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Author Topic: Septuagint LXX  (Read 2199 times) Average Rating: 0
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psalm91
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« on: April 03, 2006, 01:47:29 AM »

How accurate is the Septuagint??

and can it be trusted ?

What do the dead sea scrolls have to say about it ?

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Elisha
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« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2006, 01:53:37 AM »

How accurate is the Septuagint??

and can it be trusted ?

What do the dead sea scrolls have to say about it ?



I have no idea.  Why don't you re-phrase your questions better and explain your point better?  Many poeple here might interpret this post as being unnessarily polemical or even troll-like behaviour (i.e. deliberately trying to start a debate for the sake of argument).
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« Reply #2 on: April 03, 2006, 02:48:56 AM »

The Septuagint was the version of the Old Testament used by St. Paul.  An example is in Hebrews 10:5, where he quotes Psalm 40.  If you look at Psalm 40:6 in most English Bibles, which rely on the Masoretic rather than the Septuagint, you will see it is different.  I figure if the Septuagint was good enough for St. Paul, it should be good enough for the Church.    Smiley
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« Reply #3 on: April 03, 2006, 03:39:23 AM »

Does anyone know where a person can get an actual copy of the LXX in English? I've look long and hard, and have failed.  Huh!!!
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« Reply #4 on: April 03, 2006, 03:45:30 AM »

http://www.ecmarsh.com/lxx/

The above is the only English translation I am aware of.  I think the Antiochian Church is working on a new translation.
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psalm91
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« Reply #5 on: April 03, 2006, 04:40:07 AM »

cheers salpy  Grin
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Psalti Boy
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« Reply #6 on: April 03, 2006, 07:43:01 AM »

I think the Antiochian Church is working on a new translation.

Oh great!!

Another source of accurate information.

P
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« Reply #7 on: April 03, 2006, 08:42:59 AM »

How accurate? Good question.

The question is, how accurate of what? THe notion of a standardized Hebrew text didn't hit until the MT, after all.

What I've read indicates that there are some obvious translation errors (don't know what they are, though). "Obvious" means that the Greek doesn't seem to match the DSS or MT Hebrew. There are some places where the LXX and the DSS match, and disagree with the MT.
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« Reply #8 on: April 03, 2006, 08:51:28 AM »

Holy Transfiguration Monastery (www.thehtm.org) sells a very nice translation of the Septuagint Psalms for those inclined to use it for liturgical purposes.  Since any unnuanced mention of HTM will provoke debate on whether or not to purchase from them given certain allegations surrounding them, I will simply say that I find their products to be superior and their service great, but some may not feel comfortable purchasing from them.

Anastasios
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« Reply #9 on: April 03, 2006, 10:52:01 AM »

Here's a great site by an Orthodox Christian who compares the Septuagint and the Masoretic text as they are used in the New Testament.

http://www.geocities.com/r_grant_jones/Rick/Septuagint/spindex.htm


Enjoy!
Rd. David
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« Reply #10 on: April 03, 2006, 11:07:23 AM »

Holy Transfiguration Monastery (www.thehtm.org) sells a very nice translation of the Septuagint Psalms for those inclined to use it for liturgical purposes.  Since any unnuanced mention of HTM will provoke debate on whether or not to purchase from them given certain allegations surrounding them, I will simply say that I find their products to be superior and their service great, but some may not feel comfortable purchasing from them.

Anastasios

Re:  Quality.  Yup, overall good products, but still could use some improvement.  Frequently in their music adaptations though, it's like they just slap on a text to a melody without trying to see how the phrasing works.  
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« Reply #11 on: April 03, 2006, 11:16:01 AM »

The accuracy of the Septuagint might depend on your theological position. Orthodox Christians find it acceptable since it uses virgin instead of the more ambiguous young woman (thus supporting the virgin birth), or that it implies a difference in meaning between the words image and likeness (which matches Orthodox anthropological beliefs) whereas in the Hebrew these words are taken to mean the same thing. I suppose all Bible translations are viewed like that.
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« Reply #12 on: April 03, 2006, 11:17:20 AM »

Re:  Quality.  Yup, overall good products, but still could use some improvement.  Frequently in their music adaptations though, it's like they just slap on a text to a melody without trying to see how the phrasing works. ÂÂ

Which is how the original wording in Greek works.  It is not uncommon in Greek hymns to have "the" and "Theotokos" being on separate lines of music for instance.  The idea of fitting a text to music logically seems to be a result of Russian four-part harmony, it seems to me.  Not that it is bad to try and make it make sense, but it's not fundamentally "necessary" or "the best way to do things" (as we were taught in Seminary--in other words, that one must fit it to logic!)

