LXX and Citations of Israel's Sacred Texts in the New Testament

En Hakkore

Active member
This thread was conceived elsewhere on the board where discussion turned to the topic of the Septuagint (hereafter LXX), a collection of translations of Israel's sacred texts into Greek made in the last few centuries BCE, as well as some original compositions in Greek. This compilation of texts served as holy writ for Greek-speaking Jews and, from about the middle of the first century CE, for Greek-speaking Christians. This embrace of LXX as 'scripture' by many early Christ believers is important for understanding the New Testament (hereafter NT) writings both in terms of general thought and as a source for citations. It is this latter relationship between LXX and NT that is the topic of this thread. There are many questions that can be asked, including to what degree are citations from NT reliant on LXX? When and why do these citations differ from LXX? Are the NT writers conversant with Hebrew texts and the archetype to what has come down to us as the Masoretic Text (hereafter MT) in particular? While it was TrevorL's expressed interest that sparked this exploration, anyone intrigued by the topic is warmly welcomed to contribute. While no strict format has been established, we did agree to start with Isa 6:9-10, the several citations of which in NT are of particular interest to TrevorL. One post with the MT and LXX of Isa 6:9-10 plus English translations of each will follow later today or tomorrow, followed by the first citation in canonical order (Matt 13:14-15). After a comparison of this to both MT and LXX, the other occurrences in the NT can be explored in similar fashion, followed by comparisons to each other. This should provide ample material for discussion and from which to branch out into other citations.

Kind regards,
Jonathan
 

En Hakkore

Active member
One post with the MT and LXX of Isa 6:9-10 plus English translations of each will follow later today or tomorrow...
MT is taken from Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia, ed. K. Elliger and W. Rudolph (Fifth, Improved Edition. Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 1997)
LXX is taken from Septuaginta, ed. Alfred Rahlfs (Revised Edition. Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 2006)
English translation of MT is taken from The New Oxford Annotated Bible, ed. Michael D. Coogan (Oxford University Press, 2007) [1]
English translation of LXX is taken from A New English Translation of the Septuagint, ed. Albert Pietersma and Benjamin G. Wright (Oxford University Press, 2007) [2]


MT:
ויאמר לך ואמרת לעם הזה
שמעו שמוע ואל־תבינו
וראו ראו ואל־תדעו׃
השמן לב־העם הזה
ואזניו הכבד ועיניו השע
פן־יראה בעניניו ובאזניו ישמע
ולבבו יבין ושב ורפא לו׃


LXX:
και ειπεν πορευθητι και ειπον τω λαω τουτω
ακοη ακουσετε και ου μη συνητε
και βλεποντες βλεφετε και ου μη ιδητε
επαχυνθη γαρ η καρδια του λαου τουτου
και τοις ωσιν αυτων βαρεως ηκουσαν και τους οφθαλμους αυτων εκαμμυσαν
μηποτε ιδωσιν τοις οφθαλμοις και τοις ωσιν ακουσωσιν
και τη καρδια συνωσιν και επιστρεψωσιν και ιασομαι αυτους


MT Translation:
And he said, "Go and say to this people:
'Keep listening, but do not comprehend;
keep looking, but do not understand.'
Make the mind of this people dull,
and stop their ears, and shut their eyes,
so that they may not look with their eyes, and listen with their ears,
and comprehend with their minds, and turn and be healed."

LXX Translation:
And he said, "Go, and say to this people:
'You will listen by listening, but you will not understand,
and looking you will look, but you will not perceive.'
For this people's heart has grown fat,
and with their ears they have heard heavily, and they have shut their eyes
so that they may not see with their eyes and hear with their ears
and understand with their heart and turn -- and I would heal them."


Discussion:
On the relationship between MT and LXX in Isaiah, Emanuel Tov writes that the latter "deviates greatly...because of its extensive exegesis," not because its putative Hebrew source was much different from MT [3]. In describing the textual profile of LXX Isaiah, Moisés Silva notes that the translator could sometimes be "slavishly literal," but mostly "felt free to vary his vocabulary and restructure the syntax if it suited his purposes" [4]. This can be seen in the two lines following the imperative to the prophet. The putative Hebrew has in both cases an imperative followed by an infinitive absolute, an intensifying grammatical structure rendered 'keep listening' and 'keep looking' respectively. LXX, on the other hand, uses in the first line a noun in the dative plus a future indicative verb (rendered 'you will listen by listening'); in the second line two verbs, a participle and future indicative (rendered 'looking you will look'). The NRSV in the second half of each clause obscures the general correspondence of Hebrew imperfects to Greek subjunctives.

The fourth line contains perhaps the most interesting divergence between the two versions. The difference between 'mind' and 'heart' exists at the level of English interpretation, the underlying Hebrew לב and Greek καρδια are well-known correspondents. The verb שמן in Hebrew means 'to be fat' and in MT occurs as a Hiphil (causative) imperative, understood in combination with its direct object by the NRSV translators as a figure of speech and rendered 'make...dull' [5]. LXX coordinates the previous lines with what follows with 'for', ignores or misses the causative form of the verb (on the assumption its Vorlage was identical to MT) and offers the woodenly literal 'has grown fat' --- the difference between these two versions is a significant one: In MT the prophet is the agent who brings about the dulled perception of the people, as well as their deafness and blindness in the following line; in LXX the people themselves are responsible for their condition. Indeed, MT continues with two additional Hiphil (causative) verbs in contradistinction to LXX where the people are the subjects rather than objects of the verbs; in the first case this forces the Greek translator to supply the awkward verb-adverb combination 'heard heavily' to approximate the root כבד 'to be heavy' [6].

The particle פן (so that) at the beginning of line 6 is the midpoint of a chiasmus stretching across lines 4 through 7 in the form A/B/C//C'/B'/A' with the terms mind (heart), ears, eyes; LXX retains this structure. Silva supplies the pronouns 'their' in the final two lines in English translation since they are demanded by context, but they are lacking in the Greek, a typical ellipsis. The verb in the final clause of MT continues the chain with 'this people' as the subject and it is followed by a prepositional phrase: 'find healing for themselves' [7]; NRSV translates with a simple passive. LXX, on the other hand, breaks the chain and renders with a first person verb, harkening back to the speaking subject of 6:8 (the Lord), and viewing the people as the direct object of divine healing available if not for their obstinacy.

In summary, the general character of LXX Isaiah as described by Tov and Silva is born out in an analysis of 6:9-10. The translation appears to have derived from a Hebrew text similar if not identical to that of MT, yet it freely develops its focus on the people's culpability by departing from the syntax of its parent text. In the next post, I will look at how this text is cited by the author of Matthew, comparing it to both MT and LXX.

