The best-known book collected from a non-Greek culture and translated into Greek at the library was the Hebrew Bible, known in its Greek form as the Septuagint (LXX). It seems to have reached the state of a largely completed and official Greek text between 150 and 50 B.C.E. Philo Judaeus (30 B.C.E.–50 C.E.) obviously knew and worked with a Greek version of the Hebrew Bible.



Maria Dzielska, Hypatia of Alexandria, trans. F. Lyra (Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press, 1995), p. 93. Cf. J. Harold Ellens, The Ancient Library of Alexandria and Early Christian Theological Development, Occasional Papers 27, Institute for Antiquity and Christianity (Claremont: Claremont Graduate School, 1993), pp. 44–51.


“Saint Cyril of Alexandria,” in Encyclopaedia Britannica, Micropaedia, 15th ed., vol. 3, cols. 329–330.


Theodoret, quoted in The Works of Charles Kingsley, 2 vols. (New York: Co-operative Publishing Society, 1899).


Edward Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, ed. J.B. Bury, 3 vols., with notes by Gibbon, introduction and index by Bury and a letter to the reader from P. Guedalla (New York: Heritage, 1946).


Socrates Scholasticus, Historia Ecclesiastica 7.15, in A.C. Zenos, ed., vol. 2 of The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, 2d ser., ed. Philip Schaff and Henry Wace (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1957), p. 160. See also Edward A. Parsons, The Alexandrian Library, Glory of the Hellenic World: Its Rise, Antiquities, and Destructions (London: Cleaver-Hume, 1952), p. 356.


“Theon of Alexandria,” in Encyclopaedia Britannica, Micropaedia, 15th ed., vol. 9, col. 938; “Euclid,” in Encyclopaedia Britannica, Macropaedia, 15th ed., vol. 6, col. 1020; Ellens, Alexandria, p. 44; and Dzielska, Hypatia of Alexandria, pp. 68–69.


Dzielska, Hypatia of Alexandria, p. 70, quoting Damascius without citing what source.


Dzielska, Hypatia of Alexandria, pp. 70–73.


Steven Blake Shubert, “The Oriental Origins of the Alexandrian Library,” Libri 43:2 (1993), p. 143.


Shubert, “Oriental Origins,” pp. 142–143.


Shubert, “Oriental Origins,” p. 143.


Shubert, “Oriental Origins,” p. 143.


Ellens, Alexandria, pp. 1–2.


Encyclopaedia Britannica, Macropaedia, 15th ed., vol. 16, cols. 501–503.


Encyclopaedia Britannica, Macropaedia, 15th ed., vol. 1, cols. 990–991.


Encyclopaedia Britannica, Macropaedia, 15th ed., vol. 15, cols. 180–182.


For a detailed discussion of the date of the destruction of the library, see Ellens, Alexandria, pp. 6–12, 50–51; and the superbly objective and thorough treatment of the process of the library’s demise by Mostafa El-Abbadi, Life and Fate of the Ancient Library of Alexandria (Paris: UNESCO/UNDP, 1990), pp. 145–179. See also Gibbon, Decline and Fall, vol. 1, pp. 57–58, and vol. 2, chap. 28 (on the destruction of the library); and Parsons, Alexandrian Library, pp. 411–412.


Shubert, “Oriental Origins,” p. 144, in which reference is made to the tenth-century C.E. Byzantine Greek volume called the Suidas Lexicon. This lexicon cites the full name of the Pinakes and describes its size as 120 scrolls. Cf. Ellens, Alexandria, p. 3; and F. J. Witty, “The Pinakes of Callimachus,” Library Quarterly 28 (1958), p. 133.


Suidas Lexicon; Tzetzes, as cited in El-Abbadi, Life and Fate, p. 101. See also Shubert, “Oriental Origins,” p. 144; and Witty, “Pinakes of Callimachus.”


Shubert, “Oriental Origins,” p. 144. It is interesting in this regard that Anne Holmes (“The Alexandrian Library,” Libri 30 [December 1980], p. 21) suggests that the Pinakes may have been a list of authors and books that Callimachus wanted to acquire for the library rather than a catalogue of existing library holdings. This is unlikely because of the detailed bibliographical and critical material incorporated in each entry, including the indication that the book was purchased from some other library source or confiscated from some traveler. Lionel Casson (“Triumphs from the Ancient World’s First Think Tank,” Smithsonian 10 [June 1985], p. 164) urges that the Pinakes was conceivably only an encyclopedia of Greek literary history. In such a case, one wonders why it was called the Pinakes, connecting it with the tiles designating the categories of storage compartments and their contents.


El-Abbadi, Life and Fate, p. 100; and Parsons, Alexandrian Library, p. 211. See also J.E. Sandys, A History of Classical Scholarship (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1906–1908), p. 34 n. 3.


Parsons, Alexandrian Library, pp. 217–218.


