Septuagint versus Masoretic Text or Septuagint together with proto-Masoretic / Masoretic text

Puxanto

Member
I read a bit about the question of which basic text to use for the Bible and found the most varied opinions on the subject! Since I have not found a tread that deals with it, I decided to open one on which text the translation of the Old Testament should be based ...
But above all what are the reasons for preferring the Hebrew / Aramaic text (Masoretic text), or the Septuagint, or a fusion between the two ... !!!
 

cjab

Well-known member
I read a bit about the question of which basic text to use for the Bible and found the most varied opinions on the subject! Since I have not found a tread that deals with it, I decided to open one on which text the translation of the Old Testament should be based ...
But above all what are the reasons for preferring the Hebrew / Aramaic text (Masoretic text), or the Septuagint, or a fusion between the two ... !!!
You should have posted this in the biblical languages forum. Why not ask for it to be moved there?

I think there are some problems with the LXX: some of the translation is really wierd. OTOH there are many discrepanicies between Hebrew manuscripts, and apart from the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Hebrew manuscripts we have are all very late. We also have Jerome's Vulgate translated from the Hebrew in the late 4th century AD in the mixture. I would guess that since the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered and assessed, the value of the Hebrew text has become prioritized in terms of its authority.

Still, it all depends on the passage and on the particular discrepancies encountered. It's a very complex synthesis. Not an easy task to translate the OT.

A good selection of competing arguments can be found here.
 
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Theophilos

Well-known member
I read a bit about the question of which basic text to use for the Bible and found the most varied opinions on the subject! Since I have not found a tread that deals with it, I decided to open one on which text the translation of the Old Testament should be based ...
But above all what are the reasons for preferring the Hebrew / Aramaic text (Masoretic text), or the Septuagint, or a fusion between the two ... !!!

The Septuagint is the version of scripture that Greek-speaking Timothy studied as a child:
. . . from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God . . . 2 Tim 3:15-16.

The Septuagint was the bible of Greek-speaking Jews in first century, and was the scriptures that the Bereans used to confirm Paul's preaching (Acts 17:11).

The New Testament usually quotes the Septuagint. That is true even when the quoted verses are no longer found in modern Hebrew scriptures. Examples include Hebrews 1:6 and Luke 4:17-18. In the case of the Acts 15:16-17, the meaning of the quote from the LXX Amos is much different than that found in the Hebrew text.
 

Puxanto

Member
Avresti dovuto postarlo nel forum delle lingue bibliche. Perché non chiedere che venga spostato lì?

Penso che ci siano alcuni problemi con l'LXX: alcune delle traduzioni sono davvero strane. OTOH ci sono molte discrepanze tra i manoscritti ebraici e, a parte i Rotoli del Mar Morto, i manoscritti ebraici che abbiamo sono tutti molto tardi. Abbiamo anche la Vulgata di Girolamo tradotta dall'ebraico alla fine del IV secolo d.C. nella mistura. Immagino che da quando i Rotoli del Mar Morto sono stati scoperti e valutati, il valore del testo ebraico è diventato prioritario in termini di autorità.

Tuttavia, tutto dipende dal passaggio e dalle particolari discrepanze incontrate. È una sintesi molto complessa. Non è un compito facile tradurre l'OT.

Una buona selezione di argomenti concorrenti può essere trovata qui .
ok, but I don't know how to contact the staff; for me it is impossible write mail home personal of administrators
 

cjab

Well-known member
Here is a useful site listing various WWW sites contrasting the DSS and the Masoretic text, including:


Institue for Biblcal and scientific studies

Most Scholars saw the LXX as inferior to the Hebrew Bible called the Masoretic Text (MT). With the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, this all changed. Ancient Hebrew scrolls were found that follow the LXX, not the Masoretic Text. The DSS showed that the LXX had an underlying Hebrew Text that was different from the MT.

Now Scholars think the LXX has important readings that are superior to the MT. The LXX is now very important in textual criticism of the Hebrew Bible. Let's look at some of the key differences between the LXX and the MT where the LXX seems to be superior.

