Skip to comments.The Character of Godís Words [Septuagint is a Fraud]
Posted on 01/06/2007 7:13:58 AM PST by Titanites
SO, WHAT IS THE GREEK TEXT OF THE OLD TESTAMENT?
The questions, probabilities, possibilities, problems and use related to the imaginary Septuagint proposed by individuals such as Karen Jobes, Ph.D., Moises Silva, Ph.D., Henry Barclay Swete, D.D., Sir Lancelot C. L. Brenton, and the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (ISBE) have been answered by men in the Dean Burgon Society as well as Dean Burgon himself. In addition, what is so appallingly apparent in the liberals dialogue is the paucity of discussion of the Received or Traditional Greek and the Masoretic Text by name. They skirt the issue by glancing comments about recensions, but never, ever discuss the possible implications of thousands of texts from many authors and countries in many languages attesting to the preservation of the Received Text.
Dr. Kirk D. DiVietro and Dr. Floyd Jones have written two poignant astute documents, which are available from Bible For Today concerning the so-called Septuagint. They resoundingly trounce the wild assumptions of the modernistic Septuagint scholars by simple clear concise statements.
Dr. Jones makes a clear statement at the beginning of his treatise on the Septuagint about what is known concerning the Septuagint. He states:
"The Septuagint (LXX) is a very old translation of the Hebrew Scriptures (our Old Testament) into Hellenistic Greek. This statement alone is almost the only hard fact concerning this translation that is verifiable."
The other known fact about the misnomer, Septuagint, is that it is a non-entity. The name is adapted from a fraudulent document, Letter of Aristeas. The only extant Letter is an eleventh century document. Today, the manuscript that is generally called the Septuagint is the Old Testament Greek translation constructed by Origin Adamantius, called Codex B (c.245 A.D.). This is the real recension as opposed to the theoretical recensions of the Received Greek and Hebrew Texts. Codex B is the 5th (fifth) column of Origins Hexapla, a six column parallel Bible. Origen labeled the 5th (fifth) column the LXX (See the picture on page 5 of this work). This may be observed in the fragment of the Hexapla by Origen found at Milan, Italy in 1896 and published in An Introduction to the Old Testament in Greek by Henry Barclay Swete D.D. in 1902.
Dr. DiVietro says:
"Scholars lie. In the case of the Septuagint, the lie is not as overt as usual The Septuagint, as it is published today, is basically the text of the Old Testament as it appears in Codex B."
Codex B, the LXX, is a revision of the Greek texts extant during Origins time. He used the versions of the Ebonites Aquilla (c. 128), Symmachus (c. 180-192 A.D.), and Theodotin (c. 161-181) for the Hexapla reconstruction, along with three other anonymous translations that have become known as the Quinta, the Sexta, and Septima. From this point on in this paper the OT Greek text, usually misnamed LXX or Septuagint, will be called the Greek Text of Origen, GTO. A Greek text of the minor prophets found in the Judean desert caves dates to around the time of "the second Jewish revolt in the years 132-135" A.D. by the personal letters of Bar Kokhba. They cannot be claimed with any certainty as part of a B.C. Septuagint. As a matter of fact, they contain translational features found in other A.D. texts such as those of Aquila and of the Quinta.
There have been many revisions of GTO. For example, Hesychius of Alexandria (martyred c. 311 A. D.) and Lucian of Antioch, an Arian, (martyred 311) made revisions. There have been dozens of revisions through the centuries. A few of the more recent revisions are "the 1587 Sixtus, Holmes-Parson, von Tischendorf (Swete, p. 187), Swete, the Brooke-McLean great Cambridge edition, and Rahlfs 1935 edition,"
Jerome (340-420 A.D.), a contemporary of Augustine of Hippo, ridicules the GTO often in his letters. However, the texts he used for his translations for Rome were of "the Alexandrian text type." Before reading the following quotes from Jeromes works, recall he is removed from Origin (182-251 A.D.) by over 150 years. A comparison is to imagine a student in 2005 trying to reconstruct a particular history in 1850 in America without the aid of computers, phones, extensive libraries, airplane travel, and other modern conveniences. In addition, we must remember Jerome was opposed to the independence of local churches from Rome represented by the Waldensians. Lastly, he was obviously duped by the fraudulent Letter of Aristeas, which was allegedly commented on by the Alexandrian Aristobulus, the Neo-plantonist Philo, and the Roman historian, Josephus the Jew. They all add embellishments to the story of the Letter.
