A History Of The Authorized Version

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Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Tim said:

I never said anything about Josephus. I am trying to get a clear answer to the question of whether Philo is a source for the existence of a Septuagint or not.​

Sorry Tim, you’re right!

From the Dr. James R. Davila lecture noted above:

PHILO OF ALEXANDRIA (around the turn of the era; _Vita Mosis_ 2.25-44) also tells the story of a translation of the Pentateuch under Philadelphus with an outline very similar to Aristeas (it is quite likely he read the work). The king sends an embassy to Judea to get some translators; he treats them to feasting with witty and virtuous conversation and questioning; the translation takes place on the island of Pharos. But Philo seems to be the first to add that by prophetic inspiration all the translators produced exactly the same Greek text independently. He also tells of an annual festival at Pharos to his day which celebrated the translation. His agenda was to show that the LXX (which Philo used instead of the HB) was just as inspired as the original Hebrew.​

It would seem to confirm that Philo had some version of at least parts of the OT in Greek, the general consensus being that he had but the Pentateuch. The only thing we can be sure of was that he knew of the “claims of Aristeas” – and some say it was Philo himself who wrote it. It is certain he embellished the legend, the account of the “prophetic inspiration” of the 72. Is he to be counted as a source for a Christ-contemporary LXX? All we can say is he spoke of the Pentateuch, and, as Davila says, he did have an agenda to promote. What he actually had in his possession we cannot be sure of. Not what I would call a clear source.
 

ChristianTrader

Puritan Board Graduate
Hello Tim,

Here is a response to your recent post re Josephus, in which I give a brief summary (by Will Kinney) of a lecture, with some links:

I never said anything about Josephus. I am trying to get a clear answer to the question of whether Philo is a source for the existance of a Septuagint or not.

Tim,
Do you have any thoughts on Owen and his comments concerning the controversy?

CT
 

VirginiaHuguenot

Puritanboard Librarian
For what it's worth, Matthew Poole in his preface to the Synopsis says:

The Greek Septuagint: thus called, because it is said to have been produced by seventy-two, or, when they declare it by the round number, seventy learned men. Whether those translators really only translated the Pentateuch, or the entire Old Testament; whether it is the true stock of those translators which we have in our hands, or rather a counterfeit, hitherto theologians are debating: “It is not for us to settle such great disputes.”1

[1] Virgil, Eclogue 3:108.
 

Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Chris,

Some thoughts (re the portion of the Translators’ Preface, in post #71):

The translators said:

“...it pleased the Lord to stir up the spirit of a Greek Prince (Greek for descent and language) even of Ptolemy Philadelph King of Egypt, to procure the translating of the Book of God out of Hebrew into Greek. This is the translation of the Seventy Interpreters, commonly so called...”​

The Lord’s providential preservation evidently did not extend to their knowledge of the history of the LXX, as it apparently was not known to them that Aristeas’ letter was not genuine, a matter now widely agreed upon.

...which [LXX] prepared the way for our Saviour among the Gentiles by written preaching, as Saint John Baptist did among the Jews by vocal.​

Though it cannot be proven to have existed, nor do we have the text of it if it did, there may well have been a Greek copy of the Pentateuch, and possibly some of the prophets and the writings which were available to Greek-speaking Jews and Gentiles. It is reasonable to assume that the early churches (apostolic, sub-apostolic) had some Old Testament Scriptures in the Greek language.

It has been stated by me above (quoting Dr. DiVietro) that the value of a pre-Christ or Christ-contemporary Septuagint was in its “marrying the vocabulary of Greece to the theology of Israel”, and for today’s use “The pseudo-Septuagint offers the modern Bible student a rich source of semi-Biblical, theological literature. Having this large homogenous yet diverse body of literature, the student can determine with relative accuracy the meaning of words he finds in the Greek New Testament.”

Could the apostles have used a Greek translation to help them quoting the OT while they wrote the NT Scriptures in Greek? While they did not quote it, they may well have considered how the OT Scriptures had been translated from the Hebrew into the Greek.

The original bone of contention between Tim and myself concerned Jesus supposedly quoting the LXX of Isaiah 6:9 & 10 when He spoke as recorded in Matthew 13:14 & 15, simply because the LXX and Matthew agree somewhat in wording, while the Hebrew does not agree so closely. The question I posed – which was treated with undeserved ridicule, and then evaded by irrelevant argumentation – was why would Jesus, the Messiah of the Hebrew people, when speaking to His disciples (and at other times the priests, Pharisees, and scribes) use Greek, when the primary spoken language of the nation was Aramaic, and the Scriptures of the nation were in Hebrew? Let me re-state what I said earlier, quoting Edersheim:

"If Greek was the language of the court and camp, and indeed must have been spoken by most in the land, the language of the people, spoken also by Christ and His Apostles, was a dialect of the ancient Hebrew, the Western or Palestinian Aramaic. It seems strange that this could ever have been doubted. A Jewish Messiah Who would urge His claim upon Israel in Greek, seems almost a contradiction in terms. We know, that the language of the Temple and the Synagogue was Hebrew, and that the addresses of the Rabbis had to be “targumed” into the vernacular Aramaen – and can we believe that, in a Hebrew service, the Messiah could have arisen to address the people in Greek, or that He could have argued with the Pharisees and Scribes in that tongue, especially remembering that its study was actually forbidden by the Rabbis?"

