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Re: Septuagint [LXX] vs Masoretic

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  • JiMiRoYaL
    ... [LXX], is ... the ... were ... etc. ... sound ... Orthodox ... This is more about the LXX than a comparison with the Masoretic text, but hopefully will
    Message 1 of 5 , Sep 3, 2007
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      --- In LutheransLookingEast@yahoogroups.com, "donpedrogordo"
      <donpedrogordo@...> wrote:
      > The ancient Greek text of the Old Testament, the Septuagent
      [LXX], is
      > generally considered the accepted text for the Orthodox Church [as
      > contrasted to the Masoretic Hebrew text.
      > When I attended Seminary [Lutheran] the Masoretic text received
      > higher regard. I did, however, hear reports of arguments to the
      > contrary allegedly emminating another Seminary [Lutheran], that the
      > Septuagint should be regarded as the more authoritative. These
      > supposedly based on historical and textual argument.
      > Your suggestions are requested for texts, studies, articles,
      > which address the issue of Septuagint vs Masoretic. What are the
      > spiritual, historical and/or textual arguments in favor of the
      > Church's use of the Septuagint text?
      > Peter

      This is more about the LXX than a comparison with the Masoretic text,
      but hopefully will nevertheless be helpful - a treatise written by a
      then-evangelical (who later converted to Orthodoxy) can be found here:


      or also here:


      The first linked site is more readable, while the later connects to
      the original source.

      This is not an issue I have studied, but I have been told the Septuagint is the version quoted in the NT, both by Christ and the Apostles. (Including numerous
      Message 2 of 5 , Sep 4, 2007
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        This is not an issue I have studied, but I have been told the Septuagint is the version quoted in the NT, both by Christ and the Apostles. (Including numerous deuterocanonical references).


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Christopher Orr
        Here is a little something I wrote on the topic, with endnotes. The only thing I would add is that one will often hear said that the Masoretic text, which
        Message 3 of 5 , Sep 4, 2007
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          Here is a little something I wrote on the topic, with endnotes. The only
          thing I would add is that one will often hear said that the Masoretic text,
          which added the vowel marks to the consonant only Hebrew text, was 'spun'
          wherever possible to undermine Christian claims of prophecy for Jesus of
          Nazareth as being the Christ. One example was "cursed be anyone hung on a
          tree" changed to something quite different, a text from Isaiah about the
          Lord Himself, and not an angel, coming to save us, etc. The virgin/young
          woman example in Isaiah is sometimes used, too.


          ...what books actually comprise the Orthodox Bible?

          "The 27 Books of the New Testament were decreed by the Synod of Laodicea in
          381, and later officially [i.e., universally] ratified by the Sixth
          Ecumenical Synod of the Church in

          This New Testament canon is held in common by all Chalcedonian
          was only officially and universally promulgated by that same Council
          that anathematized monotheletism, Constantinople III.

          Regarding the Old Testament, the Orthodox Church follows the canon in use by
          many Jews in both Palestine and the Diaspora *before* the rupture between
          Christians and Jews: the longer canon preserved in the Greek translation of
          the Old Testament, the Septuagint (LXX), translated in the 3rd Century BC.
          By contrast, the shorter Jewish canon and recension in use by Protestants
          was defined only *after* the divisive rise of Christianity by the
          *Jewish*Council of Jamnia (c. 100 AD).
          So, while the Septuagint may not be in the original language(s) of the
          Hebrew Bible, Orthodoxy believes it represents the original text and meaning
          of the Scripture in use at the time of Christ.

          "The *Septuagint*… consists of the *Canonical Books* and the *Anaginoskomena
          Books*, 'Books worthy to be read'. In English… the word apocrypha is used
          for the *Anaginoskomena Books*, while in Greek, the word apocrypha refers
          [only] to the pseudo-gospels, pseudepigrapha, which are not mentioned in the
          list of the *Septuagint* [neither] in the list of English versions of the
          Old Testament…. The total number of Books of the Septuagint… is 49 (39
          Canonical and 10
          . *They were compiled by St. Athanasius the Great in c. 328 and later
          officially ratified by [the Synod of Laodicea in 381, locally,] and the
          Sixth Ecumenical Synod of the Church [in 680 AD, universally].

