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RE: [lxx] Masoretic vs lxx

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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 1 of 23 , May 7, 2000
      > 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 2 of 23 , May 7, 2000
        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 3 of 23 , May 7, 2000
          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 4 of 23 , May 8, 2000
            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 5 of 23 , May 8, 2000
              >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 6 of 23 , May 8, 2000
                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 7 of 23 , May 8, 2000
                  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 8 of 23 , May 9, 2000
                    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 9 of 23 , May 9, 2000
                      <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 10 of 23 , May 11, 2000
                        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
                        >
                        >
                        __________________________________________________
                        ______________________
                        > Get Your Private, Free E-mail from MSN Hotmail at
                        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 11 of 23 , May 12, 2000
                          >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 12 of 23 , May 12, 2000
                            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
                            ________________________________________________________________________
                            Get Your Private, Free E-mail from MSN Hotmail at http://www.hotmail.com



                          • 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 13 of 23 , May 12, 2000
                              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 14 of 23 , May 15, 2000
                                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 15 of 23 , May 17, 2000
                                  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 16 of 23 , May 17, 2000
                                    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
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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 17 of 23 , May 20, 2000
                                      >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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