From The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, Vol. 1, pp.129, 130; by Alfred Edersheim

[Taken from the thread, http://www.puritanboard.com/f63/what-language-did-Jesus-apostles-read-scriptures-26314/#post321502]​

Might He have spoken Greek when in the Decapolis area, where many Gentiles lived, Gentiles who followed him, and whom He healed and fed? Possibly. What language did He speak to the Syrophenecian woman in (whom Mark in 7:26 tells us was a Greek)? That she addressed Him in Jewish terminology (“Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou son of David...” Matt 15:22) would seem to indicate she was fluent in Aramaic, and knew something of Messianic prophecy. But as DiVietro pointed out concerning the Aramaic:

The Aramaic Talmuds which contained acceptable Aramaic paraphrases of the Hebrew text were considered authoritative commentaries, but not the word of God. The Palestinian Jewish community accepted only the Hebrew Scriptures. This was the community of Jesus and the Apostles.​

I realize this may seem to be dancing around the question, but without a historical-grammatical understanding of the setting of Jesus in those days, we cannot hope to piece together with full comprehension what was going on. To say He quoted from the Greek translation to speak to His disciples is without warrant, first, because He had the Hebrew available (and ready in His mind, knowing the Scriptures by heart), and could have translated it into the Aramaic had He wished; second, because Matthew’s Gospel is known to be the Gospel to the Hebrews, that which took the greatest pains to prove the prophecy-fulfilling Messiahship of Jesus, and to show from the Scriptures that He was indeed the One who should come, of whom Moses and the prophets wrote – and Matthew, speaking to the nation of Jewish readers, should be quoting a Greek manuscript? The Translators in their Preface say, “It is certain, that that Translation was not so sound and so perfect, but that it needed in many places correction.... Notwithstanding, though it was commended generally, yet it did not fully content the learned, no not of the Jews”. It is not likely Matthew would do such a thing, quoting an imperfect Greek text when trying to convince the Jewish nation of the credentials of the Son of David. And thirdly, it is without warrant because we simply do not know what any early Greek translation of the Old Testament looked like. The one we have – the Septuagint extant today – came through Origen, around 230-40 AD.

Consider Origen for a moment, from whom we got the LXX, and the precursor of the Vaticanus manuscript; Origen says [translated from the Greek],

…these [the Scriptures] do not contain throughout a pure history of events, which are interwoven indeed according to the letter, but which did not actually occur. Nor even do the law and the commandments wholly convey what is agreeable to reason. For who that has understanding will suppose that the first, and second, and third day, and the evening and the morning, existed without a sun, and moon, and stars? and that the first day was, is it were, also without a sky? And who is so foolish [from the Latin it is translated: “And who is found so ignorant…”] as to suppose that God, after the manner of a husbandman, planted a paradise in Eden, toward the east, and placed in it a tree of life, visible and palpable, so that one tasting the fruit by the bodily teeth obtained life? and again, that one was a partaker of good and evil by masticating what was taken from the tree? And if God is said to walk in the paradise in the evening, and Adam to hide himself under a tree, I do not suppose that any one doubts that these things figuratively indicate certain mysteries, the history having taken place in appearance, and not literally.[1]​

One of the grievous errors of Origen is his constant inclination to interpret Biblical events and stories figuratively, denying the literal histories (as did his intellectual fathers, Clement and Philo). He himself is, in fact, known as the father of the allegorical – or “spiritualizing” – method of interpretation. He is also known to “correct” Scriptures if he thinks the text is unclear or wrong. To wit: in his commentary on Matthew,[2] when dealing with chapter 19, verse 19, he says that the Lord’s words to the rich young ruler, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself,” cannot be genuine, as the text seems to indicate the Lord concurred with the man’s affirming he kept this command, and thus must have been perfect, while the Lord shows in verse 21 he was not, and what he needed to do to be so. Origen then concludes – because there is a difficulty for him here (but certainly solvable) – this clause was added by some tasteless scribe. Dr. Edward Hills remarks,

In his comment on this passage Origen gives us a specimen of the New Testament criticism which was carried on at Alexandria about 225 A.D….it is clear that this renowned Father was not content to abide by the text which he had received but freely engaged in the boldest sort of conjectural emendation. And there were other critics at Alexandria even less restrained than he who deleted many readings of the original New Testament text and thus produced the abbreviated text found in the papyri and in the manuscripts Aleph and B.[3]​