Kind regards,
Jonathan


Notes:
[1] The translation is that of the New Revised Standard Version (hereafter NRSV), which is not based exclusively on MT, but sometimes incorporates what the translation committees considered superior readings from LXX and other witnesses such as manuscripts from Qumran directly into the text. In these cases, I will restore the MT variant from the footnote into the main text.
[2] Unlike NRSV, which is a committee-based translation, the translations in NETS are the work of individual scholars. In the case of Isaiah this is Moisés Silva. His translation is based not on Rahlfs but on the critical text edited by Joseph Ziegler in the Göttingen series (Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1967), which I do not have access to from home. Silva notes, however, all cases where his translation differs from Rahlfs' text and I will make note of these where applicable. In the case of Isa 6:9-10 there is no difference.
[3] Emanuel Tov, Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible (Third Edition, Revised & Expanded; Fortress Press, 2012), 137.
[4] Silva, "To the Reader of Esaias" in A New English Translation of the Septuagint, ed. Albert Pietersma and Benjamin G. Wright (Oxford University Press, 2007), 823-24.
[5] HALOT lists this combination as 'insensitive' (2:1566); HALOT is the acronym for The Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament, ed. Ludwig Koehler and Walter Baumgartner (2 vols; Brill, 2001).
[6] HALOT 1:455.
[7] HALOT 2:1273.
 
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En Hakkore

Active member
In the next post, I will look at how this text is cited by the author of Matthew, comparing it to both MT and LXX.
The Greek text of Matthew is taken from Novum Testamentum Graece, ed. Barbara and Kurt Aland et al. (28th Revised Edition. Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 2012) and the English translation is that of NRSV

Matt 13:14-15 (Greek):
και αναπληρουται αυτοις η προφητεια Ησαιου η λεγουσα
ακοη ακουσετε και ου μη συνητε
και βλεποντες βλεψετε και ου μη ιδητε
επαχυνθη γαρ η καρδια του λαου τουτου
και τοις ωσιν βαρεως ηκουσαν και τους οφθαλμους αυτων εκαμμυσαν
μηποτε ιδωσιν τοις οφθαλμοις και τοις ωσιν ακουσωσιν

και τη καρδια συνωσιν και επιστρεψωσιν και ιασομαι αυτους

Matt 13:14-15 (English):
"With them indeed is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah that says:
'You will indeed listen, but never understand,
and you will indeed look, but never perceive.
For this people's heart has grown dull,
and their ears are hard of hearing, and they have shut their eyes;
so that they might not look with their eyes, and listen with their ears,
and understand with their heart and turn -- and I would heal them.'"



Discussion:
With the singular exception of an ellipsis of αυτων (their) in line 5 [8], the text of the citation is identical to LXX Isa 6:9b-10 (the instruction to the prophet in Isa 6:9a is omitted) --- the differences in English translation between NETS and NRSV owe primarily to idiomatic renderings in the latter (line 4 in particular) [9]. Given the verbatim agreement, the source of the citation is undeniably LXX and within the gospel of Matthew, does not constitute one of this author's ten unique 'fulfillment quotations' [10] --- indeed, there are parallels in Mark, John and Luke-Acts to be explored later in the thread.

Within the gospel of Matthew the citation is found between the parable of the sower (13:3-9) and Jesus' explanation of the parable to his disciples (13:18-23). After the parable is delivered, the disciples approach Jesus and ask why he speaks in parables (13:10), to which he replies that his followers have been given access to the μυστηρια (mysteries/secrets) of the kingdom of heaven, those outside this inner circle are not privy to them (13:11). After the comparative saying about those to whom things are given and taken (13:12), Jesus answers the question with a loose paraphrase of the citation to follow: "seeing they do not perceive, and hearing they do not listen, nor do they understand" (13:13). The Greek is βλεποντες ου βλεπουσιν και ακουντες ουκ ακουουσιν ουδε συνιουσιν, which utilizes the same verbal forms for seeing, hearing and understanding as will follow in the citation, conflating the sense of the first part of the citation with the order of the second half of the chiasmus; together it is an economical summary of Isa 6:9b-10.

Concerning Jesus' response to his disciples, Dale Allison writes "the parables reveal and (in accordance with Isa 6:9-10) hide at the same time, for their affect depends upon the moral status of the hearer" [11]. The focus in LXX on the people's culpability is a motif Matthew has been developing through his rearrangement of Markan source material [12] and which will culminate in the people taking Jesus' blood on both themselves and their children (27:25), the penalty for which the author understood to have been the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 CE [13]. In his rush to present Jesus' mountaintop sermon (chs 5-7), Matthew dislodges a number of healings and controversy stories from Mark's framework. Pertinent to the current exploration is the assemblage of controversies along with other material in chs 11-12 immediately preceding the parable section in which there is growing opposition and obstinacy. Allison identifies these chapters as narrating Israel's negative response to Jesus' ministry and chapter 13 as the explanation for that response [14].

In summary, Matthew's citation of Isa 6:9b-10 agrees nearly verbatim with the LXX rendering and its focus on the people's own culpability has been appropriated and embedded in an overarching narrative in which Jesus' teaching in parables serve as the means by which his audience can listen but not understand, this because of their own obstinacy. Engagement with what has been posted so far is welcomed. In the meantime, I will prepare comments on how this section of Isaiah was cited by one of Matthew's sources: Mark.

Kind regards,
Jonathan


Notes:
[8] The αυτων is present in codices Sinaiticus and Ephraemi, as well as a number of Greek miniscule manuscripts and versional witnesses in Latin and Syriac, thereby effecting a complete harmonization with LXX.
[9] BDAG notes for παχυνω that its literal meaning is to be fat or well-nourished, but is used figuratively in a number of ways in Greek literature; BDAG is the acronym for a Greek lexicon prepared in German by W. Bauer and in derived English editions by F.W. Danker, W.F. Arndt and F.W. Gingrich. References in this thread are taken from A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and other Early Christian Literature, ed. Danker (Third Edition. University of Chicago Press, 2000), 790.
[10] 1:22; 2:15, 17, 23; 4:14; 8:17; 12:17; 13:35; 21:4; 27:9. In New Testament scholarship these are referred to by the German term Erfüllungszitate, on the origin of which see Graham Stanton, "Matthew" in It Is Written: Scripture Citing Scripture: Essays in Honour of Barnabas Lindars, SSF, ed. D.A. Carson and H.G.M. Williamson (Cambridge University Press, 1988), 206.
[11] Dale C. Allison, Jr., "Matthew" in The Oxford Bible Commentary, ed. John Barton and John Muddiman. (Oxford University Press, 2001), 861.
[12] Here I assume the priority of Mark (Allison, 845), reasons for which will be provided later in the thread when comparisons between the gospel authors' form and use of citations are explored.
[13] Allison, 883.
[14] Allison, 859-62.
 
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En Hakkore

Active member
και βλεποντες βλεφετε και ου μη ιδητε
There was a spelling error I noticed today from the LXX Greek text I posted yesterday. βλεφετε in the third line should read βλεψετε. Apologies for the oversight in proofreading... the phi/psi look too similar in this font for late night posting! :oops:

Kind regards,
Jonathan
 

TrevorL

Member
Greetings again Jonathan (En Hakkore),

I appreciate your very thorough treatment so far and much of this is beyond my Hebrew, Greek and English skill levels. The aspect that interests me is that you have revealed that there are different perspectives given by the MT and LXX stated below:
the difference between these two versions is a significant one: In MT the prophet is the agent who brings about the dulled perception of the people, as well as their deafness and blindness in the following line; in LXX the people themselves are responsible for their condition.

