What does it mean that all roads of Septuagint studies lead back to Origen?
Dines states it nicely,
Origen had not intended his work to be used indiscriminately; it was to help users of the Bible who needed a clearer picture of the text in order to gain access to the Hebrew, whether for debate or for pastoral and homiletic purposes. However methodologically unacceptable by modern standards, his was a work of meticulous scholarship, undertaken, one guesses, largely from love of the textual enterprise itself.
But it was not long before things got out of hand: copies of the hexaplaric edition were made in which the critical marks were inaccurately copied, or not copied at all, probably because scribes did not understand their significance. The end result was that the clear distinctions between original LXX and versions in the Hexapla itself, not to mention Origen’s own rearrangements, became blurred so that what now passed for ‘the LXX’ was in fact a badly corrupted text.
Jennifer Mary Dines, The Septuagint (T&T Clark, 2004), 102.
There is a general consensus among scholars that the first first few books of the Septuagint were translated in the early- to mid-third century B.C.E in Alexandria.
In her concise little Introduction to the Septuagint, Jennifer Dines ponders,
Why were written Scriptures needed, or permitted, in Greek at a time when they were not, apparently, in Aramaic? Why could there not have been oral Greek paraphrases of the Hebrew Scriptures in Egypt which might eventually have resulted in written Greek ‘Targums’?
Her conclusion is intriguing:
Alexandria (assuming the whole enterprise to have started there) provided a literate, cosmopolitan culture, where ‘everyone who was anyone’ came to study, and where debating and writing were second nature. Alexandrian Judaism may have almost accidentally pioneered a new stage in the history of the Bible in response to the excitement of living in a educated milieu which expressed iteself in written words . . . This was a moment of creative genius from which the LXX emerged as something generically new: not quite like a legislative document, not quite like a metaphrase of Homer, not quite an exegetical rewriting, but exhibiting features of all these genres. The first translators made serious use of all of them as appropriate ways of rendering the holy books in use within their communities, and in doing so perhaps attracted the interest of the wider world as well.
Jennifer Mary Dines, The Septuagint (T&T Clark, 2004), 60–61.