Masoretic Text in Error?

Discussion in 'Bible Versions/Translations' started by Paul33, Aug 17, 2006.

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  1. Paul33

    Paul33
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    The Masoretic Text has the same status for some as the Textus Receptus. Both are believed to be the preserved Word of God.

    Could someone explain the following to me.

    In Romans 3:10-13, the Apostle Paul quotes Psalm 14:1-3. But when I look up Psalm 14:1-3 in the KJV and MT, I find that it is nothing like what Paul quotes in Romans 3:10-13.

    Imagine my surprise when I find that it is a direct quote from the LXX. Paul says he is quoting Scripture, but its not the MT he's quoting from! What does this mean? Is the LXX a more faithful copy of the Hebrew? Is the MT a faulty text? Is it a corrupted text?

    When the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered, an ancient copy of Jeremiah was found that conforms to the LXX and not to the MT. There are major difference between the Jeremiah of the LXX and the Jeremiah of the MT. Which is correct?

    If the NT writers quote from the LXX and not from the MT, why do our English translations follow the MT and not the LXX?

    Did the MT even exist in the first century?
     
    #1 Paul33, Aug 17, 2006
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  2. Paul33

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    Hello out there!

    Would someone like to explain why most of the NT writers used the LXX and not the MT? Is it as simple as they spoke Greek? Or did the HS want us to understand that translations are still the Word of God?

    Was the MT even in existence then? I understand that there must have been a Hebrew text in the first century, but was it equivalent to today's MT, or is the MT a 5th to 10th century A.D. Jewish revision?

    Was there more than one family of Hebrew texts in the first century? A text from which the LXX was translated and a text from which the MT was derived?
     
  3. canadyjd

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    My understanding is that the Masoretic text came much later than the NT, (about 500 A.D.? or so). These Jewish scholars put the "vowel points" into the text, and it is what we use today.

    The language of the 1st century was Kone Greek, which was the trade language. The LXX was the translation of the Hebrew into the Greek, and yes, most of the quotes of the O.T found in the N.T. are from the LXX.

    I know there are some differences in the translations; mostly omissions in the LXX that are found in the Hebrew. I had not heard they were as significant as you are saying, however.

    It seems I read once that much of the Isaiah scroll found in the caves near the Dead Sea was nearly identical with the Masoretic text, minus the vowel points of course.

    Perhaps you could list some specific differences that explain your concerns?

    peace to you:praying:
     
  4. Paul33

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    The Jeremiah dilemma has me scratching my head. The LXX is much shorter than the MT, and the order is different. The discovery of an ancient Hebrew text of Jeremiah that matches the LXX is interesting. The fact that the NT writers quoted from the LXX, a translation that doesn't match the MT has raised all kinds of questions for me. Was there a Hebrew text circulating in the first century that matches the LXX, and if so, what does that say to us about the MT and the fact that our English translations are based on the MT?

    Should our English translations be based on the Hebrew text behind the LXX instead?
     
  5. tinytim

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    The problem you stated in your OP, was the one thing that brought me out of KJVOism.


    Except, it was when I realized that Jesus didn't quote the MT in Luke 4:18-19, but some other text...

    This started my thinking that if Jesus didn't use the underlying text of the KJV, why should I be bound to it.

    I think they used the LXX, along with others because they recognized they were also the Word of God. Just like the translators of the KJV said about the LXX, and other versions.
     
  6. El_Guero

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    simple question . . .

    Maybe you could google Massorah . . .
     
  7. Paul33

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    That's what I'm leaning towards - the idea that the LXX was quoted so much by the NT writers to demonstrate to us that translations are still the Word of God even when they differ from other manuscripts.

    What I would like to know is if there is a Hebrew text behind the LXX that is more accurate than the MT. Obviously the LXX is using a different text than the MT. Did the Hebrew text get corrupted in the 5th to 10th centuries? Is the resulting product, the MT, a corrupt Hebrew text?

    And if it is, or if it is even possible that it is, why aren't the modern translations shying away from it?
     
  8. El_Guero

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    with assumptions like that, a little TC could change the history of interpretation . . .
     
