Eschatology, or “the doctrine of last things,” is today often employed as a comprehensive term for all religious ideas of the afterlife. In the following, however, we shall employ the concept Eschatology in its original sense: eschatology describes and explains the goal and ultimate destiny of human history. Eschatology thus presupposes a unique linear flow of history from the beginning to the end of temporal history.
The Dead Sea Scrolls are a collection of about 900 documents, including texts from the Hebrew Bible, discovered between 1947 and 1956 in eleven caves in and around the ruins of the ancient settlement of Khirbet Qumran on the northwest shore of the Dead Sea in the West Bank.
It is difficult to assess how Jewish society as a whole responded to this new reality. Did the isolated geographical circumstances of Jews (who lived primarily in the more remote hill country of Judea), combined with ethnic and religious differences, create a buffer between them and the outside world? Or were Jews affected by these changes in the same ways as were their pagan counterparts in the coastal cities, albeit at a somewhat slower pace? Unfortunately, our sources cannot answer these questions adequately.
The Greco-Persian Wars
The so-called Letter of Aristeas or Letter to Philocrates  is a Hellenistic work of the second century BCE, one of the Pseudepigrapha. Josephus Flavius who rephrases some of the letter, ascribes it to Aristeas and written to Philocrates, describing the Greek translation of the Hebrew Law by seventy-two interpreters sent into Egypt from Jerusalem at the request of the librarian of Alexandria, resulting in the Septuagint translation.
Readers of Bible commentaries and articles on the Bible are often informed by learned authors that a particular word or phrase is found in the Septuagint—and that, therefore, the Septuagint substantiates the learned author’s point.
The Aristeas purpose was really to establish and defend the authority of this Greek translation of the Pentateuch. That purpose lies implicit in much of the letter. It comes to the fore, near the end, in the description of the public reading and ratification of the translation:
Most of the scholars today —who are now in the majority—disagree.  They contend that it is much more likely that the Jewish community itself instigated the translation to serve their own liturgical and pedagogical needs. When scholars holding this position reinvestigate Ptolemy’s supposed interest in a Greek translation of Jewish Law, the evidence begins to evaporate.
It often comes as a surprise to laypeople to learn that ancient copies of the Bible vary, sometimes in minor ways, but sometimes, also, in important ways. Variation exists between any two manuscripts of the Bible, even when they are written in the same language. But apart from minor variations among ancient manuscripts, when all the evidence from antiquity is compared, two important traditions of the biblical text emerge. They are the Masoretic text and the Septuagint.