Greek vs. Hebrew

c stirling bartholomew cc.constantine at
Mon Dec 31 01:14:28 EST 2001

on 12/30/01 12:53 PM, Dave Washburn wrote:

>> We need to shift our focus when moving from NT Textual criticism to a
>> discussion of the relationship between the MT and LXX. The traditional
>> approach with the NT is to make the goal of TC the recovery of the
>> autographs. If you make that your goal with a book like Daniel you are
>> certainly going to end up being frustrated.
> Why?

Why not?

I have studied the text of both Greek versions of Daniel extensively and
compared them at many points with Daniel in the Hebrew Bible and I certainly
see a number of substantial reasons for being daunted by the task of finding
the "autograph" of the book of Daniel.

First - What is the book of Daniel? If you take the Hebrew Bible as the
standard it is a book with 2 major divisions and a number of minor
divisions. If you take the LXX Daniel you have a book with five major
divisions, substantial additional material and a lot of minor divisions.
Furthermore in the pseudoepigrapha we find  other pieces of Daniel floating
about. So what is the book of Daniel?  What kind of book are we looking for
in our "autograph?"

Second - The LXX version of Daniel (Old Greek) is considered my many a
marginal piece of work as translations go. What is called the Theodotion
version may contain a text as old as the OG version. There is  debate on
this issue. The OG and Theodotion versions of Daniel are quite different.
Which Greek edition are you going to trust for finding the "autograph?"
Eclectic approach? Sure, why not.

Third - Daniel in the Hebrew Bible is bilingual. The language division does
not fall exactly on a major discourse boundary. The original language of
Daniel is a topic of debate. We may not have some of the book in its
original language. It might have all been written originally in Aramaic.
What language are we looking for in our "autograph?"

Fourth - What is called the Masoretic Text (MT) is actually a family of
texts, highly standardized and centuries removed from the date of even the
latest OT books. The MT is for the Old Testament what the Majority Text is
for the New Testament. It is the "official" text. This is not a pejorative
observation. Being an official text does not make it a bad or inferior text
but it does imply that "standardization" was a part of the process. Official
texts may not preserve the "autograph." An understatement? Yes indeed.

So when we take a look at the text of a book like Daniel we find ourselves
working with a lot of variables. Problems with lots of variables are
difficult to solve. I think the "autograph" of the Daniel is out of reach.
We don't even know what we are looking for, the language, the size the shape
the contents. 

Enough on this topic.



Clayton Stirling Bartholomew
Three Tree Point
P.O. Box 255 Seahurst WA 98062

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