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RE: [lxx] Masoretic vs lxx

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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 1 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 2 of 23 , May 15, 2000
      • 0 Attachment
        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 3 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 4 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@...
            Chassidus discussion list: chassidus-subscribe@egroups.com
            Outreach Judaism http://www.outreachjudaism.org/
            ICQ# 52009254
          • 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 5 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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