[b-hebrew] Septuagint vs Hebrew, Josephus and Philo

Harold Holmyard hholmyard at ont.com
Mon Oct 16 14:58:33 EDT 2006

Schmuel wrote:

. Philo.. The  fact is that there are no actual
quotes contained in his work that are cited from a
Greek translation of the Old Testament.
> Schmuel This may or may not be wrong, but you
> have not given even a single
> counter-verse-indication. Do you have any ?

HH: I am not going to give you any more time on
this. Jones is contradicting standard knowledge, 
as I have shown from several sources.

> Isn't it a primary issue to find out if, in
> regard to Josephus and Philo..
> a) they give any support to the Greek OT
> variants that are in the 4th century and later
> manuscripts now called the "LXX".

HH: It is common knowledge that they do.

> So far, not only do they give no support to
> (b), we don't even have examples for (a).  In
> fact at the very least we can say that they
> give much more support to the Masoretic Text
> than the Greek texts (as do most of the DSS,
> especially the Penteteuch and Isaiah and many,
> but not all, books).  You can see that yourself
> by simply opening up the works of Philo and
> doing your own comparisons.  Imho, the lack of
> a simple scholarly paper in this regard is due
> to some of the blindnesses in modern
> scholarship, where the arcane can trump the
> simple and clear.

HH: I prefer standard scholarship to Floyd Jones.

>> 5. Lastly, the Jewish Historian Josephus
>> (A.D. 37-100?) is often cited as having used
>> the Septuagint. However no quotes of his
>> having done so are ever offered to certify
>> such a claim. . . .
>> HH: However, I just cited an authority
>> yesterday who shows it is common knowledge
>> that we have many quotes of the Septuagint
>> from Philo and Josephus: 
>> http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/gopher/other/journals/kraftpub/Judaism/Septuagint%20(Old%20Greek)
>>  Extensive quotations and allusions in Greek
>> are also preserved in Philo (ca. 30 CE), Paul
>> (ca. 50), Josephus (ca.  80), 1 Clement (ca.
>> 95), and a number of other Christian texts
>> from the early [[813]] period.
> You are misreading and/or misusing this quote.

HH: I am not.

> It is discussing their writing in Greek and not
> directly addressing what Bible(s) they read.

HH: No, the whole passage is about material in the 
Old Greek Bible, so that is what he is talking 
about, material in Greek that reflects the Greek OT.

The earliest preserved OG materials.

HH: OG is a symbol for the Greek OT; this is the 
symbol now used for what used to be termed the 
LXX, since that symbol has gone out of favor.

</> The growing body of
relevant materials that antedate the Second Jewish 
Revolt (135
CE) permits a glimpse of early OG textual 
developments. Actual
Greek fragments include:

Date           Siglum       Identification
2nd BCE         801     4 QLXX          Lev\a
2nd/1st BCE     957     P.Rylands 458   Deut
                 805     7 QLXX          Exod
                 804     7 QLXX          Epist.Jer
1st BCE         942     P.Fouad 266     Gen
                 848     P.Fouad 266     Deut #1
1st BCE/1st CE  802     4 QLXX          Lev\b
                 803     4 QLXX          Num
1st CE          847     P.Fouad 266     Deut #2
1st/2nd CE      814     P.Yale 1        Gen (codex)
Early 2nd CE    963     Chester Beatty  Num-Deut 

Extensive quotations and allusions in Greek are 
also preserved in
Philo (ca. 30 CE), Paul (ca. 50), Josephus (ca. 
80), 1 Clement
(ca. 95), and a number of other Christian texts 
from the early
[[813]] period.

HH: He is saying that Philo and Josephus present, 
with others, extensive quotations of and allusions 
to the Greek OT, the OG being a symbol now used 
for what used to be called the LXX.

> Hebrew, Greek, Latin or some combinations.
> Perhaps different for different sections,
> perhaps they even made ad hoc translations to
> Greek. There are many variables.