Anastasios
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« Reply #13 on: April 03, 2006, 11:46:54 AM »

Which is how the original wording in Greek works.  It is not uncommon in Greek hymns to have "the" and "Theotokos" being on separate lines of music for instance.  The idea of fitting a text to music logically seems to be a result of Russian four-part harmony, it seems to me.  Not that it is bad to try and make it make sense, but it's not fundamentally "necessary" or "the best way to do things" (as we were taught in Seminary--in other words, that one must fit it to logic!)

Anastasios

I'm going to disagree here.  The main point of the tone is as a vehicle for the text.  If the vehicle needs a tune-up, then tune it up!  Sure, the tones have different theological concepts about them, but if you want to overemphasize that point, then you might as well just jettison the text and humm or use some other vowel and just vocalize the tone/melody.  Sure, there are instances were this happens like in All-night vigils, but with the main body of most services like with the Antiphons & Troparia for Liturgy or Lord I Have Cried & Apostica for Vespers, there is no good reason to not make textual and/or musical changes to ALL forms of liturgical music if warranted.  Often, the meter of the music actually depends on it - like with Znammeny Chant.
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« Reply #14 on: April 03, 2006, 12:09:26 PM »

Elisha,

You seem to anticipate what I am going to say with each sentence down, but in order to lay out my position I will just have to answer each sentence even though I realize you will answer it with your own thoughts in the next line down.

"The main point of the tone is as a vehicle for the text."

That is how you see it, but this is not by far an axiom.  By seeing how Byzantine Chant developed, it seems that the authors believe the tones themselves to be as divinely inspired as the words they convey.

"Sure, the tones have different theological concepts about them, but if you want to overemphasize that point, then you might as well just jettison the text and humm or use some other vowel and just vocalize the tone/melody."

Certainly, if the text will become incomprehensible by forcing the music, then it should not be forced.  Thankfully, given that most Byzantine music for instance is modal, this rarely happens, and 90% of Byzantine hymns can be set into English perfectly.  As for your statement about humming, etc., I think you are stretching the point so far that your example is practically meaningless: no one is arguing that text is not important and can be dispensed with so there's no sense that one "might as well jettison it."  My point is only to knock down a little bit this idea I see floating around that music has to be perfectly set to the text--this just doesn't happen in the original Greek all the time and so I have to assume that it was not as clear-cut as some today would like to make it.

"Sure, there are instances were this happens like in All-night vigils, but with the main body of most services like with the Antiphons & Troparia for Liturgy or Lord I Have Cried & Apostica for Vespers, there is no good reason to not make textual and/or musical changes to ALL forms of liturgical music if warranted."

This happens in Greek Divine Liturgies often as well.  If you are arguing that in English we should try to set melodies to the proper sentence structure, I say fine; but in the cases of automela which are the few Greek hymns that are set to meter and cannot be easily fit to other languages, I say bend the text a little and bend the music a little if by such a compromise you can still get a reasonably-normal hymn that preserves the automela as close as can be, rather than jettisoning the automela completely since it can't be perfectly fit to English texts.  If you are speaking about Greek though, I would say the most obvious reason why one would not try to fix the text is that it seems to have been working fine since at least 1814 when the notation was reorganized, so any attempt at "fixing" it would just be superfluous and quite possibly be introducing a concept into Byzantine Chant that does not exist: namely that a melody MUST fit the text instead of the two fitting each other.

Anastasios

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« Reply #15 on: April 03, 2006, 05:08:28 PM »

Elisha,

You seem to anticipate what I am going to say with each sentence down, but in order to lay out my position I will just have to answer each sentence even though I realize you will answer it with your own thoughts in the next line down.
But of course! Wink  I have some of the country's best experts in Byzantine, Znammeny, Carpatho-Russian and regualar Kievan chants in my backyard!  Even though I'm not expert in music theory, I have enough of a musical background to know understand stuff.

"The main point of the tone is as a vehicle for the text."

