The Septuagint vs The Masoretic Text

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Paidion
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The Septuagint vs The Masoretic Text

Post by Paidion » Thu Mar 26, 2015 8:55 pm

On some other threads, I tried to show that the OT quotes made by the NT writers were from the Septuagint. I also indicated that the Septuagint harmonizes with the Hebrew text type of Cave 4 at Qumran, but not with the Hebrew scrolls found in other caves, and certainly not with the Masoretic text. I concluded that the Greek text of the LXX is more reliable than the Masoretic text from which your Old Testament was translated. Dizerner doesn't agree.
dizerner wrote:We can show many places where the LXX makes very blatant and obvious errors.
Okay, dizerner, if there are MANY places where the LXX makes very blatant and obvious errors, then it should be easy for you to display, say, six of these errors.
I look forward to reading them.

I have this question that I would also like you to address. How do you know that they are errors? What makes it obvious that they are?
Paidion

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Re: The Septuagint vs The Masoretic Text

Post by Paidion » Thu Mar 26, 2015 10:03 pm

How tall was Goliath? (1 Sam 17:4)

1. Your Bible, based on the Masoretic text, says "six cubits and a span." (about 9 ft. 4 in.)

2. The Hebrew text from Cave 4 at Qumran says, "four cubits and a span." (about 6 ft. 4 in.)

3. The Greek Septuagint says, "four cubits and a span."
Paidion

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Re: The Septuagint vs The Masoretic Text

Post by dizerner » Thu Mar 26, 2015 10:45 pm

Paidion I really don't mean any disrespect, please don't be saying "your Bible," I don't accept any one translation as infallibly inspired because we don't have the autographs, and so it just sounds silly for me, and I respect any sincere attempt at translation (I have hundreds as I'm sure you do also).

I'm glad you brought this post up, will be nice to get into. First off, it's been a little while since I've studied up so I will need time to get something together; please don't think because of that I'm conceding or running away. I'd like to just lay out some basic facts so you know where I stand about it. First off, I have a very high view of the LXX, and some of the Greek is simply beautiful. The different books appear to have different histories at times, and written in somewhat different styles. You can easily research all that on your own. The story of the 70 is probably just made up to make the Jews feel less insecure about using a translation, you know how people get around religious books, trying to find a perfection in the flesh. We can clearly, at the outset, say that the Greek LXX/Septuagint/OT is not source material (was not the original language the books where written in). There's several ways textual critics determine something like that, and I won't pretend to be an expert. But if we believe the Biblical narrative itself, we will see the place in history and evolution of the language from Phonecian to proto-Hebrew and onwards, and how the history and peculiar language so often fits exactly into the text, even sometimes to the very way the Hebrew words sounded themselves. I'm sure you agree on that point, I'm not trying to be condescending just cover the bases. So the question is what Hebrew strains of manuscripts did we have before the Masoretic became mainstream and more effort was put into preserving accuracy. We can't know that for certain, just look at what we have and how diligent those Jews were.

So the LXX has two main values, one is it often represents an older stream of Hebrew (that often agrees with the DSS!), and two is, it was almost always used by the NT authors due to their cultural context, and so sometimes fit in really well with the NT language and doctrine. I have no problem with believing God could bring in even a mistranslated or oddly translated text and make it inspired by the use of the NT authors, but people's method and system of determining inspiration is widely varied and often an intense belief for them, so I respect whatever systems people have in that regard. Now if the LXX merely has a deviant reading, we are perfectly well justified in thinking it may represent another Hebrew strain of manuscripts (and yes, a more correct one!), however if we can theoretically find a reason the Hebrew would have been difficult to understand or mistranslated, then I don't think we are necessarily justified in assuming further causes without a good reason. Many of the errors in the LXX are when the Hebrew is most obscure or difficult, or when the Hebrew idiom sounds very unnatural to the Greek ear, just as those idioms are often changed in the English we have today. (Also the LXX is not one united book, but many books written at different times, that can even disagree with one another like any manuscript strain.) So having established the LXX is a real, albeit excellent, translation of another language, I'll try to find time to find some easily understood discrepancies that don't need an outside explanation. If anyone else wants to chime in or help, or correct my poor knowledge of things, I welcome that. :) And for those interested we have some nice English translations, Brenton's is great, NETS, the Apostle's Bible (really excellent), and others.

To broaden a bit one's understanding of some factors involved in moving one language to another check out a chapter by the expert Emanuel Tov on some factors in moving Hebrew into Greek:
http://www.emanueltov.info/docs/papers/ ... d.1999.pdf

For Alfred Edersheim's opinion on the LXX (quite a bit biased but) as well as some comparisons to Paul's quotes (most don't seem that big a difference for me personally) and a few problems texts (the Isa. 9 has some silly logic in it):
http://www.jesuswordsonly.com/books/451 ... ation.html

I'll attempt when I can get some time to find a few of the best examples of where the Greek translators simply did not translate the Hebrew correctly.
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Re: The Septuagint vs The Masoretic Text

Post by robbyyoung » Fri Mar 27, 2015 8:17 am

Hi Paidion,

Thanks for the post. I've been looking to add the Orthodox Bible to my library for some time now. I do agree that the LXX is the most reliable in the annals of history and should be considered first, as a reference, above all others. Habit tends to lead the way to protestant translations when you don't have the "English" translation of the LXX readily available.

