Pre-Christian LXX or not???

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by JesusIsLord, Feb 19, 2003.

  1. JesusIsLord

    JesusIsLord
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    The original topic got a little bit of course so I start a new one :rolleyes:

    I heard that many believe (scholars) that the LXX is an old translation used by Jesus and the first christians. I also read that there is just one ancient document (a letter) which seems to indicate in one sentence that the LXX already existed. I read, that letter was proven to be a fake but (like evolution theory) scholars still believe in a pre-Christian LXX.
    Do you have any useful information (I mean a little bit more than: The LXX is a lie! ) :rolleyes:

    Alex
     
  2. rsr

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    The Septuagint is attested to thoroughly, not only by Aristeas but by Josephus and Philo. While the origin in the 72 scholars -- rejected by Jerome, who also insisted in translating from the Hebrew, not the Greek -- is doubtful, it is clear that there was a Greek translation of the OT by the First Century.

    I am aware of Ruckman's objections. Was there a single version of the Septuagint? Maybe not. Obviously, the divergence from the Masoretic text in the NT quotes of the OT must come from somewhere -- and there seems to be no reason to reject the Septuagint, other than its fabulous origin.

    It is still used by the Greek church.

    http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/13722a.htm

    http://www.bible-researcher.com/brenton1.html
     
  3. Ransom

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    Ancient witnesses to the LXX are unanimous in affirming the existence of it. They may disagree with the more fantastic elements of the legend concerning its creation, but in the essentials they agree: in Alexandria during the reign of Ptolemy Philadelphus, a Greek translation of at least the Pentateuch, if not the entire Old Testament, was made.

    There is even a contemporary witness to the fact: the Jewish high priest Aristobulus, a fragment of whose writing concerning the Septuagint has been preserved through Clement and Eusebius. Although the writings of Aristobulus have been lost to us today, that was evidently not the case in the early Church. Just as Peter and Paul appeal to the living witnesses of the resurrected Christ as proof that the Gospel was true, Eusebius appeals to an ancient source that was still extant in his day. If he had invented it, he ran the risk of being discredited.

    In reality, it is those who deny the authenticity of the LXX, a position usually identified with the Ruckman camp, who have the harder explanation. For example:

    </font>
    1. According to the Ruckman position, the document we currently call the "Septuagint" is really a fraud concocted by Origen, purporting to be an ancient Greek version, for which he wanted official recognition. Question: Since Origen claimed his Hexapla was a six-column compilation of the most common Bible versions of his day, is it reasonable to believe that he passed off his own work as an extant Greek translation and no one noticed?</font>
    2. According to the Ruckman position, the Septuagint did not exist prior to Origen, and the only witness to its existence prior to Christ is the letter of Aristeas, a known and obvious forgery. Question: Why did someone waste his time forging a letter about the creation of a Bible translation that did not exist?</font>
    3. It is virtually certain that there was a Greek translation of the Holy Scriptures made approximately 200 years before Christ. Question: If it is not the Greek translation currently known as the Septuagint, what is it? Since the Ruckman crowd rejects the best candidate, the onus is upon them to demonstrate a better one.</font>

    [ February 19, 2003, 01:08 PM: Message edited by: Ransom ]
     
  4. HankD

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    Here is a URL :

    http://www.ccel.org/bible/brenton/intro.html

    It will be a dry and boring read (for most) but necessary to a basic understanding of the Pre-Christian Greek OT which we now know as the Septuagint (sometimes signified by the Roman numerals LXX (70)).

    The LXX today is in all probablility, the melding of at least 3 or 4 Greek to Hebrew translations starting around the 3rd or 2nd century BC and ending about the 3rd or 4th century AD.

    To fly in the face of the historical witness of this translation and deny its reality is not wise and is probably a smoke screen for the real reason to deny its authenticity:

    This is the reason:
    The New Testament Greek quotations (apart from whatever name one wants to give the source) of the OT differ (sometimes significantly) from the Masoretic Hebrew Text.

    This has been honestly reflected and retained in the several KJV English revisions.

    There can be only one explanation as far as I can discern for the believer as to the differences:

    God is lenient when it comes to translations. The thought is of the highest importance, a word-for-word translation though the optimum ideal is impossible in every case and in fact even most cases.

    Jots and tittle preservation is for the original words so that God's thoughts can be translated fresh and alive and brought to the world in the common tongue of the people.

    My opinion of course.
    Happy reading (get some coffee first).

    Psalm 68:11 The Lord gave the word: great was the company of those that published it.

    HankD
     
  5. HoLogos

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    The New Testament writers sometimes quoted the Septuagint almost exactly word for word in the Greek.

    I have translated some NT books from Greek to English, and I was struck particularly in the Song of Mary, how exactly her quotes of and allusions to the Old Testament are straight out of the Septuagint.

    Jesus himself said "Not one iota, not one serif, will by any means pass from the law until all of this is fulfilled..."