In his book, Believing Bible Study (page 47), Hills says,

Among the Christian scribes of Alexandria developments took another turn. According to Streeter (1924), these learned Christians followed the tradition of Alexandrian classical scholarship, which was always to prefer the shortest reading in places in which the manuscripts differed. The Alexandrians were always ready to suspect and reject New Testament readings which seemed to them to present difficulties.​

Here Origen talks of Scripture in general:

I do not condemn them (authors of Scripture) if they even sometimes dealt freely with things which to the eye of history happened differently, and changed them so as to subserve the mystical aims they had in view; so as to speak of a thing which happened in a certain place, as if it had happened in another, or if what took place at a certain time, as if it had taken place at another time, and to introduce into what was spoken in a certain way some changes of their own. They proposed to speak the truth where it was possible both materially and spiritually, and where this was not possible it was their intention to prefer the spiritual to the material. The spiritual truth was often preserved, as one might say, in the material falsehood.[4] (Emphases by Wm. Grady)​

This is what one might call “a low view of the inspiration and inerrancy of Scripture”! And it does not give confidence that one of the “foremost textual critics and teachers of the early church” dealt honorably (as we who hold the Bible in high esteem would understand “honorably”) with the texts that came his way! Can this be where the change [noted earlier] in Genesis 2:2 originated in the LXX – as though Moses wrote there that on the sixth day God ended His work? Compare with your Bibles translated from the Hebrew!

Burgon comments on Origen’s view of Matthew 19:19:

Now all this is very instructive. Here is the most famous critic of antiquity estimating the genuineness of a clause in the Gospel, not by the amount of external attestation which it enjoys, but by his own self-evolved fancies concerning it. As a matter of fact, no extant copy, Father, or version is without the clause under discussion. By proposing therefore that it shall be regarded as spurious, Origen does but convict himself of rashness and incompetancy.[5]​

This is instructive to us in the 21st century as well, for it is upon the very same principles of textual criticism that Westcott and Hort established their Revised Greek Text! Personal fancies instead of careful examination of facts, and accumulation of solid evidence. And it is no coincidence that Origen was a hero and an inspiration to these two men some 16 centuries later.

William Cunningham, in his two-volume Historical Theology, after considering some pros and cons regarding Origen’s contribution to the theology of the church, says,

It is certain, however, that Origen thought that the divine nature was united only with the soul, and not with the body of Christ; so that there was no proper hypostatical union, as it is commonly called,—no proper assumption by Christ of human nature. This groundless fantasy led to his maintenance of what may be regarded as a still more serious and dangerous error, viz., a virtual denial that Christ offered a real atonement for the sins of men. This, of course, overturns the Gospel of our salvation; and it is a melancholy instance of the extent to which an unwarrantable indulgence in mere philosophical speculations may lead men astray from the path of Scriptural truth.[6]​

Footnotes

1 Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 4, by Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson, eds., (MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 1994), page 365.
2 Origenes Werke, Vol. 10, 1937, pages 385-388; Die Griechischen Schriftsteller, Preussisch. Akademie der Wissenschaften. Cited in Believing Bible Study, pages 47, 48, and The King James Version Defended, pages 144, 145, both books by Edward F. Hills (IA: The Christian Research Press, 1977 and 1984 respectively)
3 The King James Version Defended, Hills, pages 144, 145.
4 The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 10, Original Supplement to the American Edition, 5th ed., by Allen Menzies (MI: Wm B. Eerdmans Pub. Co., 1990), page 383. Cited by William P. Grady, Final Authority: A Christian’s Guide to the King James Bible, page 94.
5 The Traditional Text of the Holy Gospels, Vindicated and Established, by John William Burgon (London: George Bell and Sons, 1896), page 274.
6 Historical Theology: A review of the principle doctrinal discussions in the Christian church since the Apostolic Age, Vol. 1, by William Cunningham (Canada: Still Waters Revival Books, reprint edition 1991), pages 155, 156.

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Thank you for bearing with this brief excursus (some of which I got from a paper I had previously written), as I wanted to show something of the mind-set of the man through whose instrumentality we got the LXX which exists today.

The Preface Translators say that the “Translation of the Seventy” was used by the Greek Fathers as the ground and foundation of their commentaries, which is not a great recommendation in my view, as I live in a land which bears the bitter fruit of these “Fathers” and their commentaries. The commentaries, those that have spawned the GO religion, are unsound.

And what is the final verdict of the Translators of the King James Bible?

