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ATTN: LXX scholars--one text or many?

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  • Perry L. Stepp
    ... quotes ... An added problem is that the LXX doesn t seem to have been a single text, but rather a group of divergent texts (if I read the tea leaves
    Message 1 of 4 , Mar 2, 1997
      Ronald L. Minton wrote:

      > > However, I still have questions on the percentage of times the NT
      quotes
      > > or refers to the Heb, LXX, Both, Neither.

      Matthew Johnson replied:

      > Very good question. However, this is a little harder to answer than one
      > might hope, because over the centuries copyists have tended to harmonize
      > the OT citations to the LXX.

      An added problem is that the LXX doesn't seem to have been a single text,
      but rather a group of divergent texts (if I read the tea leaves properly).
      In other words, there may have been no single ascendant Greek OT text, but
      rather a group of them, and no single text could claim to be *the* standard
      LXX.

      Perhaps a Septuagint scholar can fill in the lacunae in my knowledge of
      this particular point and its corrolaries. Which LXX texts were most
      widely used? How widely do the extant texts diverge? Is Rahlfs a
      satisfactory critical text? How large a base is its text built on? How do
      NT quotes relate to the schizophrenic state of the LXX in late antiquity
      (if the situation is as I've described it)?

      Grace and peace,

      Perry L. Stepp

      ************************************************************
      Pastor, DeSoto Christian Church, DeSoto TX
      Ph.D. candidate in New Testament, Baylor University

      "A system of morality which is based on relative
      emotional values is a mere illusion, a thoroughly vulgar
      conception which has nothing sound in it and nothing
      true."
      Phaedo 69b
      ************************************************************
    • Robert B. Waltz
      On Sun, 2 Mar 1997, Perry L. Stepp wrote: [ ... ] ... Actually, a dominant text did eventually develop (though it was never as dominant
      Message 2 of 4 , Mar 4, 1997
        On Sun, 2 Mar 1997, "Perry L. Stepp" <plstepp@...> wrote:

        [ ... ]
        >
        >An added problem is that the LXX doesn't seem to have been a single text,
        >but rather a group of divergent texts (if I read the tea leaves properly).
        >In other words, there may have been no single ascendant Greek OT text, but
        >rather a group of them, and no single text could claim to be *the* standard
        >LXX.
        >
        >Perhaps a Septuagint scholar can fill in the lacunae in my knowledge of
        >this particular point and its corrolaries. Which LXX texts were most
        >widely used? How widely do the extant texts diverge? Is Rahlfs a
        >satisfactory critical text? How large a base is its text built on? How do
        >NT quotes relate to the schizophrenic state of the LXX in late antiquity
        >(if the situation is as I've described it)?

        Actually, a dominant text did eventually develop (though it was never
        as dominant as the Byzantine text). This seems to have been the "Old
        Greek" form of the LXX as revised (probably in several stages) toward
        the MT. In general, as I understand it, this text resembles that of
        A more than B.

        It does not seem likely that this text was completely dominant in
        NT times, however. Based, again, on my experience in Paul, the
        NT citations don't match any particular text. I once did a check
        on Psalms citations in some list of books or other (I can't remember
        which). Out of about twelve citations, I believe seven agreed with
        Aleph, six with B, and seven with A. I believe three did not match
        any of those texts. (Please note that this was a *very* informal
        survey; don't quote me, OK?)

        My conclusion was that Rahlfs is *not* an adequate authority for
        the LXX text. Even if its apparatus includes all the variants in
        the tradition, it doesn't tell you their support. And this is
        important. Where B, Aleph, and A divide, one needs to know the
        evidence of supporting witnesses (C, G, M, N+V, Q, probably some
        minuscules) to know how to assess the variant.

        Robert Waltz
        waltzmn@...

        Inside Bluegrass
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      • John Wevers
        The query raised by Robert Waltz raises so many questions that it is difficult to know where to begin. Permit me to address one of the questions raised. What
        Message 3 of 4 , Mar 5, 1997
          The query raised by Robert Waltz raises so many questions that it is
          difficult to know where to begin. Permit me to address one of the
          questions raised. What about the text of Rahlfs, and on what evidence
          is it based? First of all, I am not sure what the questioner means by
          Rahlfs. There is the large and complete text of the entire Greek
          O.T. Bible. This is usually appreviated Ra. But there are other Rahlfs
          texts as well. His Psalmi cum Odi is a semi critical text on the {salter,
          but its collations of most materials cited in it are based on the old
          Holmes-Parsons voluminous work, which is not at all trustworthy. Then
          he did an earlier text of Genesis, based on the Cambridge Septuagint. Since
          this rests on a much more secure basis that the large Ra, its text is
          markedly superior.
          As to Ra, which is presumably what you wish assessed, it is
          based on a recollation of very few uncial texts. Thus for the
          Pentateuch it cites only B and A and the few fragments of S. For the
          rest an occasional hexaplaric gloss is cited, and that is about it.
          Since for the Pentateuch, there are over 100 preGutenberg mss
          extant, this is obviously not a critical text. In Ralhfs' defence it
          should be stated that he never intended Ra to be more that a Nothilfe,
          a text which was rapidly prepared to serve as an interim text, which
          had at least rid the text of many glaring errors which a text which
          presented a single ms text, such as Swete's O.T. in Greek, which is
          based, as is the Cambridge LXX, on the text of cod B, and where that
          is not extant on cod A. Fortunately, Rahlfs was enamored of cod B
          which for many parts of the Greek text is an excellent witness to the
          oldest recoverable text of the Septuagint. Far superior to the text
          of Ra, and this I am sure is what Rahlfs would have wanted to be
          publicized as widely as possible, is the text of the Goettingen LXX,
          which is a truly critical text. Unfortunately, these volumes are
          very expensive.
          I realize that this is only small reply to the many and varied
          queries raised by R. Waltz, but it would take a great deal of time
          to cover the ground adequately. It would take a book! JWW
          --

          John Wm Wevers
          Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations
          University of Toronto
          INTERNET: jwevers@...
        • Kent Smith
          ** Reply to note from Robert B. Waltz Tue, 4 Mar 1997 09:42:47 -0700 re: OT quotes in NT. The question raised as to text used in
          Message 4 of 4 , Mar 5, 1997
            ** Reply to note from "Robert B. Waltz" <waltzmn@...> Tue, 4 Mar 1997 09:42:47 -0700
            re: OT quotes in NT. The question raised as to text used in quotes is very complicated.
            A few of the factors:
            As mentioned by others, there Greek text in NT times was quite diverse and we probably
            do not any "pure" examples of any of the versions or recensions that were in use. The best
            we can say is that a quote approaches Aquilla, etc.
            Although the Hebrew was settling into what we recognize as the MT, there were other
            alternatives available, to say nothing of the Targums.
            We need to distinquish between actual quotes, introduced by a one of a number of
            standard words and phrases and allusions. Allusions are often reworded or only approximated
            to suit the argument at hand. True quotations appear to have been directly copied from some
            source and usually are very close to some version we recognize.
            We may not always have the original text being quoted -- possible examples: I Cor 15:45
            is not really quoting Gen 2:7, I Cor 3:19 |= Job 5:13. These, and others are possibly quoting
            texts other than our known versions of "Biblical" books.
            Although I've been working on this issue, I'm not anywhere close to saying a Percentage.
            I tend to follow the common wisdom that most of the quotes are from a greek text of one sort
            or another, although I have a few examples where the MT is the closest.



            Kent Smith. West Side Presbyterian Church. Ridgewood, NJ
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