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Author Topic: Is the Story About the Septuagint True?  (Read 1927 times) Average Rating: 0
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St. Christopher
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« on: November 27, 2007, 11:27:54 PM »

I know we favor the Septuagint over the Hebrew version of the Old Testament.  Do we consider the story about the 70 (or 72) Jewish elders translating the Septuagint exactly the same as a fact?  Obviously, seventy people translating anything the same would require a miracle.  Would that imply the Septuagint is inspired?
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« Reply #1 on: November 28, 2007, 12:08:39 AM »

Yes.  I can't cite the authority, but it is my understanding that we believe that the -70- translated consistently.
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« Reply #2 on: November 28, 2007, 12:30:10 AM »

I know we favor the Septuagint over the Hebrew version of the Old Testament.  Do we consider the story about the 70 (or 72) Jewish elders translating the Septuagint exactly the same as a fact?  Obviously, seventy people translating anything the same would require a miracle.  Would that imply the Septuagint is inspired?

I don't think I've ever heard one way or another about it (not even in class).  We do indeed favor the Septuagint, largely because (a) it is probably the earliest written form that had vowels in it, (b) because there is evidence that it was used by Christ, and (c) it was widely disseminated due to its use of the lingua franca of the day - Greek.
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« Reply #3 on: November 28, 2007, 01:06:54 AM »

Another reason why we favour the LXX is because it is not the Masoretic text.  This Hebrew text wasn't finalised until the 11th century A.D., so it is much less ancient than the LXX.  We believe it to be much more accurate.  Moreover, there is quite a lot of evidence to show that the Jewish scholars who edited the Masoretic bible changed many texts so that they could not be used to show that Jesus was the promised Messiah, ie to show that the Old Testament points so often to Jesus!  Unfortunately, the Masoretic text has been well loved for many centuries in the West.  (For a long time it was assumed that since it was written in Hebrew it must have been more ancient than the Greek LXX.)  I am really at a loss to understand why Catholic biblical scholars still put so much emphasis on it.  Perhaps it is partly because they have already invested so heavily in studying it that they don't want to upset this apple cart.
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« Reply #4 on: November 28, 2007, 06:39:08 AM »

I know we favor the Septuagint over the Hebrew version of the Old Testament.  Do we consider the story about the 70 (or 72) Jewish elders translating the Septuagint exactly the same as a fact?  Obviously, seventy people translating anything the same would require a miracle.  Would that imply the Septuagint is inspired?
I could be wrong, but the Gospel story of Christ sending "The Seventy Disciples" seems to me to be making a connection with "The Seventy" who translated the Septuagint:
"After these things the Lord appointed seventy others also, and sent them two by two before His face into every city and place where He Himself was about to go." (Luke 10:1)
"Then the seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.”" (Luke 10:17)

"The Seventy" who translated the Septuagint prepared the Gentile world to receive the Gospel by giving us the Old Testament as forerunner to it and the prophecies which are fulfilled by the Gospel.
In the same way "The Seventy Disciples" prepared the places where Christ was to visit and acted as His forerunners.

It seems to me, therefore, that St. Luke in his Gospel is alluding to the Seventy who translated the Septuagint.
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« Reply #5 on: November 28, 2007, 08:27:44 AM »

Another reason why we favour the LXX is because it is not the Masoretic text.  This Hebrew text wasn't finalised until the 11th century A.D., so it is much less ancient than the LXX.  We believe it to be much more accurate.  Moreover, there is quite a lot of evidence to show that the Jewish scholars who edited the Masoretic bible changed many texts so that they could not be used to show that Jesus was the promised Messiah, ie to show that the Old Testament points so often to Jesus!  Unfortunately, the Masoretic text has been well loved for many centuries in the West.  (For a long time it was assumed that since it was written in Hebrew it must have been more ancient than the Greek LXX.)  I am really at a loss to understand why Catholic biblical scholars still put so much emphasis on it.  Perhaps it is partly because they have already invested so heavily in studying it that they don't want to upset this apple cart.

OK. But I have a question. We know that the LXX have three main versions:

Codex Vaticanus (4th century)
Codex Sinaiticus (4th century)
Codex Alexandrinus (5th century)

So, wich of them does the orthodox church accept as the canonical and sacred version of the OT (in the Orthodox Bible!)?
and... Is there many differences between this three versions?
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« Reply #6 on: November 28, 2007, 09:11:21 AM »

My understanding is that the story relates to the translation of the Pentatuch (spelling) only and that the rest of the Old Testament was translated much later. Some books included in the Septuagint only existed in Greek and have no counterpart in the Masoretic text
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« Reply #7 on: November 28, 2007, 09:22:30 AM »

OK. But I have a question. We know that the LXX have three main versions:

Codex Vaticanus (4th century)
Codex Sinaiticus (4th century)
Codex Alexandrinus (5th century) 

These are the three extant manuscripts.  Theoretically, translation of the Pentateuch occurred 3 centuries before Christ, and that is the authoritative version.  I don't think that the Church has placed more weight on any one manuscript, but instead relies on our own manuscript tradition (which is maintained in the books of the Menaia, Triodion, and Pentecostarion).
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« Reply #8 on: November 28, 2007, 09:22:58 AM »

My understanding is that the story relates to the translation of the Pentatuch (spelling) only and that the rest of the Old Testament was translated much later. Some books included in the Septuagint only existed in Greek and have no counterpart in the Masoretic text

Now that you mention it, this sounds right.
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« Reply #9 on: November 28, 2007, 06:50:29 PM »

The 70 elders only translated the Pentateuch.  The rest of it was informally done piece by piece.  The deuterocanonical books only exist in Greek.
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« Reply #10 on: November 28, 2007, 09:40:33 PM »

I do know how true it is but I heard that the dead sea scrolls match the Septuagint. Can anyone confirm if it is true.
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« Reply #11 on: November 28, 2007, 11:00:13 PM »

I do know how true it is but I heard that the dead sea scrolls match the Septuagint. Can anyone confirm if it is true.
You do, or you do NOT know?  The absence of the negative here, if its presence was intended, totally changes what you wanted to say. Wink
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« Reply #12 on: November 29, 2007, 09:56:28 AM »

I don't know how those letters went missing. Don't should be in place of do.
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« Reply #13 on: November 29, 2007, 11:44:25 AM »

I do know how true it is but I heard that the dead sea scrolls match the Septuagint. Can anyone confirm if it is true.

Rumor is they do not contradict it - whatever that means...
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« Reply #14 on: November 29, 2007, 10:44:10 PM »

From what I've heard, certain manuscripts (notably the complete Isaiah scroll) agrees with the Masoretic texts, whereas other manuscripts (I recall Jeremiah being mentioned specifically) agree with the LXX.

While the DSS don't prove the superiority of the LXX as such, they do at least discredit the commonly held notion that the Masoretic texts represent the only Hebrew version of the OT, of which the LXX is merely an inaccurate translation.
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St. Christopher
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« Reply #15 on: November 30, 2007, 07:28:52 PM »

While the DSS don't prove the superiority of the LXX as such, they do at least discredit the commonly held notion that the Masoretic texts represent the only Hebrew version of the OT, of which the LXX is merely an inaccurate translation.
That's what I've heard.
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