  9. El_Guero

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    Of course, you could read Comfort, Metzger, and a few others to learn how TC has been impacted over the eons.
     
  10. Paul33

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    I spent the afternoon reading Metzger.
    Then I went to books that addressed the use of the OT in the NT.
    I then read the preface to the NIV.

    It seems that translators are still using the MT as the basis for OT translation when the NT writers used the LXX and other manuscripts.

    Now why are modern translators using the MT? They state that they also look at other manuscripts including the LXX. Do they believe that the MT is more correct than the LXX? Or would it be politically incorrect to favor the LXX over the MT, especially in Jeremiah?
     
  11. Eliyahu

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    This was dealt with some months ago already.
    If we check LXX and NT quotes of OT carefully, almost all the verses have at least one word different each other between LXX and NT quotes.

    I made some charts before, but am not sure whether it can be posted properly here. Let me show you in hte following posts

     
  12. Eliyahu

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    NT

    NT verse
    LXX
    MT
    Difference

    Matt 1:23
    Behold, a virgin..
    They shall call his name Emmanuel
    His name shall be called
    You(femnine you=the virgin) shall call his name
    All 3 differ

    Luke 4:19
    Κηρυξαι

    To preach the acceptable
    Καλεσαι
    (call)
    KRA ( proclaim)

    Acts 8:32-33

    Isaiah 53:7-8
    Και ως αμνος εναντιον του κειραντος αυτον αφωνος ουτως ουκ ανοιγει το στομα….. αυτου
    Και ως αμνος εμπρσθεν του κειραντος (- )
    αυτον αφωνος ουτως ουκ ανοιγει το στομα ( -)
    He is brouhgt as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearer
    Missing ()
    Heb 10:5

    Ευδοκησας
    (delight in, pleasure)
    Εζητησας

    (seek, pursue)
    Chaphatsta
    (pleased to do, delight in)








    An interesting quote from Genesis 47:31 is found in Hebrews (11:21).

    By faith Jacob, when he was a dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff. (KJV – bolding added)

    Both the Byzantine Greek text and the Nestle-Aland Greek text agree here and all versions provide translation similar to the KJV.

    Genesis 47:31 is the text that the author of Hebrews quotes:

    31 And he said, Swear unto me. And he sware unto him. And Israel bowed himself upon the bed’s head.(KJV)

    Again, the various Hebrew texts are similar.

    Why would the author of Hebrews misquote the verse? Was there new revelation?


    One explanation is found by examining the Septuagint.

    The Greek Septuagint reads: “And he said, Swear to me; and he swore to him. And Israel did reverence, leaning on the top of his staff.

    εἶπεν δέ Ὄμοσόν μοι. καὶ ὤμοσεν αὐτῷ. καὶ προσεκύνησεν Ισραηλ ἐπὶ τὸ ἄκρον τῆς ῥάβδου αὐτοῦ. (Septuagint)


    Why the discrepancy?



    In Psalm 8:5 there is another interesting phrase that seems to be twisted about a bit in various translations.
    quote:

    5 Yet You have made him a little lower than God, And You crown him with glory and majesty! New American Standard (NAS) – (bolding added)

    Here both the KJV and NIV have translated the bolded phrase ( מֵאֱלֹהִ֑ים – Me’ eloheim) as “angels”.
    But same word is also used in Job 20:29 and 2 Chronicles 35:21 and translated as “with” or “from God” in both the KJV and NIV.

    quote:

    For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. KJV (bolding added)

    Why did they do that???




    We should distinguish 2 problems here:

    1) a body thou has prepared for me.
    or
    Mine ear hast thou opened

    Literally, KJV differs between OT and NT.

    2) thou didn't require(seek or pursue), or

    thou didn't desire

    εζητησασ may have the meaning of desire too, but apprarently different word, different spelling, and if NT quoted LXX, why didn't NT have the exact spelling of it?

    If anyone can be generous about item 2), then he or she should tolerate 1) as well, because Jews interpret this way:

    Ears are part of the body organ and the channel for receiving divine instructions and when the Bible said God dug Ears for me, it can be translated as God prepared a body for me too, saying the question " how can we translate dig Ears for me into Greek without causing misunderstanding?"

