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Using the Septuagint for New Testament study


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#1 Fortigurn

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Posted 07 October 2010 - 10:30 PM

Source.

If you've gone to church, listened to sermons, or studied the Bible for any amount of time, you've probably heard that the Septuagint (abbreviated "LXX") is what the NT writers usually quoted from, or that some even say the Septuagint was "Paul's Bible".

This is all well and good, but how do we use the Septuagint when we're studying the New Testament? How do we understand (and identify) quotations from the Septuagint in the NT? And and how do we draw upon the linguistic richness that the Septuagint provided the early Christians?

These are the sorts of questions that R. Timothy McLay examines in his book The Use of the Septuagint in New Testament Research. McLay helpfully provides a summary of the structure of the book at the end of the introduction. Note that "TT" is an abbreviation for "Translation Technique":

We will follow this introductory chapter with our investigation of the citation in Acts 15:16–18 [Open in Logos Bible Software (if available)] . Chapter one will serve to introduce the reader to the complex world of the use of Scripture in the NT and to raise some of the issues that are involved. Chapter two will examine TT in the LXX and the problem of whether the NT writer is quoting a Hebrew or Greek text. Here we will begin defining the purpose of TT and discuss the problems of methodology for analyzing TT. This chapter contains some discussion that is quite technical in nature; it may be skimmed by students who are more interested in the impact of the Greek Jewish Scriptures on the NT. We will conclude the examination of TT in the following chapter by proposing a methodology for analyzing TT. Chapter four will outline the transmission history of the LXX and its recensions. Again, the knowledge gained from the study of specific texts will be applied to NT research. Chapter five will draw upon the arguments of the previous chapters as we examine more passages in order to determine how the NT writers’ use of the Greek Jewish Scriptures is reflected in their theology. We will argue that the theology of the NT exhibits the distinct influence of the Greek scriptural tradition by its use of vocabulary, its citations of Scripture, and its theological concepts. The final chapter will offer concluding remarks.


Miserere mei Deus,
Secundum magnam misericordiam tuam.
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dele iniquitatem meam.

______________________________________________________________________
target="_blank">I am a Christadelphian. Click here to see my confession of faith.
______________________________________________________________________
‘John Wesley once received a note which said, “The Lord has told me to tell you that He doesn’t need your book-learning, your Greek, and your Hebrew.”

Wesley answered “Thank you, sir. Your letter was superfluous, however, as I already knew the Lord has no need for my ‘book-learning,’ as you put it. However—although the Lord has not directed me to say so—on my own responsibility I would like to say to you that the Lord does not need your ignorance, either.”

Osborne & Woodward, ‘Handbook for Bible study’, pp. 13-14 (1979)

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#2 Evangelion

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Posted 08 October 2010 - 02:10 AM

Good gear.

:(
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#3 TrevorL

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Posted 08 October 2010 - 02:41 AM

Greetings Fort and Ev,

Is there any book that lists NT usage of the LXX in each passage. There is a list of NT usage of Isaiah in Barne's OT Notes, and he shows that there are some LXX, some MT and some other quotations in the NT for Isaiah. Our exhorting brother suggested two LXX quotes in the NT last Sunday, and I asked him what reference book he used. His answer was that he heard it some 20 years ago, and simply confirmed the reference by comparing the individual LXX Greek. One of these was "keep" the Passover NT/OT is the same word.

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#4 Richie

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Posted 08 October 2010 - 02:58 AM

I'm even more convinced lately that the LXX is useless for Bible study.
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#5 Evangelion

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Posted 08 October 2010 - 03:49 AM

Trevor, unfortunately I don't know of any work which provides the list you're asking for. Perhaps Fort can be more helpful.
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#6 Tarkus

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Posted 08 October 2010 - 05:10 AM

I'm even more convinced lately that the LXX is useless for Bible study.


I dunno: a bible translated centuries ago, into a language you don't speak, very useful for picking up bible echoes, sounds just like the KJV to me.

#7 Flappie

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Posted 08 October 2010 - 09:55 AM

I'm even more convinced lately that the LXX is useless for Bible study.


