Re: [lxx] Why not the LXX?
- Hi LXX folks,
Bart Torbert wrote:
>One hole in this line of thought is my ignorance of what Jerome used for the Vulgate. Anybody know this?Yes it is a hole in your thinking in the post :-)
a) Jerome for the most part used the Hebrew Tanach. (There are some nuances where
he did two translations, such as a sections of Psalms).
b) Jerome specifically stated that it found the Greek OT to be what one might call problematic.
So he translated from the Hebrew Tanach instead precisely because of the Greek OT difficulties.
These are both particular verses as well as the general inconsistency of the Greek manuscripts.
(something that is seen also today in Greek OT studies) Jerome made this decision
even though it led to a lot of flak from church folks.
c) Jerome moved to Bethlehem, studied with Jews, and used the library in Caesarea to
help expand his knowledge of Hebrew and Aramaic and specifically as an aid
to the Tanach translation. (whether he learned much Aramaic is a matter of some
controversy, but definitely Hebrew).
d) The early translations from Hebrew to the Latin (Vulgate) and the Aramaic (Peshitta)
show that the Masoretic Text is generally in line with the Hebrew text being used
at the time of the early church. These are far closer to the Masoretic Text than
to any of the various Greek OT. The Peshitta translation can be seen in the
Lamsa work, which is passable from a scholarly perspective.
Of course, the DSS is a complicated additional discussion, with many sections showing
that the Masoretes didn't tamper at all, that they were ultra-faithful copyists even in the
most Messianic sections -- (such as the Great Isaiah Scroll) -- yet other books from the
DSS diverge, or have a variety of texts. The Targumim are also difficult to pigeonhole
because the translation involves so much commentary and the Targumim vary so much
in time and background. It would however interesting to see a study on the clear and
simple cases, such as the Genesis chronology numbers, comparing Targum Onkelos
and Pseudo-Jonathan. (I did a mini-look myself some years ago).
Hope that helps. Granted this relatively simple exposition above may not always be the
most comfortable for those with a large interest vested in "LXX Studies", however I have tried
to give a very clear exposition of the basics.
btw, at one time there was a wonderful 50 page or so article on Jerome's history on the
web, from a Journal. However, I do not seem to have it bookmarked, and I have not found
it lately. It would be really fine to read it again. Much of my background understanding
came from that unnamed article, although I have confirmed the basics from encyclopedias
and articles and such. In addition, it would be helpful still to see a small discussion explaining
the situation with the parts of Psalms where there were multiple translations (and any other
unusual sections of the Vulgate Tanach).
>So do I have any idea what I am talking about?
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- --- In email@example.com, "Bill Ross" <BillRoss@n...> wrote:
> <Bart>That is approximately right, but an oversimplified history
> >> ... One hole in this line of thought is my ignorance of
> >> what Jerome used for the Vulgate. Anybody know this?
> If I am not mistaken, Jerome made 2 translations - one
> from the LXX (hence it contains the 2nd canon) and one
> from the Masoretic.
of his translations. I suggest using "jerome vulgate psalms
hexapla" as a search in any of the popular engines, Yahoo!
Google, etc. to see how much more complicated the situation
One of the first things I noticed doing that search myself,
was that contrary to my very deceptive memory, both
Jerome's "Gallican Psalter" and his "Roman Psalter" were
done on the basis primarily of the LXX (more precisely,
OG). Neither was made on the basis of the Hebrew. I forget
which of these is said to make much use of Hexaplar LXX (OG)
However, in about 392, he did a translation direct from the
> He was criticized for translating theThis too is an oversimplification. After all, two of his
> Hebrew, which appears to have been taken as a novelty
> since the LXX was clearly the bible of Paul, et al.
translations used the LXX, and were still criticized for
eliminating certain lines in the Psalms that had struck a
chord in the Latin christian's heart, so they were sorry to
see them go.
In fact, one such line, mentioned by Augustine himself, showed up in
the search in
After all, it is not just modern day partisan's of older
editions of the Book of Common Prayer who exhibited this
- From other bits of research on old texts, I get the impression that having an "exact copy of the absolute original text" and "preserving the author's literary integrity" was not such a big thing as it is today. So a copyist was allowed to use their own creativity to enhance to story. The idea was to convey the ideas, not the letter-by-letter wording. So we get great divergence in various copies of a text which at the time would not have rendered a heavily edited text "non-canonical" or one considered more authoritative than the others.Bart