Also you indicate that the Matthew quotation is closer to the LXX sense, that the people are individually culpable:
In summary, Matthew's citation of Isa 6:9b-10 agrees nearly verbatim with the LXX rendering and its focus on the people's own culpability has been appropriated and embedded in an overarching narrative in which Jesus' teaching in parables serve as the means by which his audience can listen but not understand, this because of their own obstinacy.

Two things that interest me on the basis of this. Firstly could this indicate that the Apostles understood both the MT and LXX for this passage, but Matthew chose the LXX as closer to the meaning as was stated by Jesus? The quotation is in the context of the early ministry of Jesus and the period when the Parables were introduced.

Secondly, with this flexibility of choice between the MT and LXX, does this indicate that the original Hebrew, being a simpler language in the first place, is capable of a range of meaning when translating, and can give both meanings as they appear now in the English?

My own opinion is that early in the ministry of Jesus there was a responsibility of the listener to listen and see and understand with their heart and mind. Jesus’ teaching is open and clear in Matthew 5-7 and those that accepted his teaching would gradually progress with his further teachings, example and miracles. When we come to the time of the Parables, there seems to be some division, between those that had ears, eyes and a humble heart and those whose eyes were becoming blind, their ears were becoming deaf and their hearts were becoming hardened. The parables seemed to quicken the process of the division between those who wanted to hear and those who were to some extent indifferent.

.... was cited by one of Matthew's sources: Mark.
This seems to be based upon various scholarly conclusions, but I have some reservations on this. One suggestion is that Matthew is earlier than Mark.

Kind regards
Trevor
 

En Hakkore

Active member
Firstly could this indicate that the Apostles understood both the MT and LXX for this passage, but Matthew chose the LXX as closer to the meaning as was stated by Jesus?
The question is difficult to answer as posed. If I might deconstruct it first by sharing my view of authorship and how I approach the gospel texts. My use of 'Matthew' is shorthand for the unknown author of the gospel that now bears the title 'According to Matthew' --- I view the gospel as penned by a Torah-observant Christian within a couple decades of the fall of Jerusalem in 70 CE who was not an eyewitness to any of the events he narrates. With respect to the gospels, I approach them as repositories of traditions about Jesus that were in circulation from years to decades orally before being written down and a process of reconstruction is necessary in order to get back to what can (and conversely cannot) be known about the historical Jesus. Unless I am making a deliberate historical inquiry into the text, my comments are confined to the story world and how Jesus was remembered, which is perhaps more important than what actually happened.

With that in place, I believe that Matthew and John are the most likely candidates for having access to Israel's sacred texts in their original languages... I am hoping to take a firm position on this issue after the current exploration. Mark peppers his gospel with some Aramaic words, but I suspect this is the extent of his knowledge of any Semitic language. Luke betrays no working knowledge of Semitic languages in his two-volume work. To the (revised) question of whether Matthew chose LXX in this case, implying he could have gone with an alternative (whether an MT-like text or another Greek translation thereof), I believe the answer is yes.

Secondly, with this flexibility of choice between the MT and LXX, does this indicate that the original Hebrew, being a simpler language in the first place, is capable of a range of meaning when translating, and can give both meanings as they appear now in the English?
While I agree that Hebrew is a simpler language than Greek and that there is some flexibility in how a translator might render the imperfect, for example, into Greek, in this specific case I would say the syntax in the putative original has been sufficiently ignored so that a difference in meaning has emerged and one that cannot be said to be a good translation from the Hebrew. That said, I have categorized it as a shift in focus rather than being any kind of formal conflict or contradiction. The exodus narrative is a good example of where divine causation and personal responsibility intermingle with respect to the hardening of Pharaoh's heart. The distinct focus of LXX, however, as well as Matthew's choice to use it are important to acknowledge, particularly since it contributes to developing the author's motif of the people's culpability. Other gospel writers, as I intend to show, do not share or even reject this rhetorical strategy.

My own opinion is that early in the ministry of Jesus there was a responsibility of the listener to listen and see and understand with their heart and mind. Jesus’ teaching is open and clear in Matthew 5-7 and those that accepted his teaching would gradually progress with his further teachings, example and miracles. When we come to the time of the Parables, there seems to be some division, between those that had ears, eyes and a humble heart and those whose eyes were becoming blind, their ears were becoming deaf and their hearts were becoming hardened. The parables seemed to quicken the process of the division between those who wanted to hear and those who were to some extent indifferent.
This is a good summary of Matthew's rhetorical strategy as it is developed from chs 5-13 of his gospel.

This seems to be based upon various scholarly conclusions, but I have some reservations on this. One suggestion is that Matthew is earlier than Mark.
Yes, Matthean priority is a component in both the Augustinian and Griesbach hypotheses of synoptic origins. If you have sufficient interest in the subject, we could consider it for a future topic of discussion. My own position will factor into some of my analysis in this thread... for the record, it is a modified version of the Farrer hypothesis --- where I depart from the basic theory is allowing for the existence of a collection of Jesus' sayings (whether we call this Q or something else is immaterial) plus Luke's knowledge of John.

Kind regards,
Jonathan
 

TrevorL

Member
Greetings again Jonathan (En Hakkore),
My use of 'Matthew' is shorthand for the unknown author of the gospel that now bears the title 'According to Matthew' --- I view the gospel as penned by a Torah-observant Christian within a couple decades of the fall of Jerusalem in 70 CE who was not an eyewitness to any of the events he narrates. With respect to the gospels, I approach them as repositories of traditions about Jesus that were in circulation from years to decades orally before being written down and a process of reconstruction is necessary in order to get back to what can (and conversely cannot) be known about the historical Jesus.
I have a different basis. I accept the view that the Gospels were written early, well before AD 70, and I have no trouble whatsoever in accepting the writers Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. I also on reflection consider a number of other possibilities, and I am yet to fully resolve all of these. The first is that Matthew is reporting the words and teaching of Jesus, and he was given the Holy Spirit to accurately give his Gospel record. Jesus would be aware of both the current Hebrew and the LXX of Isaiah 6:9-10, and it would not be a matter of what he chose to quote, but rather his own assessment of the range of the teaching of this passage, and his application to the circumstances as found in Matthew 13. The circumstances in John 12 are different and hence there would be a different choice of meaning from the overall range of meaning in Isaiah 6:9-10.

The distinct focus of LXX, however, as well as Matthew's choice to use it are important to acknowledge, particularly since it contributes to developing the author's motif of the people's culpability.
I agree that Matthew 13 speaks of the people’s culpability. Jesus had already upbraided some cities in Galilee:
Matthew 11:20 (KJV): Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not:
The whole passage Matthew 11:20-30 is important because it also contrasts the disciples who had ears to hear, the terms of Isaiah 6:9-10, with those Jesus terms as “the wise and prudent” from these cities. Even then, Jesus gives a universal call to all who would humble themselves and come to Jesus.

Yes, Matthean priority is a component in both the Augustinian and Griesbach hypotheses of synoptic origins. If you have sufficient interest in the subject, we could consider it for a future topic of discussion.
No, I am not interested as I accept the inspiration of the Scriptures. My only brief consideration has been to examine and accept that Luke has written the Book of The Acts, and was an eyewitness of what he wrote. This of necessity then places the Gospel of Luke before this, before the end of Paul’s two year imprisonment in Rome.

