--- In lxx@y..., "b_coxus" <bccox99@a...> wrote:
> I have had a hard time finding any good, detailed information on
> how, and why Christians stopped using the Septuagint as their Old
> Testament and began using the Hebrew Text instead.
> Can anyone give of brief history of when, how, and why this change
> took place so that, today, our English Bibles are based on the
> text and not the Septuagint on which the early Christians based much
> of their theology?
This response will hopefully serve the dual purpose of offering you
some information on your question as well as testing my email
settings. I stopped receiving messages from the list a couple of
months ago. I think I have fixed it now and will use this response to
Here are the basics of the change by Christians from the LXX to the
Hebrew text of the Bible. First, let me mention that the switch is
largely a Western phenomenon: Eastern Orthodox Christians continue to
use the LXX text in both worship and study. This is not to say that
they completely ignore the Hebrew text of the Scriptures, just that
the "change" with which you are concerned needs is of a different
character in the East. Certainly there is much greater awareness of,
and engagement with, the Hebrew text in modern times than there was
in antiquity in the East, so there has been something of a "change."
But it is of a quite different character than the change that
occurred in the West.
The Western change traces, in large part, to Jerome. His work with
translation of the Greek text of the Scriptures into Latin led him to
believe the LXX to be an inadequate translation of its base text. His
subsequent study of Hebrew seems to have confirmed him in that
suspicion. He thus deemed a translation of Scripture from Hebrew into
Latin to be more expedient - thus, the Vulgate. As you may know, the
Vulgate was the official - indeed the *only* Bible in the West for
centuries. Thus, the West effectively dispensed with the LXX some 15
centuries ago. It has been using, in worship and in study, the Hebrew
text (in Latin translation) since the time of Jerome. I will simply
observe here as well that there are LXX influences in the Vulgate, so
it is not - as probably no translation can be - a "pure" witness to
the Hebrew text used by Jerome.
The rise of the Protestant Reformation in the late Middle Ages marks
another stage in the "change" observed in the West. Among the
allegedly extraneous elements the Reformers presumed the Roman
Catholic Church had burdened Christianity with was the Vulgate, the
text of which - being in Latin - was incomprehensible to the majority
of Christians of the West of that age. The Reformers took as central
to their mission rendering of the Scripture into the vernacular. For
this, they chose to translate into the common tongue, not the
Vulgate, but the Hebrew text which, presumably, formed its base. Of
course they used, not the text that Jerome had used, but the
Masoretic Text (MT). Exactly what the differences are between
Jerome's exemplar and the MT is the subject for another discussion,
but it is probably safe to say that the differences are very minor.
The trend of the Reformers continues into the modern day such that
all major Bible translations are based on Hebrew texts, though the
LXX does, often enough, play some role in clarifying a difficult
reading. There are currently efforts under way to translate the LXX
among Eastern Orthodox circles, and a text(s?) of the Psalter has
been produced and is in wide use liturgically.
This gives some basic background regarding your question. Perhaps
later I'll try and get some bibliographical refs to you, but I hope
that, for now, this will be of some help.