Septuagint or Ben Chyiem Massoretic Text: Will the Real Old Testament Please Stand Up

Discussion in '2004 Archive' started by holywritkjv, Mar 9, 2004.

  1. holywritkjv

    holywritkjv
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    This post is really intended for Independant Baptists since those are the circles in which I run, but I am willing to entertain comments from others if you can be civil. In the near future I will be writing a paper for school on the subject of the Septuagint. I am at present collecting my materials. The general stance on this subject is that this is an Greek Old Testament translated from Hebrew somewhere around 250BC, and that this document which differs greatly from the present massoretic text is accounted for, in that the septuagint represents the true Hebrew text which was purposely altered because the christian community was using the Septuagint much to the displeasure of the Jewish community. It is also the common stand that the New Testament agrees with the septuagint so well because this was the bible used by Jesus and the writers of the New Testament. My personal belief is that all of this is hogwash! For if this line of argument is true then,doctrines like insiration and preservation are a lie we have no Bible, Romans 10:17 is a joke and I would have to join with Paul in saying of all men we are most miserable, that is if we agree with modern biblical scholarship, that we no longer have all of the Bible.
    Any information my fellow Baptists can provide will be greatly appreciated. But, I would ask if your only reason for wanting to respond to this is to change my mind by your brilliant argumentation, or impress the board community with your deep anti-kjv (those in agreement with modern scholarship)rhetoric, please don't! But, if you are of a humble Spirit lead heart and feel like you could be used of God to help me find truth to defend His Holy Word, then I welcome you true Christian yokefellow.
    [​IMG]
     
  2. aefting

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    Could you explain it would make the doctrine of inspiration a lie? I understand how it would defeat your view of preservation but not inspiration. Logically, something must be inspired for preservation to occcur, but preseravtion is not required for inspiration.

    Andy
     
  3. Pastor Larry

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    Are you sure you haven't reached a conclusion before doing the study? For you to say that the view of the vast majority of conservative evangelicals scholars is "hogwash" leads me to think that perhaps you aren't being objective. It indicates you might have already made up your mind no matter what the evidence says. That is not a good way to do research.

    But I too would be interested in why you think preservation and inspiration are a lie if this view of the LXX is right. I personally (and every one I know) believe in preservation and inspiration and I believe that the LXX is a BC Greek translation of the OT. There is no reason not to believe that; there are a number of reasons to believe it.
     
  4. Paul of Eugene

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    The hard cold facts are we no longer have every word of the Bible.

    We have a marvelous array of greek texts for our new testament and these are a better witness for our new testament than for any other comparable ancient work, such as Homer's Iliad, by way of example.

    But the texts we have do have variations in the wording here and there to a small extent; at this date in history we cannot with certainty declare what every word of the originals as penned by the apostles was.

    The same thing applies to the old testament manuscripts. It is true that the masoretic text as we have it is pretty well one text, but it is only that way because the masoretic scribes worked over the text to get it as accurate as possible and discarded the alternate readings. Some of those are of course preserved in the Septuagint version. We are left without any way of being sure which of these variants was originally penned by the old testment writers.

    So God in his wisdom has not perfectly preserved for this generation the exact wording of His scripture. SO WHAT?

    When a preacher goes to preach the word, God uses that, it is even His plan to use it, and yet we don't believe that every word the preacher utters from the pulpit is infallible; yet God uses that message to convict and to teach.

    In our human hunger for innerancy, some have gone so far as to say their one teacher - perhaps a pope, or perhaps an ayatolloh, or perhaps the founder of the denomination . . speaks infallibly.
    All such seekers for a human, infallible interpreter are idolators.

    When we open our bibles, we deal with a translation. Most of us realize there is no such thing as an absolutely perfect translation. in our human hunger for inerrancy, a few claim a particular version is itself an inerrant incarnation of God's Word, but all such seekers after an infallible translation are misguided.

    When we turn to the greek and hebrew text, as already noted, we have very good texts, but not perfectly replicated texts. Apparantly God in His wisdom has decided we don't need a perfect Greek or Hebrew text, either.

    The original texts - some will say they were, at least, inerrant. We just don't have them, that's all. Whether they were in fact completely inerrant word for word or were instead inspired in such a way as to allow the human element to be reflected in a lack of complete inerrancy in all things is a moot point . . . we don't have them!

    BY FAITH I take the Bible we have as infallible for purposes of doctrine and practice. God has used them to help me get in touch with Him. He is responsible for the inspiration, preservation, translation, and preaching; but we get to share in that responsibility. I guess that's all I can conclude.
     
  5. Trotter

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    The Septuagint is a just a translation of the Hebrew OT. It is much like the KJV, NKJV, NASB, or any other translation.

    The question I would like to have answered is this: is the Septuagint a word-for-word translation, a dynamic equivelent, or a Greek paraphrase of the Hebrew manuscripts?

    Also, which family of Hebrew texts were used for the Septuagint? Are there enough differences between them to matter? Do we have the manuscripts used to translate the Septuagint?

    holywritkjv, do you know the answers to these questions? I am not asking out of arrogance, or to try to confuse or stop you. I ask because I myself would have to have these answers documented before I could begin to try to write such a paper as you are doing.