Kind regards
Trevor
 

En Hakkore

Active member
I have a different basis. I accept the view that the Gospels were written early, well before AD 70, and I have no trouble whatsoever in accepting the writers Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. I also on reflection consider a number of other possibilities, and I am yet to fully resolve all of these. The first is that Matthew is reporting the words and teaching of Jesus, and he was given the Holy Spirit to accurately give his Gospel record. Jesus would be aware of both the current Hebrew and the LXX of Isaiah 6:9-10, and it would not be a matter of what he chose to quote, but rather his own assessment of the range of the teaching of this passage, and his application to the circumstances as found in Matthew 13. The circumstances in John 12 are different and hence there would be a different choice of meaning from the overall range of meaning in Isaiah 6:9-10.

No, I am not interested as I accept the inspiration of the Scriptures. My only brief consideration has been to examine and accept that Luke has written the Book of The Acts, and was an eyewitness of what he wrote. This of necessity then places the Gospel of Luke before this, before the end of Paul’s two year imprisonment in Rome.
Thanks for clarifying your position... the specifics are not far off from what I assumed, but what did come as a surprise was the reason given for your disinterest in any future discussion on the Synoptic Problem and the ramifications that, in turn, has for our present dialogue. Scholars and lay people who affirm one or another of the proposed solutions often embrace some model of divine inspiration, though perhaps not the one you do. If your particular view on inspiration prevents you from even considering mainstream scholarly views on the Synoptic Problem, then I'm confused as to why you solicited my views on the present topic as that is all I can offer you, a mainstream scholarly exploration of the various citations. Perhaps that was not clear before. Now that it is, we seem to have reached an impasse early on in our dialogue. I would be interested in your further thoughts on this...

Kind regards,
Jonathan
 

TrevorL

Member
Greetings again Jonathan (En Hakkore),
If your particular view on inspiration prevents you from even considering mainstream scholarly views on the Synoptic Problem, then I'm confused as to why you solicited my views on the present topic as that is all I can offer you, a mainstream scholarly exploration of the various citations.
Yes, we have different perspectives as to the authenticity of the Gospel records and hence I assume this would affect our view of what they teach. Perhaps what put me off wanting to go down the path of this type of critical examination was your statement below in an earlier post:
With respect to the gospels, I approach them as repositories of traditions about Jesus that were in circulation from years to decades orally before being written down and a process of reconstruction is necessary in order to get back to what can (and conversely cannot) be known about the historical Jesus.

I take the Gospel records as true as they stand, and they reveal the teaching, the example and the life, crucifixion, death and resurrection of Jesus. My interest for example in Isaiah 6 and its quotation in the NT is in order to better understand both Isaiah 6 as a whole, with its many layers and many unique features, for example what do the six wings and their activity represent, and also what I consider to be the fulfilment of this prophecy partially in Isaiah and his times, but principally in the ministry of Jesus. I consider that the three major quotations of Isaiah 6:9-10, in Matthew 13, John 12 and Acts 28, represent three developments concerning Jesus and his teaching. Another real interest in the same sort of category is Isaiah 40 and Luke 3, where each record expands an understanding of the other.

I have reread the article on Matthew 13 quoting Isaiah 6:9-10 in the Beale, Carson Commentary, 4 columns of small printing, and even some of this is to me obscure. They also quote a lot of sources that I do not have access to. So overall, my aim is to understand better the text as it stands, rather than pursuing scholarly theories or reconstructions. I thought that your language skills would help to fine tune some of the differences between the NT quotations which are closer to the MT or LXX, but my comprehension at this level is poor. I would be happy to see others participate, and I would only briefly comment if a portion was relevant to my interests.

Kind regards
Trevor
 

En Hakkore

Active member
I thought that your language skills would help to fine tune some of the differences between the NT quotations which are closer to the MT or LXX, but my comprehension at this level is poor. I would be happy to see others participate, and I would only briefly comment if a portion was relevant to my interests.
Thanks for the clarification of your expectations, as well as of your intentions were we to proceed. I will put some thought into the matter and get back to you...

Kind regards,
Jonathan
 

En Hakkore

Active member
I will put some thought into the matter and get back to you...
Hi Trevor... I've given some thought to this thread, taking into consideration the lack of engagement by others (there would seem to be no more than five other people following along if the views to post ratio is any indication) so I've decided to finish off analyses of Isa 6:9-10 in Mark, John and Luke-Acts for the sake of completion, then reassess. If this same trend has continued, I will probably leave it at that and offer some concluding thoughts on the subject. I will try to post Mark later tonight or tomorrow, John by Sunday night and Luke-Acts sometime early next week. I will interact with whatever comments you may have along the way...

Kind regards,
Jonathan
 
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En Hakkore

Active member
I will try to post Mark later tonight or tomorrow...
The Greek text of Mark is taken from Novum Testamentum Graece, ed. Barbara and Kurt Aland et al. (28th Revised Edition. Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 2012) and the English translation is that of NRSV

Mark 4:12 (Greek):
ινα βλεποντες βλεπωσιν και μη ιδωσιν
και ακουοντες ακουωσιν μη συνιωσιν
μηποτε επιστρεψωσιν και αφεθη αυτοις


Mark 4:12 (English):
in order that "they may indeed look, but not perceive,
and may indeed listen, but not understand;
so that they may not turn again and be forgiven."


Discussion:
In comparison to Matthew and its lengthy near-verbatim citation of LXX Isa 6:9b-10, Mark's evocation of Israel's sacred text in this instance is terse and paraphrastic --- only lines 2, 3 and 7 of the corresponding text are represented, the first two inverted. This reflects the order in line 6, as do the third person verbs instead of second person. The source of the allusion is undoubtedly LXX --- of the fifteen words of the 'citation' proper (see below on the initial conjunctive ινα), over half are identical (blue) and all but two of the remaining seven words utilize a different form of the same word (red). Of the two differences, one is insignificant and the other significant. The use of the verb ακουοντες in place of the noun ακοη reflects a harmonization to the use of two verbs in the preceding line and does not impact the overall meaning. The exchange of αφεθη (forgive) for ιασομαι (heal), on the other hand, results in a change of meaning and for which there is no justification in the corresponding Hebrew of Isaiah.

Unlike Matthew, who explicitly cites his source with a 'fulfillment' clause, Mark embeds the allusion within his narrative. The context is, like Matthew [15], a response to a query about Jesus' use of parables (4:10). The answer begins similarly with reference to his followers --- the twelve and a number of others --- being given the mystery/secret (singular versus plural in Matthew) of the kingdom God (4:11a), but for outsiders "everything comes in parables" (4:11b). Here Mark utilizes ινα to express that what follows is a result [16], parables are used in order that outsiders will fail to understand, turn and be forgiven. The divine causation explicit in Isaiah (lines 4 and 5) is implied by Mark. As for the insiders, while Jesus proceeds to explain the parable to them (4:14-20), he prefaces this with a rhetorical question: "Do you not understand this parable?" (4:13) --- even though Jesus explains the parables to his disciples in private (4:34), they emerge from the gospel just as obtuse as those who are not given this special instruction.

