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RE: [lxx] Masoretic vs lxx

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  • David C. Hindley
    George, ... find that the Talmudic text is younger[???] than the lxx, and was created AFTER[???] it. I had been assuming that all Hebrew versions of the OT
    Message 1 of 23 , May 7, 2000
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      George,

      On Sat, 06 May 2000, George Blaisdell <maqhth@...> asked:

      >>I am very ignorant of the matters it brings up, but was surprised to
      find that the Talmudic text is younger[???] than the lxx, and was
      created AFTER[???] it. I had been assuming that all Hebrew versions
      of the OT were naturally by language superior to the lxx, because the
      OT was written in Hebrew originally. Do copies of the Hebraic text
      from which the lxx was translated even exist any longer?<<

      Perhaps you might want to look into the theory of competing textual
      traditions offered by Frank Moore Cross (starting in the 1960's) as an
      explanation for the variations between Qumran textual mss. He would
      say that individual Babylonian, Egyptian and Palestinian traditions
      had existed, corresponding to the proto-texts underlying the MT, LXX
      and Samaritan Pentateuch. This theme has been taken up, and expanded,
      by others, but I am not up-to-date on the names and works. I'd conduct
      a search on "Cross, F M" through your local library catalogues. I am
      not sure what you might get if you did so on the Internet. Internet
      URLs tend to be a tad biased towards one extreme or another, but there
      *are* sites out there that are gems. Use discretion ...

      The article you cited does not seem to go into the issue of the
      various revisions of the LXX that were undertaken in antiquity.
      Between the first major effort at translation (3rd century BCE, likely
      only the Pentateuch, but later including the Prophets, then the
      Writings) and the revisions or re-translations created by Symmachus,
      Theodotian, et al, through the 2nd century CE (and later), it is
      sometimes difficult to be certain just which of these translations and
      revisions the surviving LXX mss represent. We have fairly good ideas
      when it comes to Daniel and Ezra-Nehemia, but of many others
      (particularly books of the Prophets and Writings) this is still an
      open question.

      Some early Christians compared the LXX (their "bible") against the
      Hebrew scriptures then current among the Jews in an attempt to accuse
      Jews of eliminating passages that they believed prophesied about Jesus
      Christ. Some are legitimate variants that, in the LXX, could be
      interpreted in a messianic sense where the Hebrew could not. However,
      a number of these examples of "excised" passages are *also* not
      present in the LXX as transmitted by Christian scribes. These
      apologists were apparently relying upon lists of proof texts that
      mixed excerpts from the LXX with apocryphal and apocalyptic
      literature, with the apologists not being aware of this fact. Either
      that or there were some really weird LXX translations in circulation
      in the first few centuries CE.

      Regards,

      Dave Hindley
      Cleveland, Ohio, USA
    • George Blaisdell
      Pardon my ignorance of these matters... The idea that Orthodox Jews and Orthodox Christians use two differing OT texts is news to me, and the idea that the
      Message 2 of 23 , May 7, 2000
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        Pardon my ignorance of these matters... The idea that Orthodox Jews and
        Orthodox Christians use two differing OT texts is news to me, and the idea
        that the Masoretic Text is the lxx written into Hebrew with messianic
        references edited out seems outrageous. Are there any Orthodox Jews on this
        list who can put this matter into some additional light?

        George Blaisdell



        >From: "Will Pratt" <prattw@...>
        >Reply-To: lxx@egroups.com
        >To: <lxx@egroups.com>
        >Subject: RE: [lxx] Masoretic vs lxx
        >Date: Sat, 6 May 2000 19:15:40 -0700
        >
        ><snip>
        >
        > > This divergence between the Septuagint and the Masoretic
        > > Text is the real
        > > problem with any debate or dialogue between Orthodox Jews
        > > and Christians.
        > > The former rely on the Masoretic and the latter on the
        > > Septuagint. It is a
        > > proverbial case of "apples and oranges." Fundamentalist
        > > Christians used the
        > > Hebrew (likely Masoretic) KJV translation for the Hebrew
        > > Canon. It is not
        > > surprising that most arguments of Judaism against
        > > Christianity can appear
        > > valid when this is relied on. Early Christians strictly
        > > used the Septuagint,
        > > knowing the Masoretic to be a text that wiped out the
        > > messianic references
        > > found in the Septuagint.
        >
        >
        >The results of Dead Sea Scroll studies bear on this. The large
        >majority of biblical texts agree very closely with the Masoretic Text,
        >confirming the accuracy of it's transmission from that point, and some
        >of these witnesses for the MT are as old as 150 BCE, based on
        >radiocarbon dating. A smaller group of texts (ca 10%), though, agree
        >with LXX readings. The conclusion drawn from this is that there were
        >at least two contemporary textual traditions, one leading to the MT as
        >we have it, the other to the LXX. Caveats: There may have been
        >additional traditions not represented in the Qumran library. And the
        >ratio of MT to LXX tradition in the Qumran mss is probably skewed by
        >the theological approach of the Essenes.
        >
        >Although the LXX does reflect a textual tradition, the text as we have
        >it probably also reflects the vicissitudes of scribal transmission.
        >There is no reason to suppose that the LXX text was any less subject
        >to scribal error and editing than the NT text bound in the same
        >codices. The traditional set of tests and checksums used to check for
        >errors by sopherim seems to have resulted in a "cleaner" transmission
        >in the case of the MT than that of the LXX and NT. Not perfect
        >transmission by any means, but less error prone than that the LXX and
        >NT were subjected to.
        >
        >Will
        >
        >Will Pratt
        >prattw@...
        >

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      • Will Pratt
        ... I m not sure that this was actually addressed to me, since the above doesn t reflect what I said. Piggybacking? None the less, I am Jewish, so . . . What
        Message 3 of 23 , May 7, 2000
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          > Pardon my ignorance of these matters... The idea that
          > Orthodox Jews and
          > Orthodox Christians use two differing OT texts is news to
          > me, and the idea
          > that the Masoretic Text is the lxx written into Hebrew with
          > messianic
          > references edited out seems outrageous. Are there any
          > Orthodox Jews on this
          > list who can put this matter into some additional light?

          I'm not sure that this was actually addressed to me, since the above
          doesn't reflect what I said. Piggybacking?

          None the less, I am Jewish, so . . .

          What is meant by "Orthodox" Xtians, in this case, I believe, is the
          Orthodox or Eastern Church. At any rate, they continue to use the LXX
          as their primary OT, at least officially. (In the US the inability of
          most to read Koine Greek even if they can speak a bit of modern Greek,
          leaves the laity dependent on Protestant or Roman Catholic
          translations.)

          The official OT of the RC Church from around 425 CE to (present?) was
          the Vulgate, a direct translation into Latin from the Hebrew textual
          tradition which today we call the Masoretic, by Jerome. (Jerome had a
          low opinion of the LXX.)

          More recently the RC Church has produced a couple of very good English
          translations direct from the MT, but I don't know whether any is
          "official". Up to the appearance of the Jerusalem Bible, the standard
          English-language RC bible was the Douay-Rheims, an English translation
          of the Vulgate. The main English Protestant trasnlation, until the
          Middle 20th century, of course, was the King James version. This was
          not a comptete translation, de novo, but was a reworking of previous
          English translations, which _had_ been made from the MT, with careful
          checking for accuracy against the MT. (And against the Greek text for
          the NT.) All the recent proliferation of translations has been direct
          from the MT. The last English translation of the LXX was made in the
          middle 19th century, though there is now a group working on a new
          translation.

          There are several good Jewish translations of the MT, incidentaly.
          The easiest to get hold of is the Jewish Publication Society's 1985
          _Tanakh - The Holy Scriptures_ which is often available in the Bible
          section of chain bookstore, in an inexpensive trade paperback edition.

          A crude description of the translation style in the LXX, doing great
          violence to the details of the evidence, is that it varies from
          section to section. Some are very nearly a transliteration from
          Hebrew to Greek, some are well done formally equivalent translations,
          some dynamically equivalent, and some seemingly paraphrases. The
          joker in the deck, though, is that with the realization that there
          were distinct textual traditions leading to the MT and to the LXX, we
          are left to wonder whether it is the translation in the LXX, or the
          Hebrew text it was translated from, that bore these relations to the
          MT.

