Author Topic: The Dead Sea Scrolls and Septuagint.  (Read 854 times)

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Offline Raylight

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The Dead Sea Scrolls and Septuagint.
« on: March 19, 2016, 08:13:15 PM »
Few days ago it was mentioned that the Dead Sea Scrolls agree with the Septuagint more than they agree with the Masoretic Text. Therefore, the Christian version of the OT is more authentic to the original than the Hebrew/Masoretic Text. However, that claim doesn't seem to fit what many sources say including the Orion Center which is dedicated to the study of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Where it says

"  In what languages were the scrolls written ?
The majority of the scrolls were written in the Hebrew Language (approximately 90-95%) with Assyrian Block script. From this majority there are a few cases in which the scribes used Paleo-Hebrew (see for example 4QPaleoExodus). In addition to the texts found in Hebrew there were also some texts written in Aramaic and Greek.  "

Source: http://orion.mscc.huji.ac.il/resources/FAQ.shtml#language


Therefore, why should I trust the Christian version of the OT and discredit the Hebrew version, even though the Dead Sea Scrolls support the latter more than the former?


Offline Volnutt

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Re: The Dead Sea Scrolls and Septuagint.
« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2016, 08:22:26 PM »
Huh? The point to which you refer is that the Greek of the LXX is allegedly a better translation of the Hebrew represented by the Dead Sea Scrolls, not that the Dead Sea Scrolls were written in Greek.
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Offline Raylight

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Re: The Dead Sea Scrolls and Septuagint.
« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2016, 08:26:37 PM »
Huh? The point to which you refer is that the Greek of the LXX is allegedly a better translation of the Hebrew represented by the Dead Sea Scrolls, not that the Dead Sea Scrolls were written in Greek.

So how is it a better translation? How can a Greek translation of the Hebrew be better than Masoretic Text? It is like saying that an English version of the Quran is better than the Arabic version of it.
« Last Edit: March 19, 2016, 08:29:02 PM by Raylight »

Offline RaphaCam

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Re: The Dead Sea Scrolls and Septuagint.
« Reply #3 on: March 19, 2016, 08:32:35 PM »
Usually, the MT, the LXX and some DSS say the same. That is great for everyone, this is an example of how purely those pieces of scripture have come to us.

Sometimes, the MT says something, while the LXX and the DSS say another. That is great for us Orthodox, since we rely on the LXX strongly (I'm not aware if any of the miaphysite churches believe themselves to have better versions of the OT); it's really unimportant for Roman Catholics, since the Vulgate is, despite of what was determined in Divino afflante Spiritu,u, still their referential version, considered inspired; and, well, sometimes Prots get mixed feelings about it.

Sometimes, the MT and the LXX say something while some DSS says another. Why bother? Maybe it's something about some shocky subject and conspirationists will go bananas, but it won't change our mlilenial faith.

However, if the MT and some DSS agree on something and the LXX says something different... Well, I don't recall any case like that, but I can't see the Church bother. The Fathers have been sweating the cover of their LXX's and subsequent translations under their armpits for long ago for us to doubt about its precision. We're not a "people of the book", our faith goes beyond the wise words of Holy Scripture. Uncovering the mysterious nominative form of Iounian (Rm 16:7) will not change the fact Saint Paul was complimenting a she-saint.
« Last Edit: March 19, 2016, 08:41:27 PM by RaphaCam »
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Offline MalpanaGiwargis

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Re: The Dead Sea Scrolls and Septuagint.
« Reply #4 on: March 19, 2016, 09:03:12 PM »
Therefore, why should I trust the Christian version of the OT and discredit the Hebrew version, even though the Dead Sea Scrolls support the latter more than the former?

I don't think it's necessary to discredit the Hebrew, but it is necessary to be aware that the MT is not the Hebrew version, but a version. It is a major source for modern critical texts, but not the only one. What the DSS reveal is that there were multiple textual traditions in the Hebrew text that died out as the MT became dominant.

