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Author Topic: The Bible - Old/New Testament Translation Questions  (Read 5537 times) Average Rating: 0
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OnThePathForward
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« on: April 30, 2010, 04:47:39 PM »

Hi guys,

I have been searching high and low here on this site to learn more about the original works of the Old and New Testaments.  As you can imagine I have some questions and I'm hoping you might be able to help me out in answering them.

Old Testament Questions

From what I've been learning is that the Old Testament was originally written in Hebrew.  Then in the third century BC it was translated into Greek.  This translation into Greek became nown as the Septuagint? LXX?

I have heard that the Septuagint may have had errors in it when translated.  Is this correct?  I also heard there were numerous other Greek translations after the birth of Christ that may be a better or worse translation than the Septuagint?

I've also heard of the Peshitta.  This is a translation made from the original Hebrew text into Aramaic???  Did this translation use the same Hebrew version of the Old Testament as the Septuagint?

Also, is there still an original Hebrew Old Testament in existence today (i.e. the one used for the translation of the Septuagint)?  And if so, if there were past errors in these translations, why is a new translation not being conducted? Or is there?

What is proper?  Hebrew > Greek > English / Hebrew > Aramaic > English / Hebrew > English ?

And finally, I believe the Eastern Orthodox Church uses the Septuagint for translation into English.  Is this correct?  And if so, when did this translation into English occur?

New Testament Questions

I've learned, I believe, that the new Testament was written in Greek?  Except for the Gospel of Matthew?  that this Gospel was in fact written in Hebrew, or Aramaic? 

And is there still an original version (if you will) of the New Testament that was written in the early church years?  And does the Orthodox Church use this version to translate into English?  What version do they use, or should they use? 

I saw a book that says the New Testament that was translated out of the 'Original Greek'?

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0944359256?ie=UTF8&tag=traditionalorthodoxy-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=0944359256

Is this in fact a translation from the original Greek as it was initially written in?  And if so, is this the best New Testament to use?  Does the Orthodox Church use this translation?

So, there you go...my way too many questions!!!  If any of you could provide some insight on all of this I would really appreciate it!

Thank you.


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ytterbiumanalyst
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« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2010, 05:08:26 PM »

First of all, welcome to the forum.

Now to your questions. Yes, much of the Old Testament was originally written in Hebrew and Aramaic, and was then translated into Greek in what we now know as the Septuagint. No, there are no errors in the Septuagint. Christ Himself used the Septuagint, and therefore endorsed its reliability. No, the Hebrew Old Testament that was used for the translation of the Septuagint is no longer in existence. The oldest extant Hebrew text is a translation of the Septuagint back into Hebrew. This text, called the Masoretic Text, is the basis for versions of the Bible that translate from the Hebrew.

Yes, the Old Testament was mainly written in Greek. This is the same Greek that is still used in Greek-speaking Orthodox parishes today, and it is the Greek from which we translate into English and all other languages.

So your model for the Old Testament is this:
Hebrew --> Greek --> English

Whereas for the KJV it is this:
Hebrew --> Greek --> Latin --> English

And for the NIV and others it is this:
Hebrew --> Greek --> Hebrew --> English

For the New Testament, pretty much everybody follows this model:
Greek --> English
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OnThePathForward
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« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2010, 09:21:06 PM »

ytterbiumanalyst,

Thank you so much for your comments! 
No, the Hebrew Old Testament that was used for the translation of the Septuagint is no longer in existence. The oldest extant Hebrew text is a translation of the Septuagint back into Hebrew. This text, called the Masoretic Text, is the basis for versions of the Bible that translate from the Hebrew.

I find this fascinating.  Is the Masoretic Text then what is used for the Jewish faith?

Quote
Yes, the Old Testament was mainly written in Greek. This is the same Greek that is still used in Greek-speaking Orthodox parishes today, and it is the Greek from which we translate into English and all other languages.

When we say that the Old Testament is translated from the Septuagint, is it in fact from the original?  Or maybe a better question: Is there an English translation of the original Septuagint?  And what is the name of this version?  I noticed that there is a NETS version?  New English Translation of the Septuagint...but I see that they are using a version from Alfred Rahlf (1935)?  I don't think I fully understand that.

I've also heard that one of the oldest versions of the Old Testament in Greek in existence is the 'Codex Vaticanus'?  Is this considered 'Septuagint'?  Or is the LXX original the only true 'Septuagint'?

Quote
And for the NIV and others it is this:
Hebrew --> Greek --> Hebrew --> English

Wow, that actually made me smile that they translate it from a Hebrew version, after it was translated back from a Greek version.

Is the best English version a translation from the 'Codex Vaticanus'?
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OnThePathForward
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« Reply #3 on: May 01, 2010, 02:09:05 PM »

And a follow-on question:

Are the Codex Vaticanus and the Codex Sinaiticus copied directly from the original Septuagint (LXX)?

I've seen that there were also Greek translations from Hebrew texts known as: Aquila, Symmachus, and Theodotion after the birth of Christ.  Where these translations made from the same Hebrew texts that were used for the original Septuagint (LXX) translation back in the 3rd Century BC?

Thank you.
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« Reply #4 on: May 01, 2010, 05:06:50 PM »

Welcome to the forum, OnThePathForward!

I think I can do a good job of answering these questions, as someone who who has a decent knowledge of Biblical Greek and is learning Hebrew.

I think I will respond on the New Testament first, because it is a bit simpler.

Quote
And is there still an original version (if you will) of the New Testament that was written in the early church years?  And does the Orthodox Church use this version to translate into English?  What version do they use, or should they use?

There are no early-century manuscripts of the NT still extant, but we can reconstruct the whole thing many times over based on quotations from the Fathers. There are barely any significant variations in the New Testament books, and where there are diverging versions, it is usually minor. I’ll give a couple of examples:

-   Matt. 5:22 (some manuscripts do not include “without a cause”)
-   The infamous Comma Johannem, a medieval addition in Latin manuscripts (1Jn 5:7,8)
-   The story of the woman taken in adultery, added in the fifth century

Some people make claims that they are using the “original manuscripts.” No such thing exists, especially in the case of the OT, as we shall see below.

But the variations between manuscript traditions are not earth-shattering, so any version of the NT should be perfectly fine.

Quote
I've learned, I believe, that the new Testament was written in Greek?  Except for the Gospel of Matthew?  that this Gospel was in fact written in Hebrew, or Aramaic?

Yes, the New Testament was probably first written in Greek. However, some early Fathers said that there was an Aramaic Gospel of Matthew at one point, which was later lost. But Greek Matthew was believed by many (including Origen) to be a separate book from Aramaic Matthew.

In any event, it is apparent that the canonical Gospels were essentially a translation of an Aramaic oral tradition, because the Greek text is filled with semitic expressions.

Some people claim that the whole NT was originally written in Aramaic, but aside from the Gospels, these claims are extremely dubious.


On the Old Testament:

Quote
From what I've been learning is that the Old Testament was originally written in Hebrew.  Then in the third century BC it was translated into Greek.  This translation into Greek became nown as the Septuagint? LXX?

Correct. LXX is the abbreviation for Septuagint (because it was translated by “seventy” rabbis).

From ytterbiumanalyst:
Quote
No, the Hebrew Old Testament that was used for the translation of the Septuagint is no longer in existence. The oldest extant Hebrew text is a translation of the Septuagint back into Hebrew. This text, called the Masoretic Text, is the basis for versions of the Bible that translate from the Hebrew.

That the MT (Masoretic Text) is a translation of the LXX is news to me. Ytterbiumanalyst, where did you learn this? I cannot find anything to substantiate it.

Quote
I've seen that there were also Greek translations from Hebrew texts known as: Aquila, Symmachus, and Theodotion after the birth of Christ.  Where these translations made from the same Hebrew texts that were used for the original Septuagint (LXX) translation back in the 3rd Century BC?

There were a number of text traditions in use. The other Greek translations were all made later. Origen compared them side by side in the Hexapla. The original LXX is the only pre-Christian version of the OT still surviving. This is why we use the LXX in the Orthodox Christian Church.

Quote
When we say that the Old Testament is translated from the Septuagint, is it in fact from the original?  Or maybe a better question: Is there an English translation of the original Septuagint?  And what is the name of this version?  I noticed that there is a NETS version?  New English Translation of the Septuagint...but I see that they are using a version from Alfred Rahlf (1935)?  I don't think I fully understand that.

I admittedly have never read the NETS, but from what I hear, it is fine.

Quote
I've also heard that one of the oldest versions of the Old Testament in Greek in existence is the 'Codex Vaticanus'?  Is this considered 'Septuagint'?  Or is the LXX original the only true 'Septuagint'?

