Translations into English of the "Old Greek" version of Daniel


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Our two foundational Semitic versions of Daniel in scholarship are the Dead Sea Scrolls and Masoretic versions, and they both have a combination of Hebrew and Aramaic. There is also a Hebrew language telling of the Book of Daniel found in the medieval "Chronicles of Jerahmeel." It's unknown how early the telling in the Chronicles of Jerahmeel dates to.

Sometime before the Gospels were written, two translations were made into Greek: The "Old Greek" version and what is called "Theodotion's" version. I guess that the latter is called "Theodotion's" because the second century AD translator Theodotion approved or edited this second ancient version.

The Jewish Encyclopedia notes differences between these two Greek versions, and refers to the Old Greek version as the "Septuagint" version:
The Greek work exists in two recensions, (1) that of the Septuagint and (2) that of Theodotion, both of which are given, with various readings, in Swete’s „Old Testament in Greek.” The two, though substantially identical, differ in a number of details. Thus, in the Septuagint, besides the reference to a prophecy of Habakkuk, Daniel is called a priest, the son of Habal, and is introduced as a person previously unknown; while the name of the king of Babylon, whose friend he was, is not given. In Theodotion the king is Cyrus, who is said to be the successor of Astyages; Daniel is not called a priest; and nothing is said of a prophecy of Habakkuk. The style of the Septuagint is simpler and more Hebraic; Theodotion is fuller, more dramatic, and more polished. It may be in part a revision of the Septuagint; but it appears also to follow other authorities, or to be based on a different version of the stories from that given in the Septuagint. (

Between the Semitic and Greek versions, the Gospels most often cite the Greek version of Daniel, perhaps because the Gospels were written in Greek. For instance, Jesus openly cites Daniel's warning of "the Abomination of Desolation" "in the Holy Place" (Matt. 24:15), which is only in the Greek version of Daniel 9. Out of the two Greek versions, they most often cite the "Old Greek" version. The common story is that the ancient Greek version of the Bible was made by Jewish scholars in the Hellenistic period. The Gospels' citations from the two Greek versions implies that the Gospel writers considered those Greek versions to be legitimate translations.

Typically since medieval times, Christian Bibles that used the Greek version of Daniel have relied on Theodotion's translation, probably at least partly because it's a closer translation to the Masoretic version. Surviving manuscripts of the Old Greek version today are limited.


Our earliest manuscript of the Old Greek Version is the 2nd-3rd century AD Papyrus 967, discovered in 1931. In this Papyrus, Daniel Chp. 7-8 are placed before Chapters 5-6. This order matches the chronology of events narrated in Daniel's chapters. That is, in both the Masoretic and Greek versions, the events of Chapters 7-8 happen before Chp. 5-6, yet the Masoretic places Chp. 5-6 before 7-8. The Masoretic's order can be partly because the themes of Chapters 5-6 form a literary Chiasm with Chapters 3-4, eg. Chp.6's theme matches Chapter 3's. Also in Papyrus 967, the Book of Daniel ends with the story of Bel and the Dragon, followed by the story of Susanna.

Wikipedia notes:
The surviving 59 manuscript pages of P 967 are at present kept in five different places.
Wikipedia also notes that the Papyrus has Greek letter superscriptions for each chapter, and takes this to mean that the chapter designations are original for Daniel.

A second manuscript of the Old Greek version is the Syro-Hexapla, a medieval Syriac-language translation of Origen's Greek Hexaplar.

A third, later manuscript of the Old Greek Version is Chisianus, also known as "Chigi" and "ms. 88." It is the only "Old Greek" version manuscript with the full text of Daniel.

Modern Printed Editions of the Greek text

Henry Barclay Swete published his own Greek-language compilation of the Old Greek Version in 1896-1905, which you can read here:
Due to its date, Swete's version must rely on the Chisianus ms.

