Wednesday, March 7, 2012

132 Bible Translations: LXX is Hellenistic, MT is Maccabean. Jerome & King James follow MT

(1) Bible Translations: LXX is Hellenistic, MT is Maccabean. Jerome & King James follow MT
(2) King James Version based on Masoretic Text (MT); new Catholic Bibles based on it too
(3) Septuagint (LXX): rejected by Jews because Christians used it. So Jews developed MT

(1) Bible Translations: LXX is Hellenistic, MT is Maccabean. Jerome & King James follow MT

From: Israel Shamir <> Date: 11.10.2009 03:58 PM
Subject: [shamireaders] How We Can Upset the Elders of Zion Conspiracy

There is an urgent need for a distinctly Christian Old Testament in Hebrew; the Hebrew source of the Septuagint should be reconstructed, says Israel Shamir.

Translating the Bible into Hebrew,

Or, How We Can Upset the Elders of Zion Conspiracy

By Israel Adam Shamir

[A Talk at Rhodes Conference, 8-12 October 2009]

They say that at a press-conference before departing from Israel, President George W. Bush was asked: “What impressed you most of all in Israel?” The Texan replied: “The Bible in my room. It was in your tongue! Despite the wars and terrorism, you did not begrudge the effort and translated the Holy Bible into Hebrew in such a short time! That impressed me the most”.

Besides ridiculing proverbial Texan ignorance, this Israeli joke aims to remind us that the Old Testament was written in Hebrew, and every Old Testament book that you find in your hotel room is a translation from the ancient Hebrew text. There is a far-reaching implication: the Jews are the guardians and keepers of a primary sacred text of Christendom. This implication is subliminally or even consciously accepted by the West.

The consequences of this implication go far beyond textual details. India’s Brahmins are guardians of the Vedas, and this brings them influence, money, ministerial positions. Likewise in the West, the Jewish guardians of the Scripture possess by this right such extraordinary influence – totally out-of-sync with their demographic numbers – that can’t be explained in any other way.

Money, clannishness, media ownership – all are frequently mentioned among the reasons for this disproportionate Jewish influence. Here's the problem, though: This influence is greatest in the US in particular and in the West in general. The Jews of Serbia and Greece, of Turkey and Syria, of India and China are not poor either, and are no less clannish, but they are much less influential. We may propose a different reason, then: the Texan-Israeli joke wouldn’t have been immediately understood in these countries, because for Muslims, for Hindus, for the Chinese as well as for Orthodox Christians, Jews have no sacred function – they are not the guardians of a holy text. Non-Christians have their own scriptures. And for Orthodox Christians, the Old Testament is the Septuagint, the Greek text composed some two hundred years before Christ and one thousand years before the present Jewish Bible (called MT, Masoretic Text) was completed.

Though the schism between the Eastern and the Western churches is usually connected with the filioque controversy, the true bifurcation point between the Christian East and the Christian West is located in their choice of the primary text (aside from the New Testament). Westerners (Catholics and Protestants) use the Old Testament they translated from the Jewish MT; Easterners use the Greek text as the original. This is an extremely important difference. When St Paul said that the opposites are united in Christ, he mentioned man and woman, Jew and Hellene (Galatians 3:28). Indeed, the ideal Jew and Hellene are as opposed to each other as the ideal man and woman, and the Jewish and Hellenic texts are equally opposed to each other. Moreover, translations from either of these texts carry the imprint of the original spirit with them. The Hellenic spirit found its expression in the Septuagint, while the Judaic spirit was expressed in the Masoretic Hebrew text, the MT. Christianity as a whole treads a narrow path between its Judaic and Hellenic tendencies, which are locked in an eternal fight like the Yin and the Yang. Their choice of primary text for the Old Testament caused the Eastern churches to favour the Hellenic, and the Western the Judaic tendency.

Before continuing, a full disclosure: until fairly recently, I was not aware of the problem, and like everybody else, I thought that the Old Testament in every language was a translation from the Hebrew MT original. A few months ago, I visited Moscow where I thoroughly enjoyed the fabulous hospitality of the Muscovites, who can turn every friendly meeting over a couple of vodkas into a Platonic symposium – a banquet of reason and a celebration of the soul. Once, my friend Michael, a Moscow University teacher, told me that a famous Starets wanted to receive me. “Starets,” the Russian equivalent of Greek ger?n, or “elder”, means, in Eastern Orthodoxy, a monastic spiritual leader – a charismatic spiritual guide who can aid others in attaining spiritual progress and success, as the Encyclopaedia Britannica tell us. The Starets is well known in Moscow as a confessor and heart-reader – a man who understands the human soul and its way to salvation. I was immensely touched and flattered by the invitation, for people normally wait months on end to see him and receive his blessing. Though I have met with princes of the Church – with bishops and cardinals, with the monks of Athos and Jerusalem – the elders are the hidden heart of the faith.