Indeed, the 'missing' references to the dulled/hardened heart of the people in Isaiah resurface elsewhere in the gospel and are applied not only to Jesus' opponents (3:5), but rhetorically to the disciples themselves (6:52), most importantly in 8:17-18 where Jesus asks them if their hearts have been hardened [17] and "Do you have eyes, and fail to see? Do you have ears, and fail to hear?"[18] Bart Ehrman's suggestion that the disciples come to understanding only in stages [19] astutely avoids a wholesale denunciation of Jesus' closest followers within the gospel, but its enigmatic ending does leave open the possibility their misunderstanding continues [20]. Mark is critical of both Jesus' disciples and family [21] and Paul, with whose thought Mark shows affinities [22], clashed with the Jerusalem church and its leaders, including Peter and James (Galatians 2). The hardened hearts of the disciples who slowly come to understanding in Mark are mirrored by Israel as a whole in Pauline thought, himself referring to their hardening [23], as well as to eyes that do not see and ears that do not hear (Rom 11:7-8) [24]. Yet there is hope for Israel in Paul's vision, just as there is for the disciples in Mark's gospel.

In summary, Mark's terse citation of LXX Isa 6:9b-10 is embedded within his section on parables in such a way as to imply divine causation for the outsider's lack of understanding. Omitted portions about the hardened condition of the heart are scattered elsewhere in the gospel with the disciples as additional referents, suggesting a permeable boundary between insiders and outsiders. The hope that those currently outside will come to understanding and be counted among the insiders is reminiscent of Pauline thought on the fate of Israel.

Kind regards,
Jonathan


Notes:
[15] On the assumption of Markan priority (Allison, 845), Matthew has followed Mark in the placement of the citation, but provided its origin in the preaching of Isaiah, as well as expanded and harmonized it to LXX.
[16] BDAG 477.
[17] The Greek word is not παχυνω, but πωροω --- this word is found in John's citation of Isa 6:10.
[18] The wording is close to Jer 5:21, itself alluding to Isa 6:9-10.
[19] Bart D. Ehrman, The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings (Fifth Edition; Oxford University Press, 2012), 95-96.
[20] Ehrman, 101-2. I understand the gospel to end abruptly at 16:8 with the women fleeing from the tomb in fear.
[21] In terms of the latter, see 3:21, 31-35; John Painter, Just James: The Brother of Jesus in History and Tradition (Fortress Press, 1999), 31.
[22] Painter refers to Mark as "a Pauline gospel" (90).
[23] The same word πωροω found in Mark 8:17 and John's citation of Isa 6:10 is used.
[24] Isa 6:9-10 is not here being cited, but rather elements from Deut 29:4 and Isa 29:10.
 
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TrevorL

Member
Greetings again Jonathan (En Hakkore),
In summary, Mark's terse citation of LXX Isa 6:9b-10 is embedded within his section on parables in such a way as to imply divine causation for the outsider's lack of understanding. Omitted portions about the hardened condition of the heart are scattered elsewhere in the gospel with the disciples as additional referents, suggesting a permeable boundary between insiders and outsiders. The hope that those currently outside will come to understanding and be counted among the insiders is reminiscent of Pauline thought on the fate of Israel.
I appreciate your ongoing treatment of Isaiah 6:9-10 as quoted in the NT. The language portion is to me still very difficult. One aspect that I found interesting is the mention that is some aspects the disciples’ hearts were hardened, but there was a process of their gradual softening and conversion. The parable of the sower details a range of “soils”, from a hardened path to well cultivated and fertile soil. One extreme would be the hardened Pharisees and Sadducees, and the disciples receptive attitude towards Christ’s words and allowing the word to grow in their hearts and minds. Another aspect that I contemplated is that we may start out reasonably hardened and stubborn, but we may gradually be transformed to become humble and receptive. This may need a dramatic confrontation in our life, such as Paul on the Road to Damascus, or it may be gradual as the mild pressures of life and the steady influence of the Word start to take effect in our lives. All of this may take out some of the inevitability that seems to be stated in Isaiah 6:9-10, and brings back into focus individual responsibility and culpability.

Kind regards
Trevor
 

En Hakkore

Active member
I will try to post ... John by Sunday night
The Greek text of John is taken from Novum Testamentum Graece, ed. Barbara and Kurt Aland et al. (28th Revised Edition. Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 2012) and the English translation is that of NRSV

John 12:39-40 (Greek):
δια τουτο ουκ ηδυναντο πιστευειν οτι παλιν ειπεν Ησαιας
τετυφλωκεν
αυτων τους οφθαλμους
και
επωρωσεν αυτων την καρδιαν
ινα μη ιδωσιν τοις οφθαλμοις
και
νοησωσιν τη καρδια
και στραφωσιν και ιασομαι αυτους


John 12:39-40 (English):
And so they could not believe, because Isaiah also said,
"He has blinded their eyes
and hardened their heart,
so that they might not look with their eyes,
and understand with their heart
and turn -- and I would heal them."


Discussion:
Like Matthew, John formally introduces his citation; the 'also' refers to the previous verse in which the author cited from Isa 53:1. While not as terse as Mark's version, John's citation is also truncated in comparison to either MT and LXX, representing portions of lines 4 through 7 (in other words only Isa 6:10). The author is familiar with LXX and incorporates the first person verb unique to this translation in the last line while freely rearranging in places the word order and choosing different verbs. In place of επιστρεφω he has στρεφω --- both verbs mean 'to turn' [25]. Similarly, he has νοεω in place of συνιημι --- both verbs mean 'to understand' [26]. More significant are the verb exchanges in the first half of the citation, both of which reflect knowledge of the underlying Hebrew causatives or a translation/revision in Greek based on them --- someone (more on this enigma below) blinds the eyes of the crowd (see v34) and hardens its heart, the use of πωροω in the latter case reflects an interpretation of what is meant by 'fattening the heart' [27]. The order of the lines is reversed from that of the source text(s) and references in both halves to 'ears' are omitted entirely, which is significant given the different context in which the citation appears in comparison to the previous two gospels explored.

While both Matthew and Mark connect the Isaianic text to Jesus speaking in parables, John's gospel lacks any illustrations referred to as such [28]. The other two gospel authors also place the citation relatively early in their respective narratives whereas John places it at the very end of Jesus' public ministry, right before the final meal with his disciples. Following Jesus' entry into Jerusalem (12:12-16) and reference to the 'sign' of Lazarus rising from the dead (12:17-19), some Greeks seek an audience with Jesus (12:20-22) and when he petitions the Father to glorify his name a 'voice from heaven' (φωνη εκ του ουρανου) is heard by the crowd (12:23-29). After a brief exchange with them, including reference to the casting out of 'the ruler of this world', Jesus withdraws from the crowd (12:30-36). Here the narrator remarks that despite all the 'signs' (σημεια) that Jesus performed in their presence, they did not believe in him (12:37) --- this is followed by the first citation from Isaiah (53:1) where there is reference to the 'arm' (βραχιων) of the Lord having been revealed (12:38). Then follows the citation in question with its emphasis on the crowd being blinded and their heart hardened. The cluster of words noted for the section preceding are found in LXX of Deut 4:34-36 in reference to signs and wonders wrought by the arm of the Lord and witnessed by the Israelites of the exodus generation before gathering at Horeb where they hear his voice from the sky --- this generation is upbraided for its disbelief (LXX Deut 9:23). John's intertextual references link the stiff-necked exodus generation with the blind and hard-hearted crowd in Jerusalem.