          Will

          Will Pratt
          prattw@...
        • petersig@ccat.sas.upenn.edu
          ... I have not responded before now, because the responses to your first posting have been generally knowledgeable and informative. My religion is Judaism, and
          Message 4 of 23 , May 7, 2000
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            According to George Blaisdell:
            >
            > Pardon my ignorance of these matters... The idea that Orthodox Jews and
            > Orthodox Christians use two differing OT texts is news to me, and the idea
            > that the Masoretic Text is the lxx written into Hebrew with messianic
            > references edited out seems outrageous. Are there any Orthodox Jews on this
            > list who can put this matter into some additional light?
            >
            > George Blaisdell
            >

            I have not responded before now, because the responses to your first
            posting have been generally knowledgeable and informative.
            My religion is Judaism, and within that religion I am fairly orthopractic.
            I am also a graduate student in Religious Studies at the University of
            Pennsylvania. Judaism, like Islam, is oriented towards practice, rather
            than belief.

            This is reflected in the development of the Masoretic text by a family who
            took it upon themselves to record the reading traditions of those who were
            trained in reading the Torah (=Pentateuch) and other books of the Hebrew
            and Aramaic Jewish Scriptures.

            The differences between Greek and Hebrew-Aramaic texts of the Jewish
            Scriptures at the level of words are fairly minor and turn on fairly
            obvious errors in translation or transmission. The major difference
            between the "Hebrew Bible" and the "Old Testament" is in the arrangement
            of the books.

            Christians have arranged the Old Testament to reflect the literary and
            religious judgment and interpretation that the prophetic books should be
            placed at the end. The arrangement of the Torah-Neviim-Ketuvim
            (Teaching/Law/Pentateuch-Prophets-Writings), abbreviated TaNaKh, puts the
            histories and books of the Major and Minor prophets in the middle. This
            arrangement seems to be based on chronological/narrative considerations,
            Thus TaNaKah ends with the writings/Ketuvim, a section which includes the
            book of Daniel. Daniel and Esther vie for the honors of the last canonical
            book to have been composed. The canonical books are the same in Judaism
            and Christianity, although Greek additions to Esther and Daniel exist, as
            do some additional psalms found in Syriac. These are included in the NRSV
            translation.

            There are differences between the editions of I Samuel/Shmuel (HB) and the
            corresponding portion of Reigns in the Old Greek (incorrectly termed the
            LXX), as well as the edition of Jeremiah, between the surviving Old Greek
            and the Hebrew of these books, as has already been noted here on the list.

            Very few Jews who have been raised and trained in Orthodox Judaism

            a) know the Bible (in any definition) beyond the Torah and the Psalms,
            the scrolls and other books used for the holidays (Lamentations/Eikha,
            Jonah, Qohelet/Ecclesiastes, Esther, Song of Songs/Shir haShirim, and
            Ruth) and beyond the Haftarot--selections from history and the prophets
            that are keyed to the Torah selection of the week.

            b) most Jews don't care at all where the text comes from, or how
            it differs between Jewish and Christian versions. Jews, even Orthodox
            Jews, have traditionally had little interest in what anyone in another
            religion does with the same texts they use. Very few know that "Judaism
            spoke Greek" for 400 or 500 years, with pockets that continued to speak
            Greek for another 500 or so years.

            c) on the other hand, many Orthodox Jews undertake weekly study of the
            Torah portion, and daily study of the Talmud. They are not ignorant of
            the contents of these texts, although the emphasis is different.

            That is to say, to most Jews the Hebrew text inscribed on scrolls and in
            editions of TaNaKh is the given text, ancient, spoken in the language
            spoken by God "in the beginning of God's creating."

            --------

            The manuscript evidence from Qumran (the Dead Sea Scrolls) is described
            anachronistically by Frank Moore Cross, who was mentioned earlier, in
            terms of three text families. The users of the Qumran texts were probably
            not aware that they were supposed to use established texts from specific
            "families" of texts--they used what came to hand or could be purchased or
            was developed in somebody's scribal shop or was dictated by someone who
            was a walking Torah or had been edited by somebody's uncle. In the words
            of Emanuel Tov, who is the General Editor of the Dead Sea Scrolls, they
            were "just texts."

            Hebrew is a language without vowels, so that words are pronounced
            according to conventions and traditions that supply the vowels. We don't
            know what these were at the time of the Dead Sea Scrolls. The
            last sentence would become W DNT KNW WHT THS WR T TH TM F TH DD S
            SCRLLS. Sometimes the meaning of a passage can change according to the
            vowels supplied, or the way in which an unbroken chain of consonants is
            broken apart. Oral traditions and memorized texts, however, are described
            in a number of Jewish sources. From collateral evidence of the Rg Vedas in
            Hinduism, which were of exceedingly ancient origin, written down
            until the 19th century, with North Indian oral traditions differing little
            from South Indian traditions, we know that with a fixed oral tradition in
            place, text can be accurately preserved over centuries. That religion
            fosters such preservation can be intuited by anyone who recalls the
            Episcopal Church's furor and divisions over replacing the 1928 Book of
            Common Prayer with a more up-to-date version.

            What fuels the Orthodox Jewish side of an Orthodox Christian/Orthodox
            Jewish conversation about LXX/Old Greek versus TaNaKh is the ingrained
            prejudice against things Greek and the Greek language, the "Hellenizers"
            who opposed the followers of Judah the Maccabee, the Greek-speaking
            oppressor Antiochus Epiphanes who was the original model for Haman in
            Esther. And the sense that of course Hebrew came first.

            Of course it did, you know.

            You should know, however, that rabbinic Judaism recognized the LXX as an
            inspired translation which could be used for the Torah reading in
            Synagogues in areas where Jews spoke Greek as their mother tongue. In
            contrast, if Aramaic was necessary for understanding, the Hebrew text was
            read first, and an Aramaic translation was provided. This practice was the
            source of the Aramaic targum tradition.

            I hope this has provided some information you can use to deepen
            understanding of the material you quoted at the beginning of this
            discussion.

            Sigrid Peterson University of Pennsylvania petersig@...
          • Joel D Kalvesmaki
            Hi Dave, Thanks for your excellent post. I appreciate hearing about Cross working idea -- there is an attractive elegance to his theory. ... A question about
            Message 5 of 23 , May 7, 2000
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              Hi Dave,

              Thanks for your excellent post. I appreciate hearing about Cross' working
              idea -- there is an attractive elegance to his theory.

              > Some early Christians compared the LXX (their "bible") against the
              > Hebrew scriptures then current among the Jews in an attempt to accuse
              > Jews of eliminating passages that they believed prophesied about Jesus
              > Christ. Some are legitimate variants that, in the LXX, could be
              > interpreted in a messianic sense where the Hebrew could not. However,
              > a number of these examples of "excised" passages are *also* not
              > present in the LXX as transmitted by Christian scribes. These
              > apologists were apparently relying upon lists of proof texts that
              > mixed excerpts from the LXX with apocryphal and apocalyptic
              > literature, with the apologists not being aware of this fact. Either
              > that or there were some really weird LXX translations in circulation
              > in the first few centuries CE.

              A question about sources. Is there anyone besides Justin the Martyr who can
              be adduced to substantiate this claim that Christians accused Jews of
              changing their scriptures? I am pretty familiar with the Septuagint vs.
              Hebrew discourse by Justin Martyr (_Dialogue Agaist Trypho_ , 70-73), but,
              as far as I can remember, he is the only figure of the 2nd or 3rd c. to use
              this argument. Irenaeus (Adv. Haer. 3.21) comes close, but his gripe is with
              the translations of Theodotian, Aquila et al. He doesn't seem to accuse the
              Jews of tampering with the Hebrew. If Justin is our only source, how
              plausible is it to reconstruct or generalize Christian-Jewish debates upon
              it? Or is this theme resumed in the 4th and 5th c.?

              I think this is an important point since scholars as notable as Daniel
              Boyarin have sought to make general theories of Jewish-Christian relations
              based, to a large degree, on Justin's corpus of writings. But if other
              Christians don't employ this argument in treatises against the Jews, written
              before or after Justin, it seems that we must at least rethink or qualify
              our claims about this period.

              Anyway, just some questions worth thinking about. Thanks again,

              jk
              untitledJoel D Kalvesmaki 16kalvesmaki@...
              http://arts-sciences.cua.edu/ecs/jdk/ Graduate Student, Early Christian
              Studies Catholic University of America Washington, DC




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            • David C. Hindley
              On Sun, 7 May 2000 Choufrine, Arkadi ... about 200 AD under Rabbi Judah the Prince. (HBD, Talmud , 1016)/// Simply stated,
              Message 6 of 23 , May 8, 2000
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                On Sun, 7 May 2000 "Choufrine, Arkadi" <arkadi.choufrine@...>
                stated:

                >>As to the Talmud, my Harper's Bible Dictionary says it "emerged
                about 200 AD under Rabbi
                Judah the Prince." (HBD, "Talmud", 1016)/// Simply stated, there are
                some problems with the unqualified assertion that the LXX text is
                older than the Talmud.<<

                Be careful not to confuse the TaNaKh (Jewish scriptures) with the
                Talmud (a book of Study consisting of Rabbinical teachings and
                traditions).

