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The Use of the LXX in the Book of Hebrews

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  • Bob Burns
    Hebrews 11:1-3, Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the people of old received their commendation.
    Message 1 of 4 , Oct 31, 2008
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      Hebrews 11:1-3, Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the
      conviction of things not seen. For by it the people of old received
      their commendation. By faith we understand that the universe was
      created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of
      things that are visible. (ESV)

      I have always thought the last part of this passage of scripture was
      worded oddly. "What is seen was not made out of things that are
      visible." I've often wondered why the writer did not simply say, "What
      is seen was made out of nothing." That would certainly fit better with
      my own theological assumptions! Creatio ex nihilo, after all! The way
      this passagage is written, it is almost as if the writer is saying, "The
      stuff we see was made out of stuff that could not be seen".

      I'm not the only one who's insinuated this meaning into this passage.
      About a year ago I heard a "name-it-and-claim-it" preacher launch from
      this passage into how our words cause unseen realities to become seen
      ones. He used the passage to teach one can create their own reality
      with words of positive confession. (Please don't ask me to defend that
      idea, I can't)

      As it turns out, I find, there is a reason why this writer worded this
      passage in this manner. The writer of this epistle to the Hebrews as it
      turns out was likely a Hellenized Jew who was familiar with the
      Septuagint as were his putative readers. Here is the relevant passage
      from the LXX to which I believe the writer to the Hebrews refers, "In
      the beginning God made the heaven and the earth. Yet the earth was
      invisible and unformed and darkeness was over the abyss." (NETS)

      So the writer is not speaking of Creatio ex nihilo after all! He is
      referring to the fact that after the initial act of creation, the
      earth's potential for life in all its diversity was not visible because
      it was formless and void, in a word, invisible.
    • brian boland
      Invisible things ? Love Joy Hate Heat Cold Magnetism Wind Electricity,Atoms and all their bits and pieces, Invisible things matter Brian j ... From: DanT.
      Message 2 of 4 , Nov 3, 2008
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        Invisible things ?
        Love Joy Hate Heat Cold Magnetism Wind Electricity,Atoms and all their bits and pieces,
        Invisible things matter Brian j
        --- On Mon, 3/11/08, DanT. <dantiller2001@...> wrote:
        From: DanT. <dantiller2001@...>
        Subject: Re: [lxx] The Use of the LXX in the Book of Hebrews
        To: lxx@yahoogroups.com
        Date: Monday, 3 November, 2008, 2:15 PM











        Thanks for posting this, Bob.

        This verse also comes to mind -

        Col 1:16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities- -all things were created through him and for him. (ESV)



        Since he also created the invisible, perhaps this was done first.

        It's hard to imagine what the invisible consists of (for me anyway), but there it is.

        Dan



        ____________ _________ _________ __

        From: Bob Burns <summascriptura@ yahoo.com>

        To: lxx@yahoogroups. com

        Sent: Friday, October 31, 2008 1:27:25 PM

        Subject: [lxx] The Use of the LXX in the Book of Hebrews



        Hebrews 11:1-3, Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the

        conviction of things not seen. For by it the people of old received

        their commendation. By faith we understand that the universe was

        created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of

        things that are visible. (ESV)



        I have always thought the last part of this passage of scripture was

        worded oddly. "What is seen was not made out of things that are

        visible." I've often wondered why the writer did not simply say, "What

        is seen was made out of nothing." That would certainly fit better with

        my own theological assumptions! Creatio ex nihilo, after all! The way

        this passagage is written, it is almost as if the writer is saying, "The

        stuff we see was made out of stuff that could not be seen".



        I'm not the only one who's insinuated this meaning into this passage.

        About a year ago I heard a "name-it-and- claim-it" preacher launch from

        this passage into how our words cause unseen realities to become seen

        ones. He used the passage to teach one can create their own reality

        with words of positive confession. (Please don't ask me to defend that

        idea, I can't)



        As it turns out, I find, there is a reason why this writer worded this

        passage in this manner. The writer of this epistle to the Hebrews as it

        turns out was likely a Hellenized Jew who was familiar with the

        Septuagint as were his putative readers. Here is the relevant passage

        from the LXX to which I believe the writer to the Hebrews refers, "In

        the beginning God made the heaven and the earth. Yet the earth was

        invisible and unformed and darkeness was over the abyss." (NETS)



        So the writer is not speaking of Creatio ex nihilo after all! He is

        referring to the fact that after the initial act of creation, the

        earth's potential for life in all its diversity was not visible because

        it was formless and void, in a word, invisible.



