Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Daniels Loves King James More than Jesus!

Daniels’ internet article entitled “What is the Septuagint” (available at http://www.scionofzion.com/septuagint1.htm) makes the following assertions about the Septuagint (LXX): it was composed sometime after the New Testament, it is not referenced by the New Testament, and it should not be referred to for critical studies. According to Daniels’ website, he believes that the KJV is the inspired Word of God and should be heralded exclusively as such to the preclusion of any other translation. This post seeks to redress some of Daniels’ dishonest and misinformed supporting evidences and conclusions.

The study of the textual development of the Hebrew Bible or the Old Testament reveals that the presence of textual variation or variant readings actually increases the further back one examines a manuscript. Hence, an Old Testament (OT) manuscript from 200 BCE will have more variation (viz., a greater diversity of readings) than a text from 500 CE or later. This contrasts with the cataloguing of New Testament (NT) textual diversity as the NT manuscripts (mss) actually display a decrease in variation the further back in time one sampels and a corresponding increase in variation the later from which a manuscript is sampled from. When one samples from the available 2nd Temple mss, one finds an incredibly diverse range of readings when compared to readings present in the post 10th century standardized Masoretic Text (MT).

None of the extant OT mss samplings form the 2nd Temple era match the modern MT. Instead of displaying absolute textual continuity, the mss tend to fall into categories that are generally labeled as “proto-Masoretic” or LXX. Further adding to the diversity of textual groupings, there appears to have been at least three textual families identified by geographical provenance: Egyptian, Palestinian/Judean, and Babylonian. The Babylonian is the deemed the closest to today’s MT. The Egyptian is identified with the LXX, and the Palestinian/Judean family is evidenced by readings in the Dead Sea Scrolls (DSS). All of these texts are Hebrew groupings, though some of the variant readings are only preserved in translation in such sources as the Samaritan Pentateuch or the LXX.

Before scholarly acquaintance with the Samaritan Pentateuch began, it was believed that the LXX demonstrated the existence of a Hebrew text that differed from the MT. The cataloguing of the unique readings of the Samaritan Pentateuch provided Hebrew correspondences between many of the unique Greek Pentateuchal readings of the LXX. However, with the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, there was an immediate proliferation of Hebrew readings that agreed with the LXX. One of these readings is that in Psalm 22:16.

“For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet” (Psalm 22:16, KJV).

Christologically, this passage is derived from the same where Jesus states, “My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me? (Psalm 22:1), and many Christians have considered the reference to the piercing of hands and feet an explicit foretelling of the crucifixion. Of interest, only two mss of the modern, standardized MT contain the reading “they pierced my hands and my feet,” and these mss (of hundreds sampled) have only been identified in the last one-hundred years. Hence MT itself did not contain this Christological reading as it is translated in the KJV. The only mss that contained this reading was the LXX! The KJV translators deferred to the LXX for this translation! They jettisoned the MT text that they apparently love so much.

The Hebrew MT reading of this verse is as follows:

ורגלי ידי כארי


This reading can be translated as it is in Jewish translations as:

..like a lion, they are at my hands and my feet

Before the uncovering of the DSS (Dead Sea Scrolls), there were virtually no authoritative mss with a Hebrew basis for this reading. The only textual foundation for this reading was the LXX. However, the DSS display a preference for the “Christological reading” of “they have pierced.” Yet, again, it must be emphasized, that the KJV translators allowed the LXX to influence their translation.

The DSS not only evidence a Hebrew mss preference for the “pierced reading” they also contain Greek translations of the OT that fall within the LXX family of texts. Additionally, there are Hebrew mss among the DSS that fall both into the proto-Masoretic (Babylonian), Palestinian, and Egyptian-LXX families of textual variance. To argue that the LXX did not exist before the completion of the NT is to ignore this evidence.

The NT itself quotes frequently, though not exclusively, from the LXX textual family. Examples of this can be found by comparing, in the KJV, the readings of Isaiah 40:3 compared with Matthew 3:3 where the NT agrees with the LXX. Additional examples of the same can be found in Isaiah 61:1 and Luke 4:18; Isaiah 29:13 and Mark 7:8; et. al. in which the NT Greek quotation of the OT differs from the Hebrew in favor of the LXX reading.

The example of Psalm 22:16 is interesting as it pertains to a single-letter variation that can be easily corrected. The difference is between a yod (“jot”) and a waw (or vav). If the interpretation of Jesus that Daniels’ makes regarding the preservation of the each “jot” is correct, then Jesus’ statement is wrong, and Jesus is either a lunatic or a liar (to use popular parlance, though I prefer to not to be so polarized). The KJV prefers the LXX reading here (and elsewhere) despite the reading of the MT.

