Friday, November 15, 2019

Librarians


Once there was a man named Demetrius, who, having ruled over Athens for a decade and having been deposed, fled to Alexandria, becoming librarian. Founded and named for Alexander the Great, Alexandria, in Egypt, was fast becoming the greatest city in the world, and its library was the epicentre of knowledge. Greeks and Jews lived side by side, the Greeks possessing a certain fascination with their neighbours. To the library, Demetrius summoned seventy-two prominent Jewish scholars, to translate the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek. Named after their number, the Septuagint made accessible their ancient books not only to the Greeks but to many Jews, for whom, by this time, Greek had become their first language. This was the Bible Jesus knew.

It is fascinating to me that when Jesus sent out his disciples to go ahead of him into all the towns and villages where he was heading, he should appoint as evangelists seventy or seventy-two (there is some ambiguity).

In so doing, he proclaims himself not only the new Moses, interpreting the words of God to his ancient people, but also the new Demetrius, bringing the Word of God to Jew and god-fearing Gentile alike.

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