I find this a little odd considering some of the other things you've said. Could you explain why you think this.
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#8 nsr

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Posted 08 October 2010 - 10:43 AM

This may be a stupid question, but do brethren routinely make use of the LXX for finding Bible echoes between the OT and NT? i.e. comparing the Greek of the LXX with the Greek of the NT.

If so, should they? Obviously if the LXX was good enough for the NT writers to quote from, it can't be dismissed as "just a translation into Greek". Or can it? I'm not a huge fan of making connections between passages based simply on the same word occurring in both, even when it's the same language. I'd be even more wary of doing it via the LXX. Apologies if this has been discussed loads of times before or if it's obvious, if so I've obviously missed it! :(
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#9 Tarkus

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Posted 08 October 2010 - 11:22 AM

This may be a stupid question, but do brethren routinely make use of the LXX for finding Bible echoes between the OT and NT? i.e. comparing the Greek of the LXX with the Greek of the NT.


I don't know, do they? They claim to be able to do it by using the KJV, which is comparing a translation from Hebrew into four hundred year old English with a translation of Greek into four hundred year old English. It seems to me that the LXX and the GNT are not likely to be any worse.

Obviously if the LXX was good enough for the NT writers to quote from, it can't be dismissed as "just a translation into Greek". Or can it?


No it can't. It was the Bible of the NT era.

I'm not a huge fan of making connections between passages based simply on the same word occurring in both, even when it's the same language.


Nor am I. I'm sure Richie would agree. Still, one wants to avoid basic errors like identifying an OT quotation in the NT, making a subtle point based on an English-ified interpretation of the OT Hebrew, despite the NT quoting an LXX version which doesn't support it.

#10 Richie

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Posted 08 October 2010 - 02:55 PM

We can't be sure the LXX wasn't changed to match the NT. I am much more interested in using the Hebrew Bible when the NT alludes or quotes from the Old.
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#11 Fortigurn

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Posted 08 October 2010 - 03:16 PM

We can't be sure the LXX wasn't changed to match the NT.


There are ways of assessing this. I have attached some of the relevant literature.

Attached Files


Edited by Fortigurn, 08 October 2010 - 03:37 PM.

Miserere mei Deus,
Secundum magnam misericordiam tuam.
Et secundum multitudinem miserationum tuarum
dele iniquitatem meam.

______________________________________________________________________
target="_blank">I am a Christadelphian. Click here to see my confession of faith.
______________________________________________________________________
‘John Wesley once received a note which said, “The Lord has told me to tell you that He doesn’t need your book-learning, your Greek, and your Hebrew.”

Wesley answered “Thank you, sir. Your letter was superfluous, however, as I already knew the Lord has no need for my ‘book-learning,’ as you put it. However—although the Lord has not directed me to say so—on my own responsibility I would like to say to you that the Lord does not need your ignorance, either.”

Osborne & Woodward, ‘Handbook for Bible study’, pp. 13-14 (1979)

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#12 Fortigurn

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Posted 08 October 2010 - 03:35 PM

Greetings Fort and Ev,

Is there any book that lists NT usage of the LXX in each passage. There is a list of NT usage of Isaiah in Barne's OT Notes, and he shows that there are some LXX, some MT and some other quotations in the NT for Isaiah. Our exhorting brother suggested two LXX quotes in the NT last Sunday, and I asked him what reference book he used. His answer was that he heard it some 20 years ago, and simply confirmed the reference by comparing the individual LXX Greek. One of these was "keep" the Passover NT/OT is the same word.


There are a number of such works. See here for an amateur though well researched online list, and see the first few pages of the attached document for references to scholarly works on the subject. See also the 'Citations' PDF which quotes extensively from one such work.

Attached Files


Miserere mei Deus,
Secundum magnam misericordiam tuam.
Et secundum multitudinem miserationum tuarum
dele iniquitatem meam.

______________________________________________________________________
target="_blank">I am a Christadelphian. Click here to see my confession of faith.
______________________________________________________________________
‘John Wesley once received a note which said, “The Lord has told me to tell you that He doesn’t need your book-learning, your Greek, and your Hebrew.”