                The excerpt above is not really correct. What R. Judah compiled about
                200 CE was the Mishna, a set of legal interpretations that, along with
                a commentary of it, comprises the (later) Talmud. The Talmud itself
                was compiled over several hundred years.

                But, getting to your comment, how does the fact of the Mishna being
                compiled 200 CE (that is the neutral term for the Christian <or
                "Commonly used"> Era) make it younger than the LXX, compiled between
                3rd century BCE (that's the neutral term for the Christian BC)?

                Did you mean to question that the LXX is older than the Masoretic Text
                (MT)? No one has stated that. I think that you may have confused some
                terms, or are not following the dates being used (and that is why I
                provided an explanation of the terms BCE/CE above).

                If the MT was standardized about the 8-9th century CE (and I am
                winging it here, so dates are approximate) and the old Greek (LXX)
                translations were made ca. 250-50 BCE, then the Hebrew/Aramaic text
                that had been translated would have to be an earlier form of the
                Hebrew text than what was in use almost 1,000 years later when the MT
                was standardized.

                George Blaisdell also asked:

                >>Pardon my ignorance of these matters... The idea that Orthodox Jews
                and Orthodox Christians use two differing OT texts is news to me, and
                the idea that the Masoretic Text is the lxx written into Hebrew with
                messianic references edited out seems outrageous. Are there any
                Orthodox Jews on this list who can put this matter into some
                additional light?<<

                Hmmm. I do not recall quite saying *that*. <g> What I mentioned was
                that F M Cross suggested that there were three "families" of *Hebrew*
                mss. One family, the one preserved for the most part in Babylon, was
                that upon which the MT was standardized ca. 8-9th century CE. Another
                family, the one preserved for the most part in Egypt, was the one
                which was used as the *basis* for the *Greek* translation of the
                Torah/Law ca. 250 BCE. The MT was *not* a re-translation into Hebrew
                of the Greek LXX translation of the ancient Hebrew (if that is what
                you meant).

                Keep in mind that since the Greek period started in 311 BCE, many Jews
                (who for various reasons lived outside Palestine, including Egypt,
                Syria, Asia Minor, Achaia, Italy, and N. Africa) did not know Hebrew.
                The LXX was produced, most likely, by Jews in order to serve as a
                version that these "Diaspora" Jews could use. That is why Judaism
                originally thought so highly of the LXX, even though it *was* somewhat
                different than the Hebrew in various places (mostly in the later
                books, i.e., the Prophets and Writings, but even in the law the ages
                of the ancient patriarchs are quite different).

                However, curious Greek speaking Gentiles also found it of interest, so
                the LXX was presented to Gentiles as a educational tool. The
                pseudepigraphical Letter of Aristeas is an example. It was not until
                Christians, who for the most part were Gentiles unable to read Hebrew
                and used Greek translations like the LXX as their primary scriptures,
                started to point to particular readings in the Greek as prophesies of
                Jesus Christ, that the Rabbi began to object to it.

                Several of the later Greek revisions or re-translations of the Hebrew
                scriptures were undertaken by Jews who sought to make either literal
                translations of the Hebrew, or to preserve the Hebrew sense in better
                Greek idiom than did the Old Greek/LXX. In time, the frictions with
                Christians (who themselves often adopted the newer Jewish translations
                mentioned above) caused many Rabbis to emphasize the Hebrew scriptures
                as the ultimate source of authority. It took several centuries, but
                the rabbis succeeded in improving overall Jewish ability to understand
                the Hebrew scriptures and de-emphasized the use of the Greek
                translations, until the Greek translations fell out of general Jewish
                use.

                My advice, for those getting flustered, would be to read up a bit. The
                trick is being aware of what to look for.

                Joel D Kalvesmaki noted:

                >>I am pretty familiar with the Septuagint vs. Hebrew discourse by
                Justin Martyr (_Dialogue Agaist Trypho_ , 70-73), but, as far as I can
                remember, he is the only figure of the 2nd or 3rd c. to use this
                argument. Irenaeus (Adv. Haer. 3.21) comes close, but his gripe is
                with the translations of Theodotian, Aquila et al. He doesn't seem to
                accuse the Jews of tampering with the Hebrew. If Justin is our only
                source, how plausible is it to reconstruct or generalize
                Christian-Jewish debates upon it? Or is this theme resumed in the 4th
                and 5th c.?<<

                I was shooting from the hip. But you may well be right. I do not know
                for a fact whether other early Christians did what Justin Martyr did
                in his _Dailogue with Trypho_. If not, then the question whether his
                tactic was employed aggressively or not by other early Christians
                would have to remain a matter of conjecture. Even so, it *does* offer
                a plausible motivation for later Jewish revisions of the LXX and the
                fresh translations, and ultimately their program to replace dependency
                upon translations with dependency upon the original Hebrew.

                Sigrid Peterson then noted:

                >>The manuscript evidence from Qumran (the Dead Sea Scrolls) is
                described anachronistically by Frank Moore Cross, who was mentioned
                earlier, in terms of three text families. The users of the Qumran
                texts were probably not aware that they were supposed to use
                established texts from specific "families" of texts--they used what
                came to hand or could be purchased or was developed in somebody's
                scribal shop or was dictated by someone who was a walking Torah or had
                been edited by somebody's uncle. In the words of Emanuel Tov, who is
                the General Editor of the Dead Sea Scrolls, they were "just texts."<<

                I did not mean to suggest that Cross is 100% on target. He has drawn
                criticism, true, but I am not up to date on the debate. I would think
                that his proposals would be affected by when, exactly, the various
                books of the TaNaKh were composed or at least brought into their
                currently known forms. Also, my use of the phrase "textual families"
                may give the impression that each individual mss followed a set
                tradition almost without variation. This is certainly not the case. No
                one mss, even the DSS Isaiah scroll(s) mentioned in earlier posts, is
                100% "MT". They all exhibit *mixtures* of readings from the various
                family groups proposed by Cross.

                It has been my impression that the process of grouping Hebrew mss
                readings into textual families is similar to the way that variant
                readings found in Greek NT mss are grouped into families. The mss
                themselves, though, are associated with a text family based on the
                family group that the majority of readings tend to follow (and I am
                sure I am simplifying things tremendously).

                Regards,

                Dave Hindley
                Cleveland, Ohio, USA
              • George Blaisdell
                ... Sorry Will - I was indeed piggybacking, although in my defense my lawyer might argue that my having started this thread has some mitigative value!! ... I
                Message 7 of 23 , May 8, 2000
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                  >From: "Will Pratt"

                  > > Pardon my ignorance of these matters... The idea that
                  > > Orthodox Jews and Orthodox Christians use two differing > OT texts is
                  >news to me, and the idea that the Masoretic > Text is the lxx written into
                  >Hebrew with messianic
                  > > references edited out seems outrageous. Are there any
                  > > Orthodox Jews on this list who can put this matter into > some
                  >additional light?

                  >I'm not sure that this was actually addressed to me, since the above
                  >doesn't reflect what I said. Piggybacking?

                  Sorry Will - I was indeed piggybacking, although in my defense my lawyer
                  might argue that my having started this thread has some mitigative value!!
                  :-)

                  >None the less, I am Jewish, so . . .

                  >What is meant by "Orthodox" Xtians, in this case, I believe, is the
                  >Orthodox or Eastern Church. At any rate, they continue to use the >LXX as
                  >their primary OT, at least officially. (In the US the >inability of most
                  >to read Koine Greek even if they can speak a bit of >modern Greek, leaves
                  >the laity dependent on Protestant or Roman >Catholic translations.)

                  I understand that even Orthodox Greeks in Greece are unable to read the
                  koine, and have the bible translated into modern Greek so that they can read
                  it. I have not heard of the Bible having hundreds upon hundreds of
                  'versions' there in modern Greek, however.

                  >The official OT of the RC Church from around 425 CE to (present?) was
                  >the Vulgate, a direct translation into Latin from the Hebrew textual
                  >tradition which today we call the Masoretic, by Jerome. (Jerome had >a low
                  >opinion of the LXX.)

                  More news to me, Thank-you. Do you happen to have any of his basis for that
                  low opinion?

                  Now I am wondering if the Vulgate translation from the Masoretic text had
                  anything to do with the RC-EO split in 1054...