        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]





























        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Sean Rhoades
        Around the time after the field of Mathematics began exploring multiple dimensions Edwin A. Abbott (1838-1926) a School Master in the classics wrote a story
        Message 3 of 4 , Nov 3, 2008
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          Around the time after the field of Mathematics began exploring multiple
          dimensions Edwin A. Abbott (1838-1926) a School Master in the classics
          wrote a story called "Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions". It's
          about these intelligent beings trapped in a two-dimensional world, and is
          surrounded around the experiences and life of a Mister Square, who
          meets a very special someone (God) from the third dimension. Abbott
          does a excellent job in developing an analogy between the inhabitants
          of Flatland and we humans on earth, and he was spot on in some
          respects, regarding human behavior. At any rate, the story points out
          how it might be possible for demons, angels, and spirits to exist in an
          invisible presence here on earth without our ability to access that
          extra dimension they may inhabit, and it is all perfectly possible as
          far as Mathematics is concerned. In fact there may even be higher
          dimensions inaccessible to those demons, angels, and spirits, perhaps
          the heavens of the heavens. This could be one possible explanation of
          what is spoken of as visible and invisible.  It's easy to think that
          where we are now and what we see day-in and day-out, is our only
          possible reality, so, yes it requires faith to believe there is
          something higher, and this concept of multiple dimensions helps me wrap
          my brain around the idea, or should I say, it helps my faith, that there is something better. Regarding atoms, heat, cold, magnetism, etc... although we may not be able to see them with our eyes, we can detect, empirically. Now our emotions and attitudes may be our God given detectors of that invisible world's  influence on us, given we are aware of the kinds of attitudes that constitute walking in the Spirit of God, or not. (See Gal 5:15-26)

          Sean
          --- On Mon, 11/3/08, brian boland <brianjboland@...> wrote:
          From: brian boland <brianjboland@...>
          Subject: Re: [lxx] The Use of the LXX in the Book of Hebrews
          To: lxx@yahoogroups.com
          Date: Monday, November 3, 2008, 11:34 AM











          Invisible things ?

          Love Joy Hate Heat Cold Magnetism Wind Electricity, Atoms and all their bits and pieces,

          Invisible things matter Brian j

          --- On Mon, 3/11/08, DanT. <dantiller2001@ yahoo.com> wrote:

          From: DanT. <dantiller2001@ yahoo.com>

          Subject: Re: [lxx] The Use of the LXX in the Book of Hebrews

          To: lxx@yahoogroups. com

          Date: Monday, 3 November, 2008, 2:15 PM



          Thanks for posting this, Bob.



          This verse also comes to mind -



          Col 1:16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities- -all things were created through him and for him. (ESV)



          Since he also created the invisible, perhaps this was done first.



          It's hard to imagine what the invisible consists of (for me anyway), but there it is.



          Dan



          ____________ _________ _________ __



          From: Bob Burns <summascriptura@ yahoo.com>



          To: lxx@yahoogroups. com



          Sent: Friday, October 31, 2008 1:27:25 PM



          Subject: [lxx] The Use of the LXX in the Book of Hebrews



          Hebrews 11:1-3, Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the



          conviction of things not seen. For by it the people of old received



          their commendation. By faith we understand that the universe was



          created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of



          things that are visible. (ESV)



          I have always thought the last part of this passage of scripture was



          worded oddly. "What is seen was not made out of things that are



          visible." I've often wondered why the writer did not simply say, "What



          is seen was made out of nothing." That would certainly fit better with



          my own theological assumptions! Creatio ex nihilo, after all! The way



          this passagage is written, it is almost as if the writer is saying, "The



          stuff we see was made out of stuff that could not be seen".



          I'm not the only one who's insinuated this meaning into this passage.