There a number of codices of the LXX in existence; the differences between them are not very significant (not even close to the differences between the LXX and the MT). They may all be properly called the Septuagint.

Quote
I have heard that the Septuagint may have had errors in it when translated.  Is this correct?  I also heard there were numerous other Greek translations after the birth of Christ that may be a better or worse translation than the Septuagint?

Back in the day, there was no standard version of the Hebrew Bible (there was not even a standard set of books). The Samaritan version of the Torah variant readings in some places compared to the Jewish version, etc. The LXX was evidently translated from these versions. The later translations were probably taken from variant readings, which is why they were slightly different. There are no “mistakes” in the LXX.

The LXX was used universally among the ancient Jews, because no one spoke Hebrew anymore. After the diaspora, the Jews turned back to using the Hebrew, which, after throwing out several books and perhaps introducing subtle changes into some passages, became known as the Masoretic Text. This is the text Protestants use.

In the 5th century, St. Jerome translated the OT into Latin using the early Masoretic Text. His translation seems to fall somewhere in between the LXX and the modern MT rendering in certain passages, indicating that the MT evolved over time until it was finalized in the middle ages.

 
Quote
I've also heard of the Peshitta.  This is a translation made from the original Hebrew text into Aramaic???  Did this translation use the same Hebrew version of the Old Testament as the Septuagint?

The Peshitta was translated from the Hebrew in about the 2nd century AD.

Quote
Also, is there still an original Hebrew Old Testament in existence today (i.e. the one used for the translation of the Septuagint)?  And if so, if there were past errors in these translations, why is a new translation not being conducted? Or is there?

The only ancient version of the OT in Hebrew still extant is the Qumran scrolls. In a number of places, they agree with the LXX instead of the MT. In others, they agree with the MT and disagree with the LXX. In many places, they disagree with both. Textual criticism is not a cut-and-dried issue. There was absolutely no such thing as a standard Hebew version until the MT. The LXX was being used as a standard version long before the MT.

I hope this answers your questions, if not a bit too thoroughly. These are good questions!

God bless,

Rufus
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« Reply #5 on: May 01, 2010, 07:27:21 PM »

Hi Rufus!

Thank you so much for the information!  It is really helpful.  I do have a few more questions:

1)  After the LXX came into existence, what happened to it?  Kind of like apostolic succession, is there any kind of succession with the LXX (i.e. someone translated the original Septuagint (LXX) into another language (or maybe even in Greek for that matter)?

2)  a. What was the source for the Codex Vaticanus and the Codex Sinaiticus?  

     b. And how about the Aquila, Symmachus, and Theodotion versions?

Quote
The original LXX is the only pre-Christian version of the OT still surviving. This is why we use the LXX in the Orthodox Christian Church.

And the original LXX still survives today?

Thank you!
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« Reply #6 on: May 01, 2010, 07:57:20 PM »

Not to further confuse matters, but the matters are confusing!  Cheesy

The NIV, RSV, et cetera are based on the Masoretic and Eclectic Text. The Masoretic is not a translation of the Septuagint.

Furthermore, there is no one single version of the "Septuagint", this is a fable in many Orthodox circles. The original Hebrew Scriptures (which are not necessarily represented by the heretical rabbinic Masoretic text) were translated into Greek at different times in different places, and many Christian communities were using different Greek translations of different Old Testament texts, some reliable, and others completely atrocious.

The idea that the "Septuagint" (singular) was sanctioned in its entirety by Jesus because the gospel authors have him quoting sections of it is completely ridiculous. The initial translation of the Torah only took place in Alexandria under the "Seventy" (LLX) translators. This is the most accurate and reliable portion of the translations. Other sections such as the prophets vary in accuracy, and as I stated before, there are numerous Greek versions of the texts in question, with no one having authority over another.

With regard to the New Testament, we have no autographs, so there are no "original" texts. The Eclectic text that the Protestants and academic scholars use are reconstructions of the originals (much like their forms of Christianity), which are based on thousands of varying handwritten manuscripts plundered from the ancient apostolic monasteries and churches, and robbed from the graves of pious monks and hierarchs. These systematic comparisons are made because the texts all disagree in the details; there are no two copies out of thousands that are identical. Most of this differences are small spelling errors and such; simple human error. But other variations are substantial, and based upon these thousands of manuscripts scholars sit around and make decisions about what stays and goes as far as content is concerned, and of course these decisions are not free of bias (as nothing is), but often these decisions betray the most awful sort of disbelief on the part of the scholars. They are textual critics, not true theologians who fast and pray.

So there are no originals or "autographs" of any texts at all. There is no "original Greek" New Testament. There are a lot of different ones. I don't know the process, for example, that Constantinople uses in determining their official Greek text, and honestly, I probably don't want to know, because I probably wouldn't like what I heard. The devil is in the details.  Wink
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« Reply #7 on: May 01, 2010, 08:23:28 PM »

The 1904 Greek New Testament used by Constantinople is based on several dozen lectionaries from two different textual traditions - one which was close to the "Byzantine" text, and another which is also "Byzantine" but sometimes had older readings, and featured harmonizations (mostly "Caesarian") within SS. Mark and Luke. Harmonizations aside, other Caesarean variants such as "Jesus Barabbas" (found in Armenian and Georgian translations and Codex Koridethi) are completely absent in the 1904 text. Antoniades, the compiler, claimed he had a preference for the older text, and also used biblical citations by St. John Chrysostom as an arbiter when the two textual traditions diverged from each other.

Except for Revelations / the Apocalypse of St. John, nearly all the New Testament can be located within the Greek lectionary tradition. There are a handful of unusual variants, but for the most part, the Gospels and Epistles are textually very close to the Textus Receptus that underlies the King James Bible as even more so to the Greek Majority text referenced in the NKJV footnotes. The book of Revelations used by Constantinople, textually, lies somewhere between the so-called Greek Majority Text, and the current critical text.

The UBS3/UBS4 (which tracks major variations of the New Testament text) consistently cites Greek Lectionary variants in the critical apparatus.

To my knowledge, there are only two translations that claim to make use of the 1904 text - the "Orthodox New Testament"  (produced by the Holy Apostles old calendarist monastery), and the EOB (Eastern Orthodox Bible) - the New Testament of which is currently being revised.
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« Reply #8 on: May 01, 2010, 10:34:42 PM »

I am glad I am being helpful.

Quote
And the original LXX still survives today?

After the LXX came into existence, what happened to it?  Kind of like apostolic succession, is there any kind of succession with the LXX (i.e. someone translated the original Septuagint (LXX) into another language (or maybe even in Greek for that matter)?

I suppose Apostolic succession is a good analogy—the original manuscripts of the LXX have been lost for a very, very long time. All we have is copies, and of course, the various codices of the LXX have slight differences between them. The three main versions of the LXX that we still have are the Codex Sinaiticus, the Codex Alexantrinus, and the Codex Vaticanus. These three codices date from the fourth- to fifth centuries, and they are the oldest complete texts that we have. There is no official codex, and no reason to consider one more accurate than the other.

There are also many fragments from pre-Christian times still extant, but only fragments.

Quote
And how about the Aquila, Symmachus, and Theodotion versions?

All three of these only survive in fragments. Aquila was trying to produce a version for Jews to use that had alternate renderings of passages used by Christians as prophecies of Christ. Symmachus and Theodotion were Ebionites—a sect that, in the words of St. Irenaeus, “Claim[ed] to be both Jewish and Christian, but [was], in fact, neither.” All three of these versions came into existence in the second and third centuries.


There is no magic version of the OT. The NT writers usually quoted from the LXX, but sometimes they translated directly from the Hebrew in their own words. It would be foolish to read the LXX without keeping in mind that it is a translation from another language; at the same time, it would not make much sense to read the Hebrew MT without keeping in mind that it spent eight hundred years in the hands of editors who, like Aquila, probably wanted to make sure that Christians couldn’t use it. As I showed in the last post, the MT changed over time, and our earliest manuscripts of the modern MT are several hundred years newer than the LXX codices. That is the reason we generally prefer the LXX version.


Since you are just learning about the Orthodox Christian faith (am I correct?), perhaps there is something I ought to say.

There is no way to conclusively prove what the original manuscripts of the books of the Bible said. However, this is not a serious problem for us, because the Orthodox faith is not based on a book, or on any one particular thing. The Orthodox faith is based on the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of the Church. This is the source of what we call Holy Tradition.