Now I did say, 'the LXX should be considered first, as a reference to scripture', but I wonder if anyone would object to this and why. First doesn't mean solely without additional checks and balances, but rather The LXX should be the starting point. One thing is for sure, we must factor in what The Inspired New Testament Writers used. This hugely makes all the difference in minimizing all the confusion in ancient translations.

As this thread develops, I will be more of a student regarding the facts, as presented to the pros and cons of The LXX.

God Bless.

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Re: The Septuagint vs The Masoretic Text

Post by Paidion » Fri Mar 27, 2015 12:29 pm

dizerner, you wrote:Paidion I really don't mean any disrespect, please don't be saying "your Bible," I don't accept any one translation as infallibly inspired because we don't have the autographs, and so it just sounds silly for me.
It doesn't matter what translation your Bible is. If it's not the Orthodox Bible, then it is based on the Masoretic text, and all that I've said applies to it. So why not refer to it as "your Bible"?

Here's another example of where the Septuagint rings true, and the modern versions based on the Masoretic text of the Old Testament seem inconsistent:

With what weapon did David Kill Goliath? You may have learned in Sunday school, that David killed him with a stone from his sling. But here is the account in the Septuagint:

And the foreigner arose and came to meet David, and David stretched out his hand into the bag and took out from there one stone and slung it and struck the foreigner on his forehead, and the stone penetrated through the helmet into his forehead, and he fell on his face on the ground. And David ran and stood over him and took his sword and put him to death and cut off his head. (1 Samuel 17:48-51)

In brief, David's stone penetrated the forehead of the Goliath, and rendered him unconscious. Then David took Goliath's sword and killed him, and then beheaded him.

But in the translations based on the Masoretic text, David seems to have killed him with BOTH the stone AND the sword, as is the case, for example in the NKJV:

49 Then David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone; and he slung it and struck the Philistine in his forehead, so that the stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the earth.
50 So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone, and struck the Philistine and killed him. But there was no sword in the hand of David.
51 Therefore David ran and stood over the Philistine, took his sword and drew it out of its sheath and killed him, and cut off his head with it. And when the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they fled.


In verse 50, it is stated that David killed him by means of the stone that struck him. This does not seem consistent with verse 51 in which it is stated that David killed him with Goliath's own sword. But the words of verse 50 do not exist in the Septuagint.

So once again, there is reason to trust the Septuagint above that of the Masoretic Hebrew.

Robby, thanks for your post. I think this link has been posted elsewhere, but I will post it here. You can download a pdf of an English translation of every book in the Septuagint. That includes the "apocrypha" or the "deuterocanonical" books, as Catholics would call them. There is a tendency to transliterate some of the Greek words. For example, in the passage, I quoted above, the word I translated as "foreigner", they transliterate as "allophyle." The Greek word (in English characters) is "allōphylos" which literally means "other nation" or "other tribe." They also transliterate the Greek word for "David" into English as "Dauid."

http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/nets/edition/
Paidion

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Re: The Septuagint vs The Masoretic Text

Post by robbyyoung » Fri Mar 27, 2015 12:42 pm

Hi Paidion,

Thanks for the link ;) .

God bless.

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Paidion
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Re: The Septuagint vs The Masoretic Text

Post by Paidion » Fri Mar 27, 2015 4:09 pm

One problem, Robby, is that after you download the pdf, you cannot copy from it. It has been protected from copying.

However, you can copy from it BEFORE you download it. I needed to copy from one of the files, and so I went back to the online file before I downloaded it. I was able to copy readily from that.
Paidion

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Re: The Septuagint vs The Masoretic Text

Post by robbyyoung » Fri Mar 27, 2015 4:48 pm

Hi Paidion,

Yes, I did run across that technicality. Thankfully, I caught this early on ;) .

Would you happen to have a link to a complete list of quotes from the Septuagint in the New Testament and a comparison with the Masoretic?

God Bless.

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Re: The Septuagint vs The Masoretic Text

Post by dizerner » Sat Mar 28, 2015 9:14 am

robbyyoung wrote:Now I did say, 'the LXX should be considered first, as a reference to scripture', but I wonder if anyone would object to this and why.
Because, simply, it's not the original language the books where written in.

For an interlinear LXX check http://www.apostolicbible.com/
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Re: The Septuagint vs The Masoretic Text

Post by robbyyoung » Sat Mar 28, 2015 9:58 am

dizerner wrote:
robbyyoung wrote:Now I did say, 'the LXX should be considered first, as a reference to scripture', but I wonder if anyone would object to this and why.
Because, simply, it's not the original language the books where written in.

For an interlinear LXX check http://www.apostolicbible.com/
Hi dizerner,

Unfortuanately, this simple answer strains credulity. For instance, here are some points to consider against the Masoretic:

1.The Masoretes admitted that they received corrupted texts to begin with.
2.The Masoretic Text is written with a radically different alphabet than the original.
3.The Masoretes added vowel points which did not exist in the original.
4.The Masoretic Text excluded several books from the Old Testament scriptures.
5.The Masoretic Text includes changes to prophecy and doctrine.
6. The Masoretic Text WAS NOT used by Yeshua and The Apostles, for it is about 1000 years after The LXX!

I do understand that you have linked me to a translation which attempts to re-establish the original language. But from my understanding, The LXX is the standard, for it was used by Inspired Men of God. Any original language must be in agreement with "The Standard", that being The LXX.

So, in light of these notables, why should anyone opt to consider, FIRST, a translation divorced from the 1st Century Church with Inspired Prophets?

God Bless.

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