We drove out of Moscow to the monastery at four a.m. The road was empty, and there were only a few pilgrims in front of the monastery waiting for the heavy gates to open. This is neither the time nor the place to relate everything that happened at this meeting, but I’ll tell you the most important thing: the Starets told me of his desire to publish the Old Testament in Hebrew, corrected in accordance with the Queen Elizabeth Bible of the Russian Orthodox Church. At first, I was deeply shocked and confused. The Queen Elizabeth Bible (1751), or the QEB, is a translation, and a translation of the Greek translation into the Old Church Slavonic. Wasn’t this rather too daring a project, to correct the original according to a translation? Its scope would eclipse any post-modernist project!

Here another, even fuller disclosure is called for: the idea of translating a translation or even reconstructing the original according to a translation was not totally foreign to me. Translations are not machine-made neutral reproductions; they carry with them the twin loads of the original culture and of the translator’s culture. A translation can be translated. I was aware of this complexity - some years ago I had translated the Odyssey into Russian from the English translations of Lawrence (1932) and Rieu (1946) instead of from the Greek original. (It was published by Aletheia, the Heidegger-inspired St Petersburg publishers of Greek classics in AD 2000). I did it that way in order to convey Jorge Luis Borges’ idea that for the modern reader Joyce’s Ulysses precedes Homer’s Odyssey. The English post-Joyce translations of the Odyssey carried this subliminal message, and I tried to preserve it in my translation into Russian. (More on this in Russian on )

The longer I considered the words of the Starets, the more sense they made to me. Practically, he was proposing to reconstruct the H70, the lost Hebrew original of the Septuagint, while using the QEB to select between numerous versions. You will see soon why this could begin the reversal of a long-term Judaisation and degradation process, and start the healing of the schism between the West and the East, while at the same time helping the Jews to overcome their hubris and to make peace with the nations. The Jews have translated the Bible into the languages of the nations in order to influence them; the world is indebted to them, and it's time to pay them back by giving them the true original Hebrew text of the Old Testament, free from censorship and later additions, just as it was read in the days of the Second Temple.

Why will this bookish project influence the real world? Sacred matters influence our world far more than is acceptable to admit in polite society. The dummies believe that all things are done out of pecuniary considerations, but in truth, it is spiritual authority that decides. The world based on the Jewish Bible is not the same as would be a world based on the Greek Bible. Its priorities would be different. Even the texts themselves are different. The Hebrew text used today by Jews (and by tiny communities of Hebrew-speaking Christians), usually called MT (Masoretic text) is not the same text that was read by Christ and His apostles.

If you open the New Testament you’ll see that its references to the Old Testament do not fit. For instance, Matt. 12:21 quotes Isaiah: “in His name will the Gentiles trust”. But if you look up Isaiah 42:4, you’ll see something completely different: “the isles shall wait for his law”. Or (Acts 7:14) Stephen says "seventy-five" souls went down to Egypt with Jacob. But look up your Old Testament (Gen. 46:27; Deut. 10:22) – it says that only seventy people went to Egypt. This does not mean that the translators of King James, or any other translators of the Old Testament, made a mistake. They translated correctly, but from the wrong version, from the MT, while Jesus, His apostles and the New Testament writers in general had read and quoted the Septuagint (LXX) or its Hebrew Source (H70).

The transposition of the MT in place of the Septuagint (LXX) or its Hebrew Source (H70), making it the source for all subsequent Western translations, was the biggest coup the Jewish scholars ever pulled off, and this is the deep-lying cause of Judaisation of the West.

The MT is not particularly old. The oldest complete manuscript of the MT – The Leningrad Codex (1008) - is just over a thousand years old, whilst the LXX is much, much older. The LXX translation was created in a very different era – not only before Christ, but even before the Maccabee revolt. In those days, in the third century BC, the Hellenistic world embraced Palestine, Egypt, Syria and their neighbours. The Jews were integrating well into this Hellenic world, and the long struggle between the two spirits of the ancient faith of Israel had just started:

One was the inward-looking nationalist exclusivist spirit. It claimed private ownership over the Divine Law and exclusive access to the Creator for the Chosen of Israel. A stranger reading the Law was to be executed. A translation of the Bible into Greek was a most serious sin, equivalent to fashioning a golden calf (Ex 32:4), they said.

