Greek vs. Hebrew

Dave Washburn dwashbur at
Mon Dec 31 10:33:46 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?"

We know that the LXX is a translation.  Hence, it is proper to assume 
that the Hebrew/Aramaic text came first.  Divisions mean nothing for 
recovering an autograph; that's the realm of form criticism, and it 
has little or nothing to do with TC.

> 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.

First, since we have major parts of Daniel preserved in the DSS, why 
lean so heavily on the Greek versions?  There aren't that many 
serious textual problems in Daniel in the first place.  And if, as 
you yourself say, Theodotion is a "marginal" translation, that limits 
its usefulness for recovering the Hebrew and Aramaic text.  So it 
appears to me that you have answered your own question.

> Third - Daniel in the Hebrew Bible is bilingual. 
[snip] Peter already addressed this sufficiently.  It's pretty much a 

> 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.

There are so many assumptions here I can't address them all, except 
to say that this entire paragraph is built by piling up assumptions.  
We all use them, of course, but it's important to recognize them as 
such and not elevate them to the level of established fact.

> 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. 

Obviously, I disagree.  But you're entitled to your opinion.
Dave Washburn
This time, like all times, is a very good one if we but know what to 
do with it.

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