So, the Bible is about our faith, and it is the guidepost of Church doctrine, but it is not something on which the entire tradition depends. This is why Orthodox people are not bothered by the idea that there are several different variations of the Bible floating around, and the best one we have is just a Greek translation. In my personal observations, Sola Scriptura Protestants tend to be bothered, even disturbed, by the fact that there really is a plurality of manuscripts available. Islam is essentially the same way concerning the Qur’an (actually, the original Qur’an was written without vowel points, so there are numerous non-standard ways to read certain passages). Protestantism and Islam are, by nature, dependent on the exactness of a book as God’s verbally dictated word. We are ultimately dependent only on the exactness of the Holy Spirit in preserving the Church’s faith unblemished. So, the question of which exact manuscript to use is not really an issue for us.

Rufus
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« Reply #9 on: May 02, 2010, 08:58:17 AM »

That the MT (Masoretic Text) is a translation of the LXX is news to me. Ytterbiumanalyst, where did you learn this? I cannot find anything to substantiate it.
From one of the theology classes I had to take at university, though since several of you are saying this is not correct, then possibly what I was taught is wrong. It wouldn't be the first time.

Where exactly does the Masoretic Text come from, then?
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« Reply #10 on: May 02, 2010, 02:17:27 PM »

That the MT (Masoretic Text) is a translation of the LXX is news to me. Ytterbiumanalyst, where did you learn this? I cannot find anything to substantiate it.
From one of the theology classes I had to take at university, though since several of you are saying this is not correct, then possibly what I was taught is wrong. It wouldn't be the first time.

Where exactly does the Masoretic Text come from, then?

The MT and LXX both come directly from the ancient Hebrew text. The LXX is just older and the one that has always been used by Christians, that's all. The Peshitta and Jerome's Vulgate come from early versions of the MT (which were not identical to the MT version we have now--the modern MT was not finalized until the middle ages).
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« Reply #11 on: May 02, 2010, 03:10:47 PM »

No, there are no errors in the Septuagint. Christ Himself used the Septuagint, and therefore endorsed its reliability.
Why does one imply the other?  Christ endorsed the reliability of the apostles, but that doesn't imply they were error-free.  Christ endorsed the validity of earthly governments, but no one would call them error-free.  Christ endorsed...  Well, you get the idea.

Orthodoxy does not require dogmatic belief in error-free scripture. 
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« Reply #12 on: May 02, 2010, 10:34:44 PM »

Hi guys.  Thank you for such a wonderful discussion...I am learning a lot!

Rufus, you are correct I am looking to Eastern Orthodoxy.  Actually my wife and I just recently became catechumen!

I completely understand that there is no 'perfect' Old Testament, but at least for me, I wish to find the one that is best 'for me'...one that I have no doubts about, or at least minimal doubts about.  It seems from all that I have learned that I would like to have an English translation of either:

- Codex Vaticanus;
- Codex Sinaiticus;
- Codex Alexandrinus; or
- A combination of them.

From what I have read here, it says the Codex Vaticanus is the purest of the three, among scholars:

http://mb-soft.com/believe/txx/sinaiti.htm

I've learned of the following translations:
Charles Thomson (1808) - not sure what Codices he used???
Sir Lancelot C.L. Brenton (1851) - Based primary on Codex Vaticanus, but not sure what else?
Alfred Rahlf (1935) (updated Greek) - used Codex Vaticanus / Sinaiticus / Alexandrinus?
Gottingen Septuagint (1931) - not complete? What codices used?

Found this information here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Septuagint#Printed_editions

English Translations (which is what I am looking for Smiley ):

1. New English Translation of the Septuagint (NETS):
Based off of Alfred Rahlf's 1935 translation (it's in Greek?), however they used the NRSV as a basis to make changes to it where the Greek did not match.  Wikipedia says he based this version off of all three codices listed above...

http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/nets/principles.html

2. Eastern Orthodox Bible (seems the Old Testament translation is currently in development): Which is supposed to be an extensive revision of Brenton's translation (wikipedia source).

http://www.orthodoxanswers.org/eob/

3. Paul Esposito's Apostles Bible / Logos Bible: Updated revision of Brenton's work for English today (but I heard it does not contain the Apocrypha).

http://books.google.com/books?id=pi7zz16JJIkC&printsec=frontcover&dq=the+logos+bible+paul+esposito&source=bl&ots=itrpZ9tXBd&sig=zjebSJvrERzJuvCXS_Lzp7q_490&hl=en&ei=wNXdS4vjNZHWNvnM9dUH&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CAYQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false

If you click to go to the next page after the cover page it has an introduction explaining his translation...

Any recommendation on which English Translation of the Old Testament I should go with??

Thomson, Brenton, NETS, Esposito, EOB (once it is out?)?  

Have I missed anything?

Thanks guys!!!  Cool
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« Reply #13 on: May 03, 2010, 11:16:43 AM »

No, there are no errors in the Septuagint. Christ Himself used the Septuagint, and therefore endorsed its reliability.
Why does one imply the other?  Christ endorsed the reliability of the apostles, but that doesn't imply they were error-free.  Christ endorsed the validity of earthly governments, but no one would call them error-free.  Christ endorsed...  Well, you get the idea.

Orthodoxy does not require dogmatic belief in error-free scripture. 
What errors there may have been don't matter now, so it is as if there are none.
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« Reply #14 on: May 03, 2010, 03:35:06 PM »

Quote from: ytterbiumanalyst
What errors there may have been don't matter now, so it is as if there are none.
"There are no errors" is an entirely different answer from "The errors don't matter".  You can't consistently argue both.  Which are you positing?
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« Reply #15 on: May 03, 2010, 03:37:59 PM »

Hi guys.  Thank you for such a wonderful discussion...I am learning a lot!

Rufus, you are correct I am looking to Eastern Orthodoxy.  Actually my wife and I just recently became catechumen!

I completely understand that there is no 'perfect' Old Testament, but at least for me, I wish to find the one that is best 'for me'...one that I have no doubts about, or at least minimal doubts about.  It seems from all that I have learned that I would like to have an English translation of either:

- Codex Vaticanus;
- Codex Sinaiticus;
- Codex Alexandrinus; or
- A combination of them.

From what I have read here, it says the Codex Vaticanus is the purest of the three, among scholars:

http://mb-soft.com/believe/txx/sinaiti.htm

I've learned of the following translations:
Charles Thomson (1808) - not sure what Codices he used???
Sir Lancelot C.L. Brenton (1851) - Based primary on Codex Vaticanus, but not sure what else?
Alfred Rahlf (1935) (updated Greek) - used Codex Vaticanus / Sinaiticus / Alexandrinus?
Gottingen Septuagint (1931) - not complete? What codices used?

Found this information here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Septuagint#Printed_editions

English Translations (which is what I am looking for Smiley ):

1. New English Translation of the Septuagint (NETS):
Based off of Alfred Rahlf's 1935 translation (it's in Greek?), however they used the NRSV as a basis to make changes to it where the Greek did not match.  Wikipedia says he based this version off of all three codices listed above...

http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/nets/principles.html

2. Eastern Orthodox Bible (seems the Old Testament translation is currently in development): Which is supposed to be an extensive revision of Brenton's translation (wikipedia source).

http://www.orthodoxanswers.org/eob/

3. Paul Esposito's Apostles Bible / Logos Bible: Updated revision of Brenton's work for English today (but I heard it does not contain the Apocrypha).

http://books.google.com/books?id=pi7zz16JJIkC&printsec=frontcover&dq=the+logos+bible+paul+esposito&source=bl&ots=itrpZ9tXBd&sig=zjebSJvrERzJuvCXS_Lzp7q_490&hl=en&ei=wNXdS4vjNZHWNvnM9dUH&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CAYQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false

If you click to go to the next page after the cover page it has an introduction explaining his translation...

Any recommendation on which English Translation of the Old Testament I should go with??

Thomson, Brenton, NETS, Esposito, EOB (once it is out?)?  

Have I missed anything?

Thanks guys!!!  Cool


The only Septuagint I own is Brenton's, and the translation is not very good--sometimes he seems to have actually guessed on how to translate difficult passages. Maybe better to use a more modern translaton. It's the deuterocanonical books in particular that are so hard to translate clearly. Unfortunately, recommending a specific translation is beyond where I can be helpful. It's probably best to just ask the priest. Is anyone else here knowledgeable about LXX translations?

It's great to hear that you've become catachumens! Were you in any church before? God bless you.

Rufus
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« Reply #16 on: May 04, 2010, 07:36:50 AM »

Quote from: ytterbiumanalyst
What errors there may have been don't matter now, so it is as if there are none.
"There are no errors" is an entirely different answer from "The errors don't matter".  You can't consistently argue both.  Which are you positing?
"The Septuagint may have had errors" is an argument used by those who favour the Masoretic text to prove the unreliability of the Septuagint. I've heard the argument for many years as a Protestant. So I refuted that argument.