I conclude: textually critical consideration of the LXX was good enough for King James, and it is good enough for me!

28 comments:

Tandi said...

Hello Peter,

You’ve got me digging (kara) for knowledge on this Psalm 22 controversy. It is a piercing (kara) question, getting to the crux of the matter. I perceive that the lions (k’ari) are surrounding me. Is it is jod (ka’ari) or is it a vav (k’aru)? In the Masoretic Text it is a jod somewhat elongated....puzzling to scholars.....which would make it close to a vav. Context is key. What would the KJV scholars have done with it? Pray and seek the wisdom of the LORD no doubt. No need to go with the Septuagint reading, although they may have consulted it. Inspiration came, leading the translators to choose to read it as a vav, thus “pierced.” Makes perfect sense prophetically, while the lion reference makes no sense even in context and requires adding words that are not in the text to make a sentence out of it.

I consulted this page for help with understanding this topic:

http://www.christian-thinktank.com/ps22cheat.html

Here is one point made:

.....as Tov points out in TCHB:244f:

"In ancient sources, many letters were interchanged because of unclear writing or roughness of the surface which caused misunderstandings in reading. Most of these interchanges were caused by similarities in the form of letters in the paleo-Hebrew and the Assyrian ("square") script...Several Qumran texts (tn: the text type A/S/J would likely have been working with) show a conspicuous similarity between waw/yod, resh/daleth, bet/mem/kap, het/he...Actually, in several texts such as 11QPs(a) [tn: a scroll containing biblical and apocryphal psalms], it is very difficult to distinguish between waw and yod, especially when they are joined to other letters...Examples of interchanges of letters are copious."


As a side note, the author of the article, David W, Daniels, is not the author of the website. The author of the article writes for Chick Publications. I hope the article can be evaluated on its merits and not associations that you may not like.

http://www.chick.com/ask/aboutdaniels.asp

Thank you for giving me an opportunity to earnestly contend for my faith. If the KJV cannot stand up to your scrutiny, or anyone else's, then I will acknowledge it. I am not afraid of the challenge.

Cack Man said...

Peter:

I re-read this article after talking to you on the phone and found it more accessible than I did last night. In fact, it's quite good, in my inexpert opinion.

Also, to re-cap our conversation, if we are looking for a reliable (non-catholic) source who dates the Septuagint prior to the NT, my "informants" give me Philo (Jewish) and Otto Eissfeldt (Protestant). But I'll leave it to you and Tandi to hash out the details, as I cannot speak with authority in these matters.

I will, however, say this: if Evangelicals criticize the Catholic Church for relying too much on tradition and not enough on the Bible, then they should consider how the same criticism might be levied against themselves. Where in the Bible does it say that the NT authors quoted and were influenced only by the MT? Where in the Bible does it say that the KJV translators were inspired by God? Seems like there is a large set of non-biblical beliefs one must espouse before arriving at an Evangelical's "bible-only" belief system.

Am I wrong?
Eric

PeterS said...

Hello Tandi,

I am aware of how easy it is to exchange a tov and a waw. I am aware that this is likely the reason for the textual variance here. I disagree with your rational about the meaning pierced over line. Yes, the "lion" reading requires "adding words," but, Tandi, the KJV and all translations ofter require that for the aid of the English reader. Hebrew often "leaves a lot of words out" relative to English grammar. This is mute point.

If you want to argue that your KJV translators were inspired, then there is no way that I can dispute you. You are caught in a viscous circle of circular logic. The KJV translators consulted the LXX, and with their theological-christological bias, preferred the reading of the LXX to that of the MT.

You have not contended for the faith, Tandi. You are only showing how little you actually know about the issues. Though in your case it is unlikely willful, in the case of such as Daniels, he should know better. His ignorance is willful ignorance...shameful.

PeterS said...
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Tandi said...

The Jewish rendering about the lion is so obviously prejudicial in light of Christian claims that I am surprised you won’t acknowledge that much. Maybe I should have said the lion rendering “suffers severe grammatical difficulties” rather than “adds words.”

All reasoning is based on assumptions of one type or another. You are rationalizing from an assumption that there is no such thing as the supernatural, for example. I readily admit my scholarly ignorance, but I can read and report from studied sources. Here are a few more:

"Among the Dead Sea Scrolls, the reading in question is not preserved at Qumran, but in the Psalms scroll from Nahal Hever (5/6HevPs), which is textually very close to the Masoretic Text. In line 12 of column 10 we read: "They have pierced my hands and feet"! For the crucial work () the Hebrew form is grammatically difficult; but it is clearly a verb, not a noun and means they have bored or they have dug or they have pierced."