Dr. Phil Stringer, President, Landmark Baptist College, states:
Jerome understood that the Septuagint of his day was developed by Origen. He believed that Origen used several different Greek manuscripts and that all of them had been corrupted! He disputed Augustines assertion that the apostles usually quoted from the Septuagint! He pointed out that their quotations often dont match any version of the Septuagint or any other Greek New Testament.
From Jeromes writings, one can quickly ascertain that Jerome is confused by the term, Septuagint, and denigrated it by the following quotes. Jerome says:
"How can the Septuagint leave out the word Nazarene if it is unlawful to substitute one word for another? It is sacriledge either to conceal or to set at naught a mystery."
Let my critics tell me why the Septuagint introduces here the words look thou upon me." "For its rendering is as follows, My God, my God, look thou upon me, why hast thou forsaken me."
It would be tedious now to enumerate, what great additions and omissions the Septuagint has made, and all the passages which in church-copies are marked with daggers and asterisks.
Yet the Septuagint has rightly kept its place in the churches, either because it is the first of all the versions in time, made before the coming of Christ, or else because it has been used by the apostles (only however in places where it does not disagree with the Hebrews).
The preceding quote reveals that Jerome was duped, also. We know the Apostles did not quote from the "imaginary" (there is no solid evidence it existed before Christ) Septuagint.
Doubtless you already possess the version from the Septuagint which many years ago I diligently revised for the use of students. The new testament I have restored to the authoritative form of the Greek original. For as the true text of the old testament can only be tested by a reference to the Hebrew, so the true text of the new requires for its decision an appeal to the Greek. [my emphasis]
From the previous quote, we should now understand that "the LXX" is just one of the many revisions of the GTO.
Origen, whilst in his other books he has surpassed all others, has in the Song of Songs surpassed himself. He wrote ten volumes upon it, which amount to almost twenty thousand lines, and in these he discussed, first the version of the Seventy Translators, then those of Aquila, Symmachus, and Theodotion, and lastly, a fifth version which he states that he found on the coast of Atrium, with such magnificence and fullness, that he appears to me to have realized what is said in the poem:
However, no Greek "version of the Seventy Translators" has ever been found, and specifically, no Greek B.C. Song of Songs text. In addition, Jerome goes on to say:
Add to this that Josephus, who gives the story of the Seventy Translators, reports them as translating only the five books of Moses; and we also acknowledge that these are more in harmony with the Hebrew than the rest. [my emphasis]
Surely, the previous quote makes clear the confusion surrounding the Greek text reported by the Letter even during Jeromes days. Obviously, he was not sure how many, if any, of the Old Testament books had been translated. The following quote establishes that "deceitful" translators also perplexed Jerome
But if, since the version of the Seventy was published, and even now, when the Gospel of Christ is beaming forth, the Jewish Aquila, Symmachus, and Theodotion, judaising heretics, have been welcomed amongst the Greeksheretics, who, by their deceitful translation, have concealed many mysteries of salvation, and yet, in the Hexapla are found in the Churches and are expounded by churchmen; [then] ought not I, a Christian, born of Christian parents, and who carry the standard of the cross on my brow, and am zealous to recover what is lost, to correct what is corrupt, and to disclose in pure and faithful language the mysteries of the Church, ought not I, let me, ask, much more to escape the reprobation of fastidious or malicious readers? [my emphasis and addition for clarity]
Remember, Origen used the "judaising heretics" versions to make his revision, which is Codex B, the favorite corrupted text of the modernists. The next quote makes it obvious that Origens Old Testament Greek text, composed 150 years earlier than Jeromes existence, was already being called "the Seventy."
I have toiled to translate [and revisesee above and below, HDW] both the Greek versions of the Seventy, and the Hebrew which is the basis of my own, into Latin. [In other words, Jerome made his own revision. HDW.]