Parsons, Alexandrian Library, pp. 110, 204–205. See also El-Abbadi, Life and Fate, pp. 95, 100; and Tzetzes, a 12th-century scholar whose Prolegomena to Aristophanes, also known as Scholium Plautinum, may be found in R. Pfeiffer, History of Classical Scholarship (Oxford: Clarendon, 1968), p. 101.


El-Abbadi, Life and Fate, p. 102.


Kathleen Marguerite Lea, “Francis Bacon,” in Encyclopaedia Britannica, Macropaedia, 15th ed., vol. 2, cols. 561–566. See also Catherine Drinker Bowen, Francis Bacon, The Temper of a Man (Boston: Little, Brown, 1963).


Gilbert Murray, A History of Ancient Greek Literature (New York: Scribner, 1897), p. 387.


Casson, “Triumphs.” The ancient sources describe the sum as 15 talents, which would probably exceed $4 million today.


Shubert, “Oriental Origins,” pp. 145, 166 n. 8, cites Galen’s Comm. II in Hippocraits Epidem. libri III 239–240, which I have not been able to consult. See also J. Platthy, Sources on the Earliest Greek Libraries (Amsterdam: Hakkert, 1968), pp. 118–119; Holmes, “Alexandrian Library,” p. 290; and P.M. Fraser, Ptolemaic Alexandria (Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 1972), p. 325.


Vitruvius, De Architectura 7.6–8. See also Parsons, Alexandrian Library, p. 150; and El-Abbadi, Life and Fate, pp. 105, 111. Vitruvius lived during the same period as Julius Caesar, Philo Judaeus and Jesus Christ. He was a famous Roman architect, engineer and city planner. The work cited here is a handbook for Roman architects. His style for architecture and city planning was largely Greek, as he lived at the beginning of the phase of creative Roman architectural style, and his work heavily influenced Renaissance art, architecture and engineering. Pliny the Elder borrowed heavily from Vitruvius in the preparation of his Natural History. As was typical in the ancient world, Pliny does not cite his sources and credit Vitruvius. De Architectura contains ten books on building materials, Greek designs in temple construction, private buildings, floors and stucco decoration, hydraulics, clocks, measurement skills, astronomy, and civil and military engines. He was classically Hellenistic in his perspective.


Parsons, Alexandrian Library, p. 152; see also p. 229, where Parsons, citing a letter from Thomas E. Page to James Loeb, declares that “But for the patronage of the Ptolemies and the labor of devoted students in the Museum, Homer…might have wholly perished, and we might know nothing of Aeschylus…We still owe Alexandria a great debt.” Murray (Literature, p. 388) remarks, “Zenodotus, Callimachus [sic], Eratosthenes, Aristophanes of Byzantium, and Aristarchus were the first five librarians; what institution has ever had such a row of giants at its head?”


In this regard see, for example, Alan Segal, Two Powers in Heaven, Early Rabbinic Reports about Christianity and Gnosticism (Leiden: Brill, 1977); Maurice Casey, From Jewish Prophet to Gentile God, The Origins and Development of New Testament Christology (Louisville: Westminster/John Knox, 1991); Jarl Fossum, The Name of God and the Angel of the Lord, Samaritan and Jewish Concepts of Intermediation and the Origin of Gnosticism (Tübingen: Mohr, 1985); Gabrielle Boccaccini, Middle Judaism, Jewish Thought, 300 B.C.E.-200 C.E. (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1991).


Philo Judaeus, The Works of Philo, trans. C.D. Yonge (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1993). See also Harry A. Wolfson, Philo, 2 vols. (Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press, 1947).


Some scholars question whether there really was a formal catechetical school as early as the second century, rather than just independent teachers; see Roelof van den Broek, “The Christian ‘School’ of Alexandria in the Second and Third Centuries,” in Centres of Learning: Learning and Location in Pre-Modern Europe and the Near East, ed. J.W. Drijvers and A.A. MacDonald (Leiden: Brill, 1995). The preponderance of evidence, however, strongly indicates that there was one; see W.H.C. Frend, The Rise of Christianity (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1984), p. 286; Eusebius’ Ecclesiastical History (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1955), pp. 190–191, 217–255; Schaff and Wace, eds., The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, 2nd ser., vol. 1 (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1952), pp. 224–226, 249–281; and G. Bardy, “Aux origines de l’ecole d’Alexandrie,” Reserches de Science Religieuse 27 (1937), pp. 65–90.


Frend, Rise of Christianity, p. 286.


Eusebius’ Ecclesiastical History, p. 190. See also Annewies van den Hoek, “How Alexandrian Was Clement of Alexandria? Reflections on Clement and His Alexandrian Background,” HeyJ31 (1990), pp. 179–194.


Ernst Wilhelm Bentz, “Christianity,” in Encyclopaedia Britannica, Macropaedia, vol. 4, col. 498.


Frend, Rise of Christianity, p. 286.