[b-hebrew] MT for all OT Translations?

Peter Kirk peterkirk at qaya.org
Tue Jun 22 07:55:34 EDT 2004

On 21/06/2004 23:25, Yigal Levin wrote:

>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?
>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. ...

I suspect that the original reason why the Eastern church used the LXX 
was because that church was (mostly) Greek-speaking, and the LXX was the 
only available translation into Greek (although in fact it circulated 
for some time in various recensions). Since then, when the Eastern 
church has expanded into other countries in eastern Europe and the 
Middle East there has been a preference to translate from the Greek, 
because that was familiar at a time when Hebrew was not well known among 
Christians, and because of the power of tradition. I don't think the LXX 
has ever been officially declared authoritative, just de facto in some 

Compare the situation in the Western church, in which the Latin Vulgate 
was the basis of almost all translations for 1500 years and officially 
declared as authoritative, although no claims were ever made that it was 
the original or that Jesus spoke Latin (despite Mel Gibson putting Latin 
words on his lips - far more likely that he spoke with Pilate in Greek).

The Russian Synodal Bible, by the way, is not based on the LXX but on an 
eclectic and sometimes confusing mixture of MT and LXX.

Peter Kirk
peter at qaya.org (personal)
peterkirk at qaya.org (work)

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