As, then, the Church reads Judith, Tobit, and the books of Maccabees, but does not admit them among the canonical Scriptures, so let it read these two volumes for the edification of the people, not to give authority to doctrines of the Church. If any one is better pleased with the edition of the Seventy, there it is, long since corrected by me. For it is not our aim in producing the new to destroy the old. And yet if our friend reads carefully, he will find that our version is the more intelligible, for it has not turned sour by being poured three times over into different vessels, but has been drawn straight from the press, and stored in a clean jar, and has thus preserved its own flavor. [my emphasis] [Even Jerome rejected the apocrypha included in the GTO]
In the following quote, Jerome is not clear what he means by "descent of three steps." However, his additional comments above and below lead me to believe that he thought the three steps had corrupted "the Seventy." The comments in the middle of Jeromes quote to follow are made so that there is no ambiguity. It is interesting in the quote to follow that Jerome confirms Dean Burgons comments concerning the "variety" of texts on p. 16
I am not discussing the Old Testament, which was turned into Greek by the Seventy elders, and has reached us by a descent of three steps. I do not ask what Aquila and Symmachus think, or why Theodotion takes a middle course between the ancients and the moderns. I am willing to let that be the true translation which had apostolic approval. [In other words, even though it is "corrupted" Jerome will no longer fight his adversaries, HDW]
I am now speaking of the New Testament. This was undoubtedly composed in Greek, with the exception of the work of Matthew the Apostle, who was the first to commit to writing the Gospel of Christ, and who published his work in Judaea in Hebrew characters. [This is denied. There is no evidence Matthew wrote in Hebrew. HDW] We must confess that as we have it in our language it is marked by discrepancies, and now that the stream is distributed into different channels we must go back to the fountainhead. I pass over those manuscripts which are associated with the names of Lucian and Hesychius,, and the authority of which is perversely maintained by a handful of disputatious persons. It is obvious that these writers could not amend anything in the Old Testament after the labors of the Seventy; and it was useless to correct the New, for versions of Scripture which already exist in the languages of many nations show that their additions are false. I therefore promise in this short Preface the four Gospels only, which are to be taken in the following order, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, as they have been revised by a comparison of the Greek manuscripts. Only early ones have been used. But to avoid any great divergences from the Latin which we are accustomed to read, I have used my pen with some restraint, and while I have corrected only such passages as seemed to convey a different meaning, I have allowed the rest to remain as they are.
THE AGENDA CONCLUDED
So why are "scholars" spending millions of hours and millions of dollars to "reconstruct" a text from corrupted, fraudulent manuscripts, which are often written or "corrected" by unbelievers? There have been many reasons listed by various authors. The underlying spiritual reason for extolling the possible virtues of the GTO has not been clearly stated or has been missed. It is the old old problem recorded for us in the book of Genesis as the etiology for the fall of man. The problem is the refusal to come under authority. The authority of the words of God frightens men. The Apostle John record these words for us, "Never man spake like this man," [Jn. 7:46] because the Lord Jesus Christ spoke with authority. The ultimate agenda of those promoting the LXX is to destroy the authority of Gods words because "Never man spake like this man." His true words frighten men, because if they are preserved, infallible, plenary, and inerrant, they will have to come under their precise and/or specific authority and judgment. Satan and man have fought this authority "from the beginning."
If the truth about the Received Texts (Masoretic and Greek Traditional Text) can be discredited by assumptions and theories, then men can claim we have no absolute authority. Scholars are free to make up their own texts to promote their philosophies. They are free to ignore the precision (jot and tittle) and they are free from following precisely "the ark of the covenant" (see the Introduction to this work)
Dr. Phil Stringer in a recent newsletter gave an opinion why "so many scholars [are] so devoted to the Septuagint." He states:
Roman Catholics use the idea that Christ quoted the Septuagint to justly include the apocrypha in their Bibles. Their reasoning goes like this: Christ used and honored the Septuagint, the Septuagint includes the apocrypha, so Christ honored and authorized the apocarypha. Since no Hebrew Old Testament ever included the books of the Apocrypha, the Septuagint is the only source the Catholics have for justifying their canon.