The "Literal Translation of the Bible" website has Swete's version of the Old Greek version in interlinear Greek-English form:

J. Paul Tanner wrote in June 2002 about modern attempts by Ziegler and Rahlfs to recreate and publish in print the Greek text of the Old Greek Version:
The primary edition of the OG [Old Greek] has been that of Ziegler (1954, 1968).23 However, it was based on ms 88, Syh and one portion of papyrus 967 (namely, the Chester Beatty fragments). Unfortunately, Ziegler's edition is lacking some of the crucial manuscript evidence, as the Cologne and Barcelona fragments of 967 were not available to him at the time. Yet there are a number of variants between 967 and Ziegler's text.24 Furthermore, McLay contends that there are instances where the reading of 967 should be accepted over Ziegler's text. He concludes, "There is no doubt that 967 is the more faithful witness to the original OG text."25 At this point, we must still await the publication of a standard critical edition of the OG text, though McLay mentions that a new revised edition of Ziegler's text is in preparation by O. Munnich. Naturally, Rahlfs' 1935 edition of the Septuagint is even more deficient for OG, since none of the fragments of papyrus 967 had been published at that time.26

Ruslan Khazarzar has the Greek text of Rahlfs' Old Greek version here:

The Kata Biblion website has Greek texts for the Old Greek Version, and has Brenton (1851) and Wiki English Translation‎ in the subtitle:
The Options Menu in the upper left corner lets you switch on Interlinear mode.
However, Brenton's 1900 edition doesn't include the Old Greek version's Greek text, just the Greek of Theodotion's version.
So the Kata Biblion website is probably getting this Greek text from another source. I notice that for Daniel 9:26, the Greek text on Kata Biblion matches what Ruslan Khazarzar gives for Ralhfs' Greek text.
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English translations of the Old Greek version

The Lexham English Septuagint uses Swete's edition as its Greek source. The LES's introduction explains its choice of Swete's over Ziegler's:
There are two main types of editions of original language texts: eclectic and diplomatic. An eclectic edition attempts to recreate the earliest form of the text based on available manuscript evidence and text-critical principles. It represents no single manuscript but uses the best readings from all available manuscripts in an effort to represent a form of the text that best explains how the alternate readings came about. Many eclectic editions have a textual apparatus that lists evidence for the reading adopted in the text as well as for the variant readings. For the New Testament, the Nestle-Aland family of printed Greek New Testaments provide examples of eclectic editions. For the Septuagint, Alfred Rahlfs’s edition (1935) and the still in-progress Göttingen editions are the available eclectic editions. In eclectic editions, the editor makes a decision regarding the original text for each word. Eclectic editions include a textual apparatus at the bottom of each page listing variant readings from other manuscripts. Rahlfs used only a handful of manuscripts when producing his edition, while the Göttingen editions aim to be comprehensive, listing every variant in all available manuscripts.
The LES is a translation of Swete’s edition, the best diplomatic edition of the Septuagint that contains an apparatus of variant readings. For most books, Codex Vaticanus is generally of better quality (fewer errors) than other manuscripts, so for a diplomatic text, Swete chose his primary manuscript well. The fact that the LES is based on a diplomatic edition carries some implications for the translation style of the in a diplomatic edition the text represents an actual manuscript rather than a hypothetical original text.
I read a copy of the LES at a nearby college library as an EBook, and downloaded it in Electronic form.

The NETS translation of of the Old Greek into English relies on Ziegler's and Munnich's Greek texts:

The Scriptural Research Institute's translation into English basically follows the Chisianus Manuscript, and its introduction says about the SRI's translation:
This English translation is primarily from the Codex Chisianus, although Papyrus 967, the Codex and Codex Sinaiticus were also used for reference. Additionally, the Westminster Leningrad Codex and Aleppo Codex of the Masoretic Text, and the Dead Sea Scrolls and 6QpapDan were used for comparative analysis, and the versions of Daniel found in the the Harklean translation and London BL Or. London BL Or. Sinai Ar. Sinai Ar. 1, Sinai Ar. 513, Sinai Ar. and Oxford Bodl. Fraser Sinai Ar. NF Paper 9, Sinai Ar. and Berlin Staatsbililothek Diez A fol. and Sinai Ar. translations were reviewed for comparison. Nevertheless, this is by no means an exhaustive comparison between the various manuscripts. This version is not intended as a critical edition, comparing the different surviving versions, but rather an easy-to-read version that follows the Codex Chisianus version, using the chapter structure of Papyrus 976, in an attempt to restore the original Old Greek version...
Unfortunately, the SRI doesn't explain whether it uses Swete's or Rahlfs' editions for the Greek texts.

