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Re: [lxx] was the LXX as we now have it translated by Jews--or by Christians?

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  • tmcos@canada.com
    A very good question indeed. I find it hard to accept that the LXX is a Christian product when it was used by Paul in all his letters, some of them quite
    Message 1 of 7 , Nov 25, 2003
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      A very good question indeed. I find it hard to accept
      that the LXX is a Christian product when it was used by
      Paul in all his letters, some of them quite early. I
      just can't see a wide conspiracy for Christians to
      invent the LXX in such a short span of time. The fact
      that the NT profusely quotes from the LXX I think lends
      support for its pre-Christian origins. While it is
      true that we possess almost complete copies of the LXX
      in Codex Vaticanus and Siniaticus, clearly Christian
      texts, we nevertheless have fragmentary texts of the
      LXX that predate the first century CE. Looking forward
      to the comments of other list members.

      Tony Costa



      On Tue, 25 Nov 2003 13:02:19 -0800 (PST), nicholas
      candela wrote:

      >
      > The description of the LXX egroup says that "the
      > process of translation of the Hebrew Scriptures into
      > Greek "lasted from the 3rd century BCE to the 3rd
      > century CE..." So is Rabbi Tovia Singer correct when
      > in his anti-Christian polemics he states that "The LXX
      > as we now have it is essentially a Christian
      > document"? He claims "the 70" translated only the
      > Pentateuch, and none of the translations of the other
      > books can be trusted to have come from the pen of Jews
      > living before the birth of Christianity. He says that
      > many of the later books, including Isaiah, are
      > essentially Christian works. Which books were
      > translated AFTER the Church existed? I thought it was
      > all done by the 2nd century BC.
      >
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    • David C. Hindley
      Tony Costa says, ... used by Paul in all his letters, some of them quite early. I just can t see a wide conspiracy for Christians to invent the LXX in such a
      Message 2 of 7 , Nov 25, 2003
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        Tony Costa says,

        >>I find it hard to accept that the LXX is a Christian product when it was
        used by Paul in all his letters, some of them quite early. I just can't see
        a wide conspiracy for Christians to invent the LXX in such a short span of
        time. The fact that the NT profusely quotes from the LXX I think lends
        support for its pre-Christian origins. While it is true that we possess
        almost complete copies of the LXX in Codex Vaticanus and Siniaticus, clearly
        Christian texts, we nevertheless have fragmentary texts of the LXX that
        predate the first century CE. Looking forward
        to the comments of other list members.<

        No one doubts that the Pentateuch was translated from Hebrew to Greek around
        250 BCE, and that the translators were Jews (as opposed to non-Jews). No one
        can be sure whether they were from Judaea or from Alexandria. Whatever the
        case, they appear to have been bi-lingual (although not necessarily fluent
        in both languages).

        It was the Greek translations of the books of the prophets and the other
        writings that strung out into the second century CE or later. Keep in mind
        that there were variant editions of some (maybe all) such books circulating
        at the same time, or with one being favored over another at certain times
        and certain places and by certain special interest groups. The best example
        of this is the book of Daniel. Christian codices of the OT tended to have
        Theodotion's version of Daniel, which was very distinct, but not for the
        other books. I guess they got better mileage from it when it came to
        interpreting the prophesy of the 70 weeks, etc., as relating to Jesus.

        We know the names of some of these translators, such as Aquila, Symmachus &
        Theodotion, from Christian figures like Origen and I believe some comments
        by Jewish writers as well. I believe there was some dispute among early
        Christian writers as to whether some of these figures were Christians, and
        if so, what kind of Christians. By the time of the commentators, most of the
        folks claiming Jewish-Christian ancestry were considered heterodox or
        heretics, so they tend to dance around the implications or use implications
        of heresy to disparage translations they didn't favor.

        So when we say such and so a quote comes from the "Lxx" we are really saying
        "one of the Greek translations in circulation."

        Respectfully,

        Dave Hindley
        Cleveland, Ohio, USA
      • Ashley Crane
        Hi Nicholas, R.Tovia loves to promote this argument, but it is flawed in several areas, as has been pointed out to him numerous times. Firstly, the reason
        Message 3 of 7 , Nov 25, 2003
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          Hi Nicholas,

          R.Tovia loves to promote this argument, but it is flawed in several areas,
          as has been pointed out to him numerous times.

          Firstly, the reason given for the 3 exegetes of Aquila, Symmachus &
          Theodotion for their translations was their dissatisfaction with how
          Christians were using the LXX texts. If the LXX-prophetic texts were purely
          Christian translations then the Jewish community could have just dismissed
          them and thus ignored them. The fact these three did their own rather
          wooden translations shows their attempt to 'rescue' what was considered
          Jewish texts from Christian interpretation.

          Most today would see the entire Tanach as translated BEFORE the destruction
          of the Temple, and even before the end of 1 BCE. Jobes and Silva (2000,
          p.45) support this saying, "When and where the other books [than Torah] were
          translated, and by whom, we have good reason to believe that by the middle
          of the first century B.C.E.. Both Harl (et. al., 1988, p.111) and Siegert
          (2001, p.42) place the translation of Ezekiel in similar time frame to the
          other major prophets (ca. 230-170 BCE).