                  >More recently the RC Church has produced a couple of very good >English
                  >translations direct from the MT, but I don't know whether any is
                  >"official". Up to the appearance of the Jerusalem Bible, the standard
                  >English-language RC bible was the Douay-Rheims, an >English translation of
                  >the Vulgate. The main English Protestant >trasnlation, until the Middle
                  >20th century, of course, was the King >James version. This was not a
                  >comptete translation, de novo, but was >a reworking of previous English
                  >translations, which _had_ been made >from the MT, with careful checking for
                  >accuracy against the MT. (And >against the Greek text for the NT.) All
                  >the recent proliferation of >translations has been direct from the MT. The
                  >last English >translation of the LXX was made in the middle 19th century,
                  >though >there is now a group working on a new translation.
                  >
                  >There are several good Jewish translations of the MT, incidentaly.
                  >The easiest to get hold of is the Jewish Publication Society's 1985
                  >_Tanakh - The Holy Scriptures_ which is often available in the Bible
                  >section of chain bookstore, in an inexpensive trade paperback >edition.

                  I will keep an eye out for that one...

                  >A crude description of the translation style in the LXX, doing great
                  >violence to the details of the evidence, is that it varies from
                  >section to section. Some are very nearly a transliteration from
                  >Hebrew to Greek, some are well done formally equivalent translations,
                  >some dynamically equivalent, and some seemingly paraphrases. The
                  >joker in the deck, though, is that with the realization that there
                  >were distinct textual traditions leading to the MT and to the LXX, we
                  >are left to wonder whether it is the translation in the LXX, or the
                  >Hebrew text it was translated from, that bore these relations to the
                  >MT.

                  Exactly! The author of the [biased] article cited at the beginning of this
                  thread seems to be saying that the MT was created by Jews translating the
                  LXX into Hebrew as a countermeasure to the then prevalently used Greek text,
                  and that is a wild card indeed! And especially so if there are really no OT
                  texts in Hebrew predating the LXX.

                  >Will

                  Thanks, Will...

                  George Blaisdell

                  ________________________________________________________________________
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                • George Blaisdell
                  I hope this has provided some information you can use to deepen understanding of the material you quoted at the beginning of this discussion. Sigrid Peterson
                  Message 8 of 23 , May 8, 2000
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                    I hope this has provided some information you can use to deepen
                    understanding of the material you quoted at the beginning of this
                    discussion.

                    Sigrid Peterson

                    In a big way, thank-you. I am starting to get a few bearings from which to
                    discern directions, and a whole lot of them from your excellent post.

                    George Blaisdell
                    ________________________________________________________________________
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                  • George Blaisdell
                    David C. Hindley wrote: What I mentioned was that F M Cross suggested that there were three families of *Hebrew* mss. One family, the one preserved for the
                    Message 9 of 23 , May 8, 2000
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                      David C. Hindley wrote:

                      What I mentioned was
                      that F M Cross suggested that there were three "families" of *Hebrew*
                      mss. One family, the one preserved for the most part in Babylon, was
                      that upon which the MT was standardized ca. 8-9th century CE. Another
                      family, the one preserved for the most part in Egypt, was the one
                      which was used as the *basis* for the *Greek* translation of the
                      Torah/Law ca. 250 BCE. The MT was *not* a re-translation into Hebrew
                      of the Greek LXX translation of the ancient Hebrew (if that is what
                      you meant).

                      Thank-you!

                      That was indeed what I meant. It would almost have had to have been a
                      "back-translation", which seemed pretty rough to do... I think there have
                      been that kind of attempts to back-translate the GNT into Aramaic, for
                      instance, with predictable and massive difficulties.

                      So do we HAVE the old texts of these two traditions [Egypt and Babylon]?
                      And if we do not, then how do we know that there are indeed two? Did the
                      Babylonian text exist when the MT was created from it? Or was it orally
                      memorized? And WHEN was the MT created exactly? You indicate 8th to 9th
                      century CE for its standardization - On what basis was it standardized?

                      Too many questions!!

                      Can the competing texts be reconciled? Or is reconciliation even desirable?
                      Is the LXX the oldest extant version of the OT now available? The ms on
                      which it was based no longer exists, nor does that of the MT, if I have it
                      right, and the MT seems to have been at least in part a self-defense effort
                      on the part of Jews who objected to Christian 'mis-use' of the LXX, and so
                      got the whole matter 'back' to its rightful language, Hebrew. And the
                      question is, HOW did they get it 'back'???

                      And a part of what I am hearing is that they don't care, because they are
                      concerned with practice, not theory...

                      So I apologize for the avalanche of questions that lack cohesion but only
                      reflect my ignorance. I am just trying to make sense of the whole of things
                      here in terms of the differing perspectives.

                      George Blaisdell
                      ________________________________________________________________________
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                    • David C. Hindley
                      On Mon, 08 May 2000, George Blaisdell responded ... a back-translation , which seemed pretty rough to do... I think there have been
                      Message 10 of 23 , May 9, 2000
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                        On Mon, 08 May 2000, "George Blaisdell" <maqhth@...> responded
                        to a post by Dave Hindley:

                        >>That was indeed what I meant. It would almost have had to have been
                        a "back-translation", which seemed pretty rough to do... I think
                        there have been that kind of attempts to back-translate the GNT into
                        Aramaic, for instance, with predictable and massive difficulties.

                        Yeah. I think that James Robinson, Matthew Black and others have been
                        back-translating certain passages from the synoptic gospels into
                        Aramaic in an attempt to see whether the resulting Aramaic version of
                        the passage is anything close to what would be expected from a native
                        speaker of the language. The meaning of a sentence or phrase in one
                        language cannot be captured *exactly* by a sentence or phrase in
                        another one.

                        If you have a bible with the Apocrypha, look at the prologue to the
                        book of _The Wisdom of Jesus Ben Sira_ (a.k.a. Ecclesiasticus). Ben
                        Sira's grandson translated this Hebrew book into Greek about 50 years
                        after it was originally written, and explained some of the problems he
                        encountered capturing the sense of the original.

                        >>So do we HAVE the old texts of these two traditions [Egypt and
                        Babylon]? And if we do not, then how do we know that there are indeed
                        two? Did the Babylonian text exist when the MT was created from it?
                        Or was it orally memorized?<<

                        Like I said, there is no such thing as "the" text, but groupings of
                        variant readings that tend to go this way or that. That, I think, is
                        what Sigrid lamented about Cross' hypothesis. The groupings can tend
                        to be more or less subjective, and then what do you really have (this
                        is also a criticism of NT mss family groupings as well, I suppose)?

                        But yes, the Dead Sea scrolls included a number of biblical books that
                        exhibited more variants than originally expected. About 10% of them, I
                        understand, follow readings that seem to be more closely related to
                        those that must have been in the Hebrew text that was translated to
                        produce the Old Greek LXX or from which the Samaritan version of the
                        (Hebrew) Pentateuch was derived, than they do the MT. The biblical
                        citations used in the "sectarian" books of the DSS show even more
                        variation

                        >>And WHEN was the MT created exactly? You indicate 8th to 9th
                        century CE for its standardization - On what basis was it
                        standardized?<<

                        Well, here is where I show *my* ignorance! <g> All I can do, for now,
                        is point you to an Encyclopedia and look up the entry under
                        Mas(s)oretic Text (spelling varies). While I *think* I have an account
                        somewhere about, off hand I cannot recall *where*!

                        Regards,

                        Dave Hindley
                        Cleveland, Ohio, USA
                      • Will Pratt
                        ... First, its frequent deviation from the Hebrew text that he was personally familiar with. Also, apparently the great variation between the LXX
                        Message 11 of 23 , May 9, 2000
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                          <snip>

                          > >The official OT of the RC Church from around 425 CE to (present?) was
                          > >the Vulgate, a direct translation into Latin from the Hebrew textual
                          > >tradition which today we call the Masoretic, by Jerome. (Jerome
                          > had >a low
                          > >opinion of the LXX.)
                          >
                          > More news to me, Thank-you. Do you happen to have any of his
                          > basis for that
                          > low opinion?

                          First, its frequent deviation from the Hebrew text that he was personally
                          familiar with. Also, apparently the great variation between the LXX codices
                          that he knew. The fact that St. Augustine favored the LXX was probably a
                          factor as well, and vice versa.

                          > Now I am wondering if the Vulgate translation from the Masoretic text had
                          > anything to do with the RC-EO split in 1054...

                          Since the Vulgate translation was completed ca 425 CE, it seems unlikely.