The Polish website "Ewangelios Nathanielski" and the "Rejected Scriptures" website have an English translation for the story of Bel and the Dragon, using the title, "THE OLD GREEK BOOK OF BEL AND THE DRAGON: WHICH IS ALSO CALLED THE PROPHECY OF HABAKKUK"
I can't find the origin for this English text, which differs from the NETS text and SRI text. It gives the beginning of the story of Bel and the Dragon this way:
1. From a prophecy of Habakkuk the son of Joshua of the tribe of Levi.
2. There was a certain person, a priest, whose name was Daniel, son of Habal, a companion of the king of Babylon.
Next to this text, the Rejected Scriptures webpage places the "New American Bible, Revised Edition's" English translation of Theodotion's version of "Bel and the Dragon".

A person calling herself Princess Katie on Youtube has a website called, where she gave her own translation of the Old Greek Version of Daniel, using Rahlfs' printed Greek text.
Let's pick a verse where there are some differences in translation and compare them.

For the story of Susanna, Verse 35 of the Old Greek version has in Swete's:
35. ἡ δὲ καρδία αὐτῆς ἐπεποίθει ἐπὶ Κυρίῳ τῷ θεῷ αὐτῆς, καὶ ἀνακύψασα ἔκλαυσεν ἐν αὐτῇ λέγουσα
35a. Κύριε ὁ θεὸς ὁ αἰώνιος, ὁ εἰδὼς τὰ πάντα πρὶν γενέσεως αὐτῶν,
σὺ οἶδας ὅτι οὐκ ἐποίησα ἃ πονηρεύονται οἱ ἄνομοι οὗτοι ἐπ' ἐμοί.
καὶ εἰσήκουσε Κύριος τῆς δεήσεως αὐτῆς.
(Source: "Literal Translation of the Bible" website
Rahlfs has:
35. ἡ δὲ καρδία αὐτῆς ἐπεποίθει ἐπὶ κυρίῳ τῷ θεῷ αὐτῆς, καὶ ἀνακύψασα ἔκλαυσεν ἐν ἑαυτῇ λέγουσα
35a. Κύριε ὁ θεὸς ὁ αἰώνιος ὁ εἰδὼς τὰ πάντα πρὶν γενέσεως αὐτῶν,
σὺ οἶδας ὅτι οὐκ ἐποίησα ἃ πονηρεύονται οἱ ἄνομοι οὗτοι ἐπ᾽ ἐμοί.
καὶ εἰσήκουσε κύριος τῆς δεήσεως αὐτῆς.
These are practically the same, except that Swete's has Κυρίῳ sometimes capitalized where Rahlfs does not. This issue matches what the photocopy of Swete's shows:

The KataBiblion site's translation of verse 35 below practically matches this, except that in the KataBiblion's copy, κύριε is never capitalized, and there are no periods.
35. ἡ δὲ καρδία αὐτῆς ἐπεποίθει ἐπὶ κυρίῳ τῷ θεῷ αὐτῆς καὶ ἀνακύψασα ἔκλαυσεν ἐν ἑαυτῇ λέγουσα
35a. κύριε ὁ θεὸς ὁ αἰώνιος ὁ εἰδὼς τὰ πάντα πρὶν γενέσεως αὐτῶν
σὺ οἶδας ὅτι οὐκ ἐποίησα ἃ πονηρεύονται οἱ ἄνομοι οὗτοι ἐπ’ ἐμοί
καὶ εἰσήκουσε κύριος τῆς δεήσεως αὐτῆς
Kata Biblion's interlinear text gives for v.35's beginning:
This resembles something like:
But her heart trusted/persuaded on Lord her God, and on lifting-up [or "lifting her head"], she wept in herself, saying,