          About a year ago I heard a "name-it-and- claim-it" preacher launch from



          this passage into how our words cause unseen realities to become seen



          ones. He used the passage to teach one can create their own reality



          with words of positive confession. (Please don't ask me to defend that



          idea, I can't)



          As it turns out, I find, there is a reason why this writer worded this



          passage in this manner. The writer of this epistle to the Hebrews as it



          turns out was likely a Hellenized Jew who was familiar with the



          Septuagint as were his putative readers. Here is the relevant passage



          from the LXX to which I believe the writer to the Hebrews refers, "In



          the beginning God made the heaven and the earth. Yet the earth was



          invisible and unformed and darkeness was over the abyss." (NETS)



          So the writer is not speaking of Creatio ex nihilo after all! He is



          referring to the fact that after the initial act of creation, the



          earth's potential for life in all its diversity was not visible because



          it was formless and void, in a word, invisible.



          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]























          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]





























          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • finckean
          Not all of us are so blessed as to have 2 1/2 hours and the leading authorities in the field (Septuagint studies) dedicated to our compositions, but that s
          Message 4 of 4 , Nov 3, 2008
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            Not all of us are so blessed as to have 2 1/2 hours and the leading
            authorities in the field (Septuagint studies) dedicated to our
            compositions, but that's what's awaiting Ronald Troxel, author of LXX-
            Isaiah as Translation and Interpretation, Leiden (Brill), 2008, in
            Boston the morning of Nov. 23 at SBL session 23-17 (the online
            program is available at www.sbl-site.org). Scheduled participants
            are Arie van der Kooj from Leiden, J. Ross Wagner from Princeton and
            Albert Pietersma from Toronto, with 45 minutes left open for
            questions from the laymen. Members of the list will be appalled to
            learn from page 124 of the topic of discussion that the Greek
            translator of Isaiah resorted to "Greek locution that shows no
            relationship to the Hebrew and functions as a substitution for a
            translation". One such indelicacy - so Troxel, idem - is Isaiah 25:4-
            5a, which reads in the Hebrew: "Because You were a strength to the
            weak, a strength to the needy, when he was in trouble a shield
            MIZEREM a shadow from dry heat, because the wind of tyrants KAZEREM a
            wall, as dry heat in Sion, the thunder of foreign men". Until the
            unknown MIZEREM the prophet was communicating with his reader. After
            that, he got twisted in a number of double entendres - "dry heat"
            that also means "sword", "Sion" that also means "thirst" (so the
            Targum), "foreign men" that also means "bad men" (reading dalet for
            resh with the Targum). LXX attempts to mediate between the sane and
            the insane with "For You were in all humble city a help, and to the
            languishing in poverty a shield. From evil men You save them.
            Shield of the thirsty and spirit of men committing mischief. As men
            short-spirited, thirsting in Sion from men iniquitous". But what is
            different from the Hebrew? Beginning with "Shield" LXX doesn't make
            a whole lot of sense either. What is clear is that Troxel (p.
            125): "ARITSIM (tyrants) is especially interesting, inasmuch as in
            both instances the full phrase is ANQRWPWN ADIKOUMENWN (men
            committing mischief), with no Hebrew counterpart for ANQRWPWN present
            in verse 4" overstates the case. The Hebrew is: KIY RUACH 'ARITSIM
            KAZEREM QIYR, which means "Because the spirit of tyrants KAZEREM
            wall". The Greek is: "And the spirit of men causing mischief as men
            short-spirited". Hebrew "wall" (QIYR) is Q-'-R, which the translator
            mistook for Q-"-R, which abbreviates Qatsirim Ruach "short-spirited"
            (plural). The problematic RUACH ATSIRIM "spirit of tyrants" in the
            Hebrew becomes QATSIRIM RUACH "short-spirited" in the LXX expansion,
            with the implication that the iniquitous in their distress incurred
            by their wrong-doing can seek comfort from the Lord. The inverted
            words mimic the reversed roles of the oppressed and the oppressors.
            I find that not so "interesting" and - in any case - hardly
            a "substitution for a translation".
            Andrew Fincke
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