                          <snip>
                          >
                          > >A crude description of the translation style in the LXX, doing great
                          > >violence to the details of the evidence, is that it varies from
                          > >section to section. Some are very nearly a transliteration from
                          > >Hebrew to Greek, some are well done formally equivalent translations,
                          > >some dynamically equivalent, and some seemingly paraphrases. The
                          > >joker in the deck, though, is that with the realization that there
                          > >were distinct textual traditions leading to the MT and to the LXX, we
                          > >are left to wonder whether it is the translation in the LXX, or the
                          > >Hebrew text it was translated from, that bore these relations to the
                          > >MT.
                          >
                          > Exactly! The author of the [biased] article cited at the
                          > beginning of this
                          > thread seems to be saying that the MT was created by Jews translating the
                          > LXX into Hebrew as a countermeasure to the then prevalently used
                          > Greek text,
                          > and that is a wild card indeed! And especially so if there are
                          > really no OT
                          > texts in Hebrew predating the LXX.

                          There is a problem with this. The DSS biblical mss were deposited ca 69 CE
                          (majority opinion, there is a minority opinion for a deposition ca 63 BCE)
                          _before_ any serious conflicts developed. The age of the actual mss (based
                          on paleography and 14C dating) ranges from 150 BCE to ca 68 CE, with a
                          majority dating to before the estimated range of dates for the crucifixion,
                          which pretty well lets out Jewish-Xtian animosities.

                          If you want to examine the evidence for yourself, get a copy of Abegg,
                          Flint, and Ulrich, _The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible_ (San Francisco: Harper,
                          1999). The footnotes will tell you to which passages differ from the LXX,
                          the MT, or the Samaritan Pentateuch, and which Qumran mss have which
                          variant.

                          Will

                          --
                          William L. Pratt
                          prattw@...
                        • Katina Peters
                          Hello, I am the author of the biased article and wanted to clear up a misunderstanding. I do not state or even intimate that the MT was created by Jews
                          Message 12 of 23 , May 11, 2000
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                            Hello,

                            I am the author of the "biased" article and wanted to clear up a
                            misunderstanding.

                            I do not state or even intimate that the MT was created by Jews
                            translating the LXX in to Hebrew. No, I am saying the same thing that
                            most in this thread have been saying - the appearance of LXX is older
                            than the appearance of MT. Of course over the years there are variants
                            in LXX as well. The LXX existed before the common era and MT doesn't
                            take shape until long after the beginning of the common era. Of
                            course there were Hebrew texts in use before the Common Era. I would
                            agree that just because MT appears later that MT didn't have old
                            textual sources.

                            If MT redactors are going to choose between a reading that supports
                            Christian claims and variant readings that do not, it is not hard to
                            see which they will use. The lack of vowels in pre-MT hebrew texts
                            will allow easily for some variant readings.

                            Certainly, Christians will likely exploit the same to their own
                            advantage.

                            The reason for the comparison in the first place was to demonstrate
                            that in the area of Judeo-Christian dialogue or polemic, relying on
                            Old Testament/Hebrew Scripture passages is useless. Since the Jew
                            will stick to MT and the Orthodox Christian to LXX, there will never
                            be any agreement based on scriptural "proofs". For a Christian not
                            aware of the differences in the two texts, s/he may be convinced by
                            the Jewish arguments and be led to believe that Christians
                            deliberately altered the Hebrew Text. The Jew in polemic will not
                            even bring up that the supposed mis-translations are actually accurate
                            translations of the Greek text.

                            Jews attack Christians with biblical quotes and vice versa. Neither
                            side is going to get anywhere with this approach. The bulk of my
                            article dealt with Rabbinical vs. Orthodox Christian notions of God
                            and salvation, which in my opinion can form the only basis for any
                            discussion of the merits or deficiencies of Judaism or Christianity.

                            Hope this clarifies things a bit.

                            In Christ,
                            Katina

                            >
                            > Exactly! The author of the [biased] article cited at the beginning
                            of this
                            > thread seems to be saying that the MT was created by Jews
                            translating the
                            > LXX into Hebrew as a countermeasure to the then prevalently used
                            Greek text,
                            > and that is a wild card indeed! And especially so if there are
                            really no OT
                            > texts in Hebrew predating the LXX.
                            >
                            > >Will
                            >
                            > Thanks, Will...
                            >
                            > George Blaisdell
                            >
                            >
                            __________________________________________________
                            ______________________
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                            http://www.hotmail.com
                          • George Blaisdell
                            ... Sorry, Katina, for my usage of that word. I meant that your article was designed with the purpose of assisting Orthodox Christians in their dialog with
                            Message 13 of 23 , May 12, 2000
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                              >From: "Katina Peters"

                              >I am the author of the "biased" article and wanted to clear up a
                              >misunderstanding.

                              Sorry, Katina, for my usage of that word. I meant that your article was
                              designed with the purpose of assisting Orthodox Christians in their dialog
                              with Orthodox Jews, and was "biased" toward that [polemical] purpose, and
                              was not written to assist Orthodox Jews. Do I even have THAT right??

                              >I do not state or even intimate that the MT was created by Jews translating
                              >the LXX in to Hebrew. No, I am saying the same thing that most in this
                              >thread have been saying - the appearance of LXX is older than the
                              >appearance of MT.

                              >Of course over the years there are variants in LXX as well.

                              >The LXX existed before the common era and the MT doesn't
                              >take shape until long after the beginning of the common era. Of course
                              >there were Hebrew texts in use before the Common Era.

                              >I would agree that just because MT appears later that MT didn't have old
                              >textual sources.

                              I am having trouble with the syntax of that sentence. Are you saying that
                              the MT DOES have old textual sources? Or that it probably had them? I am
                              wondering what Jewish Scholars think are its basis. An earlier writer
                              stressed that their focus is more practical, and that the tracing of textual
                              ancestry is not seen as all that important.

                              >If MT redactors are going to choose between a reading that supports
                              >Christian claims and variant readings that do not, it is not hard to
                              >see which they will use. The lack of vowels in pre-MT hebrew texts
                              >will allow easily for some variant readings.

                              This is exactly where the question seems to turn. WERE there ancient
                              consonant only Hebrew texts that were used in the creation of the MT? And if
                              yes, how do we know? Is there an oral Jewish tradition that attests to the
                              origins of the MT?

                              >Certainly, Christians will likely exploit the same to their own
                              >advantage.

                              Only if they read Hebrew, yes? And this is why it is important, at least in
                              the US, because most protestand theological training requires that their
                              students learn Greek AND Hebrew, and that requirement is based on the
                              understanding that the Hebrew, and not the Greek, is the proper language to
                              read the OT in 'its' original and rightful language. And I am assuming
                              [again] that the MT is the text that they approach to translate. There is
                              almost NO lxx translation taught at these seminaries of which I am aware,
                              but that is not saying much, for I am very unaware in this arena. [Most of
                              this is conjecture for me, sorry!]

                              >The reason for the comparison in the first place was to demonstrate
                              >that in the area of Judeo-Christian dialogue or polemic, relying on
                              >Old Testament/Hebrew Scripture passages is useless. Since the Jew
                              >will stick to MT and the Orthodox Christian to LXX, there will never
                              >be any agreement based on scriptural "proofs". For a Christian not
                              >aware of the differences in the two texts, s/he may be convinced by
                              >the Jewish arguments and be led to believe that Christians
                              >deliberately altered the Hebrew Text. The Jew in polemic will not
                              >even bring up that the supposed mis-translations are actually >accurate
                              >translations of the Greek text.

                              >Jews attack Christians with biblical quotes and vice versa. Neither
                              >side is going to get anywhere with this approach. The bulk of my
                              >article dealt with Rabbinical vs. Orthodox Christian notions of God
                              >and salvation, which in my opinion can form the only basis for any
                              >discussion of the merits or deficiencies of Judaism or Christianity.

                              >Hope this clarifies things a bit.

                              A lot for me, thank-you.

                              Sorry to see your treatment on the ortho-n.g. btw.

                              George Blaisdell

                              geo
                              ________________________________________________________________________
                              Get Your Private, Free E-mail from MSN Hotmail at http://www.hotmail.com
                            • Rachel Peters
                              ... Yes and no. The original printing of this article was in Free Republic as an answer to a member of the B nei Noah that had gotten in a scriptural-quoting
                              Message 14 of 23 , May 12, 2000
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                                George Blaisdell wrote:
                                 
                                 

                                >From: "Katina  Peters"

                                >I am the author of the "biased" article and wanted to clear up a
                                >misunderstanding.

