[b-hebrew] MT for all OT Translations?

Yigal Levin leviny1 at mail.biu.ac.il
Tue Jun 22 02:25:11 EDT 2004

From: "Philip Engmann" <phil-eng at ighmail.com>
> What possible basis could there be for a translation, i.e. the
> Septuagint, to be regarded as the authoritative text?
> Philip

As far as the Eastern Christian tradition, their preference for the LXX is
probably based on the fact that this was the version quoted by the authors
of the NT; if that's what the Apostles preferred, it must be the right
version. The fact that the Jews have what they CLAIM to be the original, is
probably just one more reason to ignore it. It also allowed them to avoid
having to learn Hebrew - remember that to them, Greek was a commonly spoken
language. Jerome's basing his translation (the Vulgate, which became the
standard in the Western Church) on the Hebrew was actually quite radical in
the early church. But the Western Church then developed an awareness that it
reads the Bible in translation - the OT from Hebrew and the NT from Greek.

In terms of modern scholarship, the reason we often look to the LXX for an
"original" reading, is simply because, although the Hebrew Bible WAS written
in Hebrew, we just don't have the original text. What we have in the MT is a
10th century copy of copies of copies of the original, after at least some
editing. In many cases, the LXX represents a different Hebrew text - that
is, the Hebrew from which the LXX was translated was clearly different that
the Hebrew of the MT. Which version better represents the (now lost)
"original" is a matter of case-by-case judgment.


More information about the b-hebrew mailing list