Septuagint ... Is it the word of God ?

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by Spirit and Truth, Dec 25, 2003.

  1. Spirit and Truth

    Spirit and Truth
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    I am interested to get the forums opinion on the septuagint, whether its reported date of translation is correct, and how good is this translation [accuracy] compared to the Masoretic text.
     
  2. Dr. Bob

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    Started taking classes in 63 through Bible College and Seminary and NEVER heard anyone deny the LXX from 250ish BCE until the last couple of years in the debates with the KJVonly.

    Evidently that group must NOT accept the date of the LXX in keeping with their belief stucture for the AV.

    Can honestly say it baffles me. With hundreds of LXX quotations in the NT, some direct and word for word and others much closer to the LXX than any Hebrew, to deny its pre-christian era existance is dumbfounding.

    Will keep my mouth shut and look at the arguments of each side here.
     
  3. skanwmatos

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    There were several translations of the OT into Greek around the time of the ministry of Christ and the Apostles. Few scholars today accept the Letter of Aristides as anything but myth, but it is impossible, in light of the evidence, to deny the existence of a Greek translation of the Old Testament. In fact, there were several. The oldest is probably the Alexandrian, followed by Aquila's (literal to the point of harshness), then that of Symmachus' (quite elegant) followed in turn by Theodotion's translation which is half way between the former two. Theodotion's translation of Daniel supplanted the original Alexandrian version which was quite different. The Book of Hebrews (11:33 cf Daniel 6:23) and Revelation both agree with Theodotion's translation (Origen's Hexapla contained these translations).
     
  4. Forever settled in heaven

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    before the KJBO modernist revisionists came along, people had no difficulty accepting the pre-Christian existence of the LXX.

    in fact, the unrivalled scholars of 1611 declared:

    u don't hear them snicker. ;)
     
  5. gb93433

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    The LXX varies from soup to nuts. In my opinion it can be quite liberal and also right on. There are times when scholars think that the LXX is more accurate than the MT. The apostles did quote from a number of Greek texts. During the time of the apostles there was more than one Greek translation around.

    My thought is that if I spent my entire life trying to answer all of the questions I had I would die and still not have all of them answered. That would not leave any time to disciple others. There are many others who are extremely more gifted than I am and are able to assess the manuscripts. I love textual criticism and going from exegesis to theology. But my passion is making disciples. Manuscript evidence is quite interesting. But still making disciples is what I live for. Most of those who are living for Jesus because of my life just want to make disciples. Most of them are not nearly as interested as I am in this sort of thing. In 3 John 4 John writes, "I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth." So if I want what John describes then I must be about the business of making disciples who yearn to know God and live for Him.

    After thinking about how Jesus dealt with people I am convinced that He started with whatever the person considered credible. I am sure He knew more than I do and yet didn't make an issue of some of the things we would. I cannot think of a single time where he made a translation an issue. He referred back to what the other person considered credible. The transaltion is not the major issue. The major issue is do they know Him and are they living for Him and are there others living for Him because of their life.

    When I think about that I always use the Bible the person may own or have in their home in talking with them. I may not even agree with the Bible they use. One time there was a young man who started coming to a Bible study I was leading and he brought a New World Translation. I don't know of any Christian who would agree with that misleading translation. Well someone in the Bible study told him how inferior it was and he did not understand why and quit coming. What that person should have done was to give that young man a new Bible that was an accurate translation as a gift without explanation. Eventually that young man would have found out on his own how poor it was. But instead he stopped coming. I continued to befriend him for the entire time I was there. At times he would talk with me about spiritual things but never returned to the study. If there is ever a time whn I am angry it is when another Christian says something stupid and destroys what I have sought to do in the relationship I have with another who is not a Christian.
     
  6. timothy 1769

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    Certainly all the quotes from the LXX found in the NT scriptures are the Word of God.

    I guess another way of looking at this is that people should follow the example of Jesus and Apostles - humbling themselves by embracing the standard, commonly accepted version even though it's a few hundred years old.

    [​IMG] ;) [​IMG]
     
  7. Ransom

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    skanwmatos said:

    Few scholars today accept the Letter of Aristides as anything but myth

    I'm not sure if that's exactly the case. It seems to me that everyone (apart from radicals like the Ruckmandroids, who have an agenda that drives their presuppositions about the LXX) is basically agreed that there was a Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures made during the reign of Ptolemy Philadelphus in Alexandria.

    What appears to be in dispute, which is clear when you read this same story in later Jewish sources and the Christian patristic literature, is how much of the miraculous embellishment, which became attached to this story, to accept. For example one can buy into the idea that a Greek Old Testament was produced by 72 Jewish scribes in the third century BC without buying into the idea that all of them miraculously and independently produced identical translations, thus proving that the hand of God was in the work.
     
  8. Archangel7

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    Yet another way of looking at it is acknowledging that since Jesus and the Apostles had no problem with a different version being the word of God, why should we? [​IMG]
     
  9. Spirit and Truth

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    I am no expert on the Septuagint, and have heard the many arguments over the years. I personally prefer the Masoretic text, because I am confident in the accuracy of those scribes as evidenced by the Isaiah scroll found in Qumran which pre-dated the oldest mss that we had at that time by a thousand years and the accuracy in rendering between the two. I own a copy of Hatch and Redpaths Concordance to the Septuagint, and find it to be an interesting resource in defining the words that were chosen to try and accurately communicate the thought from Hebrew to Greek. I think that the septuagint is an interesting historical reference, as is the Peshitta, Old Syriac, etc.
     
  10. Anti-Alexandrian

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    Even if the ridiculous notion of a pre-Christian LXX was valid,it would be in violation of Scripture(KJB):


    1) The sole custodians of the Old Testament Scripture was the Levites, according to Deuteronomy 17:18; 31:25-26,and Malachi 2:7.


