From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
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. It is an immense and complex word-for-word comparison of the Greek Septuagint with the original Hebrew Scriptures, and other Greek translations.[1] The term especially and generally applies to the edition of the Old Testament compiled by the theologian and scholar Origen, sometime before the year 240 CE, 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[2]

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 surviving 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 [3] under the auspices of the International Organization for Septuagint and Cognate Studies,[4] 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.[5]

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).[6] Hexapla had approx. 50 volumes and stored in the Library of Caesarea. It has 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 the purpose for creating 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.[7]

Origen also developed a separate work called Tetrapla placing the Septuagint alongside the translations of Symmachus, Aquila and Theodotion.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Trigg, Joseoph W. - Origen - The Early Church Fathers - 1998, Routledge, London and New York, page 16. Retrieved 31 August 2015.
  2. ^ Würthwein, E. (1987). Der Text des Alten Testaments. Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft. p. 66. 
  3. ^ Website of the Hexapla Project
  4. ^ Website of the International Organization for Septuagint and Cognate Studies
  5. ^ 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.
  6. ^ Słownik pisarzy antycznych red. Anna Świderkówna WP Warszawa 1982
  7. ^ Origen, Commentary on the Gospel according to Matthew, K. Augustyniak, Kraków: WAM 1998, p. 246.
  8. ^ Eusebius, Church History, VI/16:4


  • Felix Albrecht: Art. Hexapla of Origen, in: The Encyclopedia of the Bible and Its Reception 11, Berlin et al. 2015, cols. 1000-1002.
  • Alison Salvesen (Hrsg.): Origen's hexapla and fragments. Papers presented at the Rich Seminar on the Hexapla, Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies, 25th July – 3rd August 1994 (= Texts and studies in ancient Judaism. Bd. 58). Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen 1998, ISBN 3-16-146575-X.
  • Erich Klostermann: Analecta zur Septuaginta, Hexapla und Patristik. Deichert, Leipzig 1895.
  • Frederick Field (ed.): Origenis hexaplorum quae supersunt: sive veterum interpretum Graecorum in totum vetus testamentum fragmenta. Post Flaminium nobilium, Drusium, et Montefalconium, adhibita etiam versione Syro-Hexaplari. 2 vols. Clarendonianus, Oxford 1875 (vol. 1: Genesis – Esther. Hexapla on the Internet Archive; vol. 2: Hiob – Maleachi. Hexapla on the Internet Archive).

External links[edit]