    So, in this aspect, if we apply the same rule, then KJV has no problem without LXX.

    Otherwise, if we can imagine that there might be another Hebrew OT texts, it might be easier to resolve the discrepancies as we often hear that there were 3 types of Hebrew OT, Babylonian, Egyptian, Palestinian etc.

    Still I take Heb 10:5 as a good example that NT didn't quote LXX as we notice the difference (ευδοκησασ / εζητησασ)
     
    #12 Eliyahu, Aug 18, 2006
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2006
  13. Eliyahu

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    This was discussed on this Bible Translation and Versions thread in April already.

    Almost every verses quoted in NT differs from LXX!
    They look similar each other but different!

    Why none of the major translations is based on LXX?
    Did the scholars have no knowledge that NT quoted LXX? Were they too stupid to know that NT quoted LXX ? Nope! They must have heard of it thousand times before!
    Why didn't they use LXX as their bases, for NIV, NASV, ASV, RV, NRSV, NET, even Catholic Bible etc?

    LXX is not Word-to-Word Translation and it differs from MT in thousands of verses.

    We can imagine this kind of situation in ancient times:
    1) Bible scrolls cost more than a house, a lot of fortune, only 1-2 Bible scrolls were available in major towns. I don't expect the NT writers had the OT individually. They may have quoted the small booklets for the worship service in Hebrew, or Midrash etc.

    2) There must be a certain Hebrew Bible which may be similar to LXX at the time of NT writing.

    3) Dead Sea Scrolls confirmed the accuracy of MT in 99.5%, in Isaiah.

    4) among 6 scrolls for Jeremiah found in DSS, 5 had longer contents as MT, 1 had shorter contents as LXX.
    This requires us some more thoughts
     
    #13 Eliyahu, Aug 18, 2006
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2006
  14. Eliyahu

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    I made the above in the chart form but it doesn't show like that.
     
  15. El_Guero

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    Well my hat is off to you.

    If you can read Metzger in an afternoon - you must read throught the GNT almost daily . . .

     
  16. El_Guero

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    I believe that translators favor the stugartensia (sp). And yes, this Hebrew OT favors the Masoretic text. But, the reason for this is that breaking with tradition is sometimes a difficult thing.

    There are places where the Septuagint was favored - but, since you read Metzger recently, you can find those much quicker than I.
     
  17. tinytim

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    Thats, plausible, but what about the passage in Luke 4 where it says Jesus read from the scroll?... it does not match the KJV OT.

    Does it match the LXX?
    If not, then what Hebrew text was He reading from?

    Clearly it is not the one that the KJV translators used.

    It would be nice to use the one Jesus (God) uses!
     
  18. El_Guero

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    Is it plausible that Alexandria, Rome, Jerusalem, and other repositories of knowledge in the ANE did not have but one or two copies of the Torah?

    It was only the 1700's that modern technology and learning begin to rival the Roman era.

    Not only did the Romans have the library at Alexandria - they had indoor plumbing . . .

    Just a tho't . . .

     
  19. Paul33

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    There appears to be a Hebrew text behind the LXX.
    There appears to be a Hebrew text that stands behind the MT.
    There appears to be a Hebrew text that stands behind neither.

    So, there was more than one Hebrew manuscript of the OT, just like there is more than one Greek manuscript of the NT.

    What does this mean for inerrancy, or verbal inerrancy?

    It seems to me that God has preserved his Word in the various families of manuscripts and that variations are to some extent inconsequential.

    Every idea in Romans 3:10-18 is in the Psalms of the MT, just not in one paragraph as in the LXX.

    God's Word has been preserved and the variations are easily discerned and do not lead to any doctrinal confusion. Therefore, we have the Word of God! The NT writers quote from the LXX, the MT, and some other text and/or paraphrase. And they call all of it the "Scriptures."

    So the various manuscript families of the NT Greek must all be considered the Scriptures as well. Is this correct?
     
  20. El_Guero

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    Nope . . .
     
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