As to who blinds the crowd and hardens its heart, it is typically assumed to be God [29], but this is not clear and would put Father and Son (the presumed referent for the one would otherwise heal them) at cross-purposes. If it is Jesus who blinds and hardens them (cf. 9:39), who then would otherwise heal? If it is the Father, the same critique applies. Perhaps John overlooked the problem caused by the wording of his citation, but at least one alternative exists that resolves the tension... namely that the agent is a diabolical one: 'the ruler of this world' referred to in verse 34 [30]. The verb 'to blind' (τυφλοω) is found elsewhere in the New Testament writings only in 2 Cor 4:4 and 1 Jn 2:11 where the subjects are 'the god of this age' and 'the darkness' respectively. The devil/Satan makes brief but important appearances in John's gospel... he prompts and indwells Judas who betrays Jesus (6:70; 13:2, 27) and he is said by Jesus to be the father of the antagonistic 'Jews' (8:44), who go on in the gospel to clamor for Jesus' crucifixion and are implicated in his death (chs 18-19) [31]. That the devil blinds the crowd and hardens its heart against Jesus is consistent with this wider portrayal and the cosmic battle between light and darkness that punctuates Jesus' discourse both before (12:35-36) and after the citation (12:46). Whoever the agent responsible for blinding the crowd gathered in Jerusalem, some among them do believe in Jesus, but this belief is characterized as shallow (12:42-43).

In summary, John's citation of Isa 6:10 shows familiarity with LXX, but also of the underlying Hebrew or another Greek translation closer to it. References to ears and hearing are omitted, shifting focus onto eyes and seeing in light of the different context at the end of Jesus' public ministry of miraculous 'signs', around which a constellation of intertextual references link the crowd in Jerusalem with the stubborn exodus generation. The agent who blinds the crowd and hardens its heart is enigmatic, but perhaps best understood to be the evil supernatural ruler of the world who orchestrates Jesus' death.

Kind regards,
Jonathan


Notes:
[25] BDAG 382, 948-49. A number of Greek witnesses have forms of επιστρεφω, which affirm their synonymous relationship and potentially reflect harmonization toward LXX.
[26] BDAG 674, 972.
[27] A number of Greek witnesses, including the early papyri 66 and 75, have instead the verb πηραω, which means to disable or maim (BDAG 812). A variant involving these same two words is found in LXX Job 17:7.
[28] Ehrman, 181. The Greek word translated 'parable' (παραβολη) never occurs in John.
[29] René Kieffer, "John" in The Oxford Bible Commentary, ed. John Barton and John Muddiman. (Oxford University Press, 2001), 984.
[30] Torsten Löfstedt, "Who is the Blinder of Eyes and Hardener of Hearts in John 12:40?" Svensk Exegetisk Årsbok 84 (2019) 167-92.
[31] For an exploration of anti-Judaism in John's gospel and its violent legacy, see the collection of essays edited by R. Bieringer et al. Anti-Judaism and the Fourth Gospel (WJK Press, 2001).
 

TrevorL

Member
Greetings again Jonathan (En Hakkore),
While both Matthew and Mark connect the Isaianic text to Jesus speaking in parables, John's gospel lacks any illustrations referred to as such. The other two gospel authors also place the citation relatively early in their respective narratives whereas John places it at the very end of Jesus' public ministry
I appreciate the additional post, this time relating to John 12. Again the language portion is to me very difficult. I suggest that John applies this to the time near the end of Jesus’ Ministry, and he does this because it is close to the time when many in Israel had hardened their hearts against Jesus and his role and teaching.

I find the following comments by John after quoting Isaiah 53:1 and Isaiah 6:9-10 very informative and interesting:
John 12:41 (KJV): These things said Esaias, when he saw his glory, and spake of him.
One thing that I suggest is relevant, is that John knows nothing of the two or more “Isaiahs” theory as advocated by many scholars. When John says that Isaiah saw the glory of Jesus, I assume firstly that it is speaking about the King-Priest sitting upon the future Davidic Temple Throne in Jerusalem as stated in Isaiah 6:1-4. But there is in Isaiah 52:13-53:12 another aspect to the glory revealed in Jesus, and Jesus himself picks up this theme in John 12:28 and God responds from heaven. This glory was to be revealed in the character of Jesus in his suffering and crucifixion.

Another hint of things to come was when the two Greeks asked to see Jesus. While those of Israel were failing to see Jesus for who he was, these Greeks were willing to behold Jesus. Part of the response of Jesus is to state that he was soon to be lifted up, and then all mankind could see his character and role and respond. Also the transfer from the Jews to the gospel going to the Gentiles is depicted by Jesus departing from the Jews and hiding from them, thus enacting what would happen to the unbelieving Jews. There is one last appeal given by Jesus immediately before this, and these words combine all the features of what is the opposite to blind eyes, deaf ears and hardened hearts.
John 12:35–36 (KJV): 35 Then Jesus said unto them, Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth. 36 While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light. These things spake Jesus, and departed, and did hide himself from them.
Here is the measure of true discipleship, which many of the Jews in the audience were failing in their response.

Kind regards
Trevor
 

En Hakkore

Active member
I will try to post ... Luke-Acts sometime early next week.
The Greek text of Acts is taken from Novum Testamentum Graece, ed. Barbara and Kurt Aland et al. (28th Revised Edition. Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 2012) and the English translation is that of NRSV

Acts 28:25b-27 (Greek):
ειποντος του Παυλου ρημα εν
οτι καλως το πνευμα το αγιον ελαλησεν δια Ησαιου του προφητου προς τους πατερας υμων
πορευθητι προς τον λαον τουτον και ειπον
ακοη ακουσετε και ου μη συνητε
και βλεποντες βλεψετε και ου μη ιδητε
επαχυνθη γαρ η καρδια του λαου τουτου
και τοις ωσιν βαρεως ηκουσαν και τους οφθαλμους αυτων εκαμμυσαν
μηποτε ιδωσιν τοις οφθαλμοις και τοις ωσιν ακουσωσιν
και τη καρδια συνωσιν και επιστρεψωσιν και ιασομαι αυτους


Acts 28:25b-27 (English):
Paul made one further statement:
"The Holy Spirit was right in saying to your ancestors through the prophet Isaiah,
'Go to this people and say,
You will indeed listen, but never understand,
and you will indeed look, but never perceive.
For this people's heart has grown dull,
and their ears are hard of hearing, and they have shut their eyes;
so that they might not look with their eyes, and listen with their ears,
and understand with their heart and turn -- and I would heal them.'"