...the Seventy were Interpreters, they were not Prophets; they did many things well, as learned men; but yet as men they stumbled and fell, one while through oversight, another while through ignorance, yea, sometimes they may be noted to add to the Original, and sometimes to take from it; which made the Apostles to leave them many times, when they left the Hebrew, and to deliver the sense thereof according to the truth of the word, as the spirit gave them utterance. This may suffice touching the Greek Translations of the Old Testament. [Emphases added –SMR]​

This last portion, “and to deliver the sense thereof, as the spirit gave them utterance,” may well indicate those OT quotations in the New, which are not “exact” as per the way we in this age quote, but the way the Lord Jesus quoted Isaiah 6 in the Matthew passage we have belabored, giving the sense of it, as the Holy Spirit gave Him utterance, and Paul in Hebrews, Luke in Acts, John in his Gospel, in the same manner, sometimes giving exact quotes, and sometimes not. The copycat Septuagint of Origen and Vaticanus has its value, but not as inspired Scripture, which the Lord and His men quoted from. Whatever Greek Old Testament may have existed in Jesus’ age and before, we can only surmise concerning.

From Dr. Thomas Holland’s Crowned With Glory: The Bible from Ancient Text to Authorized Version (p. 121); he says,

It is also clear that the KJV translators promoted the use of such translations since they recognized the importance of having God’s word translated into the language of those who cannot read Hebrew or Greek, despite the lack of quality and accuracy contained in those translations. Their argument with the Catholic Church, which at that time made a practice of burning Bibles that were in any language other than Latin, was that God’s word translated poorly was still God’s word and must be treated with respect and dignity. They illustrate the point with the Greek translations of Aquila, Theodotion, and the LXX.

Chris, I hope this is an adequate response.

Steve
 

TimV

Puritanboard Botanist
He also tells of an annual festival at Pharos to his day which celebrated the translation. His agenda was to show that the LXX (which Philo used instead of the HB) was just as inspired as the original Hebrew.

Thomas, Philo lived in the city where the Septuagint was translated. He was there at the time of Christ. People read the book that he wrote. Nobody to my knowledge except you and Steve don't count him as a source. Steve says it seems to him he can't be trusted.

What do you think? Is Philo a source for their being a Septuagint?
 

TimV

Puritanboard Botanist
The original bone of contention between Tim and myself concerned Jesus supposedly quoting the LXX of Isaiah 6:9 & 10 when He spoke as recorded in Matthew 13:14 & 15, simply because the LXX and Matthew agree somewhat in wording, while the Hebrew does not agree so closely. The question I posed – which was treated with undeserved ridicule, and then evaded by irrelevant argumentation – was why would Jesus, the Messiah of the Hebrew people, when speaking to His disciples (and at other times the priests, Pharisees, and scribes) use Greek, when the primary spoken language of the nation was Aramaic, and the Scriptures of the nation were in Hebrew?

I never said that Christ spoke in Greek. I said He quoted the Septuagint as well as the Hebrew. I clearly implied He quoted the Greek text rather than the Hebrew text exclusively. Just like when He quoted the Hebrew text He often used another language than Hebrew, namely Aramaic, which isn't a dialect of Hebrew.
 

KMK

Administrator
Staff member
The original bone of contention between Tim and myself concerned Jesus supposedly quoting the LXX of Isaiah 6:9 & 10 when He spoke as recorded in Matthew 13:14 & 15, simply because the LXX and Matthew agree somewhat in wording, while the Hebrew does not agree so closely. The question I posed – which was treated with undeserved ridicule, and then evaded by irrelevant argumentation – was why would Jesus, the Messiah of the Hebrew people, when speaking to His disciples (and at other times the priests, Pharisees, and scribes) use Greek, when the primary spoken language of the nation was Aramaic, and the Scriptures of the nation were in Hebrew?

I never said that Christ spoke in Greek. I said He quoted the Septuagint as well as the Hebrew.

?? If He quoted the Septuagint then by definition He spoke in Greek.

Are you saying that Jesus quoted the Septuagint by translating it into the Hebrew? Why would He do that when He essentially wrote the Hebrew? Why not quote from His own writings?
 

Backwoods Presbyterian

Puritanboard Amanuensis
The original bone of contention between Tim and myself concerned Jesus supposedly quoting the LXX of Isaiah 6:9 & 10 when He spoke as recorded in Matthew 13:14 & 15, simply because the LXX and Matthew agree somewhat in wording, while the Hebrew does not agree so closely. The question I posed – which was treated with undeserved ridicule, and then evaded by irrelevant argumentation – was why would Jesus, the Messiah of the Hebrew people, when speaking to His disciples (and at other times the priests, Pharisees, and scribes) use Greek, when the primary spoken language of the nation was Aramaic, and the Scriptures of the nation were in Hebrew?

I never said that Christ spoke in Greek. I said He quoted the Septuagint as well as the Hebrew.

?? If He quoted the Septuagint then by definition He spoke in Greek.

Are you saying that Jesus quoted the Septuagint by translating it into the Hebrew? Why would He do that when He essentially wrote the Hebrew? Why not quote from His own writings?

