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Re: [lxx] Impact of the lxx?

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  • barthome1
    Hello James, Here is a specific question on this topic that might help Jaime in his search. Did the Byzantine church use the LXX text when they compiled their
    Message 1 of 9 , Mar 24, 2006
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      Hello James,
       
      Here is a specific question on this topic that might help Jaime in his search.
       
      Did the Byzantine church use the LXX text when they compiled their Greek language Bible or did they adapt a Greek version of the Masoretic text, or some merger of two?
       
      Bart
       
      ----- Original Message -----
      Sent: Friday, March 24, 2006 6:20 AM
      Subject: Re: [lxx] Impact of the lxx?

      On Wed, 22 Mar 2006, carampa777 wrote:

      > I am doing some research on the impact of the lxx. I would like to to
      > know more about how widely it was used, who were the main users, and
      > how it impacted the Greek-speaking world of the time. I wonder which
      > on-line resources are particularly recommended.  I live in Peru and it
      > is not so easy to get books in English on the subject.

      Hello Jaime, and sorry for the silence.  The list has bursts of activity,
      and you seem to have hit it during a lull.  Also, your questions are very
      broad and hard to pose any concise answers to.  I have a suggestion for an
      online resource for you, to at least help get you oriented on the topic.
      At www.ccel.org they have an old, but still pertinent, resource that gives
      a good overview on the LXX and its history.  This is the classic
      "Introduction to the Old Testament in Greek" by H. B. Swete.  If you
      haven't read that work yet, it would be a good starting point for learning
      some basic facts related to your queries.  Reading it could also perhaps
      help you formulate more specific questions.  And more specific questions
      might be more likely to elicit answers on this list.  If you have any
      trouble finding Swete's book at CCEL, please post again and I can try and
      get you a direct link.  I believe data entry is not yet complete for this
      work, so you would probably end up reading scanned pages of it (.jpg files
      or such).

      James
    • Bill Ross
      ISTM that Paul preferred the LXX to the Hebrew and he allegedly knew Hebrew. Bill Ross ... From: lxx@yahoogroups.com [mailto:lxx@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of
      Message 2 of 9 , Mar 24, 2006
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        ISTM that Paul preferred the LXX to the Hebrew and he allegedly knew
        Hebrew.

        Bill Ross

        -----Original Message-----
        From: lxx@yahoogroups.com [mailto:lxx@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of
        Chris Weimer
        Sent: Friday, March 24, 2006 2:31 AM
        To: lxx@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: [lxx] Re: Impact of the lxx?

        Jaime,

        That's quite a topic there, and not all of it is absolutely settled.
        Let's see...

        1. The LXX was the official Bible of the Jewish Greeks. Since the
        Empire was largely Greek-speaking, it spread all over the Empire.
        However, for any Jews who could speak Hebrew, that was preferred.

        2. It was subsequently used by the early Christians outside Judaea and
        thus gained acceptance and prominence, in some places above the
        Hebrew, since Jesus appeared to use it (rather, the gospellers quoted
        it). With the Christians supporting the version, only few, notably
        Origen and Jerome, bothered with the Hebrew afterwards. It is still
        the official Bible of the Greek Orthodox Church today.

        Just a morsel of the debate which should ensue.

        best regards,

        Chris Weimer

        --- In lxx@yahoogroups.com, "carampa777" <jaime_ayala@...> wrote:
        >
        > I am doing some research on the impact of the lxx. I would like to to
        > know more about how widely it was used, who were the main users, and
        > how it impacted the Greek-speaking world of the time. I wonder which
        > on-line resources are particularly recommended. I live in Peru and it

        > is not so easy to get books in English on the subject.
        >
        > Thanks,
        >
        > Jaime
        >








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      • James Miller
        ... Seems specific, but the more specific you get the complicateder it gets ... something answering closely to today s Bibles. Don t forget that these new
        Message 3 of 9 , Mar 24, 2006
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          On Fri, 24 Mar 2006, barthome1 wrote:

          > Here is a specific question on this topic that might help Jaime in his
          > search.
          >
          > Did the Byzantine church use the LXX text when they compiled their Greek
          > language Bible or did they adapt a Greek version of the Masoretic text,
          > or some merger of two?

          Seems specific, but the more specific you get the complicateder it gets
          :). The Byzantine church didn't have a Bible, if you have in mind
          something answering closely to today's Bibles. Don't forget that these
          new Bibles are published in runs of at least thousands, each copy being,
          for all practical purposes, an exact duplicate of all the others. And
          such can be reprinted 10, 50, even 100 or more years later in pretty much
          that exact same form (KJV, anyone?). This sort of thing was impossible in
          the Byzantine era (let's define that roughly as 300-1453 of the present
          era). In fact, the capability of mass-producing texts like this only
          gradually developed from about the 16th century, as we all know. The
          first such press runs could produce dozens of fairly exact duplicates, but
          before long those numbers rose to the hundreds, thousands and are now even
          in the millions. By contrast, in the Byzantine era texts were
          hand-copied, and each text differed from its parent, and thus with its
          siblings, so to speak, in myriad ways as compared to the products of
          modern printing technology. Such "press runs" as there were in the
          Byzantine era involved at maximum probably 10 or 20 copies, each
          reproduced in faithfulness to the original only to the degree that the
          scribe was careful, well-rested, and functioning under working conditions
          conducive to concentration (I speak here of books copied from dictation, a
          process that forms a better cognate to modern book mass-production than
          sight-copying--which of course also was a method for reproducing books in
          that era). So, the phenomenon of Bible was simply a quite different thing
          in that era. Certainly there were canon lists that conform closely to
          what we now consider the Bible, and these were widely known and understood
          as normative. But as to actual books enshrining those (somewhat
          conflicting) lists, not to mention a means of production commensurate with
          the nature of the task, the situation was far different then than it is
          now.