Ultimately, we should use the LXX because it is the Christian Bible, at least for the Greek-speaking world and its spiritual descendants. Its long uninterrupted use by the Church guarantees its abiding value.
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Offline Raylight

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Re: The Dead Sea Scrolls and Septuagint.
« Reply #5 on: March 19, 2016, 11:28:04 PM »

Then, what about Psalm 22:16. As in the Masoretic Text says "lion". But in the Spetugent says "Pierced". Which one agrees with the Dead Sea Scrolls? Since the vast majority of them are written in Hebrew, how come some people believe that the latter which is "pierced" is more accurate than the former, which says "lion"?

Offline RaphaCam

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Re: The Dead Sea Scrolls and Septuagint.
« Reply #6 on: March 20, 2016, 12:14:10 AM »

Then, what about Psalm 22:16. As in the Masoretic Text says "lion". But in the Spetugent says "Pierced". Which one agrees with the Dead Sea Scrolls? Since the vast majority of them are written in Hebrew, how come some people believe that the latter which is "pierced" is more accurate than the former, which says "lion"?

I see no lion in Psalm 22:16, just a typo on an overrated Rabinnic text from the IX Century.
  • Ka-'ari yad-ai ve-ragl-ai - "like a lion my hands and my feet" - weird nominal sentence anyone who doesn't assume it's a typo will crack their head over
  • Ka'aru yad-ai ve-ragl-ai - "they dug my hands and my feet" - perfectly coherent sentence that predicts what happend to Our Lord in the cross and agrees with both the Septuagint and the Vulgate
There are some other famous typos in the MT. If I reckon well, someone inserted the right word in the end of the wrong verse (either the prior or the subsequent) and made Elhanan kill Goliath. I hope I'm not overrating the LXX with those stances, but I always give it the last word.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2016, 12:18:41 AM by RaphaCam »
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Offline byhisgrace

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Re: The Dead Sea Scrolls and Septuagint.
« Reply #7 on: March 20, 2016, 12:23:19 AM »

Then, what about Psalm 22:16. As in the Masoretic Text says "lion". But in the Spetugent says "Pierced". Which one agrees with the Dead Sea Scrolls?
In the Masoretic text, it says כארי (kaari). In the Dead Sea Scrolls, it says כארו (kaaru).

Quote
Since the vast majority of them are written in Hebrew, how come some people believe that the latter which is "pierced" is more accurate than the former, which says "lion"?
It doesn't matter how many Masoretic Hebrew manuscripts we have, if both the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Septuagint predate them.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2016, 12:37:49 AM by byhisgrace »
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Re: The Dead Sea Scrolls and Septuagint.
« Reply #8 on: March 20, 2016, 12:27:49 AM »
Theophilos78 anesti? 

Offline Gamliel

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Re: The Dead Sea Scrolls and Septuagint.
« Reply #9 on: March 20, 2016, 01:11:40 AM »

Then, what about Psalm 22:16. As in the Masoretic Text says "lion". But in the Septuagint says "Pierced". Which one agrees with the Dead Sea Scrolls? Since the vast majority of them are written in Hebrew, how come some people believe that the latter which is "pierced" is more accurate than the former, which says "lion"?
What if it is lion?  I own a Jewish translation which translates it, "For dogs have surrounded me; a pack of evildoers has enclosed me, like [the prey of] a lion are my hands and feet."  -- [Tanakh : Torah, Neviʼim, Ketuvim] = Tanach : the Torah, Prophets, Writings : the twenty-four books of the Bible, newly translated and annotated / edited by Nosson Scherman ; contributing editors, Yaakov Blinder, Avie Gold, Meir Zlotowitz ; designed by Sheah Brander.  You could read that his hands are pierced, or you can read that they were surrounded by lions, that would pierce his hands.

Offline Volnutt

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Re: The Dead Sea Scrolls and Septuagint.
« Reply #10 on: March 20, 2016, 05:26:05 AM »

Then, what about Psalm 22:16. As in the Masoretic Text says "lion". But in the Septuagint says "Pierced". Which one agrees with the Dead Sea Scrolls? Since the vast majority of them are written in Hebrew, how come some people believe that the latter which is "pierced" is more accurate than the former, which says "lion"?
What if it is lion?  I own a Jewish translation which translates it, "For dogs have surrounded me; a pack of evildoers has enclosed me, like [the prey of] a lion are my hands and feet."  -- [Tanakh : Torah, Neviʼim, Ketuvim] = Tanach : the Torah, Prophets, Writings : the twenty-four books of the Bible, newly translated and annotated / edited by Nosson Scherman ; contributing editors, Yaakov Blinder, Avie Gold, Meir Zlotowitz ; designed by Sheah Brander.  You could read that his hands are pierced, or you can read that they were surrounded by lions, that would pierce his hands.