          …Books of the *Anaginoskomena *(Worthy to be Read) have the same validity as
          the other *Canonical *Books*.*

          The 'worthy to be read' books have the same validity because of the
          typically Orthodox criterion concerning whether they are 'readable' in *
          worship*, which they are. Many of the prophecies for the various Feasts of
          the Church are drawn from the descriptively apt, 'worthy to be read' books –
          which are *read* in the
          While the *Anaginskomena* have an authority greater than that accorded them
          as 'apocrypha' by Protestants, they do hold a secondary place to the
          primary, first canon.

          The differences in how the various portions of the Bible are bound and
          honored also show the Orthodox understanding of the varying levels of
          authority within the canon – Gospel first, the Epistles and Psalter, then
          the Old Testament, and never the

          The Homologoumena/Antilogomena distinction commonly held in Lutheranism is
          essentially unknown in Orthodoxy having been taken from the isolated witness
          of a limited number of Fathers – Eusebius of Caeserea and
          concerning dissenters and past questions regarding canonicity.
          One can't simply skip over the later, universal acceptance of the full New
          Testament canon like a plot point in *The* *DaVinci Code*. This is the
          definition of patristic cherry-picking.

          Orthodox ecclesiology is founded on the principle of conciliarity (Slav., *
          sobornost*), the principle that an apostolic teaching will be recognized and
          accepted by the *universal* Church, founded *universally* by the Apostles
          and their disciples. National, regional, local, personal, ethnic and
          'contemporary' doctrines that differ from the broad, common view of the *
          universal* Church of the ages are more than likely innovations in their
          creators' own image.[10]<http://mail.google.com/mail/?ik=6e367b8ca6&view=cv&search=inbox&th=114d1e4f8beccfbf&ww=807&cvap=0&qt=&zx=ot3vy-yt1tgk#_ftn10>


          *A New Style Catechism on the Eastern Orthodox Faith for Adults* (St. Louis,
          MO: The OLOGOS Mission, 1969), p. 30. See Canon 2 of St. Athanasius and
          Canon 85 of the Apostles.

          Coptic and Ethiopian New Testament canons differing in adding,
          respectively, two Epistles of Clement and four books of 'Sinodos' (church
          practices), two 'Books of Covenant', 'Ethiopic Clement', and the 'Ethiopic
          Didascalia'. See "Development of the New Testament canon". *Wikipedia*entry.
          Retrieved August 22, 2007 from *http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/

          Greek translation of the Hebrew scriptures made for the Greek-speaking Jews
          of Alexandria, ca. 3rd century B.C. Alexandria had a large Jewish
          population whose primary language was Greek. A legend contained in the
          Letter of Aristeas claimed that Ptolemy Philadelphus commissioned a
          translation to be made into Greek by six men from each of the twelve tribes
          of Israel, sent by the high priest in Jerusalem. These 72 scholars
          purportedly came up with identical translations. Scholars generally discount
          the legend, but the name 'Septuagint' – from the Latin word for seventy
          "septuaginta" (LXX) – became the traditional name for this
          translation." Retrieved
          August 27, 2007 from 'Cataloging Biblical Materials: Summary Descriptions of
          Versions of the Bible' from

          text of the Old Testament, which was originally composed in Hebrew (and
          partly in Aramaic), has been historically transmitted in both a Hebrew and a
          Greek version. (Ancient Latin versions have also survived, but these are
          translations from either the Greek or the Hebrew texts.) These two versions
          (the Hebrew and the Greek) reflect a dispute among the Jews of the late
          pre-Christian and early Christian periods concerning the precise content and
          meaning of their Sacred Scriptures. One major element in that dispute had to
          do with the total number of books that should be regarded as divinely
          inspired and thus authoritative. Some Jews held to a 'longer' canon of
          forty-nine books (the Greek word canon means 'standard' and has come to be
          used in the sense of 'authoritative text'), while others adhered to a
          'shorter' canon containing thirty-nine books. Those who favored the shorter
          canon also thought that some portions of a few of the thirty-nine books
          should be deleted from Sacred Scripture (for example, certain parts of the
          books of Esther and Daniel). By the end of the first century A.D., the
          advocates of the shorter canon had won out, and the Hebrew version of the
          Old Testament, which has been passed down to the present day, thus contains
          only thirty-nine books. Among the Jews, this version is known as the Hebrew
          Bible." Cronk, George. *The Message of the Bible *(Crestwood, NY: SVS
          Press, 1990). Retrieved August 27, 2007 from