The other spirit proclaimed universality and led to Christ. The Law and God’s mercy were to be given to all.

In modern terms, these are the spirits of privatisation and nationalisation. The battle was fought in the three seats of ancient wisdom, - Alexandria, Babylon and Jerusalem. Alexandria was the most universalistic, Babylon the most proprietary – Jerusalem was their battleground. In Alexandria, a happy synthesis of Jewish and Hellenic ideas was reached in the translation of Seventy Elders appointed by the High Priest. Thus came the revelation of Israel to the world, preparing the way for Christ.

This translation was nothing short of miraculous. The translators consisted of six from each tribe of Israel, making altogether seventy-two. But the translation is called the Translation of the Seventy because seventy is the numeric value of “Sod” – “Secret” in Hebrew. The Seventy revealed the secret that the exclusivist Jews did not want to share. “A curse upon him who reveals our secret to the Gentiles”, they had written on the floor of the En-Gedi Synagogue. Three times the daughters of Jerusalem were charged “not to stir or awaken love until she pleases” (Song of Songs 3) and this meant “do not disclose our secret to Gentiles”, says the Talmud. Furious at the disclosure of the secret, the exclusivist Jews destroyed the Hebrew Source of the Septuagint. Every single copy perished. In Jerusalem, the nationalist Jews slaughtered the Hellenised proto-Christian Jews in the Maccabean revolt.

With the coming of Christ, the free Judeo-Hellenic spirit once again found its expression which was hated by the nationalists, who embarked on the long road to regaining full control over the Scripture. For hundreds of years, the scribes worked over the Old Testament, taking advantage of its ambiguous consonant readings, until they eventually achieved a text we know today. Its main paradigm was changed: if the old text led to Christ, the personal/universal Saviour, the new text implanted the nationalist concept of a messiah of and for the people of Israel. The nations of the world were to be seen as sinful semi-animals who had no access to God. The name ‘Jews’ stuck with this small fanatic band, while the Hellenised Jews became known as 'Christians' and were no longer called ‘Jews’. What was previously a battle between two schools of thought within the Judaic framework, became known as the battle between Judaic and Christian spirits.

The exclusivist Jews could not destroy the Septuagint – there were too many copies extant among non-Jews, and the LXX had been spread around and had succeeded in bringing the nations to Christ. That is why, in their attempt to force the genie of free spirit back into its bottle, the Jews made - one after another - three translations of the Old Testament into Greek to counter the LXX. These translations were made from their proto-Masoretic version, and were quite tendentious. “The Virgin” in the prophecy became “a young woman” in their rendering. Since then, the Jews have made and/or influenced dozens of translations into all languages, while ferociously defending their own Hebrew version, the MT, as the only legitimate primary source.

The young church had not worried overmuch, as they considered Hebrew only a language of the scribes, whilst cultured people used Greek, and the local masses spoke Aramaic. The Church dismissed the Hebrew version as an empty cocoon shed by a beautiful butterfly. LXX was considered the God-inspired text, and on its basis, the New Testament and the works of the Fathers of the Church were created. The Eastern Orthodox Church still prefers the Septuagint to the MT, for the translation of the Seventy Elders had been kept in the Church and by the Church, whereas the Hebrew text had been kept and prepared by anti-Christian forces.

When later Christian scholars became interested in the Old Testament, and compared the Judaic translations with the LXX, they unavoidably resorted to the Jewish Bible, for by that time the Jews had the edited Hebrew manuscripts and tools for their interpretation. As you will recall, the H70, the old Hebrew Source of the Septuagint had been destroyed by the nationalists. A great scholar, Origen, therefore turned to the Jews for advice, and they gave him plenty of advice - only their advice was based on their understanding of their text. Origen decided to improve the Septuagint and emended the LXX according to the Jewish Bible of his day. Some of these emendations made their way into the body of the LXX. Still, the Eastern Church remained rather safe, for the Septuagint remained the official version of the Old Testament for the Greek-speaking East from Constantinople to Alexandria.