That is such an obvious thing I have never even thought of for some reason.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
We need to be clear on what the status question is in order to avoid talking past each other. It does not appear to me to be relevant whether the Septuagint existed in part or in whole prior to or at the writing of the NT. The real question is whether the NT shows a dependence on the Septuagint.
 

KMK

Administrator
Staff member
We need to be clear on the status quaestionis in order to avoid talking past each other. It does not appear to me to be relevant whether the Septuagint existed in part or in whole prior to or at the writing of the NT. The real question is whether the NT shows a dependence on the Septuagint.

How can the NT 'show' a dependence on something that no longer exists?

It all sounds like conjecture to me.
 

Thomas2007

Puritan Board Sophomore
He also tells of an annual festival at Pharos to his day which celebrated the translation. His agenda was to show that the LXX (which Philo used instead of the HB) was just as inspired as the original Hebrew.

Thomas, Philo lived in the city where the Septuagint was translated. He was there at the time of Christ. People read the book that he wrote. Nobody to my knowledge except you and Steve don't count him as a source. Steve says it seems to him he can't be trusted.

What do you think? Is Philo a source for their being a Septuagint?

Dear Tim,

Based upon Philo's written account I don't think it is reliable, so I don't think he is a credible witness. This is one reason why, but I don't have time to get as involved as Elder Rafalsky is into this, so I'll just outline this brief reason:

This is what Philo says:

Ptolemy, surnamed Philadephus, was the third in success after Alexander...and having conceived a great admiration for and love of the legislation of Moses, conceived the idea of having our laws translated into the Greek language; and immediately he sent out ambassadors to the high-priest and king of Judea, for they were the same person. And having explained his wishes, and having requested him to pick him out a number of men, of perfect fitness for the task, who should translate the law, the high-priest, as was natural, being greatly pleased, and thinking that the king had only felt the inclination to undertake a work of such character from having been influenced by the providence of God, considered, and with great care selected the most respectable of the Hebrews whom he had about him, who in addition to their knowledge of their national scriptures, had also been well instructed in Grecian literature, and cheerfully sent them." Yonge, The Works of Philo - On the Life of Moses, II V (28) - VI (31), 1993​

Philo claims it was done in the time of Ptolemy II Philadelphus who reigned in Egypt from 281 to 246 BC. But then his account of the High Priest in Jerusalem is also King..."for they were the same person." It was only after the Maccabean revolt, in the Hasmonean period, that the office of High Priest was united with the King, this is from 166 to 163 BC. In his own account he has more than a century of time gapping between them.

Based upon the rules of evidence, Philo's testimony is prima facie unreliable as to their being a "Septuagint."

It appears to be designed in order with the Letter of Aristeas but then switches gears to make it a divinely sanctioned translation in which he establishes..."these translators not mere interpreters but hierophants and prophets to whom it had been granted it their honest and guileless minds to go along with the most pure spirit of Moses." II, VII (40)

This, then, connects his account of the translation with his account of Moses as filling both offices "though the providence of God" of High Priest and King as well as Lawgiver and Prophet, or a fourfold office whereby..."the connection of these four powers is beautiful and harmonious, for being all connected together and united one to another, they unite in concert, receiving and imparting a reciprocity of benefits from and to one another, imitating the virgin graces with whom it is an immutable law of their nature that they cannot be disunited..." II, I (6)

Hence, he is connecting together not only divine providence for this supposed translation but divine Authority for it insomuch that it would supplant the Hebrew, as he says: "...they would admire and reverence them both as sisters (e.g., Hebrew and Greek translation), or rather as one and the same both in their facts and in their language..." II, VII (40)


Cordially,


Thomas
 

TimV

Puritanboard Botanist
?? If He quoted the Septuagint then by definition He spoke in Greek.

Are you saying that Jesus quoted the Septuagint by translating it into the Hebrew? Why would He do that when He essentially wrote the Hebrew? Why not quote from His own writings?

This is one of the things you don't get, Ken. And that's the reason I'm still in this thread. People who haven't a specific knowledge of this subject can get into really bizarre thinking by listening to what is being said, especially by Steve.

Look, Ken. I tried to make this point earlier, and I'm disappointed none of those who are familiar with the basics of Biblical language have stepped in. Christ didn't speak to the masses in Hebrew. He spoke mostly in Aramaic. When Steve calls Aramaic, or Palestinian Aramaic a "dialect of Hebrew" he is passing on misinformation. Aramaic is a different language than Hebrew.

There is not one person on this board with an advanced theology or relevant language degree who things Christ typically quoted Hebrew OT Scriptures when he was speaking to the masses. So what happens to your question then? You ask

Why would He do that when He essentially wrote the Hebrew? Why not quote from His own writings

And the answer is they didn't speak Hebrew. They spoke Aramaic. Read this from Isaiah 36
11 Then Eliakim, Shebna and Joah said to the field commander, "Please speak to your servants in Aramaic, since we understand it. Don't speak to us in Hebrew in the hearing of the people on the wall."