The KJV Translators had the Peshitta Syriac available to them as well, along with the Latin, etc. There is Midrash and other Jewish support after the 1st century for the true verbal reading. And there was a minority reading in the Masoretic Text that was in fact the true reading. Emanuel Tov gave good weight to Aquila's Greek OT supporting the verbal reading in his defending the Flint-Abegg DSS translation (in the Dead Sea Scrolls Bible).

You probably already know all of this, but choose to stuff it in your “closet of faith” and ignore it. I am merely trying my best to keep my foot wedged in the door so that it will not close completely. I hope one day a torrent of truth will rush out of there and overtake doubt like a flood, washing you clean.

Besides, I enjoy learning what you already know but choose to forget. Too bad you weren’t the one teaching me. Eric, and others. Maybe someday.

I will address the question of inspiration, preservation, and inerrancy in my next installment.

Tandi said...

Hello Eric,

I will check your sources to see if I can find evidence that the LXX was complete before the completion of the NT. Concerning Inspiration and Preservation..........

Scripture inspired and profitable:

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine...for instruction in righteousness. (2 Tim. 3:16)

We are to live by every word of it:

Man shall live...by every word of God (Luke 4:4, quoting Deut. 8:3)

How are we going to live by every word of inspired Scripture if God did not preserve it and make it available to us today?

He says He did:

Psalm 12:6-7: The words of the LORD are pure words....thou shalt keep them....preserve them....for ever.

The KJV Bible clearly teaches Divine Inspiration and Preservation of Scripture. Modern versions do not, changing these verses to say something different. Look them up in your NAB and you will see what I mean. The Alexandrian-based modern versions contain a copious amount of corruption. 9,970 word changes, 2,886 words eliminated...when the Bible warns NOT to add to or subtract from the Word of God.

If the KJV Bible is not the Word of God, where is the inspired, preserved Word of God? Since the modern versions differ so greatly, one or the other must be the Real and the others the Counterfeits. There are many resources available to determine which is which. The evidence demands a verdict.

Here is one thing I posted on my blog for starters:

Jesus was and is a believer in the inerrancy of Scripture. Otherwise, why would He have made these statements in support of:


1) The Genesis account of creation (Matt. 19:4-6; Mk. 10:6-8);
2) The Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch (Matt. 8:4; Jn. 5:46; 7:19);
3) The historicity of Abel (Matt. 23:35; Lk. 11:50-51);
4) The historicity of Noah and the Noahic Flood (Matt. 24:37-39; Lk. 17:26-27);
5) The historicity of Abraham (Jn. 8:56);
6) The historicity of the account of Sodom and Gomorrah (Matt. 10:15; 11:23-24; Lk. 10:12);
7) The historicity of Lot and the account of his wife having been turned into a pillar of salt (Lk. 17:28-32);
8) The historicity of the account in which Israel was given manna from heaven (Jn. 6:31,49,58);
9) The Davidic authorship of some of the Psalms (Matt. 22:43; Mk. 12:36; Lk. 20:42);
10) The historicity of the account of Jonah’s having been swallowed by a whale (Matt. 12:39-41; Lk. 11:29-32);
11) The unity and single authorship of the book of Isaiah (Matt. 13:14-15; Mk. 7:6; Jn. 12:38-41);
12) The Danielic authorship of the book of Daniel (Matt. 24:15);
13) The canonicity of the entire Jewish Old Testament, which excluded the Apocrypha (Matt. 23:35; Lk. 11:50-51; 24:44);
14) The Christ centeredness of the Old Testament (Lk. 24;25-27, 44-46);
15) The verbal plenary inspiration of Scripture (Matt. 4:4; 5:17-18);
16) The divine preservation of Scripture (Matt. 5:17-18; 24:35; Lk. 16:17; Jn. 10:35);
17) The vital importance of studying and knowing Scripture (Jn. 5:39; Matt. 22:29);
18) The judgment of all mankind by God’s Word (Jn. 12:47-48).

Other resources available upon request.

PeterS said...

Hello Tandi,

The MT did not arise from polemics. It is an obviously innocent spelling error. There is nothing grammatically challenging about the reading. It might be an expression that the original user understood. The fact that it serves your theology is not the grounds for accepting it. Textual criticism ought not to be driven by theology.

Tandi, I don't ignore the evidence for the LXX reading. But, I am showing that the MT of the KJV is not inerrant and how absolutely stupid it is to believe that an English translation can claim inspiration.

PeterS said...
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Tandi said...