That is how you see it, but this is not by far an axiom.  By seeing how Byzantine Chant developed, it seems that the authors believe the tones themselves to be as divinely inspired as the words they convey.

"Sure, the tones have different theological concepts about them, but if you want to overemphasize that point, then you might as well just jettison the text and humm or use some other vowel and just vocalize the tone/melody."

Certainly, if the text will become incomprehensible by forcing the music, then it should not be forced.  Thankfully, given that most Byzantine music for instance is modal, this rarely happens, and 90% of Byzantine hymns can be set into English perfectly.  As for your statement about humming, etc., I think you are stretching the point so far that your example is practically meaningless: no one is arguing that text is not important and can be dispensed with so there's no sense that one "might as well jettison it."  My point is only to knock down a little bit this idea I see floating around that music has to be perfectly set to the text--this just doesn't happen in the original Greek all the time and so I have to assume that it was not as clear-cut as some today would like to make it.
Sure they have theological meaning, but I don't think I said that all text/music MUST be perfectly set to another.  But they OUGHT to if they can be.

"Sure, there are instances were this happens like in All-night vigils, but with the main body of most services like with the Antiphons & Troparia for Liturgy or Lord I Have Cried & Apostica for Vespers, there is no good reason to not make textual and/or musical changes to ALL forms of liturgical music if warranted."

This happens in Greek Divine Liturgies often as well.  If you are arguing that in English we should try to set melodies to the proper sentence structure, I say fine; but in the cases of automela which are the few Greek hymns that are set to meter and cannot be easily fit to other languages, I say bend the text a little and bend the music a little if by such a compromise you can still get a reasonably-normal hymn that preserves the automela as close as can be, rather than jettisoning the automela completely since it can't be perfectly fit to English texts.  If you are speaking about Greek though, I would say the most obvious reason why one would not try to fix the text is that it seems to have been working fine since at least 1814 when the notation was reorganized, so any attempt at "fixing" it would just be superfluous and quite possibly be introducing a concept into Byzantine Chant that does not exist: namely that a melody MUST fit the text instead of the two fitting each other.
Oh, I'm sure there are....and I'm just talking about English.  My main point is that there is a fair amount of sloppily/hastily set music that can be improved upon - whether it was because of time constraints, lack of knowledge (e.g. non-native English speaker) or whatever.
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« Reply #16 on: April 03, 2006, 10:41:29 PM »

As far as the "accuracy" of the LXX:

1. It was not intended to be a word-for-word translation.  While word-for-word translations are in and of themselves problematic (you know, "things get lost in translation") the LXX was an interpretive translation (i.e. if there were theological implications behind the words in the Hebrew, then they may have been manifested in a different word in the Greek, even though another word in the Greek would have been closer to the surface meaning) - which was the norm for the time.

2. We can't compare the LXX to the MT for accuracy, because the MT has some questions about it - the big one being "what was the standard for their choice of vocalizations?"  There are some instances of consonantal combinations that could have multiple vocalizations that would be reasonable - and each one changes the theology a bit.  My OT prof is more into this than I, and I defer to his wisdom, but he doesn't fully trust the MT as being 100% faithful to the Pre-Masoretic scripture.
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« Reply #17 on: April 03, 2006, 11:36:33 PM »

Well, you can do some comparisons, because the DSS provides a limited testimony as to the Hebrew text of an earlier date. But there is an apples-to-oranges quality to this, because the MT isn't a translation. With the LXX you are getting an earlier version of the text, but run through a certain amount of mistranslation (plus whatever damage it has suffered in its own transmission). And it might not even be an earlier version of the same text, because it's possible that the tradition forks significantly before the LXX translation. Furthermore, the MT itself shows damage to the text; particularly in 1 Samuel there are many places where the Hebrew just doesn't make sense. It's possible that the LXX records a less damaged version. but it's also possible that some of the time it was already damaged and the "fixed" it the wrong way.
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« Reply #18 on: April 13, 2006, 04:23:29 AM »

"...any attempt at "fixing" it would just be superfluous and quite possibly be introducing a concept into Byzantine Chant that does not exist: namely that a melody MUST fit the text instead of the two fitting each other."

Nicely put. After all, isn't Harmony "everything"?... Grin
« Last Edit: April 13, 2006, 04:24:10 AM by czzham » Logged

Non-liturgical lyrics are wasted space between solos.
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