Wesley answered “Thank you, sir. Your letter was superfluous, however, as I already knew the Lord has no need for my ‘book-learning,’ as you put it. However—although the Lord has not directed me to say so—on my own responsibility I would like to say to you that the Lord does not need your ignorance, either.”

Osborne & Woodward, ‘Handbook for Bible study’, pp. 13-14 (1979)

______________________________________________________________________
target="_blank">Apologetics

#13 Mark Taunton

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Posted 08 October 2010 - 10:51 PM

We can't be sure the LXX wasn't changed to match the NT.


There are ways of assessing this. I have attached some of the relevant literature.


Those extracts from McLay are interesting and revealing. Particularly in the analysis of Amos 9 / Acts 15 there are illustrated some significant problems in aspects of the scholarly approach:

* The basic assumption, taken as a foundation and left entirely unquestioned, is that NT is actually quoting from the LXX in the first place. But is it?

* Then there is a simplifying but simplistic focus on the words of the individual passage as quoted in the NT. This is made without obvious consideration of the quoting context and any possible purpose of making the quotation, as presented by that context.

* Lastly, there is assumption that the words we find in the NT are to be understood simply as a translation into Greek of the words of a single quoted original (Hebrew or Aramaic) passage. Of course, that goes with the first assumption; it is all that we would expect in the LXX, though it is not what we find in the NT.

But the text in Acts 15 gives us indications that these elements of such an analysis are at least weak, if not downright wrong. To summarise:

Firstly, the comparison between Acts 15 and the LXX of Amos 9 shows a considerable number of differences, as the table lays out. Whatever we else we might say about it, the clear point is that the NT wording is not by any means a verbatim quote from the LXX of Amos. (The differences are much more than mere minor grammatical adaptations to fit into the quoting context.) Moreover, this is a case where it is hard if not impossible to argue for an earlier Hebrew original text (vorlage) that was different from the Masoretic Text, and of which the claimed LXX rendering is an accurate translation. In this case, a pre-NT-era Hebrew form of Amos 9 is known from the Dead Sea Scrolls, and that form in fact matches the Masoretic Text1.

On the second aspect, no attention at all is given by McLay as to why James quotes from Amos. What is the point of the quotation, in the argument that he presents? What relevance to his case for accepting Gentiles as brethren, without causing them to come under the law of Moses, do Amos' words have in their original context, and might that in any way lead to the quotation being understood in a different way? I propose that indeed James, who with Peter and the rest of the apostles was directed by the holy spirit (Acts 15:28), is drawing out significant issues from the contextual background in Amos. It is these that explain why we do not find the words of the Hebrew original, translated directly into Greek as we find it in Acts, but entirely unaltered in their sense. Rather, James is developing and adjusting the quotation in the form of exposition, in a manner matched to the argument he is making. And it is clearly absurd to imagine that the same argument would be being made, or that the same reasons for rendering the prophets' words as James does would be shared, by an earlier supposed translator of Amos from Hebrew to Greek.

The assumption that Acts 15:16-17 are simply a quote from some pre-existing Greek translation of Amos 9:11-12, and nothing more, is directly signalled to be in error by the detail of the introductory words: "And to this agree the words of the prophets, as it is written ...". James is explicitly not quoting only Amos. He is quoting other prophets (at least two others) as well. And if we would take the hint from the content, the words that James does quote from Amos, we would begin to find out who those other prophets are, and why he is quoting their words also, as it can be shown that he does.

In short, this is not a quotation from the (uninspired) LXX; it is rather an inspired quotation from the holy scriptures themselves. James, one of the holy apostles, is showing by the spirit how the gentiles can become fellow heirs with faithful Jews, and of the same body, and partakers of God's promise in Christ by the gospel. He is using the original words of God through his former prophets (plural), centred in a section from Amos but expanding and adapting it, including words from other prophets, to fit the needs of the situation the apostles in Jerusalem were facing. The primary Amos source is used deliberately because of the original context, in order to prove the point they make, that the Gentiles are not required to keep the law; this argument is substantiated by Paul's later words to Peter (as reported Gal 2:11-16). And one of the plain points of the context in Amos 9 is precisely aligned with Paul's rebuke of Peter: Jews fail to keep the law too, so they are not better than Gentiles in they regard. But James under the spirit's direction is also drawing in words from elsewhere in scripture, spoken by other prophets, to build his argument about the situation of those Gentiles who, having heard the gospel, have obeyed.

