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

Harold Holmyard hholmyard at ont.com
Mon Oct 16 10:45:33 EDT 2006

Schmuel wrote:

>>> One good book is by Floyd Nolen Jones.
>>> http://www.floydjones.org/LXX.pdf The Septuagint: A Critical Analysis

HH: Here is another unreliable statement by Jones:

3. The third witness [to the early existence of 
the Septuagint] most often referred to is that of 
the prologue of the Apocryphal non-canonical
book "Jesus, the Son of Sirach." Purportedly 
written 130 B.C., this work, is often cited as
referring to a Greek version that existed in his 
day. However, Jesus – "Son of Sirach" – was
merely translating his grandfather's work, and 
this work was not written in Greek but
Hebrew.4 What he said was "... the same things 
expressed in Hebrew have not an equal force
when translated into another language. Not only 
so, but even the Law and the prophecies and
the rest of the books differ not a little as to 
the things said in them."5

It can be seen that the first statement made no 
reference whatsoever to the Greek language.
Furthermore, the second statement says nothing 
about a translation but refers only to what the
Hebrew books said. Jesus, the Son of Sirach, said 
nothing whatever in the preceding quote about
the Law and the Prophecies existing in a Greek Old 
Testament. Having undertaken to translate his
grandfather's work from Hebrew to Greek, he was 
merely speaking of his own difficulties in
translating. Thus Jesus' (the Son of Sirach) 
citation to the "Law and the Prophecies" had no 
relation to any Greek Bible.

HH: Despite Mr. Jones' claim, H. St. J. Thackeray, 
an eminent septuagintalist and Greek scholar, 
understood well that Sirach here referred to a 
Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible. And so 
should any intelligent reader. Here is the excerpt 
from the Prologue to Sirach:

15-26] You are urged therefore to read with good 
will and attention, and to be indulgent in cases 
where, despite our diligent labor in translating, 
we may seem to have rendered some phrases 
imperfectly. For what was originally expressed in 
Hebrew does not have exactly the same sense when 
translated into another language. Not only this 
work, but even the law itself, the prophecies, and 
the rest of the books differ not a little as 
originally expressed.

HH: It seems clear that Ben Sira's grandson 
excuses the difficulties of his Greek translation 
of the Hebrew by saying that even the Greek 
translation of the Hebrew Law, prophets, and other 
books shows similar differences from the original. 
The context of his comment is the rendering of 
Hebrew into Greek

HH: If you wish further notes on this point, see:


HH: The Prologue to Sirach indicates that much of 
the Hebrew Bible had been translated into Greek by 
the time of this writing.

Harold Holmyard

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