The very first translation of the Hebrew bible into Greek was the Septuagint (LXX), which later became the accepted text of the old testament in the church and the basis of its canon, which was translated in stages between the 3rd and 1st BC in Alexandria. The word Septuagint means “seventy” in Latin and derives from a tradition that seventy (or seventy-two) Jewish scholars translated the Pentateuch from Hebrew into Greek for Ptolemy II Philadelphus, 285-246 BC.
The Bible continues to be the most translated book in the world. The following numbers are approximations. As of 2005, at least one book of the Bible has been translated into 2,400 of the 6,900 languages listed by SIL, including 680 languages in Africa, followed by 590 in Asia, 420 in Oceania, 420 in Latin America and the Caribbean, 210 in Europe, and 75 in North America. The United Bible Societies are presently assisting in over 600 Bible translation projects. The Bible is available in whole or in part to some 98 percent of the world’s population in a language in which they are fluent.
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