In respect of the scriptural evidence about this quotation, we have no grounds to suppose that James in Acts 15 is quoting from the LXX, at all.
----
1Washburn, David L., A catalogue of Biblical Passages in the Dead Sea Scrolls, Society of Biblical Literature, Atlanta, 2002.

Edited by Mark Taunton, 08 October 2010 - 11:16 PM.


#14 Evangelion

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Posted 08 October 2010 - 11:25 PM

In short, this is not a quotation from the (uninspired) LXX


Mark, I can't see the point of this comment. The LXX is a translation, and translations are never inspired; that goes without saying. But it doesn't mean translations cannot be reliable.

You don't use an inspired Bible yourself, so why pick on the LXX?
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#15 Mark Taunton

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Posted 08 October 2010 - 11:39 PM

In short, this is not a quotation from the (uninspired) LXX


Mark, I can't see the point of this comment. The LXX is a translation, and translations are never inspired; that goes without saying. But it doesn't mean translations cannot be reliable.

You don't use an inspired Bible yourself, so why pick on the LXX?

I'm not picking on the LXX. Yes, I often use an uninspired translation. But I do also use an inspired Bible, namely the original texts (or as close as I can get to them) in their original languages. The primary point of my posting is that in Acts 15 we are not seeing James quote from the LXX. Rather, the record presents to us his inspired expositional rendering, in Greek (yes, an inspired translation, but more than a translation) of some of the words that Amos and others spoke.

Edited by Mark Taunton, 08 October 2010 - 11:40 PM.


#16 Fortigurn

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Posted 09 October 2010 - 12:21 AM

* The basic assumption, taken as a foundation and left entirely unquestioned, is that NT is actually quoting from the LXX in the first place. But is it?

* Then there is a simplifying but simplistic focus on the words of the individual passage as quoted in the NT. This is made without obvious consideration of the quoting context and any possible purpose of making the quotation, as presented by that context.

* Lastly, there is assumption that the words we find in the NT are to be understood simply as a translation into Greek of the words of a single quoted original (Hebrew or Aramaic) passage. Of course, that goes with the first assumption; it is all that we would expect in the LXX, though it is not what we find in the NT.


None of these statements are true. No such assumptions are made. One of the documents I posted provided a seven step process of applying various criteria to determine the likelihood of a New Testament passage being a quote or citation from the Old Greek, or from a Hebrew text. The criteria involved no such assumptions as you claim. Furthermore, the process explicitly made reference to taking into account the context of the passage. One of the documents I attached spent 10 pages assessing one passage on the basis of a range of criteria, including context.

Firstly, the comparison between Acts 15 and the LXX of Amos 9 shows a considerable number of differences, as the table lays out. Whatever we else we might say about it, the clear point is that the NT wording is not by any means a verbatim quote from the LXX of Amos. (The differences are much more than mere minor grammatical adaptations to fit into the quoting context.)


McLay never claims that it's a verbatim quote from the LXX, he says the opposite; 'it is obvious that our passage is not a direct quotation from a Greek manuscript of Amos'.

Moreover, this is a case where it is hard if not impossible to argue for an earlier Hebrew original text (vorlage) that was different from the Masoretic Text, and of which the claimed LXX rendering is an accurate translation. In this case, a pre-NT-era Hebrew form of Amos 9 is known from the Dead Sea Scrolls, and that form in fact matches the Masoretic Text1.


Lay also says this; 'Comparing the OG and MT of Amos 9:11–12, we notice that the Greek is, for the most part, a faithful rendition of a Hebrew text that was likely very similar to the text preserved in the MT'.

On the second aspect, no attention at all is given by McLay as to why James quotes from Amos.


Actually he does, I just didn't post it.

I propose that indeed James, who with Peter and the rest of the apostles was directed by the holy spirit (Acts 15:28), is drawing out significant issues from the contextual background in Amos.


So does McLay.

