238 Egypt and Israel
the Greek-speaking Jews; their ignorance of both Hebrew and
Aramaic rendered this necessary. The Aramaic-speaking Jews
of Palestine, also for the most part ignorant of Hebrew, had their
interpreter (meihurgemati) to explain the readings of their Scrip-
tures in the synagogues; but as the Alexandrian Jews did not
know Aramaic, it was nec&sary for these readings to be in Greek.
A discussion on the date of this version would be out of place
here; it will suffice to quote Swete's words: elt may fairly be
argued that a version, which at the beginning of the third cen-
tury had won its way to acceptance among the literary Jews of
Alexandria, probably saw the light not later than the reign of
Philadelphus'1 (i.e. Ptolemy II, 285-245). At first only the
Pentateuch was translated; the whole Old Testament was com-
pleted probably by the beginning of the Christian era. It
became the Bible of the early Church, and for this reason fell
into discredit among the Jews.
A brief consideration is called for regarding the question as
to whether any Egyptian influence on the religion of the
Hebrews is to be discerned. It is certain that no lasting signs
of such influence are to be discovered; but it may be asked
whether in the early periods of the history of the Hebrews,
during the close relationship between Egypt and Syria-Palestine,
religious influences may not have been brought to bear upon the
subject-peoples by the dominating Power. On the face of it,
this might have been expected; 'abundant evidence', says $. A.
Cook, cfor the prevalence of Egyptian religious ideas in Palestine
is afforded by the innumerable seals and scarabs, and by repre-
sentations of Osiris, Isis, Ptah, Anubis, Sebek, Bes (with moulds),
Hathor etc. . . . Not only did Egyptian and Semitic thought
share much in common, but a considerable amount of religious
1 Introduction to the Old Testament in Greek, p. 18 (1900, 4th ed. 1920).