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

K Randolph kwrandolph at gmail.com
Mon Sep 25 13:15:04 EDT 2006


I agree that the New Testament was written to a largely Greek speaking
audience of mixed diaspora Jews and others, but what I am focusing on
is the source of the theology that guided the writing of the New
Testament, and that was not LXX. The only diaspora writer was Luke.
The rest were either from Judea and Galilee or grew up there thus
their reference was the Hebrew Tanakh, not the Greek LXX.

I suspect that their use of the LXX, where they may have used it, is
the same as my use of an English translation of Tanakh: where it
agrees with what I know of the Hebrew text, it is quicker and easier
to use the efforts of others, but where it disagrees with the Hebrew
text, I follow the Hebrew text instead of the translation. And I will
point out that difference to my audience.

As for the text of the New Testament, it looks as if what we call the
Byzantine tradition was the result of an early practice of textual
criticism that preserved even some examples of dialectal differences
between Judean and Galilean pronunciation that was lost in mms such as
Sinaiticus. And when we look at what the texts say, even including all
variants, there is almost no change in meaning so it is very likely we
have, for all intents and purposes, the original teachings as written
by the original authors. As for who wrote which books of the New
Testament, that's tradition that goes back to the first century, so it
is most likely accurate.

Karl W. Randolph.

On 9/24/05, Yigal Levin <leviny1 at mail.biu.ac.il> wrote:
> This is all assuming a lot. Many scholars assume that the "Hebrew" of
> Matthew was really Aramaic, and there is really no proof at all that the
> rest of the gospels or Acts were written by native speakers of Hebrew.
> Remember, that many western Diaspora Jews, in places like Alexandria and all
> of Paul's synagogues/churches (Rome, Galatia, certainly places like Corinth)
> were really native speakers of Greek, who may have known some Hebrew. Of
> course, there were also many learned people who knew Hebrew, but the whole
> point of translating the Bible into Greek, back in the 3rd or 2nd centuries
> BCE, was to provide a text for Greek-speaking Jews.
> But beyond all this - the question is not what the Apostles spoke. The
> question is what the intended audience of the NT read and spoke. This was
> Greek. So the authors of the NT, and in fact even before them, the first
> Jesus-followers who used the OT to try to convince Greek-spaking Jews and
> gentiles of Jesus' messianity, quite naturally would use the availible Greek
> translation. This was the LXX (or something very close to what we today call
> the LXX). Josephus, who certainly knew Hebrew, did the same: his quotes of
> the Bible are very close to what we today call the LXX. There was probably
> not a single "authorised" version of the "Christian"-Greek text until the
> Church was reorganized in the 4th century CE.
> Yigal Levin

More information about the b-hebrew mailing list