Discussion:
Before delving into Luke's citation in Acts [
32], I will briefly look at a pertinent section in his gospel. Like Matthew and Mark, Luke presents Jesus speaking in parables and offers his own truncated version of the parable of the sower (8:4-8), followed by the disciples question of its meaning (8:9). Luke agrees with Matthew against Mark with Jesus' reference to the 'mysteries' (plural) of the kingdom being given to the disciples, agreeing with all three that others are spoken to in parables (8:10a). Here Luke places a loose paraphrase similar to that found in Matthew: "Looking they may not perceive, and listening they may not understand" (8:10b). He then moves directly to Jesus' explanation of the parable (8:11-15). Luke's omission of a proper citation is deliberate, holding it back for the climax of his two-volume work [33].

After Paul finally reaches Rome, he is kept in lodgings under guard and permitted visitors, including a number of Jews interested in what he has to say (Acts 28:16-23a). Paul speaks about the kingdom and tries to persuade them about Jesus using the Mosaic Law and prophets --- the reaction is mixed, some believe but some don't (28:23b-25a). It is here that Luke places his climactic citation from Isa 6:9-10, placing it in the mouth of Paul who prefaces it with reference to the Holy Spirit -- a particular focus of Luke throughout his work -- being right in what he said through Isaiah to the ancestors of his audience (28:25b). Luke shows both sensitivity to an original context, but curiously distances Paul from the Jews by having him say "your ancestors" rather than "our ancestors".

Only Luke among the New Testament authors who cite Isa 6:9-10 includes the imperative to the prophet in a form slightly revised from LXX. The remainder of the citation is in verbatim agreement with LXX with the exception of the same ellipsis of αυτων (their) found in Matthew --- in other words Luke and Matthew agree completely on the form of this citation. The same emphasis on the people's culpability is thus drawn into Luke's version and they are likened, through Paul's introduction, to Isaiah's audience. After the citation, Paul adds that God's salvation has been sent to the Gentiles and that they will listen [34] --- hearing is thus the focal point. A brief notice about Paul continuing to proclaim the kingdom and teach about Jesus for two years concludes the gospel. As the last spoken words of Paul in Acts, the citation is important in Luke's overarching narrative. What begins in the gospel with the people's failure to understand Jesus culminates in Rome with Paul's message lost on a number of Jews, providing legitimacy for his mission to the Gentiles.

In summary, Isa 6:9-10 appears twice in Luke's two volume work --- in summary form in his gospel and in a full citation in Acts --- reflecting continuity and similar reactions to Jesus' use of parables and Paul's preaching from Israel's sacred texts. The full citation is demonstrably from LXX and reflects its emphasis on the people's culpability for their rejection of Paul's message. This dismissal is not wholesale as some of the Jews believe, but the overall impression is that of large-scale Jewish rejection that explains and justifies Paul's mission to the Gentiles.

Kind regards,
Jonathan


Notes:
[32] Despite some differences between Luke and Acts, I accept their authorial unity; see Mikeal C. Parsons and Richard I. Pervo, Rethinking the Unity of Luke and Acts (Fortress Press, 1993).
[33] Loveday C.A. Alexander, "Reading Luke-Acts from Back to Front" in The Unity of Luke-Acts, ed. J. Verheyden (Bibliotheca Ephemeridum Theologicarum Lovaniensium 142; Leuven University Press, 1999), 429-30.
[34] A number of Greek manuscripts, including Codex Regius and those within the Majority Text tradition, add "And when he had said these words, the Jews departed, arguing vigorously among themselves." Bruce Metzger identifies the verse as an expansion owing to the otherwise abrupt transition between verses 28 and 30; A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament (United Bible Societies, 1971), 502.
 

TrevorL

Member
Greetings again En Hakkore,

I appreciate your further detailed explanations and language skills. I will highlight some of the parts that I found the most interesting, while also considering and acknowledging all that you stated.
Luke's omission of a proper citation is deliberate, holding it back for the climax of his two-volume work .
--- the reaction is mixed, some believe but some don't (28:23b-25a). It is here that Luke places his climactic citation from Isa 6:9-10, placing it in the mouth of Paul -- being right in what he said through Isaiah to the ancestors of his audience (28:25b). .... The same emphasis on the people's culpability is thus drawn into Luke's version and they are likened, through Paul's introduction, to Isaiah's audience. After the citation, Paul adds that God's salvation has been sent to the Gentiles and that they will listen --- hearing is thus the focal point. ... As the last spoken words of Paul in Acts, the citation is important in Luke's overarching narrative. What begins in the gospel with the people's failure to understand Jesus culminates in Rome with Paul's message lost on a number of Jews, providing legitimacy for his mission to the Gentiles.
In summary, Isa 6:9-10 appears twice in Luke's two volume work --- in summary form in his gospel and in a full citation in Acts --- reflecting continuity and similar reactions to Jesus' use of parables and Paul's preaching from Israel's sacred texts. The full citation is demonstrably from LXX and reflects its emphasis on the people's culpability for their rejection of Paul's message. This dismissal is not wholesale as some of the Jews believe, but the overall impression is that of large-scale Jewish rejection that explains and justifies Paul's mission to the Gentiles.
Yes, it seems that this is a major part of the basis of Paul turning to the Gentiles. To me, this was a progressive result. There was firstly the open teaching, for example Matthew 5-7 together with his many miracles at first, then possibly a quieter period where Jesus taught in parables and performed more individual miracles, then there was the end of his ministry where many of the Jews did not acknowledge Jesus and the leaders rejected and crucified Jesus and this was in tandem with the two Greeks seeking Jesus, and then we have the time near to AD 70 when many of the Jews were hardened and yet the door to preaching to the Gentiles seemed to be opening.

One of my interests has been Isaiah 6 as a whole, and the vision is very multi-layered, both in application in Isaiah’s time and also relating to the ministry of Jesus. Although the subject of the Seraphim is obscure, with many opinions, I suggest that the Seraphim are connected in symbol and type with the serpent on the pole in the wilderness, which finds echo in the teaching of Jesus in John 3:14-16 and John 12:31-33. I also suggest that the four phases of the Seraphim corresponds with the four phases connected with the ministry of Jesus. The open face of the Seraphim, the wings covering the face, the wings covering the feet, and then the wings used to fly or depart.

Kind regards
Trevor
 

En Hakkore

Active member
John knows nothing of the two or more “Isaiahs” theory as advocated by many scholars.
I am among those advocates, though I agree with you that John knew nothing of such critical reconstructions of Isaianic material.

When John says that Isaiah saw the glory of Jesus, I assume firstly that it is speaking about the King-Priest sitting upon the future Davidic Temple Throne in Jerusalem as stated in Isaiah 6:1-4.
Thanks for raising the intertextual allusion to Isa 6:1-3 --- had I not been confining myself to three short paragraphs and a summary for each gospel author, I would have delved into this. John's gospel is rich in these kinds of interactions with Israel's sacred texts. Your description of the figure on the throne as a future king-priest is curious, however, as I would say his identity as YHWH the god of Israel seems contextually secure (6:5) and John makes the connection as part of his theological program of presenting Jesus as divine in some sense. This, in turn, is another factor in the mounting rejection on the part of the 'Jews' that culminates in this chapter.

But there is in Isaiah 52:13-53:12 another aspect to the glory revealed in Jesus, and Jesus himself picks up this theme in John 12:28 and God responds from heaven. This glory was to be revealed in the character of Jesus in his suffering and crucifixion.
Indeed, that Jesus' glorification is linked to his imminent suffering and death is a distinctly Johannine perspective and Peter's death is stated to be the means by which he glorifies God (21:19).