          You correctly state that Paul did refer to LXX writings which must therefore
          have been in existence before that time, and have already been accepted as
          authoritative in order for him to quote in an apologetic way from them. In
          addition to this, the writer of Hebrews quoted exclusively from LXX MSS, and
          also as an apologetics.

          It is true that the majority of LXX MSS have been transmitted to us by
          Christian hands. But this does not mean they are Christian text, nor that
          their translations are christian inovations.
          We must also remember that there is no such thing as THE Lxx - but rather
          each book of Tanach translated at different times, and often by different
          people (Thackeray is one who believes the translator of Ezekiel a and g is
          the same as Kings and the 12 prophets). The later Chrisitan codices took
          translations available to them at the time of binding, some of which were
          good and some were not so good. That is why we find intra-LXX variants
          between the 3 earliest Christian codices.

          I hope this helps.

          Ashley Crane.


          -----Original Message-----
          From: nicholas candela [mailto:nicholas_38018@...]
          Sent: Wednesday, November 26, 2003 5:02 AM
          To: lxx@yahoogroups.com
          Subject: [lxx] was the LXX as we now have it translated by Jews--or by
          Christians?

          The description of the LXX egroup says that "the
          process of translation of the Hebrew Scriptures into
          Greek "lasted from the 3rd century BCE to the 3rd
          century CE..." So is Rabbi Tovia Singer correct when
          in his anti-Christian polemics he states that "The LXX
          as we now have it is essentially a Christian
          document"? He claims "the 70" translated only the
          Pentateuch, and none of the translations of the other
          books can be trusted to have come from the pen of Jews
          living before the birth of Christianity. He says that
          many of the later books, including Isaiah, are
          essentially Christian works. Which books were
          translated AFTER the Church existed? I thought it was
          all done by the 2nd century BC.

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        • Joel Kalvesmaki
          Dear all, Nicolas s post made me realize that the introduction to the discussion group was poorly worded. The process we were trying to describe from the 3d c.
          Message 4 of 7 , Nov 25, 2003
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            Dear all,

            Nicolas's post made me realize that the introduction to the discussion group
            was poorly worded. The process we were trying to describe from the 3d c. BCE
            to the 3d c. CE was not just the translation of the Hebrew Scriptures, but
            their redaction as well. The dates for the translation of certain books tend
            to be ever elusive, but the scholarly consensus seems to be, in accord with
            Ashley's comments, that the great majority of the Hebrew Scriptures were
            translated into Greek by the time of Philo. I have attempted to emend the
            introduction so as to remove the confusion.

            For one attempt at pinpointing a date on each book, see
            Dorival/Harl/Munnich's chart in their excellent volume LA BIBLE GRECQUE DES
            SEPTANTE:
            http://www.tradere.org/biblio/lxx/harl-03.htm#P1328_229686

            Apologies for the confusion,

            jk
            untitledJoel Kalvesmaki 16kalvesmaki@...
            http://students.cua.edu/16kalvesmaki/ Graduate Student, Early Christian
            Studies Catholic University of America Washington, DC
          • Ashley Crane
            Hi Joel, Seigert also has a good chart p.42 (or there abouts!) Siegert, F., Zwischen Hebräischer Bibel Und Altem Testament: Eine Einführung in Die
            Message 5 of 7 , Nov 25, 2003
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              Hi Joel,

               

              Seigert also has a good chart p.42 (or there abouts!)

               

              Siegert, F., Zwischen Hebräischer Bibel Und Altem Testament: Eine Einführung in Die Septuaginta, (Institutem Judaicum Delitzschianum, Münsteraner Judaistische Studien 9; Münster: Lit Verlag, 2001).

               

              Ashley

               

               

               

              -----Original Message-----
              From: Joel Kalvesmaki [mailto:16kalvesmaki@...]
              Sent: Wednesday, November 26, 2003 8:52 AM
              To: lxx@yahoogroups.com
              Subject: Re: [lxx] was the LXX as we now have it translated by Jews--or by Christians?

               

              For one attempt at pinpointing a date on each book, see

              Dorival/Harl/Munnich's chart in their excellent volume LA BIBLE GRECQUE DES

              SEPTANTE:

              http://www.tradere.org/biblio/lxx/harl-03.htm#P1328_229686

               

              Apologies for the confusion,

               

              Jk

               

               

            • Mbenassi48@cs.com
              I found Dave Hindley s comments interesting as it relates to some work I have been doing and maybe someone has some thoughts on this question. Both Eusebius
              Message 6 of 7 , Nov 26, 2003
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                I found Dave Hindley's comments interesting as it relates to some work I have been doing and maybe someone has some thoughts on this question.  Both Eusebius and Jerome refer to Symmachus and Theodotion as Judaizantes, "Judaizers" whereas as Aquila is referred to as Judaeus, a Jew.  While Dave is right that there were, in various ways, confusion about the exact religious orientation of these translators and their real identity, the perceptions of Eusebius and Jerome, in particular, seem significant, since Jerome clearly favors Aquila over the other two major Greek translators.  I have been looking for works that address the question of why a Jewish translator would be favored over a Christian translator, even though S. and T. were classified as Ebionites and seem to have clearly acquired that stigma by Jerome's time.  I realize that Aquila has a reputation for being more "literal" yet his translation is full of oddities that would discredit any modern translation that claimed to be literal.   

                Mark Benassi 
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