But the West did not read Greek. For a long while, the West used the Old Latin translations from the Septuagint; the unity of the Church remained strong, but the translations were weak. Eventually Jerome, a wonderful man and a great scholar, who lived for 34 years in Palestine, decided to correct the Old Latin translations and update them. He even began his work using the Septuagint. Afterwards, though, he followed Origen and turned to the Jews for their advice and interpretation. That was his undoing. He got carried away, and took the fateful step that made the West susceptible to Jewish influence. He parted with LXX and made a brand new translation into Latin – from the Hebrew Bible of his day, the proto-MT. The Jews surely liked the result, but St Augustine was shocked by this deed, and wrote in The City of God:

Although the Jews acknowledge this very learned labour [of Jerome translating the Old Testament from the Hebrew] to be fruitful, while they contend that the Seventy translators have erred in many places, still the churches of Christ judge that no one should be preferred to the authority of [the Seventy] , and we ought to believe that the prophetic gift is with [the Seventy] .

Contemporaries condemned Jerome, as they noticed that he slowly began to appear more and more Jewish in his positions as he got older and his Jewish friends began to have more influence. One of his former friends, Rufinus, publicly attacked Jerome's Jewish leanings. Jerome, in response to this work of Rufinus, freely admitted the truth of Rufinus's claims. Jerome wrote in his own Apology: "There is nothing to blame in my getting the help of a Jew in translating from the Hebrew." He said that he “did not understand how Jewish interpretations here and there would undermine the faith of Christians.” In this way the Jews managed to plant the seed that would eventually blossom into the acceptance of the Hebrew MT and the virtual abolition of the Greek Septuagint, the authentic Christian Scriptures of Christ and His Apostles.

A reason why Jerome, and Origen before him, accepted the Jewish version was their lack of historical perspective. Perspective in the visual art was discovered in 15th century, while the historical perspective was not known until the seventeenth century. Until that time, mankind was not aware of the torrent of Time. Don Quixote considered Achilles and Hector to have been knights like himself or like Lancelot. The Crusaders had thought the Muslim mosque of Jerusalem was the Temple of Solomon. For Origen and Jerome, the Old Testament was the Old Testament, and the Jews were the Jews. They did not understand that the Hebrew text of the OT had been changed since the days of Ptolemy II Philadelphus, when the Septuagint was produced. Some of these changes were tendentious, others were due to scribal errors, and still others were the result of misunderstanding.

Orthodox Bible scholar Nicolas Glubokovsky wrote: “The Greek translation reproduced an independent Hebrew textual type that was not severely censored and redacted by rabbinic authorities. That is why LXX and MT do differ profoundly, and their readings of messianic and Christian spirit are at loggerheads”.

Origen and Jerome believed the myth about careful Jewish stewardship of the OT scrolls. They did not know that the Jews had destroyed the manuscripts of other types. The Church had no such practice, and at Jerome’s time there were “tot exemplaria paene quot codices” — as many versions as there are codices. Islam, however, followed the Jewish way, and all differing versions of the Koran were destroyed, so only one type survived.

Jerome planted the seed of Jewish influence, and it had made its major inroads by the Ninth century, when the Vulgate of Jerome became universally accepted. Still, the Old Testament was not widely read – Latin was not universally understood and its influence remained somewhat limited – that is, until the Protestants began to spread their translations of the Old Testament in the vernacular.

The immediate result can be likened to an outbreak of a long-sleeping disease: Previously unheard-of devastation and massacres of civilians during the Thirty Years’ War were influenced by spread of the MT-based vernacular translations, as the nations were infected by its exclusivist nationalist spirit unknown in Europe until that time. The King James Bible was translated from the MT, and the result was amazing: the Brits began to consider themselves a racial new Israel of the flesh, as opposed to the Church being regarded the New Israel of the spirit. They fought the Church, and inflicted the ethnic cleansing prescribed in the book of Joshua on their colonies in the New World. They privatised the commons and turned ordinary British people into paupers. The German Bible translated from the MT turned the Germans into ferocious nationalists and eventually prepared the ground for Hitler. Thus, the MT and its translations had an enormous, even magical, effect. The petard placed in the second century below the walls of the Christian society went off!

The Jews became the collective Merlin behind the throne of a British King Arthur. People dissatisfied with this pre-eminence of the Jews left Christianity for various heathen cults, or became engrossed with the material side of the world. The Judaisation of the West and the degradation of its spirit accelerated.

Today, the translation battle continues as unabatedly and as one-sidedly as ever. The Jews produce dozens of translations into many languages, each more Judaic than the last. Some are openly Jewish, like the Jewish Publication Society Bible, others are crypto-Jewish or “Christian-Zionist”, like the Scofield Reference Bible that reduces the Christian faith to ‘love of Jews and of the Jewish state”. This long, hard work on these corrosive translations is the real Conspiracy of the Elders of Zion.

