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RE: [textualcriticism] RELIABLE TRANSMISSION HISTORY; LXX Versus MT

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  • Larry Overton
    Well said, Dick. Continuing this discussion regarding the reliability of the transmission history of the Masoretic text, I acknowledge that which Viktor
    Message 1 of 11 , May 12, 2007
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      Well said, Dick.

       

      Continuing this discussion regarding the reliability of the transmission history of the Masoretic text, I acknowledge that which Viktor pointed out and you reiterated, namely, the dearth of witnesses to the Masoretic text prior to the ninth century. However, it is my impression that evidence for the text type that came to be identified with the work of the Masoretes is to be found well before their time.

       

      For instance, it has long been my understanding that some of the scrolls from the caves at Qumran exhibit a text that is essentially in agreement with the Masoretic text. I have read others who have maintained this position, and from what I have read of _The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible_ (Abegg, Flint & Ulrich), this seems to be the case.

       

      I would appreciate hearing from list members on this point.

       

      Larry G. Overton

       

       


      From: Richard J. Saley [mailto:saley@...]
      Sent: Wednesday, May 09, 2007 1:27 PM
      To: textualcriticism@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: Re: [textualcriticism] RELIABLE TRANSMISSION HISTORY; LXX Versus MT

       

      Dear Larry,

      Whoops, you are absolutely right! In my haste not only did I misinterpret
      Philip's question, but I misstated the dates for the Masoretes and, for good
      measure, left out the first 'e' in the word 'Masortes'. (You might say, I'm
      left with 'gg' on my face!) Instead of 9th-10th centuries CE I should have
      given 7th-11th centuries CE--with the 10th being the most important with the
      work of the Ben Asher family--as the dates for the main work of the Masoretes.

      But to get to the main point of Philip's question, as properly understood,
      Viktor Golinets, in a response subsequent to both mine and yours, has sketched
      out the difficulties attendant to ascertaining evidence of Hebrew scribal
      practice between the 1st century CE (presumably the time of the consonantal
      stabilization of the text of the Hebrew Bible) and the 9th century CE. That
      having been acknowledged, there is little doubt--in my mind, anyway--that the
      TRANSMISSION HISTORY of the MT was more reliable and less susceptible to errors
      than the TRANSMISSION HISTORY of the SEPTUAGINT. That is because the Septuagint
      as it has been handed down to us is a mixture of text-types: the Old Greek (the
      'original' translation in the 3rd-2nd centuries BCE); kaige Greek (the Old Greek
      revised toward the developing pre-/proto-Masoreti c text in the mid to late first
      century BCE); Hexaplaric revisions to the Greek (based on the fifth column of
      Origen's mid-third century CE Hexapla) to more fully align it with the finally
      fixed Hebrew text; and even the literalistic work of the second century CE
      Aquila which might be found in certain books of the Septuagint. To this needs
      to be added the Lucianic edition of the Septuagint as it is increasingly
      becoming defined which points in many instances to readings closer to the Old
      Greek than found in any other Greek source, while evidencing a substratum of
      revisions unique to that tradition.

      To put it differently, the Septuagint as we have it is anything but a monolithic
      whole, and the 'original' Old Greek has in many, many places been revised out of
      existence or simply replaced by a later textual tradition. Often this has been
      intentional by tradents to bring the Greek text closer to the fully developed
      Hebrew. In other cases it has been accidental, not only the result of the types
      of errors that all scribes make, but in the larger mixing of text-types. The
      parade example of the latter may be found in the Septuagint text of
      Samuel-Kings (1-4 Reigns) where 1Sam 1:1-2Sam 11:1 and 1Kgs 2:12-21:43 are Old
      Greek in our best manuscripts while 2Sam 11:2-1Kgs 2:11 and 1Kgs 22:1-2Kgs
      25:30 are kaige.

      I hope this has helped clear up the confusion caused by my first response. In
      the process I have taken a vow never to respond to a list while taking a quick
      break from working in the garden on a weekend.

