Re: [ustav] LXX / Hebrew (was "Halo?")
- LXX = Roman numeral for 70.... The abbreviation for the Septuagint, also
called the 70 because it was translated by 70 translators (actually 73...)
It is the translation of the Old testament from Hebrew into Greek. It is the
text traditionally used by the Orthodox Church as the authoritative one for
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Wednesday, December 06, 2000 10:33 AM
Subject: Re: [ustav] LXX / Hebrew (was "Halo?")
> Forgive my ignorance; what exactly IS LXX?
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- MANY thanks for the fascinating and very informative replies on this
May I ask a specific question for clarity? I understand that the Masoretic
text is "newer" than the LXX, but does anyone know for sure whether it is
true that it was "reverse translated" back from the LXX Greek into Hebrew?
I suppose that it's possible that the Masoretes worked from more ancient
texts than the LXX which have since been lost, especially given that the
Masoretic Text was now the Hebrew "standard."
Do we know? Do we have convincing evidence?
Many thanks again!
- On Tue, 5 Dec 2000, Theophan wrote:
> I always thought thatThe Hebrew was the "original language" for most of the OT, though
> the "original" was of course the Hebrew, and the LXX was a translation, and
> possibly less trustworthy than "the original." but in recent years, I've
> learned that actually even though that's obviously true historically, the
> oldest actual copies of the Hebrew that we have are actually more recent
> than the LXX. I even read someone claim that the Masoretic Hebrew text was
> "reverse-translated" from the LXX!
there are portions that were in Aramaic. However, around 1000 AD the
rabbis established the Massoretic text as their "official Bible" and from
then on, burned all other variants.
The Septuagint manuscripts are far older than the oldest
Hebrew--*except* for the Dead Sea Scrolls, which often support the
Septuagint rather than the Massoretic reading.
In addition, a number of the so-called "Apocryphal" books of the
Old Testament were found in these Dead Sea Scrolls in the Hebrew.
Hitherto, the explanation had been made that they existed only in Greek
and not in Hebrew, and were discounted (by Protestants) for that reason.
Fr. John R. Shaw
- On Wed, 6 Dec 2000, Deacon Vsevolod wrote:
> the LXX translation was inspired by the Holy Spirit. There are manyThis was the previously-widesread view, since only the Isaiah
> instances where the Masoretic text (which dates after Christ) does not
> coincide with the LXX. The Dead Sea scrolls of Qumran have in fact proved
> this since we see that those date earlier than the LXX, but unfortunately
> only the Book of Isaiah has been preserved well enough to determine such
Scroll had been published until a few eyars ago. From shortly after thier
discovery until a computer expert "broke the lock" on the scrolls by
reconstructing them from a special concordance of the Hebrew words they
contained, these scrolls were kept from the public by a "group of
scholars" who were given exclusive rights to them. Initially the group of
scholars had been formed to expedite publication, but in reality they
blocked it for some 50 years.
There is an English translation in print called THE DEAD SEA
SCROLLS BIBLE, ISBN 0-06-060063-2, available from Barnes & Noble and other
Fr. John R. Shaw
- I am deeply grateful for the many generous, knowledgeable, and very helpful
posts on this subject. Thank you all very much for sharing your knowledge
- Blessed be God.
Deacon Vsevolod wrote:
>I think that must have been a typo, Father, yes? This is the first time
> LXX = Roman numeral for 70.... The abbreviation for the Septuagint, also
> called the 70 because it was translated by 70 translators (actually 73...)
> It is the translation of the Old testament from Hebrew into Greek. It is the
> text traditionally used by the Orthodox Church as the authoritative one for
> the Scriptures.
I've ever heard of "73" translators; the figure is usually given as
You mention that the translation was produced for the benefit of Jews
living in Alexandria who had forgotten their Hebrew. I am not certain as
to the accuracy of this, but another version (at least) is that the king
wanted a translation for the inauguration of his famous library. In any
case, legend states that the 72 scholars each produced their
translations separately from the others, but that when compared, they
all miraculously agreed.
This, of course, is legend. We know from critical studies that the
translations were produced by different hands, sometimes more
accurately, and some of them seemed to know Hebrew a little better than
The other comments you made about the LXX vs. the Masoretic Text I will
discuss in another message.
Regards (and this time I'll use my initials),
John Burnett, MA(OT)
- On 6 Dec 00, at 10:18, Deacon Vsevolod wrote:
> The LXX is indeed an older version of the original Hebrew.The LXX is older than the MT, but they do ~not~ trace to the same version
of the OT.
> There are many instances where the Masoretic text (which datesMore than the Book of Isaiah has been preserved sufficiently to make
> after Christ) does not coincide with the LXX. The Dead Sea scrolls of
> Qumran have in fact proved this since we see that those date earlier than
> the LXX, but unfortunately only the Book of Isaiah has been preserved well
> enough to determine such things.
> They [DSS] do coincide with the LXX, and notWholly wrong. The DSS is from the MT-type tradition. The breakdown is as
> with the Masoretic versions.
The DSS agree with the MT: 65%
- On Fri, 8 Dec 2000, Polychroni wrote:
>One has to remember that prior to the invention of printed books,
> The LXX is older than the MT, but they do ~not~ trace to the same version
> of the OT.
every copy of any text was liable to present its own peculiarities, or to
reproduce those of the copy it had, in its turn. This is why each
monastery or cathedral tended to have its own local variant of the service
One might make a certain parallel between this and the "distinct
dialects" of certain languages such as Irish or Armenian: at one time,
both were spoken over a considerable territory, and at that time, there
was a gradual dovetailing of one dialect into another, a continuity. Then
when Irish was replaced by English except in a few "linguistic islands",
and Armenian wiped out over large areas with the genocides by the Turks,
the surviving dialects in this or that "pocket" became separate and
The same thing happened with various "schools of manuscripts": in
various places, copies were made from prototypes. But then with the
destruction of most of the early Hebrew MSS., only the rabbinic
(Massoretic) text remained--until these Dead Sea Scrolls were found. The
Scrolls are part of a given "school", they were hand-copied from local
"prototypes"--but since everything for centuries before and after them was
lost, along with everything from other places at the same time, they are a
sort of "time capsule" from Qumran. The Septuagint version was made in
Alexandria, not in Qumran. Therefore it hearkens back to Hebrew MSS. we no
longer can turn to.
Fr. John R. Shaw