Hello Peter,

The "meaningless" Scriptures I am quoting seem to be getting you quite perturbed. That is because they are the living words of God, far more effective than anything I could say, if you would let them sink in. I am sure you are aware that there are lots of books and resources that answer the KJV critics. I have several myself. av1611.com is one such resource, with links to others. Your question about the Jew, Arab, and Mexican is easily answered. See FAQ. Yes, I believe translations can be inspired. Inspiration means God-breathed. And God breathes life into the true words of Scripture, whether Hebrew, Greek, English, or other faithful translation from the Textus Receptus. May He breathe life into the words you read tonight and in coming days, that they jump off the page and into your heart. For from a child you have known the holy Scriptures, that are able to save your soul.

PeterS said...

Hello Tandi,

No, the passages are not making me upset. Your use of the passages and your ignorance about textual matters are making me upset. Frankly, I do not have time to educate you about the issues that you do not understand. In the mean time, please stop judging me and my motivations when you do not even know the basic issues. You do not even know how to read the biblical languages. Instead, you require the mediation of translator-priests to encounter the Bible.

Cack Man said...

Okay, calm down, people. With all this talk of lxx, mt, mss, dss, etc., let's not lose sight of a bigger issue: that the claim of biblical inspiration is one big petitio principii. In short, the Bible is inspired because the Bible says it's inspired. And that's just not good enough for a logical mind.

What if I were to tell you that everything I say is inspired by God? No, that can't be, because Eric speaks out against everything Christianity stands for. Ah, but what I say is inspired by God, and God wouldn't lie to you.

Heck, I just might be speaking for God; after all, didn't Jesus speak out against the Jewish laws and traditions? And, of course, anything Jesus said was inspired by God... why? because Jesus said so.

So, don't be like the Pharisees and hypocrites who act like Christians but don't follow Eric's Holy Word: logic is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No man cometh unto knowledge, but by logic.

And, Tandi, before you say anything about logic being my "belief system", or my "false idol", or whatever you might have been thinking about saying, bear in mind: logic does not ask to be believed in; it does not reward belief or punish disbelief; it does not require apologetics or seek converts. It is a cold, mindless, human tool by which we weigh the validity of our human propositions. Everyone uses logic. Some use it well, some use it poorly. If I were to tell a person that he was using some other tool poorly (say, he was trying to set a nail with wrong end of a hammer), he should regard it as a kindness. I would.

And, Peter ¡tranquilo, por dios! Surely you knew you'd be "judged" when you made this post for the world to see. The overman must undergo before he can overcome!

Your new Messiah,
Eric

PeterS said...

Dear Psuedo-Ubermencsh:

I know that you cannot be inspired of God because you believe in that evil doctrine of punctuated equilibrium and the hopelessly absurd idea of the "hopeful monster." How could a true ubermencsh believe in such non-sense; therefore, you are not the true ubermencsh. If you are not the true ubermensch, then for your claims to be such, you must actually be the long-feared under man.

Furthermore, I know from a biblical standpoint that you are not inspired because every prophet of God whose words are recorded in the Bible was Jewish. According to the Bible, the Jewish people are God's chosen people and mouthpiece of inspiration. Your are the under man; you are not Jewish.

Okay, try to logic your way out of this.

PeterS said...

Hello Tandi,

You state,
"If the KJV Bible is not the Word of God, where is the inspired, preserved Word of God? Since the modern versions differ so greatly, one or the other must be the Real and the others the Counterfeits."

The "Real" is in the original languages. I don't think you have ever read the "Real"--you are reliant on the interpretive matrices and prejudices of translators who apply meaning by the act of translating. Translation, by its very nature, perverts the meaning of the original language because it is never able to represent the same range of meaning of the original. Through translation, a meaning, not always correct, is nuanced into the English. If you really want to read the "word of God," then you must jettison reliance on English translations-interpretations and reading the "originals."

Tandi said...

Hello Peter,

And where are the “originals” that I might read them? Should I go to museums and look under glass at fragments of copies of “originals” after studying Hebrew and Greek for several years? Is that how God preserved His Word for me today? Would it not have been more practical to have kept His Guiding Hand on the translation of the Bible into the universal language of the end times, English?

If you are referring to reading the Masoretic Text in Hebrew, or the Received Text in Greek, that would be a reasonable position to take, and one that many KJV’ers take.....that the Hebrew/Greek words behind the KJV are inspired, not the KJV translation itself.

I have found an excellent source of scholarly information about the Septuagint if you are interested (free pdf download). The author is someone whose credentials are better than mine or the guy on the youtube video.