Palestinian Aramaic had many Hebrew words etc.. just like Yiddish has many Hebrew words. The Jews in eastern Europe in the last century spoke Yiddish, which is a dialect of German. Those Jews didn't understand Hebrew any more than the average Jew understood Hebrew during the time of Christ.

Edit: Steve quoted Edersheim calling Palestinian Aramaic a dialect of Hebrew, it was not a claim he made himself.
 
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TimV

Puritanboard Botanist
Based upon Philo's written account I don't think it is reliable, so I don't think he is a credible witness.

So then the letter of Aristeas isn't the only source, is it.

Philo is also a source, but after studying the material in-depth, you don't think the man was credible. You think that the rules of logic dictate that because he may have made a mistake deliberate or otherwise about the history of the Septuagint, specifically about something that happened 250 years before he was born, cancels the fact that he was a witness to a celebration to the Septuagint in his own day.

So, as we have it at this point, you concede that the letter of Aristeas isn't the only source. There are two sources, both in your opinion not credible, Philo and Aristeas.

Now my next question is: are there any other sources besides these two, even sources you don't like?
 

TimV

Puritanboard Botanist
BTW Steve, you may want to consider NOT using Edersheim when making your point about the lack of proof for the historical Septuagint. On a hunch, since you brought him up several times, I got my copy out of The Life and Times and he says we have to, based on the evidence, say that the Septuagint was completed during the reign of Ptolemy 111, who ruled between 247-221 BC.

He calls the Septuagint the "People's Bible" of the time of Christ.
 

KMK

Administrator
Staff member
How can the NT 'show' a dependence on something that no longer exists?

"No longer exists?" :confused:

There's no need to admit anything. It says there were constant improvements/revisions of the Septuagint from the time it was commissioned by Ptolemy Philadelphia two and a half centuries before the Christ.

Tim said the LXX was constantly 'improved' and 'revised' so how do we know for sure what the LXX looked like at the time of Christ? If we don't know what it looked like, how do we 'show' that the NT writers depended upon it?
 

Thomas2007

Puritan Board Sophomore
Based upon Philo's written account I don't think it is reliable, so I don't think he is a credible witness.

So then the letter of Aristeas isn't the only source, is it.

Philo is also a source, but after studying the material in-depth, you don't think the man was credible. You think that the rules of logic dictate that because he may have made a mistake deliberate or otherwise about the history of the Septuagint, specifically about something that happened 250 years before he was born, cancels the fact that he was a witness to a celebration to the Septuagint in his own day.

So, as we have it at this point, you concede that the letter of Aristeas isn't the only source. There are two sources, both in your opinion not credible, Philo and Aristeas.

Now my next question is: are there any other sources besides these two, even sources you don't like?

Tim,

I don't think there are two sources or witnesses in Philo and Aristeas. Fraudulent documents are not sources or witnesses, nor is Alexandria a proper repository for the Scriptures. Romans 3:1-2 is clear. Further, it has been a few years since I went through this subject for myself, but it was not logic that I analyzed it through but rather Greenleaf's Rules of Evidence for Ancient Documents.

I've provided answers to your questions, yet repeatedly you never deal with one fact presented. You admit you've never studied John Owen, you didn't know who Edward Leigh was, I doubt you've read Francis Turretin either. I believe you said you had never heard anyone that ever doubted this, yet both Elder Rafalsky and I have provided you Reformed Protestant witnesses that go back hundreds of years from which we derive our position.

I'm happy to discourse with you and attempt to explain my position, but I can't argue into a void. You chide us and utilize various forms of disparagement, imply that Pastor Ken is ignorant on this subject, yet admit you haven't studied it thoroughly.

The problem is that with this lack of understanding regarding the polemic with Rome over the Providential Preservation of Scripture and how the doctrine came to be Confessionally established in the Westminster Confession of Faith you can't understand what is at stake.

At common law when you bring a witness forward you have to be able to vouch for his veracity as a witness. The veracity of both the Letter of Aristeas and Philo have been destroyed in this thread, I guess we could go on into Aristobolus and other's but I don't see the point, because you haven't dealt with anything so far.

If you have something of substance to add, then please do - or at least deal with the evidence that has been publicly posted.

Cordially,

Thomas
 
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MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
:judge: Thomas2007, please deal with TimV's arguments without calling into question his intentions in entering into this discussion.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Tim said the LXX was constantly 'improved' and 'revised' so how do we know for sure what the LXX looked like at the time of Christ? If we don't know what it looked like, how do we 'show' that the NT writers depended upon it?

Scholars to and fro here, but at a bare mimimum it is accepted that the Septuagint shares a large vocabulary with the NT, and make use of it in examining NT words.
 

Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
From post #104:

Tim:

“People who haven't a specific knowledge of this subject can get into really bizarre thinking by listening to what is being said, especially by Steve.”

