Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Variants Between the Septuagint & Masoretic Manuscripts and Controversies About the Two

Here is a good summary from Wikipedia:
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 Septuagint provides 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. The discovery of many 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.

These issues notwithstanding, the text of the LXX is in general close to that of the Masoretic.

You may see arguments from anti-missionaries which state that a certain reading of a Messianic prophecy is based on a faulty reading from the Septuagint. It is generally not as simple as that, as that Wikipedia quote relates. Some will even claim that the Septuagint was intentionally corrupted.

You may also see ancient Christians, who didn't know Hebrew, favor the Septuagint and suspect that some Jewish people were hiding the true meaning of the texts.

The above description is based on my recollection, so please forgive me since I can't provide references off the top of my head.

But the point of this series is to say, forget all of those claims if you don't have proof of corruption, supression, etc.

The Dead Sea Scrolls have shown that variants between the Septuagint and the Masoretic texts weren't made up out of thin-air. For more on the issue I recommend this article.

I have one more post before we get into some examples. The light is at the end of the tunnel.

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2 Comments:

Blogger Sherry said...

I have been doing research too and it is quite alarming. I'm glad you are doing this as well. I'm also doing studies on ancient Christianity for ex: Why the change from Saturday to Sunday worship?

I've referenced Matthew 5:17-20
Romans 2:25-29 3:1-2
1 Corinthians 7:19

5/08/2007 04:02:00 PM  
Blogger geoffrobinson said...

Why the changes?

My current assumption is that Jewish believers would do normal synagogue worship on Saturday and then have their Jewish-Gentile Christian services on Sunday. When kicked out of synagogue, they continued with Sunday worship.

This may be wrong, but this is my best guess. I have but haven't read "From Sabbath to Lord's Day", edited by DA Carson. You may find answers to your questions there.

I would recommend reading Hebrews 4. Lack of God's rest is God's judgment. So Jesus' death brings us God's rest.

5/09/2007 08:12:00 AM  

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