      Cheers,
      Dick Saley

      Quoting "Larry G. Overton" <LGO@LarryOverton. com>:

      > Dick,
      >
      > I believe your statement needs clarification. Your reference to "the
      > work of the Masortes [sic] (9th-10th centuries C.E.)" is not
      > altogether clear. If by this you mean the dates of the oldest extant
      > MSS of the Masoretic Text (e.g., the Aleppo Codex), then I have no
      > argument with your comment itself.
      >
      > However, if I have interpreted your comment correctly, then I must
      > say that I fail to see how the fact of "the beginning translation of
      > the Hebrew Bible into Greek" occurring many centuries before the
      > dates of the oldest extant MSS of the Masoretic Text actually
      > addresses the issue at hand. The question raised by Philip concerns
      > transmissional reliability, or, in his words, "the TRANSMISSION
      > HISTORY of the MT seems to be more reliable and less susceptible to
      > errors than the TRANSMISSION HISTORY of the LXX" (emphasis his).
      >
      > In fact, in that context, my first inclination when reading your
      > statement about "the work of the Masortes" was to interpret your
      > words as a comment meant to limit the work of the Masoretes to 9th
      > and 10th centuries AD. Of course, such was not the case, and upon
      > reflection I don't think that was the message you were trying to
      > convey.
      >
      > Would you please elaborate on your previous comment for us?
      >
      > Larry G. Overton
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > Yahoo! Groups Links
      >
      >
      >
      >

      <<<<<<<<<<<< <<<<<<<>> >>>>>>>>> >>>>>>>>
      Richard J. Saley, Ph.D.
      Lecturer on the Ancient Near East
      Dept. of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations
      Harvard University
      Six Divinity Avenue
      Cambridge, MA 02138-2020 USA
      Tel: 617-495-4239
      Fax: 617-496-8904
      <<<<<<<<<<<< <<<<<<<>> >>>>>>>>> >>>>>>>>

    • Viktor Golinets
      Dear Ted, you find a lot of information pertaining to this topic together with Talmud and bibliographical references in the book of E. Tov, Textual Criticism
      Message 2 of 11 , May 13, 2007
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        Dear Ted,
         
        you find a lot of information pertaining to this topic together with Talmud and bibliographical references in the book of E. Tov, Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible ( Minneapolis : Fortress Press 1992), 4th chapter, sections A and B. I have only the German version of the book at hand so I can not tell the pages.
         
        Victor


        Ted Clore <tedclore@...> schrieb:
        Viktor,

        If you don't mind could you reference this please. I have an interest in an
        "accepted" transmission process and have not read this.

        Thank you,
        Ted Clore

        >We know what Talmud says about how to copy the Bible but we can hardly
        >compare these prescriptions with the manuscripts.

        >Viktor Golinets, M.A.



        Yahoo! Clever - Der einfachste Weg, Fragen zu stellen und Wissenswertes mit Anderen zu teilen.

      • Richard J. Saley
        Hello, again, Larry, Your understanding is indeed correct that some of the scrolls from the caves at Qumran exhibit a text that is essentially in agreement
        Message 3 of 11 , May 15, 2007
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          Hello, again, Larry,

          Your understanding is indeed correct that some of the scrolls from the caves at
          Qumran exhibit a text that is essentially in agreement with the Masoretic text.
          What is equally important, of course, is that texts of different types were
          also found at Qumran and elsewhere in the Judaean Desert. Thus, for example,
          the oldest text found at Qumran (ca. 250 BCE) is 4QExod-Lev-f, which is of the
          type later found in the Samaritan Pentateuch (but not in the Masoretic Text).
          Other Hebrew texts agree with the Septuagint against the MT: for example, in
          that section of 4QSam-a where the Old Greek is extant, there are over 200
          instances where 4QSam-a agrees with one or the other of the MT and the Old
          Greek, but not both. In 2 out of every 3 of these instances 4QSam-a agrees
          with the Old Greek against the MT.