          It should be noted that the historicity of this council has come into
          dispute in some circles. The fact remains, however, that the post-Christian
          Jewish (and Protestant) Old Testament canon was finalized *after* the split
          between Christian and Rabbinic Jews.

          is also to be noted in addition that the Orthodox
          *Anagignoskomena* do not exactly coincide with the *Deuterocanonical* books
          (only seven) of the Catholic Bible.

          "In short, (a) with regard to the text the Orthodox accept the
          authenticity (some like Oikonomos ex Oikonomon even their inspiration!) of
          the Greek translation of the *Septuaginta;* (b) with regard to the number of
          the *Anagignoskomena,* these are the Catholic *Deuterocanonical,* plus
          Maccabees 3 and Esdras, and dividing Baruch from the Epistle of Jeremiah.
          There are some additional texts that are normally taken up in the Orthodox
          Bibles, and are either accorded some value (like the Prayer of Manasses and
          Psalm 151) or added as appendices (like Maccabees 4 in the Greek version
          alone, or (the Deuterocanonical) Esdras 2 in the Slavonic version alone);
          (c) with regard to the sequence, as well as the naming, of the 49 books
          these are as follows: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy
          (=Pentateuch), Joshua, Judges, Ruth, *Vasileion* (Regnorum) 1 and 2 (=Samuel
          1 and 2),* Vasileion *(Regnorum) 3 and* *4 (=Kings 1 and 2), *Paralipomenon
          *1 and 2 (Chronicles 1 and 2), *Esdras *1 (=Deuterocanonical), *Esdras *2
          and *Nehemiah* (=the canonical Esra), Esther (together with the
          Deuterocanonical additions), Judith (=Deuterocanonical), Tobit
          (=Deuterocanonical), [some editions (e.g. the 1928 Bratsiotis edition)
          follow the order cod. B and A, i.e. Tobit, Judith, Esther], Maccabees 1 and
          2 (=Deuterocanonical), *and 3,*Psalms (in some editions plus Psalm 151 and
          the 9 Odes and the Prayer of Manasses), Job [in some editions after the Song
          of Songs], Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, Wisdom of Solomon
          (=Deuterocanonical), Wisdom of Siracides (=Deuterocanonical), 12 Minor
          Prophets (starting with Hosea and ending with Malachias), Isaiah, Jeremiah,
          Baruch (=Deuterocanonical), Lamentations, Epistle of Jeremiah
          (=Deuterocanonical), Ezekiel, Daniel (together with the Deuterocanonical
          additions, i.e. Susana, the Prayer of Azariah and the Songs of the Three
          Youths, and the story of Bel and Dragon), and Maccabees 4 (as an appendix in
          the Greek versions only, whereas the Slavonic version, probably under
          western influence, contains also the 2nd Deuterocanonical Esdras)."
          Petros. "Τhe Canon of the Bible: Or the Authority of Scripture from an
          Orthodox Perspective" in *L' autorité de l'Écriture, sous la direction *(
          Paris: J.-M. Poffet, 2002), pp. 113- 135. Retrieved August 21, 2007
          from http://users.auth.gr/~pv/

          *New Style Catechism*, p. 28-29. Additionally, St. Philaret (Drozdov) of
          Moscow answers in his *Longer Catechism of The Orthodox, Catholic, Eastern
          Church* (Св. Филарет, Митрополит Московски) the question: "35. How are we to
          regard these last-named books? Athanasius the Great says that they have been
          appointed of the Fathers to be read by proselytes who are preparing for
          admission into the Church." Similarly to the non-dismissal of catechumens
          at the Dismissal of the Catechumens, we are all spiritually understood to
          remain proselytes and catechumens in this life.