    Maybe I am wrong, but it seems to me that you are using deductive reasoning to prove your point, instead of using inductive reasoning to let the evidence speak for itself. I mean, it is your paper, but we have enough people running around here cutting and pasting to try and prove their own reasoning.

    Think through why you are writing this paper, and how you are going to write it. If you are only writing it to try to show your point, and not to find out what really is or is not, don't bother with research. It would do you no good, anyway. Just write to your heart's content about what you think instead (I say this as a brother who has been there and done that. Let the evidence have its own say...don't try to force it to testify on your own behaf).

    In Christ,
    Trotter
     
  6. holywritkjv

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    Thank you gentlemen for your response to my inquiry for information on the subject mentioned above. For Paul of Eugene I am sorry you don't have a complete Bible. For Pastor Larry yes, I would be lying if I said after nearly twenty years of salvation I had not already come to some conclusion on the issue of my Bible and its underlying documents but, I will endevor to be fair to the facts in my study. I fear because most Bible students in our seminaries these days do not know what they believe before going to school is why so many don't have a real Bible they can completely depend on. No wonder our country is going to hell in a handbasket. As to aefting (did I get that right?) Understand that as a student my time is short plus I work full time to support myself and pay for this education. I do not even own a computer this belongs to the University. I pay an annual fee to use it. So if I rushed in my explanation please excuse the blunder. I meant only to imply that this thinking goes hand in hand with the philosophy of those who hold the view that the Lxx is the purer source for our OT. And before closing because they are getting ready to close here, Paul of Eugene which MT is pretty much one are you reffering to the Ben chyiam,Ben Asher, Ben Naphtali? Modern scholarship likes to confuse that one they use the MT generically, just as LXX (Septuagint) is used generically. I am not completely ignorant on the subject I was simply looking to borrow some brains. Dr. Bob Jones,Sr. used to say that you did not need brains if you knew where to borrow them. Don"t anyone accuse me of a misquote I was just paraphrasing the thought.
     
  7. skanwmatos

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    I disagree. I believe the Septuagint is a translation of a different Hebrew text than the current Masoretic Hebrew. I believe, and this belief is supported by the Dead Sea Scrolls discoveries, that the Septuagint is based on what is now called the "Vorlage" text. The Vorlage text represents a text which had become corrupted (as all texts do, eventually, during the copying process). However, it must be noted there was a reason for this corruption. When the Jews returned from the Babylonian captivity, Hebrew was no longer their spoken language. They had learned Aramaic while in captivity. In Nehemiah 8, when the scroll of the Law was discovered, and it was read to the Jews, the bible tells us in verse 8, "So they read in the book of the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading." This tells us that the post-captivity Jews did not understand the Hebrew of the Law, but had to have it translated into Aramaic to enable them to understand.

    Due to the Jews not being able to understand Hebrew, the copies made from the scroll of the law were less precise than they should have been and produced a text with many variants. We call this the Vorlage text today, (the Dead Sea Scrolls investigators called it the "Septuagint Type Text) and it was from that text, in use from about 445BC until the time of Christ, that the Septuagint was translated. However, the revival of Jewish nationalism, started largely by the Maccabean rebellion, also caused a resurgence of study of the old Hebrew language, and the determination to preserve the original readings of the OT text. This resulted, eventually, in the Masors being put in charge of the biblical text (sometime around 500AD), which we now know by that name, "Masoretic."

    A comparison of the present Masoretic text with the Dead Sea Scrolls reveals that the Masoretic text of today is virtually identical with the traditional (meaning of Masor) Hebrew text, and varies greatly from what is now called the Vorlage text from which the Septuagint was translated.
    Yes. All three! Some OT books are woodenly translated from the Hebrew (such as Ecclesiastes) while others are very loose paraphrases (such as Proverbs).
    The "Septuagint Type" or "Vorlage" Hebrew text.
    That would depend on your view of what "matters." Jeremiah in the Septuagint is shorter than Jeremiah in the Masoretic text by 12-15% and the order of its chapters is different.

    Job in the Septuagint is about 15-17% smaller than Job in the Masoretic text, and includes an ending not found in the any Hebrew text I am aware of.

    Almost half of the verses in Esther in the Septuagint are not found in Esther in the Masoretic text.

    Exodus in the Septuagint and Exodus in the Masoretic text differ in order of verses and inclusion / exclusion of words and material.

    We don't know. We can only assume the Septuagint was translated from the "Septuagint Like Text" (Vorlage) found at Qumran.
     
  8. skanwmatos

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  9. Charles Meadows

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    Holywritkjv,

    Skanwmatos has just about summed it up - not much else to say. As an aside I'd encourage you not to make all of us who value "scholarship" to be "anti KJB"!