                                Sorry, Katina, for my usage of that word.  I meant that your article was
                                designed with the purpose of assisting Orthodox Christians in their dialog
                                with Orthodox Jews, and was "biased" toward that [polemical] purpose, and
                                was not written to assist Orthodox Jews.  Do I even have THAT right??


                                Yes and no.  The original printing of this article was in Free Republic as an answer to a member of the B'nei Noah that had gotten in a scriptural-quoting
                                flame war with some Christians.  Similarly, B'nei Noah occasionally spam Orthodox lists and newsgroups so I wanted to print this response for the general
                                interest of Orthodox Christians.  The B'nei Noah poster claimed that even the way of writing the letters of the Torah scroll were handed down on Mt. Sinai!
                                 

                                 

                                >I do not state or even intimate that the MT was created by Jews translating
                                >the LXX in to Hebrew.  No, I am saying the same thing that most in this
                                >thread have been saying - the appearance of LXX is older than the
                                >appearance of MT.

                                >Of course over the years there are variants in LXX as well.

                                >The LXX existed before the common era and the MT doesn't
                                >take shape until long after the beginning of the common era.  Of course
                                >there were Hebrew texts in use before the Common Era.

                                >I would agree that just because MT appears later that MT didn't have old
                                >textual sources.

                                Probably - but of course we cannot be sure!  Let's face it, its all theory at this point.
                                 
                                 
                                I am having trouble with the syntax of that sentence.  Are you saying that
                                the MT DOES have old textual sources?  Or that it probably had them?  I am
                                wondering what Jewish Scholars think are its basis.  An earlier writer
                                stressed that their focus is more practical, and that the tracing of textual
                                ancestry is not seen as all that important.

                                >If MT redactors are going to choose between a reading that supports
                                >Christian claims and variant readings that do not, it is not hard to
                                >see which they will use.  The lack of vowels in pre-MT hebrew texts
                                >will allow easily for some variant readings.
                                 

                                This is exactly where the question seems to turn.  WERE there ancient
                                consonant only Hebrew texts that were used in the creation of the MT? And if
                                yes, how do we know?  Is there an oral Jewish tradition that attests to the
                                origins of the MT?


                                They would have relied on their Torah scrolls for their texts.  How ancient these are I cannot say.  I remember learning from Jewish sources that the vocalisation traditions were standardized around 100 c.e..  Cannot document this, however because it was taught orally in a Jewish History class.

                                 

                                >Certainly, Christians will likely exploit the same to their own
                                >advantage.
                                 

                                You are right in the below statement.  Perhaps one of the reasons Christian faith has suffered in the last few centuries is the decreased knowledge of the LXX in favor of MT.

                                BUT my statement above was refering more to early Christians.

                                 
                                Only if they read Hebrew, yes?  And this is why it is important, at least in
                                the US, because most protestand theological training requires that their
                                students learn Greek AND Hebrew, and that requirement is based on the
                                understanding that the Hebrew, and not the Greek, is the proper language to
                                read the OT in 'its' original and rightful language.  And I am assuming
                                [again] that the MT is the text that they approach to translate.  There is
                                almost NO lxx translation taught at these seminaries of which I am aware,
                                but that is not saying much, for I am very unaware in this arena. [Most of
                                this is conjecture for me, sorry!]

                                >The reason for the comparison in the first place was to demonstrate
                                >that in the area of Judeo-Christian dialogue or polemic, relying on
                                >Old Testament/Hebrew Scripture passages is useless.  Since the Jew
                                >will stick to MT and the Orthodox Christian to LXX, there will never
                                >be any agreement based on scriptural "proofs".  For a Christian not
                                >aware of the differences in the two texts, s/he may be convinced by
                                >the Jewish arguments and be led to believe that Christians
                                >deliberately altered the Hebrew Text.  The Jew in polemic will not
                                >even bring up that the supposed mis-translations are actually >accurate
                                >translations of the Greek text.

                                >Jews attack Christians with biblical quotes and vice versa.  Neither
                                >side is going to get anywhere with this approach.  The bulk of my
                                >article dealt with Rabbinical vs. Orthodox Christian notions of God
                                >and salvation, which in my opinion can form the only basis for any
                                >discussion of the merits or deficiencies of Judaism or Christianity.

                                >Hope this clarifies things a bit.

                                A lot for me, thank-you.

                                Sorry to see your treatment on the ortho-n.g. btw.
                                 


                                Thanks for the sympathy.  I only got into the discussion due to a slow day at work and I couldn't stand for the misinformation being bandied about.  In general, the ortho newsgroup is a useless waste of my time.  My opponents are in my prayers and I bear no ill will towards them.
                                :-)+<

                                Katina

                                George Blaisdell

                                geo
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                              • Will Pratt
                                WLP: I ve got a problem with nomenclature here. Normally, Orthodox applies to a particular movement of Judaism, and to a particular recognized movement, or
                                Message 15 of 23 , May 12, 2000
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                                  WLP:

                                  I've got a problem with nomenclature here. Normally, Orthodox applies
                                  to a particular movement of Judaism, and to a particular recognized
                                  movement, or group of movements, in Xtianity, the Eastern Orthodox
                                  Church that has it's origins in the Eastern Roman Empire and mostly
                                  uses Greek for liturigcal purposes, and the Greek scriptures as it's
                                  official Bible.

                                  In this thread, does "Orthodox Christian" mean that group, or does it
                                  mean "orthodox" Xtians as compared to such groups as Latter Day Saints
                                  and Jehovah's Witnesses, who are defined as fringe groups by the main
                                  run of Xtians?


                                  -----Original Message-----
                                  From: katina@... [mailto:katina@...]On Behalf Of Rachel
                                  Peters
                                  Sent: Friday, May 12, 2000 12:02 PM
                                  To: lxx@egroups.com
                                  Subject: Re: [lxx] Masoretic vs lxx


                                  George Blaisdell wrote:


                                  >From: "Katina Peters"
                                  >I am the author of the "biased" article and wanted to clear up a
                                  >misunderstanding.
                                  Sorry, Katina, for my usage of that word. I meant that your article
                                  was
                                  designed with the purpose of assisting Orthodox Christians in their
                                  dialog
                                  with Orthodox Jews, and was "biased" toward that [polemical] purpose,
                                  and
                                  was not written to assist Orthodox Jews. Do I even have THAT right??

                                  Yes and no. The original printing of this article was in Free
                                  Republic as an answer to a member of the B'nei Noah that had gotten in
                                  a scriptural-quoting
                                  flame war with some Christians. Similarly, B'nei Noah occasionally
                                  spam Orthodox lists and newsgroups so I wanted to print this response
                                  for the general
                                  interest of Orthodox Christians. The B'nei Noah poster claimed that
                                  even the way of writing the letters of the Torah scroll were handed
                                  down on Mt. Sinai!


                                  WLP:

                                  As best I can conclude from the scant material on the net, the B'Nei
                                  Noach are a messianic sect who either somehow mange to be considered
                                  Jews in Israel, or who claim to? If correct, that would put them at
                                  least into the far fringes of normative Judaism. Certainly your Ben
                                  Noach was round the bend from the viewpoint of main-line Jewish
                                  scholarship, which is essentially identical to main-line Xtian
                                  scholarship. I assume from the tone of your post you are at least to
                                  some degree aware of the history of the alphabet. If not, I can give
                                  a quick outline.
                                  End WLP.


                                  >I do not state or even intimate that the MT was created by Jews
                                  translating
                                  >the LXX in to Hebrew. No, I am saying the same thing that most in
                                  this
                                  >thread have been saying - the appearance of LXX is older than the
                                  >appearance of MT.
                                  >Of course over the years there are variants in LXX as well.
                                  >The LXX existed before the common era and the MT doesn't
                                  >take shape until long after the beginning of the common era. Of
                                  course
                                  >there were Hebrew texts in use before the Common Era.
                                  >I would agree that just because MT appears later that MT didn't have
                                  old
                                  >textual sources.
                                  Probably - but of course we cannot be sure! Let's face it, its all
                                  theory at this point.


                                  I am having trouble with the syntax of that sentence. Are you saying
                                  that
                                  the MT DOES have old textual sources? Or that it probably had them?
                                  I am
                                  wondering what Jewish Scholars think are its basis. An earlier writer
                                  stressed that their focus is more practical, and that the tracing of
                                  textual
                                  ancestry is not seen as all that important.
                                  >If MT redactors are going to choose between a reading that supports
                                  >Christian claims and variant readings that do not, it is not hard to
                                  >see which they will use. The lack of vowels in pre-MT hebrew texts
                                  >will allow easily for some variant readings.