Your argument was that the Septuagint, while reliable, is not totally error-free, and I agree with you. I answered differently because your subtext is different.
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« Reply #17 on: May 04, 2010, 08:54:24 AM »

Here is another LXX Bible:

http://www.apostolicbible.com/

I actually bought one, I thought the translation made the Bible a whole lot more interesting.

The words it uses are more technical, or sophisticated.

You can download it for free to check it out.

 
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« Reply #18 on: May 04, 2010, 10:29:18 AM »

Hi guys,

I have been searching high and low here on this site to learn more about the original works of the Old and New Testaments.  As you can imagine I have some questions and I'm hoping you might be able to help me out in answering them.

Old Testament Questions

From what I've been learning is that the Old Testament was originally written in Hebrew.  Then in the third century BC it was translated into Greek.  This translation into Greek became nown as the Septuagint? LXX?

Indeed, although the original Septuagint translation was only the Pentateuch/Torah. The other Hebrew scriptures were translated into Greek over the next one or two hundred years. In any case, by the time of Christ's birth, the translation had been completed.

Quote
I have heard that the Septuagint may have had errors in it when translated.  Is this correct?  I also heard there were numerous other Greek translations after the birth of Christ that may be a better or worse translation than the Septuagint?

We actually have strong evidence to suggest that the Septuagint is more faithful to the original Jewish scriptures than the current form of the Hebrew Masoretic texts. The New Testament writers quote the Septuagint, for starters. The Dead Sea Scrolls found at Qumran correlate far more closely to the Septuagint text than the Masoretic text, even though the Dead Sea Scrolls are in Hebrew and Aramaic. The Peshitta draws upon the Septuagint in many parts (mainly parts which were commonly used in liturgy, eg the Pslams), even though the people who translated the Peshitta from the Hebrew OT probably were far more familiar with the Hebrew text. This shows that the Septuagint was the text in use by the earliest Christian communities... even the Aramaic-speaking ones. It is believed that the Masoretic text was 'developed' (i.e., edited) by the Masoretes between the 7th and 11th centuries AD.

I am not aware of other Greek translations of the OT after Christ's time.

Quote
I've also heard of the Peshitta.  This is a translation made from the original Hebrew text into Aramaic???  Did this translation use the same Hebrew version of the Old Testament as the Septuagint?

The Peshitta translators used both the pre-Masoretic Hebrew text and the Septuagint. The influences from the Septuagint are obvious, but it is also clear that the Hebrew text was the main source.

Quote
Also, is there still an original Hebrew Old Testament in existence today (i.e. the one used for the translation of the Septuagint)?  And if so, if there were past errors in these translations, why is a new translation not being conducted? Or is there?

Unfortunately not. The earliest complete Hebrew text of the OT is the Leningrad Codex which dates back to 1009 AD. The Septuagint is the oldest complete OT. There are many much older fragments of the Hebrew OT, though.

New translations are conducted all the time on the initiative of those who have the time and skill to do them.

Quote
What is proper?  Hebrew > Greek > English / Hebrew > Aramaic > English / Hebrew > English ?

Hebrew (Masoretic and Dead Sea Scrolls) AND Greek --> English, eg the New Jerusalem Bible. Intelligent translators conduct a lot of research and use a variety of different sources to produce the best translation possible. There is no single bible which we can definately say is more correct than any other. My suggestion is, if you are keen on serious bible study, get a New Jerusalem Bible, a few other English translations including the 'Orthodox New Testament', a Greek Septuagint, a Masoretic text, and a Greek-English dictionary, and a Hebrew-English dictionary. Compare and cross-reference. Oh, also - learn to read/write Greek and Hebrew. These languages are essential for serious exegesis.

A conversation between me and one of my lecturers (a Catholic priest) went like this:

Him: To study for my Doctorate of Sacred Theology in Rome I needed to know German and Italian. They wouldn't let me into the course otherwise. The lectures were in Italian, and so many of the documents we had to read were in German.... the Germans are brilliant Biblical scholars.

Me: What about Hebrew and Greek?

Him: Oh, of course - but that's just taken for granted. If you didn't know Hebrew and Greek, what would you even be doing there?

Quote
And finally, I believe the Eastern Orthodox Church uses the Septuagint for translation into English.  Is this correct?  And if so, when did this translation into English occur?

No official Orthodox translation into English ever occurred. This continues to be a problem in the Orthodox Church as different English-language parishes use different scriptural and liturgical translations.

Quote
New Testament Questions

I've learned, I believe, that the new Testament was written in Greek?  Except for the Gospel of Matthew?  that this Gospel was in fact written in Hebrew, or Aramaic? 


The original documents of the New Testament were written in Greek. It is highly likely that the proto-Gospel documents such as the Q Doc/Source, the Gospel of Thomas and the pre-Markan 'Passion Narrative' (if it even existed) etc, were also written in Greek, but we don't know for sure. The earliest copy of The Gospel of Thomas is in Coptic, but that is almost certainly a translation from either Aramaic or Greek. Perhaps the Q Doc/Source was written in Aramaic... who knows. The lingua franca of the Eastern Roman Empire was Greek, so anyone who wanted to communicate with non-Jews would have to use Greek.

In the past it was thought by many that the original document of St Matthew's Gospel was written in Aramaic, but this theory has been widely discredited by modern New Testament scholars.

Quote
And is there still an original version (if you will) of the New Testament that was written in the early church years?  And does the Orthodox Church use this version to translate into English?  What version do they use, or should they use?
 

The complete New Testament can be found in sources which date back to as early as the early fourth century, but many incomplete, fragmented NT documents have been found which are much older.

In 1909 the Ecumenical Patriarchate officially approved a particular form of the Greek New Testament which was thought to be the most faithful to the 'original Greek' NT. Some Orthodox English translations have been translated from this Greek text, for example the 'Orthodox New Testament' translated/published by Holy Apostles Convent in the USA.

Quote
I saw a book that says the New Testament that was translated out of the 'Original Greek'?

Probably the one I just mentioned. My copy of the Orthodox New Testament says 'Translated out of the Original Greek.' It's a fantastic translation theologically, I just hate the archaic English - 'thee', 'thou', 'giveth', 'endureth' etc.... 

Quote
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0944359256?ie=UTF8&tag=traditionalorthodoxy-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=0944359256

Is this in fact a translation from the original Greek as it was initially written in?  And if so, is this the best New Testament to use?  Does the Orthodox Church use this translation?

haha, yes, that's exactly the one I just mentioned. You can probably tell I'm answering these questions in the order I read them. :p I would recommend it as a good cross-reference source for biblical exegesis, but for serious bible study you should use it alongside the New Jerusalem Bible or something equally as good. I honestly can't recommend the NJB enough - it's the best academic bible I've ever owned. Orthodox Churches which use English will use whatever translation they wish to. There is no official English Orthodox translation. The 'Orthodox New Testament' is okay, but the language is very archaic and it can be tough to read at times. I wouldn't recommend it for liturgical use... get something in Modern English.

Quote
So, there you go...my way too many questions!!!  If any of you could provide some insight on all of this I would really appreciate it!

Thank you.

I hope I've helped. Smiley
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« Reply #19 on: May 04, 2010, 02:46:44 PM »

Your argument was that the Septuagint, while reliable, is not totally error-free, and I agree with you. I answered differently because your subtext is different.
Fair enough!
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« Reply #20 on: May 04, 2010, 03:27:20 PM »

Hi Rufus, thank you for your opinion on Brenton's translation.  And also for the congratulations...my wife were both born and raised Roman Catholic.

Also, Feanor thank you so much for the information.  I will definitely look to getting the 'Orthodox New Testament' as you recommended.  I just have to decide on an Old Testament version now.

I'm curious to learn more about the Apostolic Bible as I see it is supposedly based on Lucian's Recension?

From wikipedia:

Quote
Biblical text

Lucian is also commonly credited with a critical recension of the text of the Septuagint and the Greek New Testament, which was later used by Chrysostom and the later Greek fathers, and which lies at the basis of the textus receptus.[7]

Jerome mentions that copies were known in his day as "exemplaria Lucianea" but in other places he speaks rather disparagingly of the texts of Lucian.[8] In the absence of definite information it is impossible to decide the merits of his critical labors.[9]

He believed in the literal sense of the biblical text and thus laid stress on the need of textual accuracy. He undertook to revise the Septuagint based on the original Hebrew.

So is this a later original translation of the original Hebrew scriptures that were used for the initial LXX?  Is this better than say a translation from Brenton or Rahlf?

This is interesting... Smiley

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« Reply #21 on: May 04, 2010, 04:28:25 PM »

Hi Rufus, thank you for your opinion on Brenton's translation.  And also for the congratulations...my wife were both born and raised Roman Catholic.

Also, Feanor thank you so much for the information.  I will definitely look to getting the 'Orthodox New Testament' as you recommended.  I just have to decide on an Old Testament version now.