HH: No, the source is talking about Greek Old 
Testament materials.

> Robert Kraft (an excellent scholar, very much
> appreciated, unlike your earlier Richard
> Anthony, whom you would do well to disown
> rather than be linked) may believe that
> Josephus and Philo used a Greek text but the
> quote above is a cart before the horse approach
> for your argumentation.
> Also .. don't you see some circularity by using
> Paul as a reference in this discussion ?

HH: I wasn't talking about Paul. I cited Kraft 
with reference to all the other materials.
> This begs the question of whether 400 AD
> 'smoothed' passages, (e.g. the obvious changing
> of Psalms to match Romans from Paul) can be
> used as an evidence in reverse.  Just because
> some scholars don't consider the 'smoothing',
> despite such clear evidences, doesn't mean that
> you should adopt their lack of knowledge and/or
> insight circularities as your own deliberate,
> conscious circularities.

HH: All sorts of things happened to ancient texts. 
However, it is perfectly obvious to me that the NT 
borrows from the Greek OT. It is perfectly obvious 
that the Greek OT preceded the birth of Christ. It 
is perfectly obvious that the early church used 
the Greek OT.

> What is your explanation for that ? If Philo
> was using the "LXX" why are his quotes much
> closer to the Hebrew MT than what is now called
> the "LXX" ?

HH: Maybe he accepted the MT numbers. There are 
other possibilities.

>> HH: It is evident that Floyd Jones is
>> contradicting common knowledge when he
>> suggests that neither Philo or Josephus used
>> the Septuagint.

> Each case is complicated.   Here is an example.

> Are you aware that Philo is 90%+ quoting only
> the Penteteuch. And that his background in
> Hebrew is a subject of much discourse. An
> example.
> http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0411/is_n2_v44/ai_17379714/pg_8
>  Probably the most recent and extensive brief
> for Philo's use of Hebrew sources for his
> etymologies, is Hava Schur's recent doctorate
> entitled Hebrew Names in Philo's Allegorical
> Exegeses, (Heb.) (Tel-Aviv: 1991). Schur not
> only recognizes the existence of a midrashic
> tradition in Philo's day with which he was
> familiar, but goes so far as to consider
> Philo's Hebrew etymologies to be proof of his
> knowledge of Hebrew.

HH: There is general scholarly recognition of 
Philo's use of the Greek OT, whatever knowledge of 
Hebrew he had.

> With Jospehus we have the Aramaic component as
> well, and the fact that he complained about
> difficulties with Greek.  And his quotes again
> do not line up with what is called the "LXX"
> The whole situation was dicey.

HH: It is not dicey.

> http://www.nndb.com/people/631/000101328/ 
> Sometimes, also, he gives proof of some
> knowledge of Hebrew and supplements his
> scriptural authorities, which include 1 Esdras,
> from general Greek histories.

HH: That is to be expected.
> http://lists.ibiblio.org/pipermail/b-hebrew/1999-July/003580.html
> - courtesy of Ian Hutcheson :-) I have no doubt
> that both languages (Aramaic and Hebrew), plus
> Greek, were in use at the time of Josephus....
> I see no reason to believe that he was not a
> speaker of Hebrew. In fact, given the
> statements I've mentioned from his works, I
> think the onus is on anyone who believes the
> contrary to provide some evidence.

HH: The point is that his writings manifest use of 
the LXX.

> Perhaps a knowledge of Hebrew by Josephus
> (and/or Aramaic) would go a long way to
> explaining why you have not given us any actual
> statements from Josephus that line up with what
> is now called the LXX, versus the Masoretic
> Text.s

HH: I do not doubt that Josephus could have known 

> btw, the Ben Sira situation is interesting ..
> and I may agree that it is a stronger evidence
> than Floyd Jones gives credit to, for some
> earlier Greek Tanach texts.  I was researching
> this a while back but let it drop off.

Harold Holmyard

More information about the b-hebrew mailing list