Important Difference concerning the Prophetic Books:

Jeremiah​


Jeremiah is one seventh shorter in the LXX than in the MT. This is the most dramatic difference between the LXX and MT. The LXX of Jeremiah probably reflects an earlier edition of the Book of Jeremiah. Not only is the LXX shorter, but the arrangement of verses is different.

The Dead Sea Scrolls 4QJer(b,d) are very similar to the LXX with the shorter text, and the different arrangement of verses.

In chapters 27-29 of the MT of Jeremiah the king of Babylon is spelled Nebuchadnezzar while in the rest of the book it is in its original form Nebuchadrezzar. The LXX only has Nebuchadrezzar.

It should be noted that pseudopigraphal writings, and revisions were a common practice in ancient times. Their view of inspiration was also very different.

The MT editor added headings to prophecies, repeated sections, added new verses and sections, new details, new arrangements, and clarification of unclear passages. This most likely done after the exile.

In the LXX Jeremiah chapters 46-51 of the MT follow 25:13 of the LXX. These oracles against the nations are also put in a different order.


Ezekiel​


There are many differences between the LXX and MT of Ezekiel. The LXX of Ezekiel is about 4-5% shorter than the MT. One example is Ezekiel 7:3-9. The LXX of Ezekiel seems to reflect a shorter Hebrew text. The MT being a later expanded edition. The MT adds parallel words and phrases, exegetical phrases, harmonization, and new material.

Ezekiel 36 is longer in the MT. P. Chester Beatty 967 of the LXX lacks verses 23-38. This implies that the Old Greek reflects an early stage of development of the Book of Ezekiel
 

cjab

Well-known member
Sorry, forgot the link.

The Catholic Encylopedia of Biblical Manuscripts warrants a link of its own.

Also the Harper’s Bible Dictionary

edited by Paul J. Achtemier (San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1985)

quoted on Bible text.com "Dead Sea Scrolls from Qumran"

(visited 8/4/06)


Transmission of ot Text: Prior to the discovery of the dss, the oldest copy of any extended portion of the Hebrew Bible was dated a.d. 895 (a codex of the Former and Latter Prophets, from the Cairo Genizah). In Cave One, however, a full text of Isaiah was found, dated palaeographically to 100 b.c. The differences between the Qumran text and the Masoretic Text (mt), the Hebrew text preserved from medieval manuscripts, separated in date by a thousand years, amounted to thirteen significant variants and a host of insignificant spelling differences, which have proved a gold mine for the study of first-century b.c. Palestinian Hebrew. This illustrated the care with which the text of Isaiah had been transmitted over the centuries. When Cave Four was discovered, however, a different picture appeared. For certain books of the ot, especially 1 and 2 Samuel, Jeremiah, and Exodus, there were copies of the Hebrew text, from pre-Christian times, in forms differing from the medieval mt. In some cases, the Qumran biblical texts were closer to the Greek Septuagint (lxx); in others, closer to the Samaritan Pentateuch.
 

Lee Magee

Member
The Septuagint ought to be the primary OT book for Christians, because OT quotes in New Testament are from Septuagint, for example Luke 4:18 is the same as Isaiah 61:1 (LXX Septuagint). Some of the language in the NT, such as in Revelation also matches the Septuagint.
 

rakovsky

Well-known member
There is no sole official translation/version of the Biblical books for the Orthodox Church, based on the 1st-7th Ecumenical Councils. That is, there is no dogmatic requirement that one follow the Masoretic or the Septuagint. I don't know if the Catholic Church has a dogmatic position, but it certainly didn't have one before the Great Schism with the Orthodox. The NT uses phrases that match the LXX, but sometimes the NT phrases quoting the OT match the Masoretic.