I'm curious to learn more about the Apostolic Bible as I see it is supposedly based on Lucian's Recension?

From wikipedia:

Quote
Biblical text

Lucian is also commonly credited with a critical recension of the text of the Septuagint and the Greek New Testament, which was later used by Chrysostom and the later Greek fathers, and which lies at the basis of the textus receptus.[7]

Jerome mentions that copies were known in his day as "exemplaria Lucianea" but in other places he speaks rather disparagingly of the texts of Lucian.[8] In the absence of definite information it is impossible to decide the merits of his critical labors.[9]

He believed in the literal sense of the biblical text and thus laid stress on the need of textual accuracy. He undertook to revise the Septuagint based on the original Hebrew.

So is this a later original translation of the original Hebrew scriptures that were used for the initial LXX?  Is this better than say a translation from Brenton or Rahlf?

This is interesting... Smiley



Why not ask your Spiritual Father to recommend a translation that he thinks would be appropriate for you?  Huh
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« Reply #22 on: May 04, 2010, 06:19:48 PM »

Hi Rufus, thank you for your opinion on Brenton's translation.  And also for the congratulations...my wife were both born and raised Roman Catholic.

Also, Feanor thank you so much for the information.  I will definitely look to getting the 'Orthodox New Testament' as you recommended.  I just have to decide on an Old Testament version now.

I'm curious to learn more about the Apostolic Bible as I see it is supposedly based on Lucian's Recension?

From wikipedia:

Quote
Biblical text

Lucian is also commonly credited with a critical recension of the text of the Septuagint and the Greek New Testament, which was later used by Chrysostom and the later Greek fathers, and which lies at the basis of the textus receptus.[7]

Jerome mentions that copies were known in his day as "exemplaria Lucianea" but in other places he speaks rather disparagingly of the texts of Lucian.[8] In the absence of definite information it is impossible to decide the merits of his critical labors.[9]

He believed in the literal sense of the biblical text and thus laid stress on the need of textual accuracy. He undertook to revise the Septuagint based on the original Hebrew.

So is this a later original translation of the original Hebrew scriptures that were used for the initial LXX?  Is this better than say a translation from Brenton or Rahlf?

This is interesting... Smiley



Why not ask your Spiritual Father to recommend a translation that he thinks would be appropriate for you?  Huh

Very rarely are our spiritual fathers trained biblical scholars. If you ask your spiritual father or parish priest to recommend a translation, you're very likely to be told to buy yourself a KJV or an OSB.

It depends what you want it for. Serious biblical scholarship, readability, or liturgical use?
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« Reply #23 on: May 04, 2010, 06:30:44 PM »

Here is another LXX Bible:

http://www.apostolicbible.com/

I actually bought one, I thought the translation made the Bible a whole lot more interesting.

The words it uses are more technical, or sophisticated.

You can download it for free to check it out.

 


I talked to the guy who translated the Apostolic Bible.

He said that he had the honor of reading and attaining the Purple Codex, which is the oldest known text of the New Testament.

He said that he hopes to publish the Purple Codex.

He told me that the Purple codex was not much different from his Codex, which is the Codex Vaticanus, I think.
 
He was on the Island of Patmos at the Greek Orthodox Monastery there, and the abbot there (I don't recall his name), received his book and gave him a blessing. It was at this Monastery that the Purple Codex was.

That's what he told me in an e-mail, his name is Charles Vanderpool.
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« Reply #24 on: May 04, 2010, 07:37:55 PM »

Very rarely are our spiritual fathers trained biblical scholars. If you ask your spiritual father or parish priest to recommend a translation, you're very likely to be told to buy yourself a KJV or an OSB.

It depends what you want it for. Serious biblical scholarship, readability, or liturgical use?

I think you are underestimating the wisdom and education of most of the clergy in the US.
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« Reply #25 on: May 04, 2010, 09:29:41 PM »

I wonder if this is the purple codex he's talking about.

http://www.fivestargreece.com/patmos.htm

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The majestic and awe-inspiring Monastery of St John of the Revelation dominates the whole island and the tenor of its life. It is not only a place of scholarship (with 2000 volumes and manuscripts including the Codex Porphyrius - 33 leaves of gold and silver script on purple vellum - or St Mark's Gospel), but also a star place of worship for both Eastern and Western Christians, who come from all over the world. The actual site of St John's vision of fire and brimstone is still visible today.
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« Reply #26 on: May 04, 2010, 09:43:08 PM »

I wonder if this is the purple codex he's talking about.

http://www.fivestargreece.com/patmos.htm

Quote
The majestic and awe-inspiring Monastery of St John of the Revelation dominates the whole island and the tenor of its life. It is not only a place of scholarship (with 2000 volumes and manuscripts including the Codex Porphyrius - 33 leaves of gold and silver script on purple vellum - or St Mark's Gospel), but also a star place of worship for both Eastern and Western Christians, who come from all over the world. The actual site of St John's vision of fire and brimstone is still visible today.

I'm pretty sure that Charles Vanderpool means this Purple Codex:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Codex_Petropolitanus_Purpureus

Present location

The 231 extant folios of the manuscript are kept in different libraries:

    * 182 leaves in the National Library of Russia in Saint Petersburg,
    * 33 leaves in the Library of the Monastery of Saint John the Theologian on the Island of Patmos, Greece, Mark 6:53-7:4; 7:20-8:32; 9:1-10:43; 11:7-12:19; 14:25-15:23;
    * 6 leaves in the Vatican Library in Rome, Matthew 19:6-13; 20:6-22; 20:29-21:19
    * 4 leaves in London, British Library, Cotton Titus C. XV; Matthew 26:57-65; 27:26-34; John 14:2-10; 15:15-22; they were named the Codex Cottonianus;
    * 2 leaves in the National Library of Austria in Vienna,
    * 1 leaf in the Morgan Library in New York,
    * 1 leaf in the Byzantine Museum in Athens,
    * 1 leaf in the Museum of Byzantine Culture in Thessaloniki
    * 1 leaf in the private collection of Marquis А. Spinola in Lerma (1), Italy.
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« Reply #27 on: May 04, 2010, 09:58:01 PM »

Yes, that's it. Patmos has 3 leaves of Mark. It's "N", an early Byzantine witness.

I've used the Skypoint site a lot, it's a wealth of info on Greek and Latin versions of the New Testament.

http://www.skypoint.com/members/waltzmn/ManuscriptsUncials.html#uN

Quote
Manuscript N (022)
Location/Catalog Number

Codex Purpureus. Various libraries: Saint Petersburg, Russian National Library Gr. 537 (182 folios); Patmos, Ioannou 67 (33 folios); London, British Library Cotton Titus C. XV (4 folios); Vienna, National Library Gr. 31 (2 folios); Athens, Byz. Museum Frg. 21 (1 folio); Lerma (Spinola Collection) (1 folio); Rome, Bibl. Vat. Gr. 2305 (6 folios) New York, Pierpont Morgan Lib. 874 (1 folio); Salonika, Byz. Museum Ms. 1 (1 folio). (Total of 231 folios, representing roughly half of the original manuscript.)
Contents

Contains the Gospels with very many lacunae: Matt. 1:1-24, 2:7-20, 3:4-6:24, 7:15-8:1, 8:24-31, 10:28-11:3, 12:40-13:4, 13:33-41, 14:6-22, 15:14-31, 16:7-18:5, 18:26-19:6, 19:13-20:6, 21:19-26:57, 26:65-27:26, 26:34-end; Mark 1:1-5:20. 7:4-20, 8:32-9:1, 10:43-11:7, 12:19-24:25, 15:23-33, 15:42-16:20; Luke 1:1-2:23, 4:3-19, 4:26-35, 4:42-5:12, 5:33-9:7, 9:21-28, 9:36-58, 10:4-12, 10:35-11:14, 11:23-12:12, 12:21-29, 18:32-19:17, 20:30-21:22, 22:49-57, 23:41-24:13, 24:21-39, 24:49-end; John 1:1-21, 1:39-2:6, 3:30-4:5, 5:3-10, 5:19-26, 6:49-57, 9:33-14:2, 14:11-15:14, 15:22-16:15, 20:23-25, 20:28-30, 21:20-end. It has been thought that it was originally broken up by Crusaders (so Metzger; Scrivener says this of F); certainly its career was exciting (Gregory reports how the Saint Petersburg portion, when it was still in Asia Minor, was stolen -- and recovered by a crowd of angry villagers).
Date/Scribe

Dated paleographically to the sixth century. N is written on purple parchment in (now badly faded) silver ink, with certain of the nomina sacra in gold. The letters are very large (see the reduced sample in the section on uncial script), and are very regular in form; they seem to have been stamped on the page (though there are multiple stamps for the letters, and they are not uniform in size). There are two columns per page, with the columns containing only a dozen or so letters due to the large size of the print. Scrivener/Miller say of the manuscript, "[T]he punctuation [is] quite as simple [as in A of the fifth century], being a single point (and that usually neglected) level with the top of the letter... and there is no space between words even after stops.... It exhibits strong Alexandrian forms... and not a few such itacisms as the change of i and ei, ai and e."
Description and Text-type

There is general agreement that N forms a group with the other sixth century purple uncials (O S F). Cronin believed that N O S are in fact sisters, copied from a single exemplar (F he believes to have some "Western" mixture). There is less agreement about the nature of this group. Von Soden classifies it as Ip, but this really begs the question as it is simply another of those mixed I-K groups, and has no witnesses except the purple uncials. Streeter laid claim to the group as a weak witness to the "Cæsarean" text -- but of course Streeter insisted that everything not otherwise classified was "Cæsarean." In any case, studies of the group have been hindered by the fact that O contains only Matthew, while S F contain only Matthew and Mark. Thus only N represents the type in Luke and John, and passages where all four purple uncials exist are relatively few.