          There are also Hebrew text-types--for lack of a better term--at Qumran and
          elsewhere that do not correspond to the MT, Old Greek or Samaritan texts. What
          groups these might have belonged to is unknown to us. (The scholarly consensus
          is that the majority of the scrolls found at Qumran were not produced there,
          but brought from elsewhere, thus providing somewhat of a cross-section of the
          differing types of texts found in Palestine between ca. 250 BCE and 68 CE.) The
          overall picture gleaned, then, is one of textual fluidity and plurality prior to
          the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in 70 CE. That calamitous event
          brought an end once and for all to the sacrificial cultus of the biblical
          period, leaving as its replacement synagogal prayer and the reading of the
          biblical text. Of those worshipping groups that existed prior to 70 CE, only 3
          continued to exist thereafter in an organized fashion: the former temple
          (Pharisaic) establishment with its text (the pre-/proto-MT); the Samaritans
          with their text (the Samaritan Pentateuch); and the Jewish Christian sect with
          its text (the LXX). The other texts, devoid of a worshipping community, ceased
          to be copied and died out, and when the consonantal text of what was to become
          the MT was fixed in the late 1st century CE (or early 2nd century), it was not
          necessarily the best text ever for a particular book that was chosen, but
          rather that text that had survived.

          Quoting Larry Overton <LGO@...>:

          > Well said, Dick.
          >
          >
          >
          > Continuing this discussion regarding the reliability of the transmission
          > history of the Masoretic text, I acknowledge that which Viktor pointed out
          > and you reiterated, namely, the dearth of witnesses to the Masoretic text
          > prior to the ninth century. However, it is my impression that evidence for
          > the text type that came to be identified with the work of the Masoretes is
          > to be found well before their time.
          >
          >
          >
          > For instance, it has long been my understanding that some of the scrolls
          > from the caves at Qumran exhibit a text that is essentially in agreement
          > with the Masoretic text. I have read others who have maintained this
          > position, and from what I have read of _The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible_ (Abegg,
          > Flint & Ulrich), this seems to be the case.
          >
          >
          >
          > I would appreciate hearing from list members on this point.
          >
          >
          >
          > Larry G. Overton


          <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
          Richard J. Saley, Ph.D.
          Lecturer on the Ancient Near East
          Dept. of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations
          Harvard University
          Six Divinity Avenue
          Cambridge, MA 02138-2020 USA
          Tel: 617-495-4239
          Fax: 617-496-8904
          <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
        • Richard J. Saley
          ... Date: Tue, 15 May 2007 17:45:56 -0400 From: Richard J. Saley Reply-To: Richard J. Saley Subject: RE:
          Message 4 of 11 , May 21, 2007
          • 0 Attachment
            ----- Forwarded message from "Richard J. Saley" <saley@...> -----
            Date: Tue, 15 May 2007 17:45:56 -0400
            From: "Richard J. Saley" <saley@...>
            Reply-To: "Richard J. Saley" <saley@...>
            Subject: RE: [textualcriticism] RELIABLE TRANSMISSION HISTORY; LXX Versus MT
            To: textualcriticism@yahoogroups.com

            It is indeed correct that some of the scrolls from the caves at
            Qumran exhibit a text that is essentially in agreement with the Masoretic text.
            What is equally important, of course, is that texts of different types were
            also found at Qumran and elsewhere in the Judaean Desert. Thus, for example,
            the oldest text found at Qumran (ca. 250 BCE) is 4QExod-Lev-f, which is of the
            type later found in the Samaritan Pentateuch (but not in the Masoretic Text).
            Other Hebrew texts agree with the Septuagint against the MT: for example, in
            that section of 4QSam-a where the Old Greek is extant, there are over 200
            instances where 4QSam-a agrees with one or the other of the MT and the Old
            Greek, but not both. In 2 out of every 3 of these instances 4QSam-a agrees
            with the Old Greek against the MT.