    This in Matthew 5:18 about "not one iota, not one serif" is a very interesting thing Jesus said, because by it He acknowledges the situation that in his time, the scriptures were available in both the Greek and Semitic versions.  The iota was the smallest letter in the Greek alphabet, especially when "subscript." And in the Semitic languages, Hebrew and Aramaic, one little serif could change it from one letter of the alphabet to another.  I believe that Jesus is declaring that both the Greek and the Hebrew Bibles were holy scripture that would not pass away until fulfilled.  His apostles certainly believed this of the Septuagint, since they clearly quoted the Septuagint as holy, immutable scripture.

    I have comparisons of this passage in 26 versions, at:

    http://www.bibletranslation.ws/comp.html
     
  6. The Harvest

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    Turn to John 6:45. It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. This Old Testament quote is from Isaiah 54:13 and its phrasing by Jesus Christ in this case puts the lie to the fraudulent teaching that Jesus and his disciples used the fictitious Septuagint.

    Scholars claim that the Septuagint is an "official" Greek translation of the Old Testament that was supposedly done around 250 BC by seventy-two Jewish scholars.

    They further claim that Jesus, His disciples and the New Testament writers all used it. That, they say, is why there is often a difference between the wording of one of Jesus' quotes and the exact wording of the particular Old Testament passage He is quoting. This is BUNK!

    There is NO MANUSCRIPT EVIDENCE of the existence of a Greek translation of the Old Testament prior to 150 BC. And even this weak piece of evidence is of nothing more than some portions of Deuteronomy. Hardly to be called an 'entire' Old Testament!

    But! If you go to a "Christian" (I prefer the term religious bookstore) bookstore you can purchase a 'genuine' copy of the Septuagint. How can that be? Simple - the Old Testament Greek translation that is sold as The Septuagint was never translated before the time of Christ. It is nothing more than a copy of a work that Origen did in the 4th century AD - and we all know what God thought of Origin and what Origin thought of God, don't we!

    PS - Origen produced a work entitled the Hexapla. It got that name from the fact that it was made up of six columns on each page. The 1st column was copy of the Old Testament in Hebrew; the 2nd was Greek translation, a Greek version by Aquila; the 4th column was a translation by Symmachus; the 5th column was Origin's own translation; the 6th, a translation by Theodotion. What is known to us today as The Septuagint is actually the 5th column of Origen's Hexapla.
     
  7. Ransom

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    The Harvest commits the argumentum ad ignorantiam fallacy of assuming that since no complete manuscript of the LXX is extant before the third century, it therefore did not exist before then.

    So we're back to my third question. It is clear that there was some Greek translation of the Old Testament made during the intertestamental period. If it's not the Septuagint, what is it?

    What is known to us today as The Septuagint is actually the 5th column of Origen's Hexapla.

    The Harvest is also guilty of begging the question. The source of the fifth column is exactly what is in dispute. If he has evidence that it is Origen's own translation, then he should present it.
     
  8. HankD

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    Dear Harvest,

    No one is disputing the questionable origin and history of what is called the LXX today.

    The fact is that it exists and the NT quotes of the OT resemble it usually word-for-word.

    However and IMO the real question should be :
    Why are some of the NT quotes of the OT different in wording than the actual OT wording even in our KJV?

    To poo-poo the LXX or blame the devil doesn't answer this question but is a smoke screen leaving those who are seeking the truth without an answer.

    BTW I am TRO but not KJVO.

    HankD
     
  9. Scott J

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    I have been reading "The Fundamentals" and can't help but notice how similar Harvest's arguments against the Septuagint are to the arguments that higher critics used 100 years ago. Their contention was that all of the OT was written post-exile. To do this, they speculated ambiguous times and authors without any proof other than their "certainty" that Moses was unable to write the first five books.

    Harvest et al. seem absolutely certain that the idea of a Greek translation prior to Christ is impossible... for no apparent reason other than it does not fit their model for the evolution of scripture.
     
  10. Scott J

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    The liberal higher critic (true Bible deniers) of 100 years ago could have made the same statement but deleting "of a Greek translation" and changing 150 to 500.

    Acknowledging that Greek was the trade language of the era- Why is it that someone who is absolutely certain that God gave His Word in perfectly worded English in 1611 scoffs at the notion that the Greeks prior to Christ were capable of making an accurate translation of the OT that became widely accepted?

    The proof doesn't seem to be definitive either way. But to deny even the possibility while holding on to KJVOnlyism seems a great deal like straining at a gnat while swallowing a .... whale.
     
  11. HoLogos

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    I wish KJVO's would consider this:

    The Jews were conquered by various powers prior to the time of Christ. During those times, they took on the languages of their conquerors. The Babylonians conquered Judah, but the Babylonian / Chaldean language was already close to Hebrew; after all, Abraham was Babylonian.

    But then there was Assyria, and their language, Aramaic. No one denies that the mother tongue of a great many Jews of Jesus' day was Aramaic. Why wouldn't they have scriptures in Aramaic? Of course they did. The Jews of Jesus' time had scriptures in Aramaic for them to read or be read from. They are called Aramaic targums.

    And there were also the Greek conquerors. Antiochus Epiphanes and his desecration of the temple is the whole reason we have Hannukah today. One thing the Greeks did was try to outlaw the Hebrew writings and language, and make the Jews speak Greek.