In recent times, Aland and Aland have described N as Category V (Byzantine). Wisse reports that it is mixed in Luke 20; there is, of course, no text of chapter 1 and very little of chapter 10.

All of these claims are slightly imprecise. N is much more Byzantine than anything else (about 80% of its readings seem to belong to that type), but by no means purely. It omits John 7:53-8:11, for instance, as well as Luke 22:43-44. There seems to be no pattern to the non-Byzantine readings, though; certainly they are not "Cæsarean" (N agrees with the Koridethi codex in only 31 of 44 non-Byzantine readings tested, with Family 1 in 26 of 34, and with Family 13 in 23 of 36; by contrast, it agrees with A in 20 of 24, with K in 16 of 21, and with Y in 29 of 32). The simplest conclusion is that N is mostly Byzantine with occasional surviving readings of all types.
Other Symbols Used for this Manuscript

von Soden: e19
Bibliography

Collations:
Since N came to light in so many pieces, there is no complete collation. H. S. Cronin published the text as it was known in 1899 (Texts and Studies volume 4). A few additional leaves have been published in the Journal of Biblical Literature by Stanley Rypins (lxxv, 1956).

Sample Plates:

Editions which cite:
Cited in NA26 and NA27 for the Gospels.
Cited by von Soden, Merk, and Bover for the Gospels.

Other Works:
The work of Cronin cited above (and its follow-up in JTS, July 1901) discusses the relationship between the purple uncials.
B. H. Streeter, The Four Gospels: A Study of Origins, 1924, discusses on pp. 575-577 his perceived relationship between the purple uncials and the "Cæsarean" text. This discussion shows at once the strengths and weaknesses of Streeter's method; since he equates the Textus Receptus entirely with the Byzantine text, almost any manuscript -- even one purely Byzantine! -- will show "Cæsarean" readings by this method.

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« Reply #28 on: May 09, 2010, 09:59:22 PM »

Well I think I have decided:

Old Testament

- New English Translation of the Septuagint (NETS)

New Testament

Either:
- Eastern Orthodox Bible (EOB) New Testament, or
- The Orthodox New Testament: Translated out of the Original Greek (Holy Apostles Convent)

I can't decided which of these two New Testaments would be better?  Does anyone how both of these and have a preference or the other?

Also I've heard about UBS4 and NA27 as 'critical texts' of the New Testament?  What is this about?  I now see the Majority Text is considered Byzantine text-type v. Alexandrian text-type.  Is there a New Testament based on Alexandrian text-type?  Is there a difference?

Wow, the things I am learning! Smiley
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« Reply #29 on: May 10, 2010, 09:34:34 AM »

The Orthodox Study Bible is fairly good, but also limited. I don't find it to be of much use, personally, aside from the patrisitic commentary which is provided in the footnotes throughout the text. It's basically a King James Bible (the OT is the Septuagint translated around a KJV framework) with some interesting footnotes and pages of commentary. I don't interpret Genesis as literal history, so reading commentary in which a fundamentalist-literalist hermeneutic is implicit is useless to me. The commenatary also is purely patristic, which is reduntant as an exclusivist hermeneutical approach in today's world in which we have at our disposal the methods of diachronic criticism. The OSB attempts to get away with crediting the Pentateuch to Moses and makes no mention of anything that even resembles the Documentary Hypothesis, and also states that the Pentateuch was written during the pre-settlement, post-exilic period which is also highly discredited. It is essentially a useless bible for serious critical bible study. The commentaries provide, in some cases, helpful contextualisation and patristic insight into the spiritual sense of scriptural interpretation for various verses. Nonetheless, the literal sense of scripture (i.e., what the original inspired authors were intending to convey through the composition of that text, using that literary form, using those words, in that particular social/historical/economic/religious/political/cultural/literary context) can be hard to discern and requires a a hermeneutic which makes full use of both synchronic AND diachronic methods (absolutely including serious literary, textual and historical criticism) of exegesis.

If I were you I wouldn't settle for just a single Bible translation if you insist in reading the bible in any language other than the original. If you aren't going to read it in Greek (and I'm not telling you to, because it's a hard language! We all have to deal with the fact that we aren't native speakers of biblical Greek and Hebrew), then get yourself a few different English translations so you can compare. I highly recommend the Orthodox New Testament and the New Jerusalem Bible. Honestly, the NJB is a translation I cannot recommend highly enough. No other bible I have ever seen contains such brilliant analytic and scholastic commentary from the perspectives of literary and historical criticism, and it is also an extremely good translation, both in terms of linguistic accuracy and aesthetic.

I recommend getting all three (as you can afford them... they aren't cheap to buy all at once) and more... The more translations, the better. If you have the time to spare, try teaching yourself the Hebrew and Greek alphabets and reading the texts in their original languages with the assistance of a bible.

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« Reply #30 on: May 10, 2010, 10:10:05 AM »

Thank you for all of your guidance Feanor.   I will definitely take a look at the New Jerusalem Bible as well. I see they're working on a new version, "The Bible in its Traditions".  I wonder when that will be complete. 

http://www.bibest.org/
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« Reply #31 on: May 10, 2010, 01:47:08 PM »

New Testament

Either:
- Eastern Orthodox Bible (EOB) New Testament, or
- The Orthodox New Testament: Translated out of the Original Greek (Holy Apostles Convent)

I can't decided which of these two New Testaments would be better?  Does anyone how both of these and have a preference or the other?

I'm not familiar with the EOB, but I've owned the Holy Apostles Convent one, and wouldn't particularly recommend it as your main New Testament for reading (it has helpful footnotes, but that's about it, IMO).
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« Reply #32 on: May 10, 2010, 02:18:46 PM »

The Orthodox Study Bible is fairly good, but also limited. I don't find it to be of much use, personally, aside from the patrisitic commentary which is provided in the footnotes throughout the text. It's basically a King James Bible (the OT is the Septuagint translated around a KJV framework) with some interesting footnotes and pages of commentary. I don't interpret Genesis as literal history, so reading commentary in which a fundamentalist-literalist hermeneutic is implicit is useless to me. The commenatary also is purely patristic, which is reduntant as an exclusivist hermeneutical approach in today's world in which we have at our disposal the methods of diachronic criticism. The OSB attempts to get away with crediting the Pentateuch to Moses and makes no mention of anything that even resembles the Documentary Hypothesis, and also states that the Pentateuch was written during the pre-settlement, post-exilic period which is also highly discredited. It is essentially a useless bible for serious critical bible study. The commentaries provide, in some cases, helpful contextualisation and patristic insight into the spiritual sense of scriptural interpretation for various verses. Nonetheless, the literal sense of scripture (i.e., what the original inspired authors were intending to convey through the composition of that text, using that literary form, using those words, in that particular social/historical/economic/religious/political/cultural/literary context) can be hard to discern and requires a a hermeneutic which makes full use of both synchronic AND diachronic methods (absolutely including serious literary, textual and historical criticism) of exegesis.

If I were you I wouldn't settle for just a single Bible translation if you insist in reading the bible in any language other than the original. If you aren't going to read it in Greek (and I'm not telling you to, because it's a hard language! We all have to deal with the fact that we aren't native speakers of biblical Greek and Hebrew), then get yourself a few different English translations so you can compare. I highly recommend the Orthodox New Testament and the New Jerusalem Bible. Honestly, the NJB is a translation I cannot recommend highly enough. No other bible I have ever seen contains such brilliant analytic and scholastic commentary from the perspectives of literary and historical criticism, and it is also an extremely good translation, both in terms of linguistic accuracy and aesthetic.