Russia was the latest to submit to the Judaising influence of the MT translation. Until the late 19th century, the Russians were exposed only to the QEB, the Old Slavonic translation from the Septuagint, and they were pious, religious, loyal to the throne. In the late 19th century, the pro-British Masonic Bible Society had published a translation of the MT into the Russian vernacular. Very soon, the Jewish influence in Russia began to rise. However, the Russian Church did not accept this Judaised Russian Bible for liturgical purposes, and continues to pray and read from the QEB. This caused a tragic rift between the LXX-orientated Church and MT-induced reading public, a rift that came to forefront with the Revolution.

Let me add yet another disclosure: As an ex-Jew who was received into the Greek Orthodox Church of Jerusalem, I am acutely and personally aware of the continuous struggle of these two spirits in the world. Will the Christian world submit to Judaisation, or will the Jews accept Christ? A few days ago, in a church in the Holy Land, I saw a Bible in Hebrew published by a Christian society for the purpose of bringing the Jews to Christ. However, the Old Testament had been reproduced from the MT. If a Jew sees that Christians actually use the Jewish text prepared by anti-Christian Jewish Rabbis, how can he ever accept the Christian interpretation? The encounter of Jews and Christians should bring Jews to the Church, not lead to Christians leaving the Church in dismay.

Proselytising efforts usually fail because the Jews consider themselves the guardians of the Scripture, while they should be seen as keepers of their own distinct text on a par with the Aramaic Peshitta, the Ethiopian Bible or the Samaritan Torah.

The MT is the petard laid centuries ago under the besieged City of God’s fortifications. The reconstruction of the Hebrew OT according to the LXX would hoist the Jewish sappers on their own petard and relieve the siege. A truly Christian Hebrew Bible has now become a distinct possibility. The H70, the Hebrew Source of the LXX, can be reconstructed on the basis of the textological discoveries of the last hundred years, with the help of the Qumran scrolls. We can do it – we can do it fairly quickly and fairly accurately. We intend to do it, with your help. Such a publication will become the turning point in this millennial struggle. The battle will be carried into the adversary’s territory for the first time since A.D. 128, when Rabbi Akiba’s disciple and convert Aquila produced his Judaic translation of the OT into Greek. If this project had been attempted by the young Church in the second century, the Jewish influence today would be the same as the Samaritan one – negligible. Now it is late, but not too late.

People who doubt the very possibility of reconstructing H70 usually refer to the multiple interpretations and versions within the sea of LXX manuscripts. These objections are not sincere. The Church has an exact answer regarding interpretations and versions, and we can trust Her inspiration. In our dark times of confusion, we can follow the interpretation of the Queen Elizabeth Bible, as I said in the beginning.

Why the Queen Elizabeth Bible, and not any other? Why not the Greek text? The QE Bible was prepared in the least Judaised country of the Christian world, in 18th century Russia, under the royal protection of its least Judaised queen. Queen Elizabeth was asked to permit Jewish traders to enter Russia, as they would bring her much profit, and she replied: “I wish no profit from Christ’s enemies.” Western ideas (and in their guise, Judaic influence) made few inroads then. The QE Bible was edited by churchmen, not by scientists, and edited within the full view of the Church tradition. The QE Bible can be likened to a mammoth unearthed in the frozen tundra – its corpse survived for millennia because it was protected by permafrost. One may dislike permafrost and prefer the tropics, but permafrost is better for preservation. Likewise, one may prefer more Westernised, more Judaised Christianity, but if one wants to discover the pure old Hellene tradition, one can turn to Queen Elizabeth.

The Septuagint has plural interpretations and various versions. The QEB has the great advantage of being a single text based on the LXX and fully approved by the Church. Its language is lucid, its meaning is clear, and this allows us to find and reconstruct its lost Hebrew source. (However, other possible approaches could be considered.) The reconstruction of the Pentateuch can be completed soon – with your help.

In order to receive a few chapters of our tentative reconstruction of H70, send an email to with subject H70. Your contribution is tax-exempt in the US; for small contributions use PayPal to the email above; for bigger contributions a bank account will be supplied upon request.

Israel Shamir

Translator of the medieval Jewish work Sefer Yohassin by Rabbi Abraham Zacuto into English, see

Translator of Homer’s Odyssey and Joyce’s Ulysses into Russian, see .

Translator of SY Agnon into Russian ==

(2) King James Version based on Masoretic Text (MT); new Catholic Bibles based on it too

Masoretic Text

The Masoretic Text (MT) is a Hebrew text of the Jewish Bible (Tanakh). It defines not just the books of the Jewish canon, but also the precise letter-text of the biblical books in Judaism, as well as their vocalization and accentuation for both public reading and private study. The MT is also widely used as the basis for translations of the Old Testament in Protestant Bibles, and in recent years also for Catholic Bibles. ...