The OT Scriptures were written in Hebrew and Aramaic (eg. Daniel's Book). The Masoretic is a copy of it, but it's a medieval version of the rabbis, and over time some words or verses might have been lost or changed. The DSS is in Hebrew/Aramaic and is ancient, like a time capsule, but the problem is that we don't know it's provenance. One theory is that it came from the legitimate Onias dynasty of Aaronic priests, which would make it a legitimate collection. However, another theory is that it came from a Qumran Essene sect, which puts its legitimacy in much more doubt.

The problem with using the LXX is that it's a translation into Greek. So if you had the original Hebrew text, you could make a better translation into English that just using the Greek. Suppose that a Hebrew word in the Bible has three meanings (A, B, C), and the Greek translators picked a Greek word that shared only two of those meanings (A, B). The original Biblical writer might have had in mind a different set of the two Hebrew meanings, when he used the word (B, C). If you had the original Hebrew text, you might be able to use an English word that matches at least the two intended Hebrew meanings.
 

CrowCross

Super Member
Masoretic....When Peleg had lived 30 years, he fathered Reu.
LXX.............And Phaleg lived and hundred and thirty years, and begot Ragau.

Was Peleg 30 or 130?
 

rakovsky

Well-known member
Masoretic....When Peleg had lived 30 years, he fathered Reu.
LXX.............And Phaleg lived and hundred and thirty years, and begot Ragau.

Was Peleg 30 or 130?
There is a different chronology length of years in part of history between the Masoretic and LXX. They may be also a bit different between the Samaritan Pentateuch, the DSS and Josephus.
I haven't researched the issue very deeply.
 

Puxanto

Member
Some think that the difference between the chronologies is for the attempt to demonstrate that Jesus and a certain '' Bar of the stars''(at Bar Akiva) do not respect Daniel's chronology and that Shem is Melkisedek(masoretic text).
That is, it was corrected for an secondary motive and the cronology septuagint is correct...
 

CrowCross

Super Member
There is a different chronology length of years in part of history between the Masoretic and LXX. They may be also a bit different between the Samaritan Pentateuch, the DSS and Josephus.
I haven't researched the issue very deeply.
Some think that the difference between the chronologies is for the attempt to demonstrate that Jesus and a certain '' Bar of the stars''(at Bar Akiva) do not respect Daniel's chronology and that Shem is Melkisedek(masoretic text).
That is, it was corrected for an secondary motive and the cronology septuagint is correct...
I came across this video which was made for different reasons but attempts to provide an example and allow more for the pyramids to be built.
I personally have no dog in this fight but I thought you guys might find it interesting. It's only about 1/2 long.
One problem is using the LXX it places Methuselah death just after the flood and not prior to the flood.

 

Puxanto

Member
I came across this video which was made for different reasons but attempts to provide an example and allow more for the pyramids to be built.
I personally have no dog in this fight but I thought you guys might find it interesting. It's only about 1/2 long.
One problem is using the LXX it places Methuselah death just after the flood and not prior to the flood.

For Methuselah exist variant textual in codex Alexandrinus ''Methuselah begat Lamech 167 old and not 187. Secoond this death first ''diluvium''.

OFF TOPIC--- In reality, in addition to the supposedly corrupting Masoretic Chronology, we would also have to say that then there is, let's call it the Jewish interpretation of the Chronology (of the weeks of Daniel) which goes by the name of ''Sedem Olam Rabbah Chronology'' which makes one wait for the Messiah since 500 AD to 2239 AD (which seems to me Corruption on Corruption) but I won't say more so as not to put too much iron on the fire that I myself didn't understand much of this new chronology ---END OFF TOPIC
 

rakovsky

Well-known member
Some think that the difference between the chronologies is for the attempt to demonstrate that Jesus and a certain '' Bar of the stars''(at Bar Akiva) do not respect Daniel's chronology and that Shem is Melkisedek(masoretic text).
That is, it was corrected for an secondary motive and the cronology septuagint is correct...
It would be nice if the DSS could be found to confirm or conflict with the Masoretic chronology. I don't know for sure if any of its surviving pieces hints at a solution. The DSS tend to agree with the Masoretic over the LXX, but not always.
 
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