I guess you could read it that way, but you leave yourself open to being accused of eisegesis by Jews and others. The literal meaning of the passage would be that the lions are menacing the speaker, not that they necessarily actually succeed in biting/clawing him.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2016, 05:47:55 AM by Volnutt »
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Offline Gamliel

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Re: The Dead Sea Scrolls and Septuagint.
« Reply #11 on: March 20, 2016, 10:37:30 AM »
^The Lord certainly had a crowd menacing Him.

Offline Raylight

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Re: The Dead Sea Scrolls and Septuagint.
« Reply #12 on: March 20, 2016, 05:05:35 PM »
I just found that even the Hebrew version in the DSS says "pierced". Therefore, it is more likely the case is "pierced" rather than "lion". Plus, the whole lion thing just doesn't make sense. Why would a lion sit around your feet and hands?

Another myth is debunked, means another doubt is gone.

What about Psalm 110? The Jewish apologetics claim that the "Lord saith to my Lord" is not an accurate translation of the original text, and that it is "The Lord saith to my lord/master". What does the Septuagint say? And if possible, the DSS?



Offline RaphaCam

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Re: The Dead Sea Scrolls and Septuagint.
« Reply #13 on: March 20, 2016, 05:08:16 PM »
What about Psalm 110? The Jewish apologetics claim that the "Lord saith to my Lord" is not an accurate translation of the original text, and that it is "The Lord saith to my lord/master". What does the Septuagint say? And if possible, the DSS?

Well, Hebrew never had capital letters, and Greek took some more centuries after the LXX to develop capitals as we know them, so the difference between "saith to my Lord" and "saith to my lord" is just a matter of exegesis, unverifiable by older sources.

We, as Christians, believe this is the Father talking to Christ, so it's logical to capitalise "Lord". The Jews, IIRC, think this is God talking to Moses, so small-letter "lord" should suffice for them.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2016, 05:10:24 PM by RaphaCam »
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Re: The Dead Sea Scrolls and Septuagint.
« Reply #14 on: March 20, 2016, 05:09:33 PM »
What about Psalm 110? The Jewish apologetics claim that the "Lord saith to my Lord" is not an accurate translation of the original text, and that it is "The Lord saith to my lord/master". What does the Septuagint say? And if possible, the DSS?

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It agrees with the Christian interpretation.
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Offline truthseeker32

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Re: The Dead Sea Scrolls and Septuagint.
« Reply #15 on: March 20, 2016, 08:34:32 PM »
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Re: The Dead Sea Scrolls and Septuagint.
« Reply #16 on: March 20, 2016, 10:05:19 PM »
What about Psalm 110? The Jewish apologetics claim that the "Lord saith to my Lord" is not an accurate translation of the original text, and that it is "The Lord saith to my lord/master". What does the Septuagint say? And if possible, the DSS?

εἶπεν ὁ κύριος τῷ κυρίῳ μου

It agrees with the Christian interpretation.

Dixit Dominus Domino meo. Jerome obviously got it right in his Latin translation, too.

Offline Rohzek

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Re: The Dead Sea Scrolls and Septuagint.
« Reply #17 on: March 20, 2016, 10:25:03 PM »
I honestly don't know what the difference is. Almost all mss. from this early Christian period in both Latin and Greek are in all-caps, no? At least Latin mss. were.
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Re: The Dead Sea Scrolls and Septuagint.
« Reply #18 on: March 20, 2016, 11:08:30 PM »
I honestly don't know what the difference is. Almost all mss. from this early Christian period in both Latin and Greek are in all-caps, no? At least Latin mss. were.

Depends.