Floyd Nolen Jones, ThD., PhD

Following a 14 year professional career during which he held varying positions of responsibility as Paleontologist, Geophysicist, District Geophysicist, Geophysical Manager, and Regional Geophysicist with Texaco and Tenneco respectively, Dr. Floyd Nolen Jones was selected to attend Division Manager School shortly before resigning from his scientific vocation in 1974 to pursue Biblical studies.

Having attained a Ph.D. as well as a Th.D., Dr. Jones has garnered majors in the disciplines of Geology, Chemistry, Mathematics, Theology, and Education from six institutions of higher learning. A magna cum laude graduate and an ex-evolutionist, he also possesses a minor in Physics and is an ordained Minister (SBC).

Dr. Jones twice served as adjunct Professor at Continental Bible College in Brussels, Belgium. Having authored a definitive work on bible chronology, he has also written several books on textual criticism in defense of the traditional biblical text. He is currently engaged in ongoing Biblical research and the teaching of God's infallible Word.

Download available here:

http://www.christianmissionconnection.org/

Go to Study Topics for Septuagint and other articles.

Cack Man said...

Comrade Peter,

I had merely said that I "might be speaking for God." But now I see that, in fact, I must be speaking for God, and truly am a prophet and übermensch...

...Because I know you're a closet communist, and I also know that communists always seek to undermine the authority of Western leaders. So, if you're trying to undermine my authority by saying I am not a prophet and übermensch, it can only be because I really am a prophet and übermensch.

Know this, Peter, thou couldest have no power to undermine me at all, except it were given thee from above.

Eric Nazorenvs Rex Ivdæorvm

PeterS said...

Hello Tandi,

I read through portions of the Jones treatise against the pre-church origins of the LXX. He ignores the evidence from the Dead Sea Scrolls, Philo, and the NT itself--not to mention the evidences from rabbinic Jewish sources.

He has his head in the sand. He is not practicing scholarship.

PeterS said...

Hello Tandi,

I have read significant portions of the Jones position paper. To add to the glaringly absent attempt to account for the existence of LXX type readings in the DSS, he also fails to account for LXX type readings in the Samaritan Pentateuch including the readings in the book of Hebrews.

The fact that there are obvious pre-ecclesiastical LXX type readings that are found in the NT completely undermines the idea that the NT use of the OT is distinct only in matters of the Spirit's influence. I might draw some examples in my next blog post, showing where some of the NT uses of the OT are found in obvious pre-ecclesiastical OT mss.

Jones posits that Hebrew was the lingra franca of Palestine in the time of Jesus. This is simply not so. The Aramaic Targums were read along side the Hebrew reading of the Pentateuch because the average observant synagogue attendee did not understand Hebrew. The languages spoken in 1st century Palestine were Greek (primarily) and Aramaic (secondarily), though arguments can be made for Aramaic.

Jones is not honest in his dealing with his materials. I am glad to see that you are reading an intellectually honest work about the LXX/OG as well. I hope that you will see the overwhelmingly fruitful study of the LXX that could only exist if the LXX was an overwhelmingly present text.

PeterS said...

