[b-hebrew] OT Translations

Bill Rea bsr15 at cantsl.canterbury.ac.nz
Thu Jun 10 17:14:42 EDT 2004

Philip asked:-

>But what if the "tradition" is wrong?

Sadly, you are probably really stuck. With texts that have come
down to us through a period of maybe as long as 3,000+ years, for
which many quoted source documents are competely missing, and in a
dead language, the most reliable source is the unbroken tradition or
traditions (i.e. Jews, Samaritans and Christians) which have regarded
these works as sacred.

If you've been around this list for long you'll see that a number of
arguments are no more than one person pitting their assumptions against
another's. About the best you can hope for is for something that is
plausible or reasonable.

Trying to make a case that the LXX should be preferred over the MT
runs up against the obstacle that the LXX is a collection of translations
of variable quality.  Attempting to reconstruct a lost Hebrew text when we
aren't sure the translation is accurate is likely to be a hopeless task.

To draw a parallel closer to our time, if my memory serves me correctly,
when Erasmus went to assemble a Greek NT he had to translate a few verses
from Latin back into Greek because there were no texts available. As Greek
texts have become available it should be possible to check his accuracy.
That should give us some indication of whether it is feasible to recover
a lost Hebrew text on the basis of the LXX.

Bill Rea, Information Technology Dept., Canterbury  University  \_
E-Mail bill.rea at canterbury.ac.nz                                </   New
Phone   64-3-364-2331, Fax     64-3-364-2332                   /)  Zealand
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