kdlitwak kdlitwak at concentric.net
Fri Dec 31 15:47:02 EST 1999

Jim West wrote:

> At 12:02 AM 12/30/99 -0800, you wrote:
> >So you would say, based on this, that the LXX was first produced in the
> >4th-5th cent. AD
> This is simply incorrect.  We have LXX mss from as early as 100 BCE.

Wrong.  There are no complete MSS of the LXX before the 4th cent.  AD.  And we
are talking about Cicero.  The case is _exactly_ parallel:  MSS from much later
than the alleged autograph.  You said that the only thing that qualified as
hard evidence is the MS.  You cannot have your cake and eat it too.  You are
required by what you said to assert the complete LXX never existed before the
4th cent., that no Gospel, except John, existed before 200 AD, that Josephus
was written in the middle Ages when the first MS appears, and so forth.  Either
be consistent, or don't make clams without argumentation.

> > and the burden of proof is on those who say it was from
> >an earlier time.  You would be required to say, by what you say here,
> >that Aristotle, Cicero, Thucydides, Herodotus, Homer, etc., were first
> >created after the 7th cent. AD.  Do you wish to defend these positions?
> We are not talking about cicero.  We are talking about evidence.

You miss the point completely.  Cicero and biblical MSS are exactly identical
in their situation.  You must, by your earlier statements, argue that the
entire corpus of classical literature, Philo, Josephus, etc., were first
created in the Middle Ages because you just said that MSS are hard evidence and
that is totally different from suppositions.  The assertion of an earlier
autograph before the moment the earliest MS existed is a supposition and
therefore, you MUST, by your statement, assert that every single line of
biblical texts was written at the moment the earliest MS was penned, or be
completely inconsistent in your own argumentation.  You cannot castigate
someone who argues for a 2nd Millennium date for Exodus if you are not ready to
accept a 7th cent. date for Josephus.

> >No one in classics of LXX studies would take you seriously.  Why is the
> >Hebrew Bible any different?  The problem is that some posters are
> >conflating two issues that are separate issues:  the date of the
> >autograph of a text; and the historical reliability of that text based
> >on some definition of external evidence (a useful but problematic
> >criterion).
> Im not making any such mistake.  In fact, i am simply asking, over and over
> again because folk evidently dont get it, that people realize that evidence
> is one thing and supposition is another.  Ms evidence is hard proof.
> Suppositions about other things are just that, suppositions.

What constitutes hard evidence?  Do I have to have a MS?  If so, your
statements above are inconsistent.  What's hard evidence?  I've asked you and
Niels, among others, before to tell us what that means.  I guess that the
Siloam Tunnel inscription doesn't qualify but the 9th cent. AD date for a
Hebrew version of Esther does (that's the first date, so far as I know, that
Esther is extant in Hebrew, which means it was _created_ in Hebrew in the 9th
cent AD according to your apparent standard for hard evidence -- I'm just
applying what you said, rather than making suppositions.

> >   I'm treating only one of those two questions right now:  what does
> >the date of MS tell us about the autograph's date?  According to you,
> >the burden of proof is on me to show that the LXX was written prior to
> >its appearance in Vaticanus.  Now, please deal with this issue alone.
> I already have.

No.  You have asserted your position.  You have most certainly not _argued_ it
and dealt with the issues in a meaningful way.

> There are ample mss predating the 1st c. BCE for LXX.  I
> dont see why you are stuck on Vaticanus- it ISNT the earliest ms.

There are not.  There are bits and pieces, nothing more.  If I'm wrong, please
list them.  The small amount fond at Qumran is hardly the complete LXX by any
stretch of fantasy.

> >Do not conflate it with validating the events recounted in that
> >document.  In fact, how about choosing a book like Qoheleth, which isn't
> >really about any specific events, or Proverbs.
> Choose any book you like if you wish.  FInd the earliest manuscript of that
> text, and I will gladly admit that it existed at that time.  But if you
> start blabbering that it must have existed in the time of Moses I will ask
> that you provide proof and not supposition.

Then don't blabber that any classical literature or the LXX as a whole or Philo
ever existed before 600 AD.  Be consistent in your treatment of data and your

Ken Litwak

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