                                  This is exactly where the question seems to turn. WERE there ancient
                                  consonant only Hebrew texts that were used in the creation of the MT?
                                  And if
                                  yes, how do we know? Is there an oral Jewish tradition that attests
                                  to the
                                  origins of the MT?

                                  They would have relied on their Torah scrolls for their texts. How
                                  ancient these are I cannot say. I remember learning from Jewish
                                  sources that the vocalisation traditions were standardized around 100
                                  c.e.. Cannot document this, however because it was taught orally in a
                                  Jewish History class.


                                  WLP:

                                  There is a lot of information on this now available, with the
                                  publication of the Biblical Dead Sea Scrolls (Abegg, Flint, and
                                  Ulrich, _The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible_, San Francisco: Harper, 1999).
                                  Unfortunately, no separate study is available, it's imbedded in the
                                  translators' notes.

                                  We now have 215-235 Biblical mss from the Dead Sea region, depending
                                  upon your particular take on canonicity. These range in C-14 date
                                  from 250 BCE to about 68 CE, the date of deposit. They include
                                  portions of most books of the Jewish/Protestant canon, except for
                                  Esther, and a couple of the apocrypha.

                                  The significant thing about them for the resent discussion is that
                                  they document the existance of a range of textual variations, mostly
                                  close to the Masoretic text, but with a minority closer to the LXX
                                  readings. Speculatively, this may have been related to a theological
                                  preference by the Qumran Essenes, whose library they were, for one
                                  form over the other, or it may simply reflect a greater access to
                                  texts out of the Babylonian school than the Alexandrian. The oldest
                                  known LXX fragment (according to limited sources) is ca 125 BCE, Rolf
                                  801, part of one column of Lev. 26 (F.G.Kenyon, _The Text of the Greek
                                  Bible_, 3rd ed. London: Duckworth, 1975, p 39), also known as
                                  4QLXXLev^a:26:2-26, from Qumran cave 4 (Abegg et al, p 105). It
                                  may not actually be in the LXX tradition: it contains 10 unique
                                  readings in less than one column, but it seems to be the oldest
                                  possible LXX mss remnant.

                                  So what we have is the MT, with largely complete mss from 890 CE, and
                                  unvocalized Hebrew mss agreeing with the MT back to about 250 BCE and
                                  the LXX with largely complete texts from ca 325 CE, definite fragments
                                  from the 1st century CE and a possible fragment from 125 BCE, with
                                  unvocalized Hebrew texts following LXX wording to about 250 BCE.

                                  In the case of both, we have traditions of older texts, but no
                                  definite evidence as to what they may have looked like. The
                                  traditional dating of the LXX to ca 250 BCE is based on the "Letter of
                                  Aristeas", generally considered to have been a forgery (see
                                  http://www.sentex.net/~tcc/farist.html and also
                                  http://wesley.nnc.edu/noncanon/ot/pseudo/aristeas.htm for a full
                                  text). The DSS would seem to contain witnesses to both textual
                                  traditions back into the third century, however.

                                  Of particular interest, we have several unvocalized Hebrew texts from
                                  Massada and one from Qumran, dating from the late first century, which
                                  follow the MT wording _exactly_, without deviation or misspelling,
                                  suggesting that the text vocalized and annotated by the Massoretes had
                                  been fixed by that date. These are 4QEzra, from Qumran Cave 4 (Abegg
                                  et. al.,634-5); MasLev^a 4:3-9 (p 81-2); MasLev^b 8:31, 33-34 (p 85);
                                  MasDeut 33:17-21 (p 193); MasPs^a 18:25-28 [MT18:26-29] (p 517);
                                  MasPs^b 81:1-16 [MT81:2-17] (p 535).

                                  Will

                                  Will Pratt
                                  prattw@...

                                  <snip>
                                • Rachel Peters
                                  Specifically Eastern Orthodox Christians - i.e. Russian or Greek Orthodox.
                                  Message 16 of 23 , May 15, 2000
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                                    Specifically Eastern Orthodox Christians - i.e. Russian or Greek Orthodox.
                                     
                                     

                                    Will Pratt wrote:

                                     
                                    WLP:

                                    I've got a problem with nomenclature here.  Normally, Orthodox applies
                                    to a particular movement of Judaism, and to a particular recognized
                                    movement, or group of movements, in Xtianity, the Eastern Orthodox
                                    Church that has it's origins in the Eastern Roman Empire and mostly
                                    uses Greek for liturigcal purposes, and the Greek scriptures as it's
                                    official Bible.

                                    In this thread, does "Orthodox Christian" mean that group, or does it
                                    mean "orthodox" Xtians as compared to such groups as Latter Day Saints
                                    and Jehovah's Witnesses, who are defined as fringe groups by the main
                                    run of Xtians?
                                     

                                    -----Original Message-----
                                    From: katina@... [mailto:katina@...]On Behalf Of Rachel
                                    Peters
                                    Sent: Friday, May 12, 2000 12:02 PM
                                    To: lxx@egroups.com
                                    Subject: Re: [lxx] Masoretic vs lxx
                                     

                                    George Blaisdell wrote:
                                     

                                    >From: "Katina  Peters"
                                    >I am the author of the "biased" article and wanted to clear up a
                                    >misunderstanding.
                                    Sorry, Katina, for my usage of that word.  I meant that your article
                                    was
                                    designed with the purpose of assisting Orthodox Christians in their
                                    dialog
                                    with Orthodox Jews, and was "biased" toward that [polemical] purpose,
                                    and
                                    was not written to assist Orthodox Jews.  Do I even have THAT right??

                                    Yes and no.  The original printing of this article was in Free
                                    Republic as an answer to a member of the B'nei Noah that had gotten in
                                    a scriptural-quoting
                                    flame war with some Christians.  Similarly, B'nei Noah occasionally
                                    spam Orthodox lists and newsgroups so I wanted to print this response
                                    for the general
                                    interest of Orthodox Christians.  The B'nei Noah poster claimed that
                                    even the way of writing the letters of the Torah scroll were handed
                                    down on Mt. Sinai!
                                     

                                    WLP:

                                    As best I can conclude from the scant material on the net, the B'Nei
                                    Noach are a messianic sect who either somehow mange to be considered
                                    Jews in Israel, or who claim to?  If correct, that would put them at
                                    least into the far fringes of normative Judaism.  Certainly your Ben
                                    Noach was round the bend from the viewpoint of main-line Jewish
                                    scholarship, which is essentially identical to main-line Xtian
                                    scholarship.  I assume from the tone of your post you are at least to
                                    some degree aware of the history of the alphabet.  If not, I can give
                                    a quick outline.
                                    End WLP.
                                     

                                    >I do not state or even intimate that the MT was created by Jews
                                    translating
                                    >the LXX in to Hebrew.  No, I am saying the same thing that most in
                                    this
                                    >thread have been saying - the appearance of LXX is older than the
                                    >appearance of MT.
                                    >Of course over the years there are variants in LXX as well.
                                    >The LXX existed before the common era and the MT doesn't
                                    >take shape until long after the beginning of the common era.  Of
                                    course
                                    >there were Hebrew texts in use before the Common Era.
                                    >I would agree that just because MT appears later that MT didn't have
                                    old
                                    >textual sources.
                                    Probably - but of course we cannot be sure!  Let's face it, its all
                                    theory at this point.
                                     

                                    I am having trouble with the syntax of that sentence.  Are you saying
                                    that
                                    the MT DOES have old textual sources?  Or that it probably had them?
                                    I am
                                    wondering what Jewish Scholars think are its basis.  An earlier writer
                                    stressed that their focus is more practical, and that the tracing of
                                    textual
                                    ancestry is not seen as all that important.
                                    >If MT redactors are going to choose between a reading that supports
                                    >Christian claims and variant readings that do not, it is not hard to
                                    >see which they will use.  The lack of vowels in pre-MT hebrew texts
                                    >will allow easily for some variant readings.

                                    This is exactly where the question seems to turn.  WERE there ancient
                                    consonant only Hebrew texts that were used in the creation of the MT?
                                    And if
                                    yes, how do we know?  Is there an oral Jewish tradition that attests
                                    to the
                                    origins of the MT?

                                    They would have relied on their Torah scrolls for their texts.  How
                                    ancient these are I cannot say.  I remember learning from Jewish
                                    sources that the vocalisation traditions were standardized around 100
                                    c.e..  Cannot document this, however because it was taught orally in a
                                    Jewish History class.
                                     

                                    WLP:

                                    There is a lot of information on this now available, with the
                                    publication of the Biblical Dead Sea Scrolls (Abegg, Flint, and
                                    Ulrich, _The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible_, San Francisco: Harper, 1999).
                                    Unfortunately, no separate study is available, it's imbedded in the
                                    translators' notes.