The oldest extant manuscripts of the Masoretic Text date from approximately the ninth century AD,[1] and the Aleppo Codex (once the oldest complete copy of the Masoretic Text, but now missing its Torah section) dates from the tenth century.


[edit] Origin and transmission

The Talmud (and also Karaite mss.) states that a standard copy of the Hebrew Bible was kept in the court of the Temple in Jerusalem for the benefit of copyists; there were paid correctors of Biblical books among the officers of the Temple (Talmud, tractate Ketubot 106a). This copy is mentioned in the Aristeas Letter (§ 30; comp. Blau, Studien zum Althebr. Buchwesen, p. 100); in the statements of Philo (preamble to his "Analysis of the Political Constitution of the Jews") and in Josephus (Contra Ap. i. 8).

Another Talmudic story, perhaps referring to an earlier time, relates that three Torah scrolls were found in the Temple court but were at variance with each other. The differences were then resolved by majority decision among the three.

[edit] Second Temple period

The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls at Qumran, dating from c.150 BC–AD 75, shows however that in this period there was not always the scrupulous uniformity of text that was so stressed in later centuries. The scrolls show numerous small variations in orthography, both as against the later Masoretic text, and between each other. It is also evident from the notings of corrections and of variant alternatives that scribes felt free to choose according to their personal taste and discretion between different readings.[2] However, despite these variations, most of the Qumran fragments can be classified as being closer to the Masoretic text than to any other text group that has survived. According to Shiffman, 60% can be classed as being of proto-Masoretic type, and a further 20% Qumran style with bases in proto-Masoretic texts, compared to 5% proto-Samaritan type, 5% Septuagintal type, and 10% non-aligned.[3] Furthermore, according to Haas, most of the texts which vary from the Masoretic type, including four of the Septuagint type manuscript fragments, were found in Cave 4. "This is the cave where the texts were not preserved carefully in jars. It is conjectured, that cave 4 was a geniza for the depositing of texts that were damaged or had textual errors." [4] On the other hand, some of the fragments conforming most accurately to the Masoretic text were found in Cave 4.[5]

[edit] Rabbinic period

An emphasis on minute details of words and spellings, already used among the Pharisees as bases for argumentation, reached its height with the example of Rabbi Akiva (d. AD 135). ...

By long tradition, a ritual Torah scroll shall contain only the Hebrew consonantal text - nothing may be added, nothing taken away. However, perhaps because they were intended for personal study rather than ritual use, the Masoretic codices provide extensive additional material, called masorah, to show correct pronunciation and cantillation, protect against scribal errors, and annotate possible variants. The manuscripts thus include vowel points, pronunciation marks and stress accents in the text, short annotations in the side margins, and longer more extensive notes in the upper and lower margins and collected at the end of each book.

Jacob ben Hayyim ibn Adonijah, having collated a vast number of manuscripts, systematized his material and arranged the Masorah in the second Bomberg edition of the Bible (Venice, 1524-25). ... In spite of its numerous errors, this work has been considered by some as the "textus receptus" of the Masorah (Würthwein 1995:39), and was used for the English translation of the Old Testament for the King James Version of the Bible. ...

The second Rabbinic Bible, which served as the base for all future editions. This was the source text used by the translators of the King James Version in 1611 and the New King James Version in 1982.[9]

(3) Septuagint (LXX): rejected by Jews because Christians used it. So Jews developed MT


The Septuagint (pronounced /?s?pt?.?d??nt/), or simply "LXX", referred to in critical works by the abbreviation or ,[1] is the Koine Greek version of the Hebrew Bible, translated in stages between the 3rd and 1st centuries BC in Alexandria.[2]

It is the oldest of several ancient translations of the Hebrew Bible into Greek, lingua franca of the eastern Mediterranean Basin from the time of Alexander the Great (356-323 BC).

The Septuagint was held in great respect in ancient times; Philo and Josephus ascribed divine inspiration to its authors.[3] Besides the Old Latin versions, the LXX is also the basis for the Slavonic, the Syriac, Old Armenian, Old Georgian and Coptic versions of the Old Testament.[4] Of significance for all Christians and for Bible scholars, the LXX is quoted by the Christian New Testament and by the Apostolic Fathers. ...