Hello Tandi,
You state:
“And where are the “originals” that I might read them? Should I go to museums and look under glass at fragments of copies of “originals” after studying Hebrew and Greek for several years? Is that how God preserved His Word for me today? Would it not have been more practical to have kept His Guiding Hand on the translation of the Bible into the universal language of the end times, English?”
I have a few reflections on the theology and religiosity behind these questions.
First, ever since I learned Hebrew and became practically aquatinted with the Jewish emphasis on learning Hebrew, I have found it interesting to observe how little emphasis there is in Protestant-Evangelical communities for the lay person to learn the biblical languages. Observant Jews consider it mandatory to learn Hebrew and to study the Torah in Hebrew.
Consider also the Muslim world. Muslims as believe that it is impossible to translate the Quran. This is why translations made by Muslims of the Quran are not called “translations,” instead they are entitled “the Meaning of the Quran.” In many ways they are right as any attempt to translate a language fundamentally limits and nuances the meaning of a text in ways the base text would not. They acknowledge that translations of the Quran are interpretive by nature in that they overlay meanings that reflect the understanding of the translator. Muslims accept, as a tenet of faith, that it is the duty of the faithful to learn quranic Arabic for the sake of reading or reciting the Quran. By the way, when it comes to textual preservation, the Quran far out-performs the Old and New Testaments.
It is extremely interesting how Jews and Muslims, who oddly do not accept the idea of sola scriptura, place so much emphasis on “original”-language learning. Evangelicals who accept sola scriptura along with the idea of the priesthood of the individual believer, consider it acceptable to read the interpretive biases of translators upon whom they are dependent for access to the “word of God.” Do they not see the irony of this?
Hence, if the Christian Bible believer actually accepts sola scriptura and her individual priesthood, then she must learn Hebrew and Greek. There is no way around this. She will always remain dependent on the priesthood of the translator until she can break through the shackles of English-onlyism and make her own interpretive readings. Philosophically, it is appalling that more Evangelicals do not realize this. To me, this is a sign of not taking the Bible seriously.
Second, there is no need to read texts behind glass. All textual variants are catalogued in the critical editions. My hand-held version of the Hebrew Scriptures is the BHS. It contains footnote documentation of textual variations between MT mss along with notes about variations with the Samaritan Pentateuch, the LXX, and other Hebrew mss. My point being, there are critical editions available for the student of textual studies to consider without having to visit museums. I also have a DSS Bible which likewise catalogues textual variants within the DSS biblical texts while making comparisons with the MT and other Hebrew textual families.
Third, it is intellectually dishonest to ignore the thousands of textual variants. The KJV-only (or KJV base-text only) position forces the Bible preservationist to ignore these variants when the KJV itself is guilty of “adding to” and “subtracting from” the same. The KJV Jeremiah text, for example, is 1/8 longer than the DSS and LXX Jeremiah texts. The KJV Greek text of I John adds 5:7 (the Johnahine comma)—a text not found in the Eastern church Greek texts, the Peshitta, or any Greek text prior to Erasmus. The King James is guilty of adding to the “word of God.”
Fourth, if textual preservation is necessary to textual inspiration, then your only possible candidate is the Quran. The Quran displays an extremely low degree of textual variation. There is a growing field of textual critical studies of the Quran, and I am confident that the field will provide growing evidence for textual variation. However, even with such studies, the Quran is light-years apart from the Bible relative to textual preservation. I do not, for the record, believe that the Quran is the product of the angel Gabriel dictating the words of God to Mohammed. I find it more likely that one of the Asguard is behind its construction.
So, in summation, I highly recommend that you learn the biblical languages and consider how dependent you are on translations. Break free of your shackles and the interpretive matrices of your translator-priests.

Tandi said...

Hello Peter,

There was a time when Christians were encouraged to learn Hebrew (and Greek). It was in Early American times, shortly after the publication of the AV. Colleges such as Harvard were established for the purpose of training those as young as 14 in the Original Tongues of the Holy Scriptures. I agree with you that this should be emphasized more today, and I am trying to learn Hebrew myself.

I am feeling quite discouraged today so I am unable to think clearly to respond to your post right now. One question that comes to mind though is this:

Why would you give any credence to the LXX since it is a mere translation, not to mention its questionable or spurious nature?

Also, did you notice in yesterday's Bible reading that there was a Scripture that illustrated the Scripture and Syntax argument?

Gen. 32:15, "Thirty milch camels with their [masculine plural pronoun suffix -- referring to the thirty female camels] colts, forty kine, and ten bulls, twenty she asses, and ten foals."

This according to an article I read called Biblical Support for the Doctrine of Verbal Plenary Preservation.

Kol tuv,

Your friend, Tandi

PeterS said...

Hello Tandi,

You ask a good question:
"Why would you give any credence to the LXX since it is a mere translation, not to mention its questionable or spurious nature?"

That is exactly the point. The nature of a translation suggests interpretation. The LXX can be and is generally quite literal, but the interpretive biases of the translators are apparent (as they are in every translation). For example, the Shavuot-Pentecost pericope in Leviticus 23 is translated in favor of the Pharisaic chronology of the same and hence is an evidence of the general acceptance of this liturgical chronology in 2nd Temple Judaism. Legal and theological indicators are hence present in the translation. By the way, if the LXX was ecclesiastical, it would not have translated Lev 23 to agree with the Pharisaic Shavuot-Pentecost because the church accepted a Sunday Pentecost.

Additionally, the LXX evidences textual variation. It is amazingly telling that Hebrew texts from the DSS and the Samaritan Pentateuch (which all pre-date the ecclesiastical era) often agree with the LXX. Likewise, the use of the LXX in textual studies in so incredibly fruitful.

There are times when the vowel pointing of the MT is in favor of a spelling that is interpreted differently by the LXX. In both cases the Hebrew base text is the same, but the vowel pointing is open to question. This includes the ketiv/qere readings of the MT (which are an early indicator of textual criticism in early 2nd-temple Judaism). Often, the LXX will favor a ketiv reading over the qere. Furthermore, the masoretes record 134 instances where they inentionally changed the name of God (YHWH) to Elohim or Adonai in the process of de-anthropomorphizing a text. Often the original placement of YHWH is evident from the LXX or the DSS where the change (a subtraction from the "word of God" if you will) is in the King James (those hell-bound subtractors!).