    Well, the Greeks had partial success. No one can reasonably deny that the native tongue of many Jews all over the Mediterranean in the time of Christ was Greek. Why wouldn't they want a Bible in their native language? Of course they would want one, and they did. The center of academia was Alexandria, Egypt, and that was where it was translated.

    We know the apostles spoke and wrote Greek. If not, how did they write the books of the New Testament. And if they could read and write Greek, why wouldn't they read the Greek Bible? Yes, one certainly existed. We can tell by the wording of their quotes.

    I can just as easily shout BUNK to those who deny the existence of a Greek Bible in the time of Christ. But what does that do, except inflame the flesh of the listeners?
     
  12. Forever settled in heaven

    Forever settled in heaven
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    nah, this shd settle it, but it won't either:

    "But, when the fulness of time drew near, that the Sun of righteousness, the Son of God should come into the world, whom God ordained to be a reconciliation through faith in his blood, not of the Jew only, but also of the Greek, yea, of all them that were scattered abroad; then lo, it pleased the Lord to stir up the spirit of a Greek Prince (Greek for descent and language) even of Ptolemy Philadelph King of Egypt, to procure the translating of the Book of God out of Hebrew into Greek. This is the translation of the Seventy Interpreters, com- monly so called, which prepared the way for our Saviour among the Gen- tiles by written preaching, as Saint John Baptist did among the Jews by vocal. For the Grecians being desirous of learning, were not wont to suffer books of worth to lie moulding in Kings' libraries, but had many of their servants, ready scribes, to copy them out, and so they were dispersed and made common. Again, the Greek tongue was well known and made familiar to most inhabitants in Asia, by reason of the conquest that there the Grecians had made, as also by the Colonies, which thither they had sent. For the same causes also it was well understood in many places of Europe, yea, and of Africa too. Therefore the word of God being set forth in Greek, becometh hereby like a candle set upon a candlestick, which giveth light to all that are in the house, or like a proclamation sounded forth in the market place, which most men presently take knowledge of; and therefore that language was fittest to contain the Scriptures, both for the first Preachers of the Gospel to appeal unto for witness, and for the learners also of those times to make search and trial by. It is certain, that that Translation was not so sound and so perfect, but it needed in many places correc- tion; and who had been so sufficient for this work as the Apostles or Apostolic men? Yet it seemed good to the holy Ghost and to them, to take that which they found, (the same being for the greatest part true and sufficient) rather than making a new, in that new world and green age of the Church, to expose themselves to many exceptions and cavil- lations, as though they made a Translations to serve their own turn, and therefore bearing a witness to themselves, their witness not to be regarded. This may be supposed to be some cause, why the Translation of the Seventy was allowed to pass for current. Notwithstanding, though it was commended generally, yet it did not fully content the learned, no not of the Jews. For not long after Christ, Aquila fell in hand with a new Translation, and after him Theodotion, and after him Symmachus; yea, there was a fifth and a sixth edition, the Authors whereof were not known. [Epiphan. de mensur. et ponderibus.] These with the Seventy made up the Hexapla and were worthily and to great purpose compiled together by Origen. Howbeit the Edition of the Seventy went away with the credit, and therefore not only was placed in the midst by Origen (for the worth and excellency thereof above the rest, as Epiphanius gathered) but also was used by the Greek fathers for the ground and foundation of their Commentaries. Yea, Epiphanius above named doeth attribute so much unto it, that he holdeth the Authors thereof not only for Interpreters, but also for Prophets in some respect [S. August. 2::de dectrin. Christian c. 15]; and Justinian the Emperor enjoining the Jews his subjects to use especially the Translation of the Seventy, rendreth this reason thereof, because they were as it were enlightened with prophetical grace. Yet for all that, as the Egyptians are said of the Prophet to be men and not God, and their horses flesh and not spirit [Isa 31:3]; so it is evident, (and Saint Jerome affirmeth as much) [S. Jerome. de optimo genere interpret.] that the Seventy were Interpreters, they were not Prophets; they did many things well, as learned men; but yet as men they stumbled and fell, one while through oversight, another while through ignorance, yea, sometimes they may be noted to add to the Original, and sometimes to take from it; which made the Apostles to leave them many times, when they left the Hebrew, and to deliver the sense thereof according to the truth of the word, as the spirit gave them utterance. This may suffice touching the Greek Translations of the Old Testament."

    http://www.ccel.org/bible/kjv/preface/pref5.htm

    KJBOs who tout the ineffable scholarship of the translators of 1611 Hampton Court suddenly promote themselves scholastically above even these when it comes to the origin n historicity of the LXX. it's so Bultmannesque, i'll tellya!

    [​IMG]
     
  13. HoLogos

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    Thanks, Joseph, so much for that quotation of the King James Version translators.

    Yes indeed, since the KJV translators themselves knew the LXX existed and was read and quoted by the apostles, the fact that King James Onlyists deny the existence of the pre-Christ LXX, shows them to be liars and deceivers.

    Let them be marked as such, and disciplined as such by the church as a whole.
     

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