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Re: The Dead Sea Scrolls and Septuagint.
« Reply #19 on: March 20, 2016, 11:11:55 PM »
Majuscule x minuscule was a matter of typography until some Latin writers in the Late Middle Age thought it was wise to use majuscules in IMPORTANT WORDS inside texts written otherwise in the minuscule form. This was just a latter development in other alphabets (Coptic and Slavonic afficcionados may confirm) and it never reached Semitic alphabets. Looking for old manuscripts to see whether we should write "lord" or "Lord", "god" or "God" would be completely fruitless. This is a matter of exegesis.
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Offline Keble

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Re: The Dead Sea Scrolls and Septuagint.
« Reply #20 on: March 21, 2016, 04:53:02 PM »
However, if the MT and some DSS agree on something and the LXX says something different... Well, I don't recall any case like that, but I can't see the Church bother.

These are common, and as a rule these represent cases where there are obvious mistakes in the LXX translation.

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Re: The Dead Sea Scrolls and Septuagint.
« Reply #21 on: March 21, 2016, 10:32:02 PM »
However, if the MT and some DSS agree on something and the LXX says something different... Well, I don't recall any case like that, but I can't see the Church bother.

These are common, and as a rule these represent cases where there are obvious mistakes in the LXX translation.


Can we really be that sure that the LXX is the one that got it wrong? Also, I'm sure there are differences as you mentioned, but are any of them somehow on things essential to our faith?
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Re: The Dead Sea Scrolls and Septuagint.
« Reply #22 on: March 21, 2016, 11:20:57 PM »
Huh? The point to which you refer is that the Greek of the LXX is allegedly a better translation of the Hebrew represented by the Dead Sea Scrolls, not that the Dead Sea Scrolls were written in Greek.

So how is it a better translation? How can a Greek translation of the Hebrew be better than Masoretic Text? It is like saying that an English version of the Quran is better than the Arabic version of it.

I've heard it said that the reason for the Masoretic text was to 'write out references to the word', I'm not sure if this is true or not but many in Orthodoxy claim this.

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Re: The Dead Sea Scrolls and Septuagint.
« Reply #23 on: March 21, 2016, 11:33:37 PM »
^ I have heard that also, but I do not believe it.  There are numerous differences that have nothing to do with the Word.

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Re: The Dead Sea Scrolls and Septuagint.
« Reply #24 on: March 21, 2016, 11:48:08 PM »
There are some timespans and age that differ between the LXX and the MT, while in the MT they usually have deep kabbalistic meanings, i.e. the Massoretes changed details for the sake of superstition.
« Last Edit: March 21, 2016, 11:48:30 PM by RaphaCam »
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Re: The Dead Sea Scrolls and Septuagint.
« Reply #25 on: March 22, 2016, 12:50:04 AM »
I assume most or all of you know that there isn't one Septuagint, and that it's not just a matter of the Greek being different from the Hebrew, but rather there are differences between Septuagints, differences between Latin translations (St. Augustine lamented not only that there were so many Latin versions, but also that some of the ones in use were so poorly done), and so on? Regarding whether any of the differences touch on an essential of the faith, I'm not sure that the Scripture not having differences concerning the essentials of the faith is itself an essential of the faith...  ;)
« Last Edit: March 22, 2016, 12:52:03 AM by Asteriktos »

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Re: The Dead Sea Scrolls and Septuagint.
« Reply #26 on: March 22, 2016, 05:01:26 PM »
I assume most or all of you know that there isn't one Septuagint, and that it's not just a matter of the Greek being different from the Hebrew, but rather there are differences between Septuagints, differences between Latin translations (St. Augustine lamented not only that there were so many Latin versions, but also that some of the ones in use were so poorly done), and so on? Regarding whether any of the differences touch on an essential of the faith, I'm not sure that the Scripture not having differences concerning the essentials of the faith is itself an essential of the faith...  ;)

This is an important point. I'd also like to point out you do need to know what translating from the Hebrew actually looks like. If you read the textual notes in a modern translation, you will see, all over the place, notes like "Hebrew uncertain" and other such comments indicating that they had to refer to something else, usually one of the ancient translations or the targums, to figure out what was being said. In some areas (e.g. 1 Samuel) you'll be seeing this a lot. On one level this testifies to the doggedness of the MT transmission, because the normal tendency is to "fix" "mistakes" rather than copy them faithfully. As a rule the modern translator is going to prefer the Hebrew text where the DSS and the MT agree and differ from one of the ancient translations, provided the Hebrew makes sense. The thing is that even before the DSS were found, there were suspicions that the LXX preserved, to some degree, a different underlying Hebrew than the MT, and the DSS validated this supposition by sometimes supporting the LXX translation over the MT Hebrew.

