[b-hebrew] Septuagint vs Hebrew, effect on Christianity

Harold Holmyard hholmyard at ont.com
Sat Oct 14 17:57:20 EDT 2006

Schmuel wrote:

>> K Randolph wrote:
>>> LXX was irrelevant to the founding of Christianity and the writing of the New Testament.
> Harold Holmyard,
>> HH: What do you mean when you say this? It is obvious that the NT quotation of many OT verses 
>> follows the LXX wording exactly or almost exactly.
> Schmuel
> Not so obviously - let's play carts and horses.  
> a) The extant manuscripts of the Greek OT are 4th century and later.
> b) These have a wild and wooly textual history, involving the Hexapla, 
>     competing Jewish and Christian provenance, and the realm of
>     alexandrian copyists, known for their lack of precision and ability
>     to come up with doozies (a lot scribal level).
> c) There are cases that are essentially indisputable where the Greek OT was
>     'smoothed' to match the NT (by scribes who did not understand the NT text 
>     fully).  One is Cainan in late Greek OT genealogy to match Luke 3:36. 
>     Another is the rather amazing case of rigging Psalms to match a Romans section. 
> d) There are very few cases where the Greek OT reading in question (that 
>     is 'closer' to a NT reading) is supported by any other early texts, be 
>     they Targumim, Peshitta, Vulgate or the DSS. 
> Conclusion.
> An easier general explanation for the verses in question -
> The Greek OT was 'smoothed' by low-quality scribes between 100 AD to 500 AD
> to be closer to the NT - by scribes who simply could not leave midrash alone :-)

HH: Where did you get this information? You don't 
include other sources of LXX quotations such as 
Philo and Josephus. There is a huge debt that he 
NT writers have to the LXX, one that makes your 
claim look like it must have been a conspiracy 
rather than a number of mistakes. Here is one 
comment from the Wikipedia article on the Septuagint:

Of the fuller quotations in the New Testament of 
the Old, nearly one hundred agree with the modern 
form of the Septuagint[12] and six agree with the 
Masoretic Text.[13] The principle differences 
concern presumed Bibilical prophecies relative to 

HH: Copies of the Septuagint must have been fairly 
common at the time of the church's foundation, 
used in Jewish synagogues in the Greek-speaking 
part of the world. So these errors would be 
noticed, it seems to me.

HH: And very soon the Septuagint was translated 
into other languages, such as the Old Latin, which 
can be used to provide textual criticism on the 
text of the LXX.

HH: Furthermore, the Dead Sea Scrolls show that 
some peculiarities of the LXX were based on an 
alternate Hebrew text. If the NT quotes the LXX as 
  God's word to make a point, and the LXX had to 
be changed to make the point, the point itself 
would lose the validity that God's word could provide.

HH: I recently read a fairly long text on studying 
the Septuagint, by Karen Jobes and Moises Silva, 
called Invitation to the Septuagint. I don't 
remember that this claim even came up.

Harold Holmyard

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