This last point must be emphasized. The masoretes themselves who created the MT tradition document instances where the text was intentionally changed to subtract YHWH and insert Adonai or Elohim. The King James does not correct the text; rather, it keeps the Adonai/YHWH. The fact that the pre-ecclesiastical texts (LSS and DSS, etc.) often document the placement of YHWH in these instances is a death blow to the KJV and base text position. They are relying on subtractions that are evident and damning.

PeterS said...

Hello Tandi,

Let me complete a point. Legal and theological indicators are present in the LXX that show the biases of the translators. These indicators are a fruitful venue of study into 2nd Temple Judaism as they allow us to draw conclusions about legal and theological developments. Similar studies can be done with the Aramaic Targums which are decidedly not literal and paraphrase heavily. The paraphrase changes of the Targums are a direct window into the legalities and theologies of the makers.

Tandi said...

Hello Peter,

I know you are very informed about all these issues, yet I wonder if you are pre-prejudiced against consideration of the plenary inspiration/preservation arguments. I am finding lots of materials/authors I had not seen when I first investigated this topic. Right now there is a hot discussion going on at the AV1611 forum on Psalm 12:6-7 if you are interested, and our mutual friend has been posting on the topic. I wish you could tolerate the discussion long enough to help me evaluate the evidence pro and con. Like you, I tend to travel a path long enough to explore to my satisfaction before moving on.......or staying. I have endured the roads you have traveled, though disagreeing. Can you walk with me for awhile on the road I am presently traveling? Let us explore every byway. Each trail has something to teach us.
I will have more to say about the Septuagint, etc. after I study it further. Fascinating history. Who do you think wrote it? Why would the Jews hold it in high regard if it was not authored by Levites and contained all those spurious apocryphal books interspersed?

PeterS said...

Hello Tandi,
My first position on the bible preservation issue was the KJV-base text only position. My original bias or prejudice was against textual critical studies and modern translations. My movement away from the [plenary] bible preservation position was made possible by my discovery of the anti-Torah and miso-Judaic biases of the KJV base text. I found it immensely easier and more textually-honest to jettison “received text” readings in favor of eclectic readings when the eclectic favored more harmony and continuity with the Torah. After having discovered how lower textual criticism could ameliorate my philo-Judaic theology, I became open to the same. Hence, I found it easier to accept and find continuity and consistency in what I believed to be God’s Word by opening myself up to the horizons of textual variegation.

The apparent non-levitical origin of the LXX is parallel to the non-levitical origin of the Targums. The second temple era witnessed the rise of sages and scribes who were largely non-levitical. In fact, the sociological study of the tension between sage/scribe and Levite is incredibly fruitful and complicated. The DSS (Qumran) sect is an example of a Jewish group that favored the ongoing authority of the levitical priests over the relatively novel and innovate authority of the sage. The Pharisees represent the authority of the sage. The sociological-jurisprudential diversification of 2nd Temple Jewish sectarianism generally follows the poles of sage versus Levite.

There was no set canon during 2nd Temple Jewish use. There was no stigma against the Apocrypha. The LXX contained the Apocrypha. The DSS contain fragments of the Apocrypha along with psuedopigraphal writing such as I and II Enoch, Jubilees, Testament of Levi, etc.

Cack Man said...

Peter wrote, "It is extremely interesting how Jews and Muslims, who oddly do not accept the idea of sola scriptura, place so much emphasis on “original”-language learning. Evangelicals who accept sola scriptura along with the idea of the priesthood of the individual believer, consider it acceptable to read the interpretive biases of translators upon whom they are dependent for access to the "Word of God"."

Not sure about Muslims, but the difference between Jews and Evangelicals is this: Jews care more about the fidelity of their memes, and Evangelicals care more about the fecundity of their memes.

Peter wrote, "I find it more likely that one of the Asguard is behind its construction."

Thor wrote the Koran?

Well, that's all I have to add to this conversation. :/

Tandi said...

Hello Peter,

Would you agree with this analysis of the quality of the LXX?

THE QUALITY OF THE TRANSLATION

The Greek of the LXX is not straight forward Koine Greek. At its most idiomatic, it abounds with Hebraisms; at its worst it is little more than Hebrew in disguise. But with these reservations the Pentateuch can be classified as fairly idiomatic and consistent, though there are traces of its being the work of more than one translator. Outside the Pentateuch some books, it seems, were divided between two translators working simultaneously, while others were translated piecemeal at different times by different men using widely different methods and vocabulary. Consequently the style varies from fairly good Koine Greek, as in part of Joshua, to indifferent Greek, as in Chronicles, Psalms, the Minor Prophets, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and parts of Kings, to lateral and sometimes unintelligible translation as in Judges, Ruth, Song of Solomon, Lamentations, and other parts of Kings.