          Readings at Vespers for the Exaltation of the Cross (September 14):
          Isaias 60:11-16 and Proverbs 3:11-18. OT Readings at Vespers for the
          Nativity of the Theotokos (September 8) are the same as those for the
          Annunciation and other Feasts of the Mother of God: Genesis 28:10-17;
          Ezekiel 43:72, 44:1; Proverbs 9:1-11; and, Exodus :3:1-8. From Ephrem Lash,
          "Prophetologion: Readings for Vespers". Retrieved August 27, 2007 from
          http://anastasis.org.uk/readings_september_to_november.htm and *http:// *

          John Matusiak, on the Orthodox Church in
          America's *Questions and Answers about Orthodoxy *page concerning the 'Book
          of Revelation', explains: "Already in the second and third centuries there
          were so many twisted and sensational misinterpretations that the false
          teachings that arose caused great confusion to the Christians of the time.
          For this reason, while the Book of Revelation was included in the Canon of
          Scripture, it was not permitted to be read publicly in the services of the
          Church." Retrieved August 22, 2007 from http://oca.org/QA.asp?ID=37&SID=3.

          theologians like to make a distinction between the books of the
          New Testament which were unanimously received as canonical in the early
          church (the so-called *Homologoumena* or undisputed books) and the books
          which were disputed by some (the *Antilogoumena*). In this class of
          'disputed books' are the Epistle to the Hebrews, James, Jude, 2 Peter, 2 and
          3 John, and the Revelation of John. These books are considered to be
          canonical in modern Lutheran churches, with the caveat that they are not
          quite on the same level as the other books as complete expressions of
          evangelical truth, and should be used with care.

          "Luther's statement that the epistle was 'rejected by the ancients' is
          only partly true. Its canonical status was doubted by some. Eusebius (d.
          339) in his *Ecclesiastical History* (II, xxiii, 25) writes 'Such is the
          story of James, whose is said to be the first of the Epistles called
          Catholic. It is to be observed that its authenticity is denied, since few of
          the ancients quote it, as is also the case with the Epistle called Jude's.'
          Eusebius also includes both epistles in his list of 'Disputed Books' (*
          History*, III, xxiv, 3). See also the statement by Jerome (d. 420) in
          his *Liber
          de Viris Illustribus* (II) concerning the pseudonymity ascribed to the
          epistle of James and its rather gradual attainment of authoritative status.
          "The canonicity of Revelation was disputed by Marcion, Caius of Rome,
          Dionysius of Alexandria, Cyril of Jerusalem and the Synod of Laodicea in A.D.
          360, though it was accepted by most as Eusebius reports. In the annotations
          of his edition Erasmus had noted in connection with chapter 4 that the
          Greeks regarded the book as apocryphal." Marlowe, Michael D. "Luther's
          Treatment of the 'Disputed Books' of the New Testament." Retrieved August
          21, 2007 from http://www.bible-researcher.com/antilegomena.html.

          *Encyclical of the Eastern Patriarchs, 1848: A Reply to the Epistle of Pope
          Pius IX, 'to the Easterns'.* Retreived September 2, 2007 from

          From, "Sola Corpore Christi: The Authority of Scripture in the Orthodox
          Church, for Lutherans" by Christopher Orr

          On 9/4/07, ANATASIA THEODORIDIS <anastasiatheo01@...> wrote:
          > This is not an issue I have studied, but I have been told the Septuagint
          > is the version quoted in the NT, both by Christ and the Apostles. (Including
          > numerous deuterocanonical references).
          > Anastasia
          > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Christopher Orr
          See, too, The Canon of the Bible: or, The Authority of Scripture from an Orthodox Perspective (published in J.-M. Poffet,*L autorité de l Écriture,
          Message 4 of 5 , Sep 4, 2007
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            See, too, "The Canon of the Bible: or, The Authority of Scripture from an
            Orthodox Perspective" (published in J.-M. Poffet,*L' autorité de l'
            Écriture, *Paris 2002), pp. 113-35, by Petros Vassiliadis.



            On 9/4/07, ANATASIA THEODORIDIS <anastasiatheo01@...> wrote:

            > This is not an issue I have studied, but I have been told the Septuagint
            > is the version quoted in the NT, both by Christ and the Apostles. (Including
            > numerous deuterocanonical references).
            > Anastasia
            > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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