[b-hebrew] MT as source text?

Brian Roberts formoria at carolina.rr.com
Sat Jun 5 18:27:46 EDT 2004


What about the Samaritan Pentateuch?

Brian Roberts


On Saturday, June 5, 2004, at 12:42  PM, Philip Engmann wrote:

> 1.      Majority of bible translations use the MT as source text and
> other sources (i.e. LXX, DSS, etc) where the MT seems doubtful e.g.
> NIV.[1]
> 2.      This practice is wrong because it assumes that the MT is more
> accurate than the LXX (and other sources). [2] Furthermore, this
> practice also assumes that the parent text of the MT, i.e. the Proto-MT
> is more accurate or correct than the parent text of the LXX, i.e. the
> LXX Vorlage. But this assumption is false because where the LXX Vorlage
> and the Proto-MT differ, there is no known way to tell which of the 2
> ancient texts is correct.[3]
> 3.      The best way to approach translation in these circumstances, I
> think, is to treat the LXX and MT as equal texts as much as possible.
>
> Where the LXX and the MT (and other sources) agree, there is no problem.
>
> But where the LXX and the MT (and other sources) disagree, a thorough
> textual critical investigation must be made into these differences
> before selecting the best text.
>
> But certainly there seems to be very little justification for assuming
> that the MT is the most accurate or correct OT text.[4]
>
> Philip Engmann
>
>
>
>
>
>
>   _____
>
> [1] Preface to the New International Version (NIV), page 34, paragraph
> 3, which is self-explanatory.  It states:
> "For the Old Testament, the standard Hebrew text, the Masoretic Text as
> published in the latest editions of Biblia Hebraica, was used
> throughout.  The Dead Sea Scrolls contain material bearing on an earlier
> stage of the Hebrew text.  They were consulted, as were the Samaritan
> Pentateuch and the ancient scribal traditions relating to textual
> changes. Sometimes a variant Hebrew reading in the margin of the
> Masoretic Text was followed instead of the text itself.  Such instances,
> being variants within the Masoretic tradition, are not specified by the
> footnotes. In rare cases, words in the consonantal text were divided
> differently from the way they appear in the Masoretic Text. Footnotes
> indicate this. The translators also consulted the more important early
> versions, i.e. the Septuagint; Aquila, Symmachus and Theodotion; the
> Vulgate; the Syriac Peshitta; the Targums; and for the Psalms the Juxta
> Hebraica of Jerome. Readings from these versions were occasionally
> (emphasis mine) followed where the Masoretic Text seemed doubtful and
> where accepted principles of textual criticism showed that one or more
> of these textual witnesses appeared to provide the correct reading. Such
> instances are footnoted.  Sometimes vowel letters and vowel signs did
> not, in the judgement of the translators, represent the correct vowels
> for the original consonantal text.  Accordingly, some words were read
> with a different set of vowels. These instances are usually not
> indicated by footnotes."
>
> It is clear from the above quote that the LXX, and indeed the more
> important early versions, was used "occasionally only where the
> Masoretic Text seemed doubtful and where accepted principles of textual
> criticism showed that one or more of these textual witnesses appeared to
> provide the correct reading."
>
> [2] This practice also assumes that the pointing done by the Masoretes
> was correct-an assumption which is not necessarily true.
> [3] Complicating the issue is the fact that there were several LXX
> texts, Hebrew texts etc, each with their own set of variants.
> [4] It goes without saying that the discoveries of the DSS have
> demonstrated that the MT may not conclusively be the most accurate OT
> text as was originally thought, but that the LXX, in view of the fact
> that it is likely to have had a different Vorlage, is also a very
> significant factor in OT textual criticism.
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