[edit] Naming and designation

The Septuagint derives its name from Latin Interpretatio septuaginta virorum, (Greek: ? ???????, h? metáphrasis t?n hebdom?konta), "translation of the seventy interpreters".[2]

The word septuaginta[10] means "seventy" in Latin (hence the abbreviation LXX).

The Latin title refers to a legendary account in the pseudepigraphic Letter of Aristeas of how seventy-two Jewish scholars were asked by the Greek King of Egypt Ptolemy II Philadelphus in the 3rd century BC to translate the Torah (or Pentateuch) from Hebrew into Greek for inclusion in the Library of Alexandria.[3]

A later version of that legend narrated by Philo of Alexandria states that although the translators were kept in separate chambers, they all produced identical versions of the text in seventy-two days. Although this story may be improbable, it underlines the fact that some ancient Jews wished to present the translation as authoritative.[3] A version of this legend is found in the Tractate Megillah of the Babylonian Talmud (pages 9a-9b), which identifies fifteen specific unusual translations made by the scholars. Only two of these translations are found in the extant LXX.

[edit] Textual history

Modern scholarship holds that the LXX was written during the 3rd through 1st centuries BC. But nearly all attempts at dating specific books, with the exception of the Pentateuch (early- to mid-3rd century BC), are tentative and without consensus.[3]

Later Jewish revisions and recensions of the Greek against the Hebrew are well attested, the most famous of which include the Three: Aquila (AD 128), Symmachus, and Theodotion. These three, to varying degrees, are more literal renderings of their contemporary Hebrew scriptures as compared to the Old Greek. Modern scholars consider one or more of the 'three' to be totally new Greek versions of the Hebrew Bible.[11]

Around AD 235, Origen, a Christian scholar in Alexandria, completed the Hexapla, a comprehensive comparison of the ancient versions and Hebrew text side-by-side in six columns, with diacritical markings (a.k.a. "editor's marks", "critical signs" or "Aristarchian signs"). Much of this work was lost, but several compilations of the fragments are available. In the first column was the contemporary Hebrew, in the second a Greek transliteration of it, then the newer Greek versions each in their own columns. Origen also kept a column for the Old Greek (the Septuagint) and next to it was a critical apparatus combining readings from all the Greek versions with diacritical marks indicating to which version each line (Gr. ??????) belonged. [12] Perhaps the voluminous Hexapla was never copied in its entirety, but Origen's combined text ("the fifth column") was copied frequently, eventually without the editing marks, and the older uncombined text of the LXX was neglected. Thus this combined text became the first major Christian recension of the LXX, often called the Hexaplar recension. In the century following Origen, two other major recensions were identified by Jerome, who attributed these to Lucian and Hesychius.[3]

The oldest manuscripts of the LXX include 2nd century BC fragments of Leviticus and Deuteronomy (Rahlfs nos. 801, 819, and 957), and 1st century BC fragments of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, and the Minor Prophets (Rahlfs nos. 802, 803, 805, 848, 942, and 943). Relatively complete manuscripts of the LXX postdate the Hexaplar rescension and include the Codex Vaticanus and the Codex Sinaiticus of the 4th century and the Codex Alexandrinus of the 5th century. These are indeed the oldest surviving nearly-complete manuscripts of the Old Testament in any language; the oldest extant complete Hebrew texts date some 600 years later, from the first half of the 10th century.[4] While there are differences between these three codices, scholarly consensus today holds that one LXX — that is, the original pre-Christian translation — underlies all three. The various Jewish and later Christian revisions and recensions are largely responsible for the divergence of the codices.[3]

[edit] Relationship between the Septuagint and the Masoretic text

The sources of the many differences between the Septuagint and the Masoretic text have long been discussed by scholars. The most widely accepted view today is that the original Septuagint provided a reasonably accurate record of an early Semitic textual variant, now lost, that differed from ancestors of the Masoretic text. Ancient scholars, however, did not suspect this. Early Christians—who were largely unfamiliar with Hebrew texts, and were thus only made aware of the differences through the newer Greek versions—tended to dismiss the differences as a product of uninspired translation of the Hebrew in these new versions. Following the Renaissance, a common opinion among some humanists was that the LXX translators bungled the translation from the Hebrew and that the LXX became more corrupt with time. ...