Offline Raylight

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Re: The Dead Sea Scrolls and Septuagint.
« Reply #27 on: March 22, 2016, 11:12:44 PM »
I assume most or all of you know that there isn't one Septuagint, and that it's not just a matter of the Greek being different from the Hebrew, but rather there are differences between Septuagints, differences between Latin translations (St. Augustine lamented not only that there were so many Latin versions, but also that some of the ones in use were so poorly done), and so on? Regarding whether any of the differences touch on an essential of the faith, I'm not sure that the Scripture not having differences concerning the essentials of the faith is itself an essential of the faith...  ;)

This is an important point. I'd also like to point out you do need to know what translating from the Hebrew actually looks like. If you read the textual notes in a modern translation, you will see, all over the place, notes like "Hebrew uncertain" and other such comments indicating that they had to refer to something else, usually one of the ancient translations or the targums, to figure out what was being said. In some areas (e.g. 1 Samuel) you'll be seeing this a lot. On one level this testifies to the doggedness of the MT transmission, because the normal tendency is to "fix" "mistakes" rather than copy them faithfully. As a rule the modern translator is going to prefer the Hebrew text where the DSS and the MT agree and differ from one of the ancient translations, provided the Hebrew makes sense. The thing is that even before the DSS were found, there were suspicions that the LXX preserved, to some degree, a different underlying Hebrew than the MT, and the DSS validated this supposition by sometimes supporting the LXX translation over the MT Hebrew.

I noticed the "Hebrew Uncertain" note a lot, especially when it comes to verses that are used as messianic prophecies. Therefore, it seems plausible to trust that the early Christians, who most of them were Jews, knew what they were talking about. It seems unlikely that Mathew would have the courage to write his Gospel to a Jewish audience showing them that the Tanakh prophecied the coming of Jesus Christ unless the texts at the time showed what is exactly believed by Christians today.

Offline Keble

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Re: The Dead Sea Scrolls and Septuagint.
« Reply #28 on: March 23, 2016, 09:29:39 AM »
There are some timespans and age that differ between the LXX and the MT, while in the MT they usually have deep kabbalistic meanings, i.e. the Massoretes changed details for the sake of superstition.

Citation needed, as they say. This is the first time I've heard this claim.

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Re: The Dead Sea Scrolls and Septuagint.
« Reply #29 on: March 23, 2016, 02:21:36 PM »
There are some timespans and age that differ between the LXX and the MT, while in the MT they usually have deep kabbalistic meanings, i.e. the Massoretes changed details for the sake of superstition.

Citation needed, as they say. This is the first time I've heard this claim.
I don't have the source where I read a note about that, but I can back this up with demonstration.

There is deep meaning in Lamech living until 777 years old in the MT. Let's keep in mind 7 is a full, complete number. Well, this places his death exactly 7 years before Arphaxad (the first child of the flood, therefore a symbol of the new world) being born. Lamech is of the 7th generation from Adam through Cain, which gives him a specially wicked place. However, both the time of his death in relation to Arphaxad and the full number of his years (777, see Mt 18:22, which is taken as 70x7 in some translations but can be read as 77, and was such translated by the Vulgate) mirror redemption. In the LXX, however, Lamech only lived for 753 years. Why would they leave such an important number behind while most of the biblical ages were preserved?

There are other numbers regarding, for instance, how many times words such as the Tetragrammaton were used along the Torah, that make sense in the MT but not that much in the LXX.
« Last Edit: March 23, 2016, 02:22:10 PM by RaphaCam »
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Offline Keble

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Re: The Dead Sea Scrolls and Septuagint.
« Reply #30 on: March 24, 2016, 11:52:29 AM »
It is true that the LXX has different numbers for the age of Lamech; but it also has different numbers for Methuselah as well. They still add up to 969, but instead of 187 and 782, the LXX has 167 and 802. I have no idea as to whether any of these numbers has some kabbalistic meaning, and I didn't check the other ages in this passage, but in any case this doesn't add up to a proof that the MT text changed these values on purpose or even at all, unless you have some other ancient version to go on. From what I can tell, for instance, the DSS Genesis scrolls to not preserve this passage.

