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Re: [lxx] Re: Septuagint in the NT

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  • Chris B.
    ... I m saying that I don t think we know either way. There were synagogues all over the known world, and nobody knows what they were all doing. We presume
    Message 1 of 45 , Jun 8, 2004
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      James Miller wrote:

      >to rule something in ("production of such volumes . . [in] the 1st
      >century"). You said in an earlier email "as far as is known, Christians
      >used codexes back to the earliest times, perhaps even the first century,
      >so they could have been in one book." I took that to mean that you would
      >place production of full Bible codices in the 1st century. I'm asking
      >about your evidence, if that is what you're saying. I'm very interested
      >in knowing about evidence for such compendia prior to the 4th century
      >(where indisputable evidence exists in the form of extant manuscripts from
      >the period). Do you have any, or are you just saying such a thing is not
      >impossible to conceive?

      I'm saying that I don't think we know either way. There were synagogues
      all over the known world, and nobody knows what they were all doing. We
      presume they were reading the LXX if they were in Greek speaking
      regions. But since nothing survives from that era, the form that they
      kept it in is unknown. Nobody knows why Christians always seem to have
      used codices. Maybe it was something started by Greek speaking Jews.

      >Let's put those sentences back together: "Just as importantly, who decided
      >in the 1st century what the 'official LXX' was, and how far did their
      >authority extend? Will you use the Pauline epistles and Acts as
      >evidence?" Seems obvious to me, but I'll reformulate it, just to be sure:
      >evidence of an early source of authority such as could enforce the
      >"official LXX."

      As I said, I don't think it was done by authority, so much as by
      default. But one might use the NT as evidence that what the apostles
      were using in many cases matches what LXX codices say.

      > Btw, there are extant manuscripts and fragments from the
      >1st century and earlier that show variant readings: this suggests that
      >there was not "one version" in the sense you seem to stipulate.

      Variant readings don't constitute a whole new version. Every version
      prior to the computer age has variant readings.

      >>>These show widely-dispersed
      >>>Christian groups in intermittent communication with their founder(s) whom
      >>>Paul was often at pains to keep in line with his teaching.
      >>Which means...?
      >That this particular 1st century source of authority might not have
      >sufficed to uphold the "official LXX."

      I'm not promoting the idea of an authority.

      >Hmmm. How about Jeremiah? Revelation? Ruth? I continue to believe that
      >the effort was really concentrated on providing the entire corpus, and
      >that the individual components were of significance only in relation to
      >the other components of the whole.

      And you don't think the "whole corpus" was important in the 1st C ?

      >>If it was true, I can think of any number of speculations. Perhaps the
      >>lack of a middle class meant you couldn't afford to buy any printed
      >>book, or you could afford the whole bible. Or maybe the cost and effort
      >>meant that people assumed only churches would buy them. Or perhaps it
      >>was a hangover from middle ages thinking. Is it important?
      >Would the same lack-of-a-middle-class argument hold for the 1st century?


      >If so, I think it's obvious whether and how it's important. But, to
      >extrapolate. You seem to be saying: presence of a middle class is
      >directly proportional to production of full Bible volumes in the
      >reformation era. I would add to this that the whole thrust of printing
      >technology was to bring book ownership within the range of a greater
      >proportion of the populace (seems like a safe assertion, no?). So, we're
      >talking about a technology aimed at bringing ownership of full Bibles
      >within the range of a middle class, right?

      Not necessarily. I don't think it was envisaged that individuals would
      own them at that stage. Rather it was revolutionary that every church
      could have its own copy.

      > Doesn't this imply that
      >production and ownership of books like a full Bible may have been out of
      >range even for any sort of middle class as existed prior to the printing
      >press? The question following on this would be what would be the relative
      >cost of such volumes and, after that, who could afford them - especially
      >as relates to the 1st century? Maybe Christianity becoming an institution
      >of the empire (and its wealth) was a precondition for the production of
      >such works (which could explain their clearly-documented appearance in the
      >4th century)?

      Maybe. But their clearly-documented appearance is more to do with vellum
      being long lasting, examples have survived. Whatever they were doing
      with papyrus, only scraps survive.

      > That's one possible explanation for why no 1st century
      >manuscripts of the full Bible are extant today: it was practically
      >impossible to produce them prior to the endorsement of Christianity by the
      >Roman empire in the 4th century.

      I don't see any reason why a large Greek speaking synagogue couldn't
      have a complete LXX. And I don't see any reason why we should expect one
      to survive if it had existed. I mean, Origin is said to have written
      hundreds of large volumes in his lifetime. All you would need is one
      devoted Jew or Christian to produce a whole set.

      > There are perhaps other reasons
      >militating against full Bible codices in earlier periods, but at least one
      >could be prohibitive cost and lack of infrastructure.
      >To conclude, at least for me the question remains open as to whether any
      >full Bible manuscripts were produced prior to the 4th century. I'm
      >willing to consider whatever evidence you (or anyone else) may provide
      >indicating they appeared earlier. I would be happy to acknowledge them
      >earlier. I also wonder whether, absent some exemplar (like one of these
      >full Bible codices) an "official LXX" can be meaningfully spoken of. I'm
      >in doubt about that, but certainly open to discussion.

      To prove there was not an official LXX, you would have to show evidence
      of other non-LXX translations existing in the 1st C.
    • Chris B.
      ... Since the 72 in Alexandria seems to be a fiction, not fact, we need to understand how people understood that fiction. Which I think was that the whole OT
      Message 45 of 45 , Jun 11, 2004
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        > You wrote, in part:
        >a) LXX refers to the 70 or 72 learned people who
        >translated the Torah/Pentateuch from Hebrew into Greek, in
        >Alexandria, according to the Letter of Aristeas.

        Since the 72 in Alexandria seems to be a fiction, not fact, we need to
        understand how
        people understood that fiction. Which I think was that the whole OT was
        done by the 72,
        even if the legend didn't start out that way.
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