[edit] Dead Sea Scrolls

The discovery of many Biblical fragments in the Dead Sea scrolls that agree with the Septuagint rather than the Masoretic Text proved that many of the variants in Greek were also present in early Semitic manuscripts.[14]

Many of the oldest Biblical fragments among the Dead Sea Scrolls, particularly those in Aramaic, correspond more closely with the LXX than with the Masoretic text (although the majority of these variations are extremely minor, e.g. grammatical changes, spelling differences or missing words, and do not affect the meaning of sentences and paragraphs).[2] [15] [16] This confirms the scholarly consensus that the LXX represents a separate Hebrew-text tradition from that which was later standardized as the Masoretic text.[2] [17]

[edit] Use of the Septuagint

[edit] Jewish use

In the 3rd century BC, most Jewish communities were located in the Hellenistic world where Greek was the lingua franca. It is believed that the LXX was produced because many Jews outside of Judea needed a Greek version of the scripture for use during synagogue readings[18] [19] or for religious study.[20] Some theorise that Hellenistic Jews intended the septuagint as a contribution to Hellenistic culture.[3] Alexandria held the greatest diaspora Jewish community of the age and was also a great center of Greek letters. Alexandria is thus likely the site of LXX authorship, a notion supported by the legend of Ptolemy and the 72 scholars.[21] The Septuagint enjoyed widespread use in the Hellenistic Jewish diaspora and even in Jerusalem, which had become a rather cosmopolitan (and therefore Greek-speaking) town. Both Philo and Josephus show a reliance on the Septuagint in their citations of Jewish scripture.

Starting approximately in the 2nd century AD (see also Council of Jamnia), several factors led most Jews to abandon use of the LXX. The earliest gentile Christians of necessity used the LXX, as it was at the time the only Greek version of the bible, and most, if not all, of these early non-Jewish Christians could not read Hebrew. The association of the LXX with a rival religion may have rendered it suspect in the eyes of the newer generation of Jews and Jewish scholars.[4] Perhaps more importantly, the Greek language—and therefore the Greek Bible—declined among Jews after most of them fled from the Greek-speaking eastern Roman Empire into the Aramaic-speaking Persian Empire when Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans. Instead, Jews used Hebrew/Aramaic Targum manuscripts later compiled by the Masoretes; and authoritative Aramaic translations, such as those of Onkelos and Rabbi Yonathan ben Uziel.[22]

What was perhaps most significant for the LXX, as distinct from other Greek versions, was that the LXX began to lose Jewish sanction after differences between it and contemporary Hebrew scriptures were discovered. Even Greek-speaking Jews — such as those remaining in Palestine — tended less to the LXX, preferring other Jewish versions in Greek, such as that of Aquila, which seemed to be more concordant with contemporary Hebrew texts.[4] While Jews have not used the LXX in worship or religious study since the second century AD, recent scholarship has brought renewed interest in it in Judaic Studies.

[edit] Christian use

The early Christian Church used the Greek texts since Greek was a lingua franca of the Roman Empire at the time, and the language of the Church. In addition the Church Fathers tended to accept Philo's account of the LXX's miraculous and inspired origin. Furthermore, the New Testament writers, when citing the Jewish scriptures or when quoting Jesus doing so, freely used the Greek translation, implying that the Apostles and their followers considered it reliable.[23]

When Jerome undertook the revision of the Old Latin translations of the Septuagint, he checked the Septuagint against the Hebrew texts that were then available. He came to believe that the Hebrew text better testified to Christ than the Septuagint.[24] He broke with church tradition and translated most of the Old Testament of his Vulgate from Hebrew rather than Greek. His choice was severely criticized by Augustine, his contemporary; a flood of still less moderate criticism came from those who regarded Jerome as a forger. But with the passage of time, acceptance of Jerome's version gradually increased until it displaced the Old Latin translations of the Septuagint.[4]

The Hebrew text diverges in some passages that Christians hold to prophesy Christ[25] and the Eastern Orthodox Church still prefers to use the LXX as the basis for translating the Old Testament into other languages. The Eastern Orthodox also use LXX untranslated where Greek is the liturgical language, e.g. in the Orthodox Church of Constantinople, the Church of Greece and the Cypriot Orthodox Church. Many modern critical translations of the Old Testament, while using the Masoretic text as their basis, consult the Septuagint as well as other versions in an attempt to reconstruct the meaning of the Hebrew text whenever the latter is unclear, undeniably corrupt, or ambiguous.[4]

[edit] Apocrypha

Main article: Biblical Apocrypha

The Septuagint includes some books not found in the Hebrew Bible. Many Protestant Bibles follow the Jewish canon and exclude the additional books. Roman Catholics, however, include some of these books in their canon while Eastern Orthodox Churches use all the books of the Septuagint. Anglican lectionaries also use all of the books except Psalm 151, and the full Authorized (King James) Version includes these additional books in a separate section labelled the "Apocrypha".

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