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251Re: Questions about LXX

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  • jamtat@mailandnews.com
    Jun 11, 2001
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      --- In lxx@y..., jultm777@y... wrote:
      > Dear Sirs,
      > 1. Where has Brenton taken the greek text of the Septuaginta from?

      As I understand it, Brenton's text is mainly Vaticanus, supplemented
      in the places where it lacks (mainly the bulk of the book of Gen and
      some parts of the Psalms) by Alexandrinus. I have not heard of his
      text being identified with the Sixtine, but to speak honestly, I
      cannot say what, if any relation exists between Brenton and the
      Sixtine. Can anyone else give further clarification on this?

      > 2. Can exact reprints of the first two complete publications of the
      > Septuaginta be found?:
      > a. Sixtine Bible (1587)-Pope Sixtus V
      > b. Complutensian Poliglot Bible (1514-1517)
      > Which publications are they?

      To my knowledge, no modern reprints of these texts are available. My
      guess is that they went through more than one edition. But the most
      up-to-date editions must be quite old. Holmes-Parsons (18th-19th
      centuries) replaced all earlier critical LXX editions, so I doubt
      there are any reprints of the texts you ask about that would be newer
      than HP. Again, I am giving mostly circumstantial evidence. If anyone
      has anything more to the point to add, please do so.

      > 3. Does anybody know, if it is possible for these two publications
      > be found electronically-processed, on OCR, or on microfilms.

      I sincerely doubt you'd find anything electronic. I certainly don't
      know about anything like this, but would be interested if you do find
      something. Microfilms seem much more likely to exist: I would be
      surprised if these texts are NOT available on microfilm from

      > 4. In many books and web sites it is written that the Eastern
      > (especially the Greek) keeps the Septuaginta even nowadays as their
      > Old Testament. Does anybody know which the text is and where this
      > text could be found? Is this text the same as the Sixtine Bible or
      > Complutensian Polyglot Bible?

      My research in this area indicates that the Greek Church has made no
      attempt whatever at a critical text for the LXX. There was
      effectively no "Bible" in Greek Orthodox circles until the 19th
      century: Scripture passages used in worship came from either printed
      service books that contained both liturgical and scriptural matter,
      or from lectionaries. Apart from that, single books or portions of
      the OT canon circulated in manuscript copies. Entire Bibles or Old
      Testaments were virtually unkown in Greek Orthodox circles prior to
      1843, when the first (to my knowledge) OT was published. {As an
      aside, the lack of activity in Bible publishing was certainly
      fostered by the so-called "Turkish yoke", i.e., the political
      domination of Greece by the remnants of the Ottoman empire, which, of
      course, was Moslem. The Ottomans lost control over Greece just some
      few short years prior to the publication of the first LXX OT in
      Greece.} The text published in 1843 was simply a transcription of a
      single LXX manuscript - Alexandrinus. The canon of Alexandrinus was
      rearranged, supplemeted and censured to accord with Protestant
      sensibilities: some books included in Alexandrinus were simply left
      out, while the so-called deutero-canonicals were put in a separate
      section, as was the Protestant custom of the time. I don't know where
      the text of Daniel in this OT comes from, but it's not from
      Alexandrinus. This publication seems to have been done with the help
      of the SPCK and with additional help from the Orthodox Church in
      Russia. This 1843 edition of the LXX seems to have been forgotten in
      Orthodox circles now. A different LXX OT edition was undertaken in
      the early 20th century by the Zoe brotherhood. This one, like its
      predecessor in 1843, obtained the blessing of the Greek Church
      administration. It seems to be simply a reprint of Tischendorff's
      critical edition of the LXX of the mid-19th century. This qualifies
      as a sort of "official" OT of the Greek Orthodox Church. But be aware
      that its text differs somewhat from the LXX OT readings found in
      worship: the Greek Church has separate traditions for Bible and
      worship texts, and the liturgical books and lectionaries preserve
      their own LXX text tradition which is not easily identifiable with
      any of the proposed LXX text types (e.g., the Lucianic). The Zoe
      edition continues to be reprinted in Greece and is easily obtainable
      there. Rahlfs is also printed in Greece by the Greek Bible Society,
      with the introductory matter translated into modern Greek (in
      addition to retaining the English, German and Latin intros typically
      contained there). But, of course, it does not have, or seek to
      obtain, ecclesiastical sanction.

      In Russia, on the other hand, critical work on the text of the OT
      goes back quite some time. The Ostrog Bible of the 16th century
      represent perhaps the earliest of what appear to be critical attempts
      at establishing a text of the OT. It took into account the Vulgate,
      as did all subsequent editions of the OT in Russian and/or Slavonic.
      By the 18th century, Russia had begun to work with representatives of
      the western Bible Societies on publishing Scripture. A series of
      books of the OT was translated subsequently and finally an entire new
      Bible (OT and NT) was published with the blessings of Church
      authorities in the late 19th century. For the OT, it used both the
      LXX and the MT. So the picture is a bit more complicated for Russia.
      As you can see, the LXX plays a role in establishment of the text of
      the OT. But it's an oversimplification - bordering in some cases on
      distortion - to say that the Orthodox Church there used the LXX pure
      and simple. But it must be remembered that, like in the Greek Church,
      there are separate scriptural traditions for the Bible and for the
      liturgy. In Russia, the portions of Scripture read during worship are
      from liturgical texts and lectionaries, and those were ultimately
      translated from Greek exemplars straight into Slavonic without any
      sort of critical work. Modern Bible publishing seems to have had no
      effect whatever on these Scripture portions. It seems likely that the
      Sixtine and/or Complutensian played some role in Russian
      Bible "criticism" ("criticism" here meaning their establishment of
      the text for publication) of both earlier and later times. Exactly
      what role, I cannot say for certain. Can anyone clarify further on
      this matter?

      A bit of a long-winded answer, but I hope this helps you.

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