Another hint of things to come was when the two Greeks asked to see Jesus. While those of Israel were failing to see Jesus for who he was, these Greeks were willing to behold Jesus. Part of the response of Jesus is to state that he was soon to be lifted up, and then all mankind could see his character and role and respond. Also the transfer from the Jews to the gospel going to the Gentiles is depicted by Jesus departing from the Jews and hiding from them, thus enacting what would happen to the unbelieving Jews.
Yes, the enigmatic presence of the two Greeks offers a glimpse into the author's own time when the gospel has been preached to the Gentiles. Luke makes this link more explicit with his own citation of Isa 6:9-10 at the climax to Acts.

Kind regards,
Jonathan
 

Theophilos

Member
This thread was conceived elsewhere on the board where discussion turned to the topic of the Septuagint (hereafter LXX), a collection of translations of Israel's sacred texts into Greek made in the last few centuries BCE, as well as some original compositions in Greek. This compilation of texts served as holy writ for Greek-speaking Jews and, from about the middle of the first century CE, for Greek-speaking Christians. This embrace of LXX as 'scripture' by many early Christ believers is important for understanding the New Testament (hereafter NT) writings both in terms of general thought and as a source for citations. It is this latter relationship between LXX and NT that is the topic of this thread. There are many questions that can be asked, including to what degree are citations from NT reliant on LXX? When and why do these citations differ from LXX? Are the NT writers conversant with Hebrew texts and the archetype to what has come down to us as the Masoretic Text (hereafter MT) in particular? While it was TrevorL's expressed interest that sparked this exploration, anyone intrigued by the topic is warmly welcomed to contribute. While no strict format has been established, we did agree to start with Isa 6:9-10, the several citations of which in NT are of particular interest to TrevorL. One post with the MT and LXX of Isa 6:9-10 plus English translations of each will follow later today or tomorrow, followed by the first citation in canonical order (Matt 13:14-15). After a comparison of this to both MT and LXX, the other occurrences in the NT can be explored in similar fashion, followed by comparisons to each other. This should provide ample material for discussion and from which to branch out into other citations.

Kind regards,
Jonathan

Good questions. Here are two examples where the New Testament quotes verses from the LXX that are absent from the modern Hebrew texts, which are the basis of most translations of the Old Testament.

. . . recovery of sight for the blind . . . Luke 4:18, LXX Isaiah 61:1

Let all the angels of God worship him. Hebrews 1:6, LXX Deuteronomy 32:43

In addition, the quote from Amos in Acts has a much different meaning in the modern Hebrew.

So that the rest of mankind may seek the Lord,
even all the Gentiles who are called by my name.
Acts 15:17, LXX Amos 9:12

So that they (Israel) may possess the remnant of Edom
and all the nations that bear my name.
Amos 9:12, modern Hebrew
 

En Hakkore

Active member
Let all the angels of God worship him. Hebrews 1:6, LXX Deuteronomy 32:43
Thanks Theophilos for chiming in and offering some intriguing examples for exploration. I was discussing LXX Deut 32:43 in another thread a couple of weeks ago so it is relatively fresh in my mind. I will copy with slight revisions what I wrote there and add some further commentary:


Rejoice, O nations, his people,
for he will avenge the blood of his servants,
and will take vengeance on his adversaries,
and will cleanse his land, his people.
Deut 32:43 (based on MT)

Rejoice, O skies, with him,
and let all sons of God do obeisance to him.
Rejoice, O nations, with his people,
and let all angels of God prevail for him,
for he will avenge the blood of his sons,
and will take vengeance on and repay the adversaries with a sentence,
and will repay those who hate,
and the Lord will cleanse the land of his people.
Deut 32:43 (based on LXX)

LXX is much longer (blue underlined text) and contains a few differences in word choice (burgundy text). The shorter MT text lacks proper coordination between the lines based on how Hebrew poetry is typically constructed (A / A' // B / B') and is therefore deficient in this regard. References to divine sons have been expunged or changed, presumably because the scribe was uncomfortable with the polytheistic implications. LXX, on the other hand, also contains some secondary elements such as duplications and expansions that violate the poetic parallelism. The NRSV translation incorporates elements unique to both MT (purple) and LXX (green):

Praise, O heavens, his people,
worship him, all you gods!
For he will avenge the blood of his children,
and take vengeance on his adversaries;
he will repay those who hate him,
and cleanse the land for his people.

Those places where the NRSV translators have adopted the reading of "LXX" are, in fact, translations on the basis of 4Deutq, one of the most fortunate finds among the biblical Dead Sea Scrolls --- in this case offering support for these particular deviations from MT and providing support for the proposition that at least in some cases where LXX differs they are working from a different Hebrew Vorlage. Here is the English translation of Abegg et al. for this scroll fragment (agreements with LXX against MT in bold):

Rejoice, O heavens, together with him;
and bow down to him all you gods,

for he will avenge the blood of his sons,
and will render vengeance to his enemies,
and will recompense those who hate him,
and will atone for the land of his people.

With respect to the citation in Heb 1:6, it matches LXX of Deut 32:43 except for the substitution of 'angels' (αγγελοι) for 'sons' (υιοι):

και προσκυνησατωσαν αυτω παντες υιοι θεου (LXX Deut 32:43)
και προσκυνησατωσαν αυτω παντες αγγελοι θεου (Heb 1:6)

Two further comments are warranted. First, the word for 'angels' (αγγελοι) is found in LXX two lines later, which could be the source of this exchange in Hebrews. Second, a version of the 'Song of Moses' (Deuteronomy 32) is found as the second 'ode' attached to LXX Psalms and 'the angels' (οι αγγελοι) appears here. This could also be the source (direct or remembered) for the version that appears in Hebrews.


Thanks again for your contribution. I will comment further on the others over the course of the next few days... the citation of Amos in Acts is a classic, we spent an entire class session in graduate school exploring it! I look forward to your further comments and contributions to the thread, if you have the time and continued interest.

Kind regards,
Jonathan


Primary Sources:
Abegg, Martin Jr. et al (eds). The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible. HarperSanFrancisco, 1999.
Aland, Barbara and Kurt (eds). Novum Testamentum Graece. 28th Revised Edition. Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 2012.
Coogan, Michael D. (ed). The New Oxford Annotated Bible. Oxford University Press, 2007.
Elliger, K. and W. Rudolph (eds). Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia. Fifth, Improved Edition. Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 1997.
Peters, Melvin K.H. "Deuteronomion" in A New English Translation of the Septuagint, ed. Albert Pietersma and Benjamin G. Wright. Oxford University Press, 2007.
Rahlfs, Alfred (ed). Septuaginta. Revised Edition. Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 2006.
Ulrich, Eugene (ed). The Biblical Qumran Scrolls: Transcriptions and Variants. Supplements to Vetus Testamentum 134. Brill, 2010.
Wevers, John Williams (ed). Deuteronomium. Septuaginta: Vetus Testamentum Graecum. Auctoritate Academiae Scientiarum Gottingensis editum III,2. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1977.
 
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