            There are also Hebrew text-types--for lack of a better term--at Qumran and
            elsewhere that do not correspond to the MT, Old Greek or Samaritan texts. What
            groups these might have belonged to is unknown to us. (The scholarly consensus
            is that the majority of the scrolls found at Qumran were not produced there,
            but brought from elsewhere, thus providing somewhat of a cross-section of the
            differing types of texts found in Palestine between ca. 250 BCE and 68 CE.) The
            overall picture gleaned, then, is one of textual fluidity and plurality prior to
            the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in 70 CE. That calamitous event
            brought an end once and for all to the sacrificial cultus of the biblical
            period, leaving as its replacement synagogal prayer and the reading of the
            biblical text. Of those worshipping groups that existed prior to 70 CE, only 3
            continued to exist thereafter in an organized fashion: the former temple
            (Pharisaic) establishment with its text (the pre-/proto-MT); the Samaritans
            with their text (the Samaritan Pentateuch); and the Jewish Christian sect with
            its text (the LXX). The other texts, devoid of a worshipping community, ceased
            to be copied and died out, and when the consonantal text of what was to become
            the MT was fixed in the late 1st century CE (or early 2nd century), it was not
            necessarily the best text ever for a particular book that was chosen, but
            rather that text that had survived.

            Quoting Larry Overton <LGO@...>:

            > Well said, Dick.
            >
            >
            >
            > Continuing this discussion regarding the reliability of the transmission
            > history of the Masoretic text, I acknowledge that which Viktor pointed out
            > and you reiterated, namely, the dearth of witnesses to the Masoretic text
            > prior to the ninth century. However, it is my impression that evidence for
            > the text type that came to be identified with the work of the Masoretes is
            > to be found well before their time.
            >
            >
            >
            > For instance, it has long been my understanding that some of the scrolls
            > from the caves at Qumran exhibit a text that is essentially in agreement
            > with the Masoretic text. I have read others who have maintained this
            > position, and from what I have read of _The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible_ (Abegg,
            > Flint & Ulrich), this seems to be the case.
            >
            >
            >
            > I would appreciate hearing from list members on this point.
            >
            >
            >
            > Larry G. Overton
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            > _____
            >
            > From: Richard J. Saley [mailto:saley@...]
            > Sent: Wednesday, May 09, 2007 1:27 PM
            > To: textualcriticism@yahoogroups.com
            > Subject: Re: [textualcriticism] RELIABLE TRANSMISSION HISTORY; LXX Versus MT
            >
            >
            >
            > Dear Larry,
            >
            > Whoops, you are absolutely right! In my haste not only did I misinterpret
            > Philip's question, but I misstated the dates for the Masoretes and, for good
            > measure, left out the first 'e' in the word 'Masortes'. (You might say, I'm
            > left with 'gg' on my face!) Instead of 9th-10th centuries CE I should have
            > given 7th-11th centuries CE--with the 10th being the most important with the
            > work of the Ben Asher family--as the dates for the main work of the
            > Masoretes.
            >
            > But to get to the main point of Philip's question, as properly understood,
            > Viktor Golinets, in a response subsequent to both mine and yours, has
            > sketched
            > out the difficulties attendant to ascertaining evidence of Hebrew scribal
            > practice between the 1st century CE (presumably the time of the consonantal
            > stabilization of the text of the Hebrew Bible) and the 9th century CE. That
            > having been acknowledged, there is little doubt--in my mind, anyway--that
            > the
            > TRANSMISSION HISTORY of the MT was more reliable and less susceptible to
            > errors
            > than the TRANSMISSION HISTORY of the SEPTUAGINT. That is because the
            > Septuagint
            > as it has been handed down to us is a mixture of text-types: the Old Greek
            > (the
            > 'original' translation in the 3rd-2nd centuries BCE); kaige Greek (the Old
            > Greek
            > revised toward the developing pre-/proto-Masoretic text in the mid to late
            > first
            > century BCE); Hexaplaric revisions to the Greek (based on the fifth column
            > of
            > Origen's mid-third century CE Hexapla) to more fully align it with the
            > finally
            > fixed Hebrew text; and even the literalistic work of the second century CE
            > Aquila which might be found in certain books of the Septuagint. To this
            > needs
            > to be added the Lucianic edition of the Septuagint as it is increasingly
            > becoming defined which points in many instances to readings closer to the
            > Old
            > Greek than found in any other Greek source, while evidencing a substratum of
            > revisions unique to that tradition.
            >
            > To put it differently, the Septuagint as we have it is anything but a
            > monolithic
            > whole, and the 'original' Old Greek has in many, many places been revised
            > out of
            > existence or simply replaced by a later textual tradition. Often this has
            > been
            > intentional by tradents to bring the Greek text closer to the fully
            > developed
            > Hebrew. In other cases it has been accidental, not only the result of the
            > types
            > of errors that all scribes make, but in the larger mixing of text-types. The
            > parade example of the latter may be found in the Septuagint text of
            > Samuel-Kings (1-4 Reigns) where 1Sam 1:1-2Sam 11:1 and 1Kgs 2:12-21:43 are
            > Old
            > Greek in our best manuscripts while 2Sam 11:2-1Kgs 2:11 and 1Kgs 22:1-2Kgs
            > 25:30 are kaige.
            >
            > I hope this has helped clear up the confusion caused by my first response.
            > In
            > the process I have taken a vow never to respond to a list while taking a
            > quick
            > break from working in the garden on a weekend.
            >
            > Cheers,
            > Dick Saley
            >
            > Quoting "Larry G. Overton" <LGO@LarryOverton.
            > <mailto:LGO%40LarryOverton.com> com>:
            >
            > > Dick,
            > >
            > > I believe your statement needs clarification. Your reference to "the
            > > work of the Masortes [sic] (9th-10th centuries C.E.)" is not
            > > altogether clear. If by this you mean the dates of the oldest extant
            > > MSS of the Masoretic Text (e.g., the Aleppo Codex), then I have no
            > > argument with your comment itself.
            > >
            > > However, if I have interpreted your comment correctly, then I must
            > > say that I fail to see how the fact of "the beginning translation of
            > > the Hebrew Bible into Greek" occurring many centuries before the
            > > dates of the oldest extant MSS of the Masoretic Text actually
            > > addresses the issue at hand. The question raised by Philip concerns
            > > transmissional reliability, or, in his words, "the TRANSMISSION
            > > HISTORY of the MT seems to be more reliable and less susceptible to
            > > errors than the TRANSMISSION HISTORY of the LXX" (emphasis his).
            > >
            > > In fact, in that context, my first inclination when reading your
            > > statement about "the work of the Masortes" was to interpret your
            > > words as a comment meant to limit the work of the Masoretes to 9th
            > > and 10th centuries AD. Of course, such was not the case, and upon
            > > reflection I don't think that was the message you were trying to
            > > convey.
            > >
            > > Would you please elaborate on your previous comment for us?
            > >
            > > Larry G. Overton
            > >
            > >
            > >
            > >
            > >
            > > Yahoo! Groups Links
            > >
            > >
            > >
            > >
            >
            > <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
            > Richard J. Saley, Ph.D.
            > Lecturer on the Ancient Near East
            > Dept. of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations
            > Harvard University
            > Six Divinity Avenue
            > Cambridge, MA 02138-2020 USA
            > Tel: 617-495-4239
            > Fax: 617-496-8904
            > <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
            >
            >
            >
            >


            <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
            Richard J. Saley, Ph.D.
            Lecturer on the Ancient Near East
            Dept. of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations
            Harvard University
            Six Divinity Avenue
            Cambridge, MA 02138-2020 USA
            Tel: 617-495-4239
            Fax: 617-496-8904
            <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

            ----- End forwarded message -----


            <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
            Richard J. Saley, Ph.D.
            Lecturer on the Ancient Near East
            Dept. of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations
            Harvard University
            Six Divinity Avenue
            Cambridge, MA 02138-2020 USA
            Tel: 617-495-4239
            Fax: 617-496-8904
            <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
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