sections of Scripture during Alexandria’s Hellenistic period (323 BC-30 AD).

7. The Septuagint was translated from Hebrew to Greek by Jewish scholars in Alexandria, Egypt.

8. It is the oldest extant translation of the Bible into a foreign language.

9. It has been shown that there are many differences between this translation and other translations.

10. There are 10 major differences between the two versions, which include things like different names for God and different numbers of books.

Interesting Statistics or Facts of  Septuagint

1. The Septuagint is the most ancient of all translations of the Bible.

2. It was commissioned by Ptolemy II and began in Alexandria around 280 BC.

3. Its name means “seventy” and refers to the seventy scholars who translated it from Hebrew into Greek.

4. It was created so that Jews could read their Scriptures in a language they understood – Aramaic had become the commonly spoken language at this time, but not everyone knew how to read it.

5. When completed, there were three different versions – one for each of the major Jewish groups (Pharisees, Sadducees, and Essenes) which differed only slightly from one another.

6. The Septuagint has been called “the bridge between Judaism and Christianity” because it provided early Christians with an understanding of what Jesus said when he quoted from Scripture.

Interesting Statistics or Facts of Masoretic

1. The Masoretic Text is the authoritative Hebrew text of the Jewish Bible.

2. It was primarily copied by a group of scribes known as the Masoretes between 400 and 1200 AD.

3. Hebrew is one of two languages that have been studied more than any other language in history, with over 90% of all texts being written about it.

4. There are only 10 letter-shapes for Hebrew letters because each has four different shapes depending on its position in a word.

5. The majority of people who speak modern Hebrew don’t know how to read or write it – they learn their letters through an educational system called “Hebrew literacy” which teaches them how to pronounce words without teaching them how to read or write them first.

6. To be considered kosher, animals must chew their cud and have split hooves.


The Septuagint is a translation of the Hebrew Bible into Greek. It was translated in Alexandria, Egypt during the third century BCE and used by Jews outside of Palestine for many centuries. The Masoretic text is also known as the “Hebrew Scriptures” or “Old Testament,” and it forms both Jewish and Christian scripture. This version was completed around 1000 CE in Tiberias, Israel, but has since been revised over time to account for textual variations that were discovered while studying other ancient biblical manuscripts.


Resource 01: https://www.britannica.com/topic/Septuagint
Resource 02: https://www.gotquestions.org/Masoretic-Text.html

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