Kata Biblion's interlinear text gives for v.35a:


καὶ AND εἰσήκουσε HE/SHE/IT-HEAR-ED κύριος LORD (NOM);AUTHORITATIVE (NOM) τῆς THE (GEN) δεήσεως PLEA (GEN) αὐτῆς HER/IT/SAME (GEN)
Word for word, this runs something like:
Lord, the God, the Ageful/Eternal, the one who has known all/everything before its/their origin:
You have known that I didn't do, which evildoing, these lawless [ones] / lawlessnesses, on me. [The context is that she abstained from the adultery that the lawless elders wanted her to commit and falsely accuse her of.]
And the Lord heard her plea.

I am putting in red what I see as serious differences in English translations:

The Lexham English Septuagint translation puts verse 35 as:
35. And her heart trusted in the Lord God, and lifting up her head to heaven she cried out within her, saying,
35a. “O Lord God, the eternal one who knows all things before their beginning,
you know that I have not done this. You know what these lawless ones maliciously intend to do against me.”
And the Lord listened to her prayer.

The website puts this as:
But her heart trusted in the Lord her God. And she lifted up her head and wept in herself, saying,
O Lord, everlasting God, that knowest all things before they be:
Thou knowest that I have not done the things which these lawless men wickedly devised against me.
And the Lord heard her supplication

The Scriptural Research Institute puts verse 35 as:
But she trusted with her heart in Lord her god and rose and called up before them, saying,
"Lord the god of ages, who knew everything before your creation.
You know that I did not create this terrible thing, and they were lawless against me.
______ Lord, hear my supplication!”
The blank in the last line above should have "And" The last line is clearly a translation error because if that line had her addressing God for a request to "hear" her prayer, the Greek grammar would use "κῡ́ρῐε," the vocative case for "Lord." However, in ancient Greek, "κύριος", which the Greek text uses, is nominative.

The NETS translation, which uses Ziegler's text that prioritizes Papyrus 967, translates verse 35 as:
35. But her heart trusted in the Lord, her God, and when she lifted her head, she wept, saying to herself,
“O Lord, everlasting God, you who know all things before their beginning,
you know that I have not done what these men are maliciously alleging against me.”
And the Lord heeded her supplication.
I think "wept within herself" is a closer match to the Greek phrase than "wept, saying to herself", although both translations capture the idea.

Out of these translations, the Scriptural Research Institute's has the most serious problems, because it mistakenly has the text specifying that she was speaking her prayer aloud in front of the elders, and it turns the last line in verse 35a into part of her prayer. Plus, it has "everything before your creation," instead of "everything before its creation/genesis/origin."

The other three translations for verse 35 - the LES, NETS, and's - are comparable in quality
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Bear in mind that if the NETS is differing from Rahlf's and Swete's, then sometimes it could be because the NETS is relying on Papyrus 967.

A Preview of Olivier Munnich's Gottingen edition, showing the Greek language text of the Old Greek for Dan 3:1-16; 12:1-13; and "Bel and the Dragon" is here:

It uses Papyrus 967, but I read a comment online that it's not significantly different from Swete's and Rahlf's.
The Polish website "Ewangelios Nathanielski's" owner told me that he posted the NETS translation. I checked and his website's version is the same as the NETS version, except that his version changes the NETS' Greek style names into Hebrew ones (like using the Hebrew "Joshua" in verse 1).
A person calling herself Princess Katie on Youtube has a website called, where she gave her own translation of the Old Greek Version of Daniel, using Rahlfs' printed Greek text.
In her Youtube discussion on Daniel 1 in the Old Greek, Katie ascribes her translation to "K. M. Stevens." I guess that it's her name, because she also said that it was her own translation.