I recommend getting all three (as you can afford them... they aren't cheap to buy all at once) and more... The more translations, the better. If you have the time to spare, try teaching yourself the Hebrew and Greek alphabets and reading the texts in their original languages with the assistance of a bible.


Funny!  The main complaint I've heard about the Orthodox Study Bible--which, BTW, uses the New KJV, NOT the original KJV--is that its references to patristic commentary are not enough.  You're the first person I've ever heard complain that the OSB uses too much patristic commentary.  I would think that an Orthodox Christian intent on studying the Bible academically would want to avoid such reliance on historical-critical methods of exegesis as you advocate and which the Orthodox Church criticizes so soundly, or that you would at least want to balance such use of historical-critical method with even more reliance on patristic commentary.
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« Reply #33 on: May 10, 2010, 02:33:14 PM »

I agree with you entirely, PtA. It seems so strange that people who go on and on about Bible translations don't know the difference between KJV and NKJV. For me, at least, it undermines their credibility. It also seems strange that many people don't understand the difference between a Bible and commentary.

I'm a bit concerned about a suggestion that "the more translations, the better." If the purpose is to have a library of resources for in-depth study, then I agree - I must have eight or ten translations in English, let alone a few other languages. But for regular devotional use, one should settle on a single translation - ideally it will match the one used at Church on Sundays, but I know the chances of that, unfortunately! The reason I say that is the following: this dates back well into my Protestant days. I grew up when KJV was the only translation available, at least for us Protestants. It was during my teens and 20s that there was an explosion of numbers of available translations, which continues to this day. What I have noticed is that Christians (of any variety) are no longer very adept at memorizing Scripture and I attribute that to the fact that one rarely hears or sees the same passage twice in a row!
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« Reply #34 on: May 10, 2010, 03:49:09 PM »

Regarding the NT, the best "axis" isn't necessarily Byzantine Text vs Westcott-Hort/Nestle-Aland. I tend to spend more attention to the dynamic vs formal equivalent axis. Find a translation that is not too loose, and with decent textual footnotes. The NKJV - used with care - seems suitable to the task. It reads like the venerable KJV and hews closer to the underlying Greek text than most translations, and its footnotes include many of the important variants. The more dymamic translations suffer from confessional bias (eg. NIV), although I've made use of a few (the REB was helpful when I re-encountering the Pauline corpus).

I actually grew up with the Confraternity version - a Greek-influenced update of the Roman Catholic Challoner-Rheims. Despite its basis in the Latin NT, it is far superior than the post-war dynamic RCC translations. Or put another way, by not diverging too far from the underlying Latin, they were closer to the Greek than many of the modern ones on the market such as the NAB. The various RCC flavours of the RSV (from Ignatius Press) probably deserve a special mention - most of the deviations (which aren't many) are IMHO suitable. They also offer a near-complete OT from the standpoint of the LXX. It is only "Catholic" in the sense that they have the complete Roman Catholic canon, and corrected a handful of the verses in the NT in light of tradition.

There aren't frankly - a lot of "pure" Septuagint translations of the OT. The OSB OT (a corrected NKJV) is about as mainstream as you are going to get. It seems to have made inroads mostly in the Anthiochian and Greek churches. As "archaic" language goes, it's hard to beat the Coverdale Psalms of the Book of Common Prayer, although it is even older than the KJV. I've recently found a Slavic Orthodox/ROCOR revision of the Coverdale Psalms! The translator was aiming at more elegant traditional-language alternative to the "Pstaler of the 70".

This is a decent page covering (mostly Protestant) versions:
http://bible-researcher.com/versions.html

Regarding the Igantius...
http://web.archive.org/web/20071218022237/http://umsis.miami.edu/~medmunds/RSVCEdiff.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ignatius_Bible
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« Reply #35 on: May 10, 2010, 07:37:26 PM »

The Orthodox Study Bible is fairly good, but also limited. I don't find it to be of much use, personally, aside from the patrisitic commentary which is provided in the footnotes throughout the text. It's basically a King James Bible (the OT is the Septuagint translated around a KJV framework) with some interesting footnotes and pages of commentary. I don't interpret Genesis as literal history, so reading commentary in which a fundamentalist-literalist hermeneutic is implicit is useless to me. The commenatary also is purely patristic, which is reduntant as an exclusivist hermeneutical approach in today's world in which we have at our disposal the methods of diachronic criticism. The OSB attempts to get away with crediting the Pentateuch to Moses and makes no mention of anything that even resembles the Documentary Hypothesis, and also states that the Pentateuch was written during the pre-settlement, post-exilic period which is also highly discredited. It is essentially a useless bible for serious critical bible study. The commentaries provide, in some cases, helpful contextualisation and patristic insight into the spiritual sense of scriptural interpretation for various verses. Nonetheless, the literal sense of scripture (i.e., what the original inspired authors were intending to convey through the composition of that text, using that literary form, using those words, in that particular social/historical/economic/religious/political/cultural/literary context) can be hard to discern and requires a a hermeneutic which makes full use of both synchronic AND diachronic methods (absolutely including serious literary, textual and historical criticism) of exegesis.

If I were you I wouldn't settle for just a single Bible translation if you insist in reading the bible in any language other than the original. If you aren't going to read it in Greek (and I'm not telling you to, because it's a hard language! We all have to deal with the fact that we aren't native speakers of biblical Greek and Hebrew), then get yourself a few different English translations so you can compare. I highly recommend the Orthodox New Testament and the New Jerusalem Bible. Honestly, the NJB is a translation I cannot recommend highly enough. No other bible I have ever seen contains such brilliant analytic and scholastic commentary from the perspectives of literary and historical criticism, and it is also an extremely good translation, both in terms of linguistic accuracy and aesthetic.

I recommend getting all three (as you can afford them... they aren't cheap to buy all at once) and more... The more translations, the better. If you have the time to spare, try teaching yourself the Hebrew and Greek alphabets and reading the texts in their original languages with the assistance of a bible.


Funny!  The main complaint I've heard about the Orthodox Study Bible--which, BTW, uses the New KJV, NOT the original KJV--is that its references to patristic commentary are not enough.  You're the first person I've ever heard complain that the OSB uses too much patristic commentary.  I would think that an Orthodox Christian intent on studying the Bible academically would want to avoid such reliance on historical-critical methods of exegesis as you advocate and which the Orthodox Church criticizes so soundly, or that you would at least want to balance such use of historical-critical method with even more reliance on patristic commentary.

I'm quite aware that the OSB doesn't use the original KJV, otherwise it would be abundant with 'thee's and 'thou's 'ye', 'endureth', 'profiteth' etc.

I didn't say that the OSB provides too much patristic commentary. I said that was all it is good for. The patristic commentary is not balanced with contextual or historical-critical exegetical commentary with are absolutely indisposable when it comes to biblical hermeneutics.

It doesn't matter fi you're a Catholic, Protestant or Orthodox Christistian. If you're studying the bible on a serious academic level, you simply cannot neglect historical and literary criticism and other diachronic exegetical methods. The bible is not a simple text which has fallen out of the sky in perfect clarity. The patristic commentaries wonderfully enable us to discern the spiritual sense of scripture (i.e., how passages in the OT foreshadow and point to Christ metaphorically, symbolically, or prophetically). However, to understand the significance and meaning carried and intended by those texts in their original context, we absolutely must make full use of criticial analytical methods.

Your claim that the Orthodox Church criticises historical critical methods of exegesis. I find this a deeply disturbing statement. Please show me some evidence that the Orthodox heirarchs (modern educated heirarchs, that is) oppose and criticise historical-critical exegesis. I would be very suprised and deeply shocked if men as intelligent and well-educated as Patriarch Bartholemew or Patriarch Ignatius were fundamentalists, or advocated a purely fundamentalist-literalist interpretation of the literal sense the bible. I'm not talking about patristics here, I know they advocate patristic exegesis.
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« Reply #36 on: May 11, 2010, 01:35:37 AM »

Your claim that the Orthodox Church criticises historical critical methods of exegesis. I find this a deeply disturbing statement. Please show me some evidence that the Orthodox heirarchs (modern educated heirarchs, that is) oppose and criticise historical-critical exegesis.
I did not say oppose and criticize.  You're reading into my statements words I did not say.  All I said is that the Church criticizes the use of the historical-critical method.  The method has its value in a well-rounded biblical hermeneutic, as you pointed out, but it also has its limitations and cannot be used alone.

I would be very suprised and deeply shocked if men as intelligent and well-educated as Patriarch Bartholemew or Patriarch Ignatius were fundamentalists, or advocated a purely fundamentalist-literalist interpretation of the literal sense the bible.
Why the false dichotomy?  Why paint this as if those who criticize the use of the historical-critical method of interpreting the Bible are automatically fundamentalist-literalists?

