The Gemara in Megillah 9a tells the story of Ptolemy forcing the sages to translate the Torah. Does anyone know of other accounts of this story. I'm especially curious why Ptolemy had the Sages separated to translate independently. In the version of the story recorded by Aristeas, he says that the Jews translated the Torah voluntarily. The Yaavetz to Megillah says that is a different story than the one in Megillah, although he seems to contradict himself in his commentary to Maseches Sofrim.

In addition, Maseches Sofrim seems to imply that the tragedy of translating the Torah was not the translation of the seventy sages but an initial attempt by five other sages. This seems to contradict other sources that the tragedy was the translation of 70.

Can anyone shed any light on these issues, or just refer to other sources beyond the ones I quoted?

  • Josephus talks about this.
    – The GRAPKE
    Jan 24 at 22:59
  • R. Azariah De Rossi translated into Hebrew the entire account of Aristeas in the second section of Meor Einayim.
    – Alex
    Jan 25 at 0:09
  • @TheGRAPKE: Thanks, but he just summarizes Aristeas.
    – N.T.
    Jan 25 at 5:09
  • @Alex: The Yaavetz refers to Rossi in his comments on Megillah. Interestingly, in his responsa, he writes that Rossi is not reliable and should not be consulted at all. I'm not sure how to reconcile that with his comments in Megillah, or which one came first or second.
    – N.T.
    Jan 25 at 5:11
  • 1
    @N.T. Ein hachi nami
    – The GRAPKE
    Jan 26 at 21:20

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