Thus the Pentateuch is generally well done, though it occasionally paraphrases anthropomorphism's offensive to Alexandrian Jews, disregards consistency in religious technical terms, and shows its impatience with the repetitive technical descriptions in Exodus by mistakes, abbreviations, and wholesale omissions. Comparatively few books attain to the standard of the Pentateuch; most are of medium quality, some are very poor. Isaiah as a translation is bad; Esther, Job, Proverbs are free paraphrases. The original LXX version of Job was much shorter than the Hebrew; it was subsequently filled in with interpretations from Theodotion. Proverbs contains things not in the Hebrew text at all, and Hebrew sentiments are freely altered to suit the Greek outlook. The rendering of Daniel was so much of a paraphrase that it was replaced, perhaps in the first century AD by a later translation (generally attributed to Theodotion, but differing from his principles and antedating him), and the original LXX rendering is nowadays to be found in only two MSS and the Syriac. One of the translators of Jeremiah sometimes rendered Hebrew words by Greek words that conveyed similar sound but utterly dissimilar meaning.

D. A. Waite states, "It can be clearly seen ... that the Septuagint is inaccurate and inadequate and deficient as a translation. To try to reconstruct the Hebrew Text (as many connected with the modern versions are attempting to do) from such a loose and unacceptable translation would be like trying to reconstruct the Greek New Testament Text from the Living Bible.

http://www.biblebelievers.net/BibleVersions/kjcforv2.htm

-----

This does not seem to be the product of Jewish Sages. The use of it seems agenda driven from what I have read so far.

You mention that your first position was Bible Preservation. How deeply did you study it when challenges came along? You were barely out of high school then, right? Bible defense materials were not easy to come by except for a couple of popular titles and equally popular rebuttals. Maybe it is time to revisit the subject from your more mature and studied background and see if the evidence is convincing. I am not suggesting that we become dogmatic Independent Baptists as a result of clarifying this particular issue, any more than Messianics need to convert to Judaism to study Torah.

PeterS said...

Hello Tandi,
You state,

“This does not seem to be the product of Jewish Sages. The use of it seems agenda driven from what I have read so far.”
How not?????

The LXX literature or texts are not consistently usable as textual witnesses. It is acknowledged that some LXX books were not intended to be translations but served other literary or pedagogical functions. However, most of the LXX texts represent literal translations from the Hebrew and are viable textual witnesses. Additionally, variant readings in the LXX are often represented in Hebrew textual variants like many in the DSS and the Samaritan Pentateuch. To damn the entire textual testimony of the LXX corpus on the basis of some present mss being less-than literal is to ignore an incredible resource and to display willful ignorance.

There is a genre of “re-written Bible” in 2nd Temple Jewish literature that served pedagogical or literary functions parallel but not supplanting of the biblical text. The DSS contain multiple examples of these genre with legal and narrative details added to biblical texts. In this broad genre can also be found the Aramaic Targums which were paraphrase-type translations of the Pentateuch into Aramaic. These examples, among others, speak to the use of the Bible in non-literal manners. As the author states, it would be like translating into Hebrew using the Living Bible. However diminished their textual value, they still remain as fertile fields for the study of developments in Jewish theology and legal opinions. And, when corroborated with other textual witnesses, they can yet serve as textual witnesses.

So, it makes perfect sense that Jewish sages would produce such materials. They have often done so not to supplant the Bible but to modify the didactic qualities of a text to their particular exigencies. I am quite alarmed by the misleading logic in the reading you quote. The paraphrase nature of some extant LXX books does not damn the entire corpus. It is a complicated corpus, and the diminished value of one LXX set for textual studies does not invalidate the entire field.

I do not need to revisit this issue. I am an atheist. I do not believe in God. I do not believe in divine inspiration. I do not believe the Bible is inspired of God. Additionally, I see galaxies of information that one must ignore to maintain the bible preservationist positions. I do not need to read any more articles from willfully ignorant, sand-headed ostriches—my time is more valuable than that.

Tandi said...

{{{Peter}}}

The LORD believes in you....and has time for you, as do I, whenever you are ready to talk/write.

Love, peace, thoughts, and prayers.......

Kol tuv,

Maureen
(Jeremiah 33:3)

Kent said...

Have you seen the new electronic edition of the Samaritan Pentateuch from Logos Bible Software? I thought you might be interested.