Offline Carl Kraeff (Second Chance)

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Re: The Dead Sea Scrolls and Septuagint.
« Reply #31 on: March 24, 2016, 09:03:24 PM »
Huh? The point to which you refer is that the Greek of the LXX is allegedly a better translation of the Hebrew represented by the Dead Sea Scrolls, not that the Dead Sea Scrolls were written in Greek.

So how is it a better translation? How can a Greek translation of the Hebrew be better than Masoretic Text? It is like saying that an English version of the Quran is better than the Arabic version of it.

With the Koran, the original is the only version that is used by Muslims, but not because of linguistic reasons; "Muslims believe the Quran was verbally revealed by God to Muhammad through the angel Gabriel gradually over a period of approximately 23 years."
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quran

The Septuagint was a translation into Greek, but it was done by 70 Jewish scholars. The point of the Septuagint is that it was used during the time of Jesus by most Jews.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Septuagint

The problem of the Masoretic text is that it came after the Jews kicked out the Christian Jews out of the synagogues and there are modern scholars who think that it did not replicate the Old Testament that Jesus and the Apostles used.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Masoretic_Text#Origin_and_transmission

Offline Minnesotan

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Re: The Dead Sea Scrolls and Septuagint.
« Reply #32 on: March 24, 2016, 09:14:12 PM »
The Samaritan Torah has some differences too; it might be worthwhile to compare it with the other versions. (For example, the ages given for biblical figures vary considerably, to a greater extent than the variation between LXX and Masoretic).
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Offline Keble

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Re: The Dead Sea Scrolls and Septuagint.
« Reply #33 on: March 25, 2016, 06:58:38 AM »
The problem of the Masoretic text is that it came after the Jews kicked out the Christian Jews out of the synagogues and there are modern scholars who think that it did not replicate the Old Testament that Jesus and the Apostles used.

The problem with this statement is that there is no "the Old Testament that Jesus and the Apostles used", and there never was. The notion that there had to be one version with no variation didn't come along until the Masoretes, just as there wasn't a single unified NT until Erasmus. There isn't a single version of the LXX either. It is safe to say that the MT probably has passages which do not reflect what the various Hebrew versions of the time said, just as it is safe to say that the LXX has passages which do not accurately translate the Hebrew of its time. Now, there is nothing stopping people from promulgating magic origin stories about how perfected their preferred version is: there are such stories both for the LXX and for the MT. But those are anachronisms that don't reflect the state of ancient texts.

The Samaritan Torah has some differences too; it might be worthwhile to compare it with the other versions.

It's one of the standard versions used in modern English translations.

Offline Propsero

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Re: The Dead Sea Scrolls and Septuagint.
« Reply #34 on: March 31, 2016, 08:01:25 PM »
Can anyone refer me to ORTHODOX lay or clerical scholars, academics or theologians, paleographers, etc specializing in the Dead Sea Scriptures. There seems to be a curious lack of interest in the intertestamentary period within the Holy Catholic and Apostolic faith.

Offline Propsero

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Re: The Dead Sea Scrolls and Septuagint.
« Reply #35 on: March 31, 2016, 08:08:15 PM »
Can anyone refer me to ORTHODOX lay or clerical scholars, academics or theologians, paleographers, etc specializing in the Dead Sea Scriptures. There seems to be a curious lack of interest in the intertestamentary period within the Holy Catholic and Apostolic faith.
« Last Edit: March 31, 2016, 08:11:28 PM by Propsero »

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Offline Raylight

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Re: The Dead Sea Scrolls and Septuagint.
« Reply #37 on: March 31, 2016, 10:45:27 PM »
This is the official website for the Dead Sea Scrolls where you can see the scrolls and actually click on the verse you want and see how it is written  http://dss.collections.imj.org.il/ 

The website confirmed to me that the Christians translations are more accurate than the later Jewish translation. For example, if you look to Isaiah 9 in   http://dss.collections.imj.org.il/chapters_pg  and compare the literal translation of the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Jewish Translation, you will find a great deal of difference when it comes to verse 6 (5 in the Jewish version) and that difference means a lot, and I mean A LOT!

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