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See also: English Hexapla
The inter-relationship between various significant ancient versions and recensions of the Old Testament (some identified by their siglum). LXX here denotes the original septuagint.

Hexapla (Ancient Greek: Ἑξαπλᾶ, "sixfold") is the term for an edition of the Bible in six versions. Especially it applies to the edition of the Old Testament compiled by Origen of Alexandria, sometime before the year 240, which placed side by side:

  1. Hebrew
  2. Secunda – Hebrew transliterated into Greek characters
  3. Aquila of Sinope
  4. Symmachus the Ebionite
  5. A recension of the Septuagint, with (1) interpolations to indicate where the Hebrew is not represented in the Septuagint—these are taken mainly from Theodotion's text and marked with asterisks, and (2) indications, using signs called obeloi (singular: obelus), of where words, phrases, or occasionally larger sections in the Septuagint do not reflect any underlying Hebrew.
  6. Theodotion[1]

Origen's eclectic recension of the Septuagint had a significant influence on the Old Testament text in several important manuscripts, such as the Codex Sinaiticus. The original work, which is said to have had about 6000 pages in 15 volumes and which probably only ever existed in a single complete copy, seems to have been stored in the library of the bishops of Caesarea for some centuries, but it was destroyed during the Muslim invasion of the year 638 at the latest. The subsisting fragments of partial copies have been collected in several editions, for example that of Frederick Field (1875).

The fragments are now being re-published (with additional materials discovered since Field's edition) by an international group of Septuagint scholars. This work is being carried out as The Hexapla Project [2] under the auspices of the International Organization for Septuagint and Cognate Studies,[3] and directed by Peter J. Gentry (Southern Baptist Theological Seminary), Alison G. Salvesen (Oxford University), and Bas ter Haar Romeny (Leiden University).


The so-called "fifth" and "sixth editions" were two other Greek translations supposedly miraculously discovered by students outside the towns of Jericho and Nicopolis: these were later added by Origen to his Hexapla to make the Octapla.[4]

According to Eusebius of Caesarea, the Hexapla contained three more translations of the Greek Psalms (Quinta, Sexta and Septima), which, however, have not been preserved (for a total of 9 columns, so-called. Enneapla).[5] Hexapla had approx. 50 volumes and stored in the Library of Caesarea. It never been rewritten in its entirety. The original was lost probably in the seventh century with the destruction of the library in 638 CE.

Origen, in his Commentary of the Gospel of Matthew explained what purpose created the Hexapla:

(...) due discrepancies between the manuscripts of the Old Testament with God's help, we were able to overcome using the testimony of other editions. This is because these points in the Septuagint, which because of discrepancies manuscripts aroused doubt, we gave evaluated on the basis of other editions and comply with them kept ticking obelosem those whose absence in the Hebrew text (did not have the courage to remove them entirely), and others have added the asterisk sign that it was apparent that the lessons were not found in the Septuagint, we added the other, consistent with the text of the Hebrew editions.[6]

Origen has also developed a separate work called Tetrapla where next translation Septuagint joined the translation of Symmachus, Aquila and Teodotion.[7]


  1. ^ Würthwein, E. (1987). Der Text des Alten Testaments. Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft. p. 66. 
  2. ^ Website of the Hexapla Project
  3. ^ Website of the International Organization for Septuagint and Cognate Studies
  4. ^ Cave, Wm. A complete history of the lives, acts, and martyrdoms of the holy apostles, and the two evangelists, St. Mark and Luke, Vol. II. Wiatt (Philadelphia), 1810. Accessed 6 Feb 2013.
  5. ^ Słownik pisarzy antycznych red. Anna Świderkówna WP Warszawa 1982
  6. ^ Origen, Commentary on the Gospel according to Matthew, K. Augustyniak, Kraków: WAM 1998, p. 246.
  7. ^ Euzebiusz, Historia Kościelna VI/16:4

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