The author of this paper is certain that Dr. Stringers reason is correct. However, the underlying spiritual problem exhibited by the Catholic religion is the refusal to come under Gods authority. They would rather place their (mans) tradition on equal footing (as they stated at the Council of Trent), and reject the authority of His preserved words. For anyone to claim the GTO (Origens Greek Text) is "the word of God" in light of the confusion surrounding the text as well as the text exhibiting a very "loose," "corrupted translation" is very suspect. Dr. Stringer is correct when he states:
"After all, if Christ did not care about the specific words of Scripture, why should we?...If Christ used the Septuagint then you can put the Bible in your own words in either a paraphrase or your own translation." [specific is another word for precise, HDW]
Dr. Floyd Jones in his book asks: "Why then do conservatives uphold the LXX?" Dr. Jones answer to his own question is (to summarize) that conservatives fear that the Received Text cannot be supported by scholarship, history, and internal proof without THE GTO.
Dr. Phil Stringer in his article asks: "But why are so many evangelicals devoted to an idea for which they can not offer any proof?" Dr. Stringers answer to his own question is:
"Many proud evangelicals value the idea of being accepted as "scholarly" and "educated" by the world (the Catholics and the modernists).
One cannot escape the reason for the fall of man even in these situations. If man cannot receive "[a]n inerrant (without error), verbal (each word), plenary (every word), inspired (God breathed, infallible (will not fail), Word of God," as his sole authority with all its life giving promises, he will be insecure and rely on mans words or "self.".
Finally, if we even use the misnomer, Septuagint or LXX, we are in a way affirming the existence of a document needed by the liberals to promote their theories of recensions, to allow them to "construct" a text more in line with their philosophies, and to assist them in rejecting the authority of a legal document, the words of God. Let us stop using the misnomer and give the text of Origen, principally Codex B another name, the Greek Text of Origen, the GTO.
The Scripture establishes some harsh warnings about the sanctity of the LORDs words in many ways and in many verses. For example, the LORD says near the beginning of the Scripture:
Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you. [Deut. 4:2]
And near the middle of the 66 books of the Bible, he says:
"Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar." [Proverbs 30:5-6]
And he repeats the following well known admonition at the end of the Bible:
For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. [Rev. 22:18-19]
I thought it would be fruitful to discuss the accusations made in the article, primarily that:
Id appreciate you doing your Catholic ping thing. Thanks!
Parts of the Septuagint were recovered from Qumran, so the Septuagint must date to 68 C.E. or before. The Septuagint, the Greek version of the Bible, is typically dated to have been translated in the third to second centuries B.C.E.
Origen lived from 185-232 C.E. so, it is impossible that the Septuagint could have originated from him.
Neat thread topic. I'm glad you're looking into this.
If the Septuagint is a fraud then Christianity is since the Christ, the Apostles, and the Church Fathers all quote from it.
Of the approximately 300 Old Testament quotes in the New Testament, approximately 2/3 of them came from the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Old Testament) which included the deuterocanonical books that the Protestants later removed. This is additional evidence that Jesus and the apostles viewed the deuterocanonical books as part of canon of the Old Testament. Here are some examples:
Orthodox ping. A discussion about the Septuagint.
" The Authorized King James Bible has been, and continues to be, the God honored, most accurate, and best English translation of the inspired, inerrant, infallible, and preserved original language words of God."
God honored, eh? Well, by God, if the KJV is good enough for God, its good enough for me! :)
"and preserved original language words of God."
This group is crypto-Mohammedan, I take it.
I wondered how they knew that.
"I wondered how they knew that."
Probably some spirit told them; not the Holy Spirit. Likely it was the zeitgeist and one guess who that is!
The Ten Commandments are from the hand of God. The rest, divinely inspired or not, is from the hand of man.
So, is Williams' point that Catholics use the Septuagint, the Septuagint is suspect, and therefore, Catholicism is suspect? Is that the crux of his argument?
Fascinating topic. I'm really uninformed here and appreciate any enlightenment you might offer.
I believe that is the bottom line, at least from some who post on FR.
Ah. I'd never seen that argument before. I usually stay away from the "my version of Christianity is better than your version...", but I am very interested in Biblical scholarship. It helps to know that the author's motives may be less than pure.
Double amen to that.