                                    We now have 215-235 Biblical mss from the Dead Sea region, depending
                                    upon your particular take on canonicity.  These range in C-14 date
                                    from 250 BCE to about 68 CE, the date of deposit.  They include
                                    portions of most books of the Jewish/Protestant canon, except for
                                    Esther, and a couple of the apocrypha.

                                    The significant thing about them for the resent discussion is that
                                    they document the existance of a range of textual variations, mostly
                                    close to the Masoretic text, but with a minority closer to the LXX
                                    readings.  Speculatively, this may have been related to a theological
                                    preference by the Qumran Essenes, whose library they were, for one
                                    form over the other, or it may simply reflect a greater access to
                                    texts out of the Babylonian school than the Alexandrian.  The oldest
                                    known LXX fragment (according to limited sources) is ca 125 BCE, Rolf
                                    801, part of one column of Lev. 26 (F.G.Kenyon, _The Text of the Greek
                                    Bible_, 3rd ed. London: Duckworth, 1975, p 39), also known as
                                    4QLXXLev^a:26:2-26, from Qumran cave 4 (Abegg et al, p 105).  It
                                    may not actually be in the LXX tradition: it contains 10 unique
                                    readings in less than one column, but it seems to be the oldest
                                    possible LXX mss remnant.

                                    So what we have is the MT, with largely complete mss from 890 CE, and
                                    unvocalized Hebrew mss agreeing with the MT back to about 250 BCE and
                                    the LXX with largely complete texts from ca 325 CE, definite fragments
                                    from the 1st century CE and a possible fragment from 125 BCE, with
                                    unvocalized Hebrew texts following LXX wording to about 250 BCE.

                                    In the case of both, we have traditions of older texts, but no
                                    definite evidence as to what they may have looked like.  The
                                    traditional dating of the LXX to ca 250 BCE is based on the "Letter of
                                    Aristeas", generally considered to have been a forgery (see
                                    http://www.sentex.net/~tcc/farist.html and also
                                    http://wesley.nnc.edu/noncanon/ot/pseudo/aristeas.htm for a full
                                    text).  The DSS would seem to contain witnesses to both textual
                                    traditions back into the third century, however.

                                    Of particular interest, we have several unvocalized Hebrew texts from
                                    Massada and one from Qumran, dating from the late first century, which
                                    follow the MT wording _exactly_, without deviation or misspelling,
                                    suggesting that the text vocalized and annotated by the Massoretes had
                                    been fixed by that date. These are 4QEzra, from Qumran Cave 4 (Abegg
                                    et. al.,634-5); MasLev^a 4:3-9 (p 81-2); MasLev^b 8:31, 33-34 (p 85);
                                    MasDeut 33:17-21 (p 193); MasPs^a 18:25-28 [MT18:26-29] (p 517);
                                    MasPs^b 81:1-16 [MT81:2-17] (p 535).

                                    Will

                                    Will Pratt
                                    prattw@...

                                    <snip>



                                  • Joel D Kalvesmaki
                                    Hi Moshe, Thanks for your post. ... I agree with this, in spite of the fact that we really don t know what happened. However, the LXX took on a larger meaning
                                    Message 17 of 23 , May 17, 2000
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                                      Hi Moshe,

                                      Thanks for your post.

                                      > 1. The original LXX was only of the first 5 books.

                                      I agree with this, in spite of the fact that we really don't know what
                                      happened. However, the LXX took on a larger meaning than the one modern
                                      scholars generally give the text these days. In later years the LXX came to
                                      mean *all* the OT, both that which was translated under the Ptolemy and
                                      other texts shortly after (as filtered through the tradition). What prevents
                                      us from working with an understanding of the LXX as the chief translation
                                      tradition of the 3rd-1st c. BCE?

                                      An analogy might help. In Christian Circles we refer to the Nicene Creed not
                                      as the creed which came out of the Council of Niceae (325), but the final
                                      version of that Creed in the Council of Constantinople (381). This is the
                                      traditional way of referring to this creed. Yet no one feels that the
                                      historical fact that it received its final shape in Const. prevents us from
                                      calling this creed the Nicene Creed (scholars more exact will call it the
                                      Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed).

                                      Unlike the LXX tradition, we can separate much of what belonged to the
                                      Nicene period from the Constantinopolitan. We cannot do this with the LXX.
                                      If we could, however, might we not find a similar relationship at work? We
                                      may find that there was indeed a 3rd c. LXX (possibly more extensive than
                                      the first five books) with later installments in Alexandrine literary
                                      circles. This is a speculative situation, of course, but a plausible one.
                                      This may drive us to start calling the LXX the Alexandro-LXX, but would such
                                      a refinement substantially challenge the traditional nomenclature, "LXX?"

                                      I point this out since many ancients worked with a hermeneutic which many of
                                      us moderns have only begun to appreciate this last century -- literary
                                      objects transcend their initial creation and can legitimately grow while
                                      remaining true to their original source or teacher. Hence the layering of
                                      Isaiah and Daniel by different hands, all of whom are legitimately Isaiah
                                      and Daniel. Can we not also appreciate this, particularly given the changes
                                      in epistemology and hermeneutics made in the 20th c.?

                                      > While the LXX/GB can be valuable at times, it has little relationship to
                                      > the traditional LXX.

                                      I wonder how this claim might be justified. How 'little' is little? Just
                                      restricting ourself to the Penteteuch, would you say there is a 50%
                                      correlation? 25% correlation? Less? How do we know? What prevents us from
                                      saying that there is a 95% correlation?

                                      Thanks again for a stimulating post,

                                      jk
                                      untitledJoel D Kalvesmaki 16kalvesmaki@...
                                      http://arts-sciences.cua.edu/ecs/jdk/ Graduate Student, Early Christian
                                      Studies Catholic University of America Washington, DC




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                                    • Moshe Shulman
                                      ... It is hard to quantify this. moshe shulman mshulman@NOSPAMix.netcom.com 718-436-7705 CHASSIDUS.NET - Yoshav Rosh http://www.chassidus.net
                                      Message 18 of 23 , May 17, 2000
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                                        At 11:04 AM 05/17/2000 -0400, Joel D Kalvesmaki wrote:
                                        >> While the LXX/GB can be valuable at times, it has little relationship to
                                        >> the traditional LXX.
                                        >I wonder how this claim might be justified. How 'little' is little? Just
                                        >restricting ourself to the Penteteuch, would you say there is a 50%
                                        >correlation? 25% correlation? Less? How do we know? What prevents us from
                                        >saying that there is a 95% correlation?

                                        It is hard to quantify this.

                                        moshe shulman mshulman@... 718-436-7705
                                        CHASSIDUS.NET - Yoshav Rosh http://www.chassidus.net
                                        Chassidus shiur: chassidus-subscribe@...
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                                      • George Blaisdell
                                        ... That is fairly close... It does indeed use Greek liturgically in Greece, and mostly Greek in Greek Orthodox diaspora parishes [say in the US.] However it
                                        Message 19 of 23 , May 20, 2000
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                                          >From: "Will Pratt"

                                          >I've got a problem with nomenclature here. Normally, Orthodox applies to
                                          >... the Eastern Orthodox Church that has it's origins in the Eastern Roman
                                          >Empire and mostly uses Greek for liturigcal purposes, and the Greek
                                          >scriptures as it's official Bible.

                                          That is fairly close... It does indeed use Greek liturgically in Greece,
                                          and mostly Greek in Greek Orthodox diaspora parishes [say in the US.]
                                          However it translates the Bible into the language of the people whom it
                                          converts, and provides liturgical services in their language as well... And
                                          the koine [not modern] Greek Bible is its 'official' Bible, I would guess -
                                          It is the one referenced when discussions get precise...

                                          >In this thread, does "Orthodox Christian" mean that group,

                                          Yes. They regard the LXX as authoritative, in the same way that Jews regard
                                          the MT as authoritative. Hence the interest in their comparison and
                                          relationship.

                                          >or does it mean "orthodox" Xtians as compared to such groups as Latter Day
                                          >Saints and Jehovah's Witnesses, who are defined as fringe groups by the
                                          >main
                                          >run of Xtians?

                                          No. These groups are not a factor in this usage of the term Orthodox. The
                                          issue of protestant scholarship does arise, however, because as I understand
                                          it, they see the MT text as authoritative, as does the RCC, if I am
                                          understand things aright. So Eastern Orthodoxy is the main champion of the
                                          LXX, and perhaps its ONLY champion among todays scholars...


                                          George Blaisdell
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