I'm not talking about patristics here, I know they advocate patristic exegesis.
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« Reply #37 on: May 17, 2010, 09:52:19 PM »

The Orthodox Study Bible is fairly good, but also limited. I don't find it to be of much use, personally, aside from the patrisitic commentary which is provided in the footnotes throughout the text. It's basically a King James Bible (the OT is the Septuagint translated around a KJV framework) with some interesting footnotes and pages of commentary. I don't interpret Genesis as literal history, so reading commentary in which a fundamentalist-literalist hermeneutic is implicit is useless to me. The commenatary also is purely patristic, which is reduntant as an exclusivist hermeneutical approach in today's world in which we have at our disposal the methods of diachronic criticism. The OSB attempts to get away with crediting the Pentateuch to Moses and makes no mention of anything that even resembles the Documentary Hypothesis, and also states that the Pentateuch was written during the pre-settlement, post-exilic period which is also highly discredited. It is essentially a useless bible for serious critical bible study. The commentaries provide, in some cases, helpful contextualisation and patristic insight into the spiritual sense of scriptural interpretation for various verses. Nonetheless, the literal sense of scripture (i.e., what the original inspired authors were intending to convey through the composition of that text, using that literary form, using those words, in that particular social/historical/economic/religious/political/cultural/literary context) can be hard to discern and requires a a hermeneutic which makes full use of both synchronic AND diachronic methods (absolutely including serious literary, textual and historical criticism) of exegesis.

If I were you I wouldn't settle for just a single Bible translation if you insist in reading the bible in any language other than the original. If you aren't going to read it in Greek (and I'm not telling you to, because it's a hard language! We all have to deal with the fact that we aren't native speakers of biblical Greek and Hebrew), then get yourself a few different English translations so you can compare. I highly recommend the Orthodox New Testament and the New Jerusalem Bible. Honestly, the NJB is a translation I cannot recommend highly enough. No other bible I have ever seen contains such brilliant analytic and scholastic commentary from the perspectives of literary and historical criticism, and it is also an extremely good translation, both in terms of linguistic accuracy and aesthetic.

I recommend getting all three (as you can afford them... they aren't cheap to buy all at once) and more... The more translations, the better. If you have the time to spare, try teaching yourself the Hebrew and Greek alphabets and reading the texts in their original languages with the assistance of a bible.


Funny!  The main complaint I've heard about the Orthodox Study Bible--which, BTW, uses the New KJV, NOT the original KJV--is that its references to patristic commentary are not enough.  You're the first person I've ever heard complain that the OSB uses too much patristic commentary.  I would think that an Orthodox Christian intent on studying the Bible academically would want to avoid such reliance on historical-critical methods of exegesis as you advocate and which the Orthodox Church criticizes so soundly, or that you would at least want to balance such use of historical-critical method with even more reliance on patristic commentary.

I'm quite aware that the OSB doesn't use the original KJV, otherwise it would be abundant with 'thee's and 'thou's 'ye', 'endureth', 'profiteth' etc.

I didn't say that the OSB provides too much patristic commentary. I said that was all it is good for. The patristic commentary is not balanced with contextual or historical-critical exegetical commentary with are absolutely indisposable when it comes to biblical hermeneutics.

It doesn't matter fi you're a Catholic, Protestant or Orthodox Christistian. If you're studying the bible on a serious academic level, you simply cannot neglect historical and literary criticism and other diachronic exegetical methods. The bible is not a simple text which has fallen out of the sky in perfect clarity. The patristic commentaries wonderfully enable us to discern the spiritual sense of scripture (i.e., how passages in the OT foreshadow and point to Christ metaphorically, symbolically, or prophetically). However, to understand the significance and meaning carried and intended by those texts in their original context, we absolutely must make full use of criticial analytical methods.

Your claim that the Orthodox Church criticises historical critical methods of exegesis. I find this a deeply disturbing statement. Please show me some evidence that the Orthodox heirarchs (modern educated heirarchs, that is) oppose and criticise historical-critical exegesis. I would be very suprised and deeply shocked if men as intelligent and well-educated as Patriarch Bartholemew or Patriarch Ignatius were fundamentalists, or advocated a purely fundamentalist-literalist interpretation of the literal sense the bible. I'm not talking about patristics here, I know they advocate patristic exegesis.

This is interesting, I'm reading through the OSB right now. Although it could be improved, I'm certainly enjoying reading it, and I think it's definitely a positive addition to my set of bibles. The abbreviated patristic commentary is really helpful, especially for the OT. It's not sufficient for close study, but they only have so much space on the page to work with, and the notes are still a good guide. I've also noticed that a lot of the notes that don't give any citation are nonetheless based on patristic texts.

Although I do buy into the four-source hypothesis and everything, it's actually kind of relieving to see that the OSB deals with the text from a purely didactic and doctrinal perspective. If I'm reading the Bible from a spiritual standpoint, then who wrote what book when is really of secondary importance. It's true that the early books of the Bible make more sense when you know they're a combination of multiple sources, but if the Fathers could do without historical criticism, so can we.

It is somewhat awkward, however, when they seem to pull for the notion that Moses penned the Torah with his own hand, or when they translate "of David" in the psalms as "by David." Are we to believe that Moses wrote about his own death at the end of Deuteronomy, or that David wrote "By the rivers of Babylon"? Personally, I'm not even sure we should take the editors literally when they say things like that. It may just be a justifiable reaction to the modern tendency to use historical-critical methods as a substitute for spiritual/patristic exegesis--sort of like saying, "Stop trying to figure out who wrote it and just read it."
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« Reply #38 on: May 17, 2010, 10:02:08 PM »

Quote
or when they translate "of David" in the psalms as "by David."


The phrase "of David" reflects the Greek Septuagint usage: Psalmos tou Dhavidh. The western tendency of critical "pulling apart" of scripture is very recent in terms of Biblical history and analysis; your comment of "Stop trying to figure out who wrote it and just read it."is right on the mark. Stick with it.
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« Reply #39 on: December 22, 2010, 03:07:16 AM »

Hi, I am new here, so I hope I am congruent. The Apostolic Bible is closer (I think) to Aquila’s version. It relies on the Complutensian for the order, which among Septuagint sources, it is probably closest to the Masoretic Text. You can quickly discern this from reading from Jeremiah 25:15 onwards from the Apostolic Bible comparing it to any other LXX (like Brenton’s). The Apostolic Bible is identical to the Masoretic, which is what Aquila’s version set out to achieve. No one knows exactly where the Complutensian came from… it appeared in Europe when the Greeks came there after the Muslim invasion of Byzantine. It may have come from the Greeks, or it may have come from the Jews.

According to Athenagoras, ‘lies and deceptions within the church are not accidental; they are deliberately planned out and perpetrated by the enemies of Christ.’ The Jews were very active in attempting to sabotage the LXX, which Aquila was employed for this intent. (They bought up every copy they could find and burnt them from the 1st century onwards). The Masorites (I believe) cannot be trusted, as they are of Pharisee descent, they hate the church, they deliberately falsify evidence, and at the same time they were “faithfully” copying the OT; they were “faithfully” copying the Talmud and Kabala as well. These books are extremely questionable, diabolic and bordering on satanic. The kabala sets forth the ideology that there is no need for a messiah, as the Jews can save themselves. These were the Masorites. These Masorites influence Christian thinking today through monopolising Christian bibles, and underlying Christian ideologies. Christians, for the most part, are completely unfamiliar with the chronologies existing within the LXX framework. The prophecies of Jeremiah have evaded the church because the Masorites shuffled the pages of Jeremiah to confuse what would otherwise be an important insight.

Using the principal set forth by Athenagoras, wherever there is the greater disturbance in the text, it is a deliberate attempt to use smoke and mirrors to blind us. This serves also the purpose of highlighting for us key and significant insights that they, the Masorites, discovered. Read carefully what ever they have changed, as it is a key to understanding great things. Jeremiah, Job, Exodus and Esther, as well as the genealogies of genesis chapter 5 & 11 are important, and are found within the LXX (not in the Complutensian, or Apostolic Bible, as this likely incorporated Aquila’s text – the Genesis portion was likely not altered in the 2nd century – it came later).

The Alexandrian Codex is likely the progeny of the original LXX from Alexandria, as the Siniaticus and Vaticanus does not have Genesis 5 & 11, this is found in the Alexandrian only (so says Barry Setterfield - http://www.setterfield.org/Septuagint_History.html). The Alexandrian was quoted by Julius Africanus 250 years earlier than the Alexandrian copy extant. This is an example why the Early Church Fathers are so valuable to cross reference. (You can cross reference the early church father with the LXX at www.apostolica.info).

I hope I have added to some helpful consideration.

Thanks
Stefcui
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