I’d like to look at this, and review what I have actually been saying, to see if it fits the “bizarre” bill you allege. But first, this exchange, where KMK questions why Jesus would not have used the Hebrew to quote from:

KMK: “Why would He do that when He essentially wrote the Hebrew? Why not quote from His own writings”

Tim: “And the answer is they didn't speak Hebrew. They spoke Aramaic. Read this from Isaiah 36:11:

Then Eliakim, Shebna and Joah said to the field commander, ‘Please speak to your servants in Aramaic, since we understand it. Don't speak to us in Hebrew in the hearing of the people on the wall.’

Palestinian Aramaic had many Hebrew words etc.. just like Yiddish has many Hebrew words. The Jews in eastern Europe in the last century spoke Yiddish, which is a dialect of German. Those Jews didn't understand Hebrew any more than the average Jew understood Hebrew during the time of Christ.”​

Tim, you err here. The reason Eliakim & co. asked Rabshakeh to speak in “the Syrian language” (Aramaic) and not in “the language of the Jews” (Hebrew), was not that the “men on the wall” didn’t understand Hebrew, but rather that they did, which Rabshakeh sought to capitalize on when he disparaged Hezekiah and hoped to terrify the soldiers and all listening with the promise of their coming doom. Eliakin wanted to spare the men from hearing such things in their own language – the Hebrew.

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Yes, Edersheim is not one I would choose to support my view of the Septuagint, as he would be a witness on your side. But he was pertinent about the use of Greek to the rulers of Israel in the quote I used. The which I would like to look at some more.

Tim, you said,

There is not one person on this board with an advanced theology or relevant language degree who thinks Christ typically quoted Hebrew OT Scriptures when he was speaking to the masses.​

Let’s look at this. Two points I would like to make: 1) Often Jesus spoke to the rulers, priests, and Pharisees in the presence and hearing of the masses. It was from fear of the masses that the Pharisees and priests refrained from seizing Him on a number of occasions. Now when the Lord was disputing with the rulers, He must needs have done this in the Hebrew language, particularly when quoting the Scripture. Jesus was a hero in the eyes of the common people, for He dared to withstand the corrupt temple priests, and often rebuked the contemptuous Pharisees in their hearing, using Scripture. Seeing as only the Hebrew Scriptures were acknowledged as authoritative in Jerusalem and Judea, the burden of proof is on you if you allege He used the Greek (even in a running translation) in these exchanges. Many are the claims made in a court of law, but only those with substantial evidence win the day.

2) The claim that Palestinian Jewry in the time of Christ could not speak Hebrew has been seriously challenged. I quote from Thomas Holland’s, Crowned With Glory, chapter 6, “Oracle of the Jews”:

For years it had been thought that the Bible Christ used was the Greek Septuagint (also known as the LXX). The common thought was that the Jews at the time of Christ had all but lost their use of Hebrew since the international language of that day was Greek. However, with the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls (which will be discussed in greater detail in the following chapter), it has been established that the Jews did not lose their use of Hebrew. In fact, most of their writings (both sacred and secular) were written in Hebrew.

Alan Millard, Professor of Hebrew and Ancient Semitic Languages at the University of Liverpool, England, observed that for years scholars believed Hebrew was limited to religious usage during the time of Christ. But from the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls and books written in common Hebrew among them, it can now be established that a form of Hebrew, like the Hebrew used in the Old Testament yet distinct in form, was in use during the time of Christ and the apostles.* This confirms what we find in the Gospels concerning the Hebrew Old Testament used by Christ. Jesus proclaimed; “For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled” (Matthew 5:18). It is interesting that Christ used the words jot and tittle which are Hebrew letters, not Greek. Additionally, Jesus states in Luke 11:51; “From the blood of Abel unto the blood of Zecharias,” attesting to the Hebrew order of Scripture. The placement of Old Testament books are different in the Jewish order, ending with 2 Chronicles and not Malachi. In 2 Chronicles 24:21 we are told of the stoning of faithful Zechariah, and Christ’s statement not only spoke of the martyrdom of Old Testament saints, but marks the limit of the Hebrew order: from the beginning (Genesis) to the end (2 Chronicles). (pp. 111, 112)

* Alan Millard, Discoveries from the Time of Jesus, (Oxford: Lion, 1990), 35.​

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Now what is the “bizarre thinking” you allege I inculcate? Let me count the ways.

I uphold the Traditional Text, and in particular the Textus Receptus Greek and Masoretic Hebrew.

I appreciate the scholarship of some Independent Fundamentalist Baptists as regards the Textual histories of the Greek and Hebrew manuscripts, as well as Presbyterians, Reformed, Anglicans, Methodists, Reformed Baptists, and others. In this area I have found the IFBs outstanding.

I have posted views concerning the Septuagint which range from those who say there is no evidence whatever for the existence of a pre-Christ or Christ-contemporary Septuagint, to those who say there were Old Testament portions, particularly the Pentateuch, but they are not to be confused with – or identified as – the text known today at the Septuagint.