          Whole Bibles, i.e., volumes containing the whole canon, or something
          approximating the scope of any modern printed Bible you might grab off the
          shelf today, appear to have been exceedingly rare in that period. My own
          quick-and-dirty statistical analysis (accomplished by interpreting various
          categories of manuscripts as presented by Rahlfs in his Verzeichnis) is
          that maybe 4% (liberal estimate) of extant manuscripts are, or could have
          been at one time, something comparable in the scope of their content to
          our modern Bibles. These would be the closest thing to a Bible in the
          modern sense known to Byzantine churches. One could guess, based on the
          statistics I've cobbled together, that maybe only some really major
          churches actually possessed such a volume. The copies of these Bibles
          that remain in existence to our own day show quite a bit of variation from
          one another, both in content and arrangement of books, as well as in text
          type. So one can't really say based on this extant material that a
          certain type of text was used universally in the Byzantine era.

          As for "LXX" as opposed to "Greek version of the Masoretic," I don't
          really understand your question. In the earliest part of the period I've
          defined as Byzantine, there was no Masoretic text proper. What we know as
          Masoretic from later manuscript witnesses like the Aleppo and Leningrad
          codices was undoubtedly developing by this time. But lacking any Hebrew
          manuscripts from that period, we can't say for sure what the text looked
          like at that time, only that it was likely very similar to what we see in
          those much later manuscripts. Furthermore, just how early that sort of
          text can be pushed even further back into time is a matter of debate.
          Maybe by "Greek version of the Masoretic" you have in mind one of the
          revisions--for example Aquila--who appears to have produced a Greek text
          that slavishly followed the Hebrew texts to which he had access (ca. 2nd
          century AD)? Have a look at the Swete book I mentioned in answer to Jaime
          and see what he writes about Aquila. That could help you to better define
          what LXX would be in contrast, too. Take a look at the following link
          (and click the > PAGE link for additional pages):
          http://www.ccel.org/s/swete/greekot/png/0045=31.htm (Jaime: remove the
          0045=31.htm from that link and you have a direct link to all scanned pages
          of the book I mentioned in my last post).

          James
        • Philip Silouan Thompson
          ... The Greek Church has consistently used a family of LXX/Old Greek texts. The Hebrew text of the medieval Masoretes never made much headway in
          Message 4 of 9 , Mar 24, 2006
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            barthome1 wrote:
            > Did the Byzantine church use the LXX text when they compiled their
            > Greek language Bible or did they adapt a Greek version of the
            > Masoretic text, or some merger of two?

            The Greek Church has consistently used a family of "LXX/Old Greek"
            texts. The Hebrew text of the medieval Masoretes never made much
            headway in Greek-speaking areas, as the Christians there already had
            a familiar Old Testament in their own language. LXX-based readings
            pervade Eastern Christian liturgy, incidentally reinforcing that
            text's familiarity.

            Silouan Thompson
            Walla Walla, Washington
          • Peter Papoutsis
            James assessment of the situation in the period of 300 to 1453 and even later in the East is exactly right. Books were expensive, and for the avergae person
            Message 5 of 9 , Mar 24, 2006
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              James' assessment of the situation in the period of 300 to 1453 and even later in the East is exactly right. Books were expensive, and for the avergae person hard to come by, and if they did find a book most of the time most of the people were not literate, at least, not completely.
               
              This is why Iconography in the East, that contained various passages from the LXX and Greek NT, were far more popular than the written word, but people knew just enough LXX & NT Greek to understand the few scripture passages quoted in the Icon.
               
              As for Whole Greek Bible (i.e. Old and New Testaments) these were extremely rare. There is a famous true story that Emperor Constantine commissioned the copying of 50 Greek Bibles, LXX OT and Greek NT. I guarantee you these Bibles were not for the avergae person, but for Constantine to grace certain churches and/or Monasteries, and maybe the occasional friend, with a very precious items as a form of status and grandure.
               
              It is not until the invention of the printing press, and then later with William Tyndale himself that the modern notion of a complete or whole Bible comes into human history. 
               
              Peter


              Peter A. Papoutsis


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            • Matthew Johnson
              ... As others have already pointed out, these are not simple or settled questions. The only thing new I wish to contribute is that I am surprised nobody has
              Message 6 of 9 , Mar 26, 2006
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                --- In lxx@yahoogroups.com, "carampa777" <jaime_ayala@...> wrote:
                >
                > I am doing some research on the impact of the lxx. I would like to to
                > know more about how widely it was used, who were the main users, and
                > how it impacted the Greek-speaking world of the time.

                As others have already pointed out, these are not simple or settled
                questions. The only thing new I wish to contribute is that I am
                surprised nobody has yet pointed out that one of the complications is
                that there _was_ no one, 'LXX'. That is why some of us in this forum
                prefer to use the more accurate (if somewhat cryptic to the
                uninitiated) 'LXX/OG'. Strictly speaking, 'LXX' is accurate only for
                the original translation of the five books of the Torah. The other
                books were translated later, some _much_ later, some by independent
                groups about whom we now know nothing except what can be gleaned from
                internal evidence.


                > I wonder which on-line resources are particularly
                > recommended. I live in Peru and it is not so easy
                > to get books in English on the subject.

                I think most of us can sympathize with your predicament. However, it
                is not easy to find up-do-date on-line resources that compare with
                books in English you could get, unless you are willing to accept
                sources in other languages. For the English speaking people seem to be
                cooperating with the dead-tree publishers in keeping the best and most
                up-to-date material in copyright protected dead-tree media.

                So let us know what other languages you can tackle and perhaps we can
                come up with good on-line resources. Until then, I recommend you look
                at the FAQ for this group, if you have not already done so.
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