Greek vs. Hebrew

Peter Kirk Peter_Kirk at
Sun Dec 30 08:00:50 EST 2001

My answer to this would depend on what you mean by the MT. If you mean the
fully pointed Masoretic text, then, yes, the earliest MSS are later than the
oldest Greek MSS. But that is comparing apples and oranges; a better
comparison would be to say that the fully pointed Masoretic text is earlier
than Rahlfs' critical edition of LXX, complete with capital letters,
punctuation, accents etc. On the other hand, the earliest MSS of the Hebrew
text (at least large parts of it) used by the Masoretes (with only slight
differences) are older than the Greek MSS; they were found at Qumran. The
text of the great Isaiah scroll is very similar to the unpointed Masoretic
text. The DSS also show us that both the Greek and the Hebrew texts had a
complicated history even before the Christian era. I conclude from that that
there is no evidence for the argument that the LXX is "more authoritative"
because somehow closer to the original.

You seem to imply that "the Greek OT [is] generally considered more
authoritative". That is a minority opinion among scholars, surely, although
a faith position of Orthodox Christians.

Peter Kirk

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Theodore H. Mann [mailto:theomann at]
> Sent: 30 December 2001 05:04
> To: Biblical Hebrew
> Subject: Greek vs. Hebrew
> Greetings Friends:
> From earlier posts I have learned that the Greek OT predates the earliest
> copy of the MT by a number of centuries.  I'm interested to know how OT
> textual critics weigh these two sources.  That is, for example, is the
> Greek OT generally considered more authoritative because it is closer in
> time to the autographs than the later MT?
> Many thanks from a novice (obviously).
> Ted Mann
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