The term “Septuagint” means that Greek translation by “the Seventy” of legend (for there is no historical basis to assert their actual existence or the LXX allegedly produced by them). So, technically, when one says there was no Septuagint or LXX before the time of Christ, this is accurate. Now, if one were to say, there were Scriptures translated from the Hebrew into the Greek, for there is some little attestation for that, that could be accepted. But to call them the Septuagint is a misnomer.

I have asserted that Christ did not use the Greek translation when He quoted Scripture, but rather used the Hebrew. In particular I denied his using the LXX’s version of Isaiah 6 when he quoted from Isaiah in Matthew 13:14, 15.

I have stated, in the company of others, including John Owen, that the exact reproductions of NT phrases found in the LXX were replicated in this latter by “Christian” (or Christian era) scribes, and were not taken from the LXX and put into the NT – rather the reverse.

I have said that Jesus did not speak Greek (or use a Greek translation) when quoting Scripture to His countrymen and women.

Are any of these things properly called “bizarre” – or as you earlier typed my style (post #41) “rhetorical games”? I do not think this would pass as civil discourse even in the secular realm of discussion.

No doubt some of my view are controversial, but then the Presbyterian and Reformed soteriology is controversial in the larger Christian camp. We cannot avoid controversy if we take a stand for particular views. What we can avoid, however, is a contemptuous, defaming tongue, for we then belie the Spirit of grace who lives within us, and is our life.

Here on PB many doctrinal positions are represented – and some quite opposed to one another, such as the paedo-credo – and yet we seek to adorn the Gospel we say we live by with mild and respectful spirits. Yes, we may argue our points vigorously, but all who are born from above shall be our fellows in an untold wondrous eternity of friendship in the presence of our King, and we are told to begin that life of love here, and now.

So please, ease up a little. I may be wrong in some things I say, and if I cannot be corrected of such in this life, then the Lord will correct me when I stand before Him – along with all others who presume to teach (James 3:1) – on that great Day of Reckoning. For now, we are to help one another as we all traverse this wicked world (with wicked hearts of our own!) on our way to the Land of Glory.

Let's end this significant discussion graciously, cleansed by the blood of the Lamb. Thanks for your stimulating opposition. I have been bettered by it, and have seen some areas where I need further study.

Steve
 

TimV

Puritanboard Botanist
Tim, you err here. The reason Eliakim & co. asked Rabshakeh to speak in “the Syrian language” (Aramaic) and not in “the language of the Jews” (Hebrew), was not that the “men on the wall” didn’t understand Hebrew, but rather that they did, which Rabshakeh sought to capitalize on when he disparaged Hezekiah and hoped to terrify the soldiers and all listening with the promise of their coming doom. Eliakin wanted to spare the men from hearing such things in their own language – the Hebrew.

No, Steve, I do not err. You are not following the argument. Both Ken and Backwoods thought that it was obvious that Christ spoke to the masses in Hebrew, and the whole point of the quote was to show that Aramaic was not and is not a dialect of Hebrew. I believe at least Ken got it. The overwhelming opinion of both religious and secular thought has always been that Christ generally did not address crowds in Hebrew, so He in the very nature of things translated the Scriptures into the language of the audience, as do we today whenever we post Scripture in English.


Yes, Edersheim is not one I would choose to support my view of the Septuagint, as he would be a witness on your side.


For years it had been thought that the Bible Christ used was the Greek Septuagint (also known as the LXX).


The term “Septuagint” means that Greek translation by “the Seventy” of legend (for there is no historical basis to assert their actual existence or the LXX allegedly produced by them).

No doubt some of my view are controversial, but then the Presbyterian and Reformed soteriology is controversial in the larger Christian camp.
 

Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Tim,

I understand this: you said of the people on the wall,

"Those Jews didn't understand Hebrew any more than the average Jew understood Hebrew during the time of Christ."​

But they did understand it. And what of the findings from the Dead Sea Scrolls that show the Palestinian Jews of Christ's time did know far more Hebrew than had previously been thought?

The use of Aramaic is another issue; the primary issue was concerning the Greek.

I stand by my saying Jesus did not use the Greek Old Testament when quoting Isaiah 6 in Matthew 13, but quoted it loosely from the Hebrew as the Spirit of God led Him.

I will let those reading our exchanges determine for themselves whose presentation of historical and textual data is most credible.
 

Pilgrim

Puritanboard Commissioner
Let's end this significant discussion graciously, cleansed by the blood of the Lamb. Thanks for your stimulating opposition. I have been bettered by it, and have seen some areas where I need further study.

I will let those reading our exchanges determine for themselves whose presentation of historical and textual data is most credible.

Agreed. I think this one's about outlived its useful lifespan and it went off topic a long time ago.
 
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