This Preface was addressed to Desiderius, but which of the three correspondents of Jerome who bore this name is uncertain (See Article Desiderius in Smith and Waces “Dictionary of Christian Biography”). We do not give it because it has been given at length as a specimen of the rest, in Jeromes “Apology,” book ii., vol. iii. of this series, pp. 515–516. Jerome in it complains that he is accused of forging a new version. He justifies his undertaking by showing that in the versions then current many passages were left out (though they exist in our p. 489 copies of the LXX.), such as “Out of Egypt” (Hos. xi. 1); “They shall look on him whom they pierced” (Zech. xii. 10), etc., which are quoted in the New Testament and are found in the Hebrew. He accounts for these omissions by the suggestion that the LXX. were afraid of offending Ptolemy Lagus for whom they worked, and who was a Platonist. He rejects the fable of the LXX. being shut up in separate cells and producing an identical version, and protests against the notion that they were inspired, and he urges his calumniators, by applying to those who knew Hebrew, to test the correctness of his version.
There is no Preface to the other books of the Pentateuch. From the allusion to the work on the Pentateuch as lately finished, in the Preface to Joshua, which was published in 404, it is presumed that the date of the translation of the Pentateuch is 403.
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