    But as Skan said the LXX is a a hodge-podge itself. Multiple "versions" were produced initially and revisions were made of these versions. The Rahlfs and Brenton Septuagints we have today are essentially copies of the Alexandrian codices - mostly Vaticanus I think - so we're not sure from which original Septuagint they came. The older original translations are all Jewish (Aquila, Symmachus, Theodotion) and exhibit varying degrees of literality. Also the time of translations differ. The so-called Letter of Aristeas (the letter detailing how the LXX came to be - with 70 translators all coming up with the exact same translation) is certainly spurious. The Pentateuch was done first with the other books being done later.

    So overall the LXX certainly does NOT outrank the BHS (which as Skan pointed out is very slightly different from the Ben chayyiem text) in terms of primacy for OT reference - no matter what one's position in with respect to the KJB. The LXX is nice however because it does give a translation from Hebrew into the beautiful flexible Greek language - from the point of second temple Jewish scribes. The observed similarities between the LXX and some instances of OT quotes in the NT (like the Isaiah reference in Lk 4:18) suggest that perhaps the haftorah scrolls may have been written in Greek!

    Finally I would caution you against accepting wholesale some of the arguments (like the nonexistence of a pre-Christian LXX) put forth by a few staunch KJBO people. The existence of the LXX does not threaten the validity of the KJB. [​IMG]
     
  10. gb93433

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    At the time of Jesus there was more than one Greek translation. Yes I believe the LXX does take some liberty with the MT. But at times the LXX is better than the MT.

    My understanding is that because of the dispersion many Jews lost their heritage and language like a person who might come from another nation and never use the language or relate to the culture again.
     
  11. skanwmatos

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    How do we know there was more than one Greek translation of the Old Testament at the time of Christ?

    As I understand the present state of the manuscript evidence, John Rylands Papyrus 458 and the Papyrus Fouad 266, contain only small fragments of the book of Deuteronomy. The findings from cave four at Qumran contained only small parts of Leviticus and Numbers. These tiny fragments are all the evidence we have of the existence of a Greek translation prior to and at the time of Christ, and the sample is too small to prove they represent different versions of the Septuagint.

    The other texts such as Aquila (130AD), Theodotion (185AD), and Symmachus (200AD), all post dated the New Testament era.
     
  12. tinytim

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    holywritkjv, while searching for info on the LXX, don't forget to consider what the translators of the KJV had to say about it.
    They considered it the word of God, a poor version, but still from God.
     
  13. Dr. Bob

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    I have three different Hebrew texts of the OT. I have 1 Greek text of the OT. I have the Dead Sea Scroll text of the OT.

    They vary. Just like I have 8-9 Greek texts of the NT and they all vary.

    The problem is?
     
  14. Pastor Larry

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    I personally don't konw of a whole lot who would say that the LXX is a purer form of the OT. There may be a whole lot and I just don't know about them. The advantage of the LXX (among many others) is that it has a very early "pointed" representation of the MT. What I mean by that is that the Hebrew texts, as most should know, do not have the vowel points. The Masoretes added those around 1000AD, if my memory serves me correctly. Hebrew words depend on teh vowel pointing and within the Hebrew text, the same set of consonants can be pointed different ways, resulting in different meanings. That is probably where the "staff/bed" conflict comes from in Hebrew 11 vs. Gen 49. The LXX being written in Greek shows what vowel points the early translators understood. The later Masoretes did not always agree.

    The LXX, regardless of its dating, is a very good source for OT text criticism. I personally hold to a BC date for it, but no one's salvation is hanging on an early date. Just as in the NT, many are fond of appealing to early translations, the LXX fills the same role for the OT.
     
  15. gb93433

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    How do we know there was more than one Greek translation of the Old Testament at the time of Christ?

    As I understand the present state of the manuscript evidence, John Rylands Papyrus 458 and the Papyrus Fouad 266, contain only small fragments of the book of Deuteronomy. The findings from cave four at Qumran contained only small parts of Leviticus and Numbers. These tiny fragments are all the evidence we have of the existence of a Greek translation prior to and at the time of Christ, and the sample is too small to prove they represent different versions of the Septuagint.

    The other texts such as Aquila (130AD), Theodotion (185AD), and Symmachus (200AD), all post dated the New Testament era.
    </font>[/QUOTE]The evidence that exists which is somewhat limited is focused on the various textual traditions that are underneath the LXX text.

    A good website for this is at http://students.cua.edu/16kalvesmaki/lxx/
     
  16. robycop3

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    Holywritkjv, have you ever wondered from what version Jesus read aloud in Luke 4:16-21? Or what version the Ethiopian in Acts 8:26-35 was reading from? It could've been any of the Septuagint editions, or it could've been any one of a number of available versions, as Scripture is silent about what language(s) those versions were written in, but I really don't believe it was the Masoret.

    If the very WORD HIMSELF wasn't limited to just one version in HIS earthly languages, why should WE be?
     
  17. skanwmatos

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    I am aware of the website and the very limited textual evidence regarding the LXX. My question however, has not been answered. What evidence do you offer to support your thesis that several Greek translations of the Old Testament existed at the time of Christ? I also believe there probably were, but, to the best of my knowledge, there is no manuscript evidence which confirms that belief.
     

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