    2) God ordered his name NOT to be spoken of in the land of Egypt by the Jews, Jeremiah 44:26.


    3) The 72 Jewish (Jeremiah 44:26) scholars would have had to ADD the Popish Apocryphal books to this non-existant, pre-Christian Greek Old Testament BEFORE they were even written.


    4) According to Jeremiah 44:26,Philo, Aquilla, and Symmachus had no business in Egypt.


    5) The LXX was PLAINLY an attempt by the individuals in Romans 11:20-25 and Jeremiah 33:24 to replace the inspired "oracles of God" with the conjectures of Alexandrian Greek philosophy.


    6)If the Apocryphal books were added later,would this not be in violation of Revelation 22??


    7)If Sinaiticus(TCV)& Vaticanus(Rev 17)copied Origen's LXX,the "original" was still done more than 110 years AFTER John finished the book of Revelation(A.D.90).


    Since Scripture(KJB)is never the solution with most,we have:


    1) No extant copies of the mysterious LXX can be produced that were compiled any earlier than 200 A.D.


    2) No one has yet to produce one Manuscript written before the time of Christ that is a pre-Christian Greek old testament.


    3)Those bogus substitutes for the Levitical preisthood(that were in violation of the Hebrew OT from Numbers to Malichi)went down into Egypt carrying vellum scrolls with gold letters written on them;which smacks of the Joe Smith/Moroni nonsense.


    4) Not ONE copy of the letter to Aristeas contains one sentence in ONE paragraph where the 72 translators,or their interrigator,are dealing with ONE question regarding the need for a translation,the purpose of the translation,the procedure for the translation,or the requiremnts for a translator.


    5)To claim that the Jews in despersion needed a Greek Old Testament is ludacrous.The idea of it is silly when you realize that the official language of the Western world became LATIN,not Greek after Constantine.By the time Jerome shows up,no one needed a Greek OT;they needed a LATIN OT.Greek has become a dead language almost as soon as the extant "LXX"(A.D.330-350) is produced.BUT,a Latin OT is around BEFORE Origen is born..
     
  11. HankD

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    The KJV translators were friendly toward the LXX and said that even the "meanest" of the translations were the "Word of God".

    So they thought so.

    BTW a KJVO clone of the leadership at the top has these charcteristics of his spiritual father: mockery, ridicule and contempt often interspersed with profanity and vulgarity for those who disagree with him/her. They have come and gone here at the BB.

    James 3
    6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.
    7 For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind:
    8 But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.
    9 Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God.
    10 Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.
    11 Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter?
    12 Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh.
    13 Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom.
    14 But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth.
    15 This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish.
    16 For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.

    17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.
    18 And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.
     
  12. Charles Meadows

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    If I'm not mistaken there were Greek texts (from Leviticus) found at Qumran (cave 4) - this definitely predates Christianity!

    The letter of Aristeas gives the story of how the Septuagint came into existence - although this document is felt likely to have its origin in the second century A.D. It was likely pro-Jewish apologetic work!

    The LXX does pose a difficult question to biblical interpreters in that it is slightly (and in some cases like Theodotion's Daniel) more than slightly different from the BHS. It should be remembered that the Aquila, Symmachus, and Theodotion were Jewish translations - often apologetic, and thus not an attempt to further the Christian cause.

    It's impressive, all in all, that God has so well preserved his Word over thousands of years! Even if some few words are a little different the doctrines have not changed. In Isaiah we often find the word "imrah" for "word". This carries the idea of a "revelation", a whole entity - not just a word or so. God has definitely preserved His imrah. [​IMG]
     
  13. Archangel7

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    You are mistaken, since we have extant fragments of the LXX dating to the 1st and 2nd centuries B.C. (you can view some of them at this LINK). We also have extensive quotations from the LXX in the writings of Philo (c. 20 B.C. - 50 A.D.)
     
  14. Taufgesinnter

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    The apostles sure thought so.
     
  15. gb93433

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  16. timothy 1769

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    Yet another way of looking at it is acknowledging that since Jesus and the Apostles had no problem with a different version being the word of God, why should we? [​IMG] </font>[/QUOTE]They had direct revelation concerning such (or at least concerning the few quotations in the NT) and we don't.

    If Jesus Himself told me that even The Message is the very Word of God, I'd capitulate in a second, of course.
     
  17. skanwmatos

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    That is a very good, and very important, point. The very reason for the post-Alexandrian Greek translations of the OT was to counter the Christian co-opting of the Alexandrian version and interpreting it quite differently from the Rabbinical schools of that day. This was the early version of the NWT scenario! They didn't like how the Christians were using the Alexandrian version, so they came up with one of their own which contradicted the Christian understanding of the OT. [​IMG]
     
  18. skanwmatos

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    Yes. We know for sure that was at least a partial translation of the OT into Greek as early as 150BC (at least, and possibly older). The Ryland Papyrus #458 is dated, at the latest, to 150 BC. Granted it is a very small fragment containing only portions of 5 chapters of Deuteronomy, but it is still a powerful witness to the pre-Christian existence of a Greek translation of the OT.
     
  19. skanwmatos

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    Have you considered the possibility the Apostles were quoting, not from the Greek Old Testament, but from the Vorlage Hebrew OT which seems to be the text which underlies the Alexandrian version? The discovery of the "Septuagint type" Hebrew text at Qumran is, in my opinion, quite significant regarding the issue of OT quotes in the NT.
     
  20. Spirit and Truth

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    Some have stated that the reason why many NT quotes line up more accurately with the septuagint than the Masoretic text, is that the septuagint has been "refined" over the years to more closely match the NT mss. Does anyone have any thoughts on that?
     

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