It is these that explain why we do not find the words of the Hebrew original, translated directly into Greek as we find it in Acts, but entirely unaltered in their sense. Rather, James is developing and adjusting the quotation in the form of exposition, in a manner matched to the argument he is making.


We've come across this argument of yours before. This is an ad hoc explanation. It is an explanation which starts without evidence, advances on the basis of assumption, and is merely an attempt to reconcile the facts with what you have already decided is true. The result is that the best you can do every time a New Testament passage is found which shows evidence of having drawn from the OG/LXX, is claim that the Biblical speaker or writer was inspired to say or write something which looks very like use of the OG/LXX, but in fact wasn't. This doesn't actually address the issue in question, because you provide absolutely no criteria for assessing whether or not a New Testament passage is using the OG/LXX. The reason why you don't provide any such criteria is because you proceed on the assumption that the New Testament simply doesn't do this. For this reason, your answer has no explanatory force. It does not provide a sufficient explanation for the evidence. It does not even address the evidence at all, nor is it even remotely verifiable. You don't even have any validation criteria.

And it is clearly absurd to imagine that the same argument would be being made, or that the same reasons for rendering the prophets' words as James does would be shared, by an earlier supposed translator of Amos from Hebrew to Greek.


No one is arguing this.

The assumption that Acts 15:16-17 are simply a quote from some pre-existing Greek translation of Amos 9:11-12, and nothing more...


McLay doesn't say this either.

James is explicitly not quoting only Amos. He is quoting other prophets (at least two others) as well. And if we would take the hint from the content, the words that James does quote from Amos, we would begin to find out who those other prophets are, and why he is quoting their words also, as it can be shown that he does.


McLay also addresses this.

The quotation in Acts is introduced with the words: This agrees with the words of the prophets, as it is written. This may refer to a scroll containing the Minor Prophets. However, the introduction to the quotation contrasts with Acts 2:16 where the quotation is specifically attributed to Joel and, apart from some introductory words, basically follows Joel 2:28–29 in the OG. Another example of attributing the quotation to a specific prophet would be the citation of Isaiah 6:9–10 in Acts 28:26–27. Yet, the quotations in Acts 7:42–43 and 13:41 are also introduced as derived from the prophets, and both basically follow the OG texts of Amos 5:25–27 and Habakkuk 1:5, respectively. So, there are various introductory formulas that are employed, but, for the most part, it would appear that the author of Acts—and the same is evident in the remainder of the NT books—used written sources and followed them quite closely in most instances.17 The differences in our passage alert us to the freedom that the NT writers exercised in their treatment of their sources when they employed a citation.


Miserere mei Deus,
Secundum magnam misericordiam tuam.
Et secundum multitudinem miserationum tuarum
dele iniquitatem meam.

______________________________________________________________________
target="_blank">I am a Christadelphian. Click here to see my confession of faith.
______________________________________________________________________
‘John Wesley once received a note which said, “The Lord has told me to tell you that He doesn’t need your book-learning, your Greek, and your Hebrew.”

Wesley answered “Thank you, sir. Your letter was superfluous, however, as I already knew the Lord has no need for my ‘book-learning,’ as you put it. However—although the Lord has not directed me to say so—on my own responsibility I would like to say to you that the Lord does not need your ignorance, either.”

Osborne & Woodward, ‘Handbook for Bible study’, pp. 13-14 (1979)

______________________________________________________________________
target="_blank">Apologetics

#17 Evangelion

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Posted 09 October 2010 - 12:31 AM

I'm not picking on the LXX.


Oh, come on! You've done nothing but pick on the LXX ever since you got here. The LXX is your personal whipping boy (though for the life of me, I can't understand why).

Yes, I often use an uninspired translation.


No Mark, you always use an uninspired translation. There is no such thing as an inspired translation.

But I do also use an inspired Bible namely the original texts (or as close as I can get to them) in their original languages.


No you don't. You use an uninspired translation or an uninspired copy of a particular Hebrew manuscript set (remember that not all Hebrew manuscripts are the same). Only the original manuscripts were inspired, and they are no longer available. Everything else is uninspired.

And guess what the LXX was translated from? That's right: it was translated from the inspired Hebrew.

The primary point of my posting is that in Acts 15 we are not seeing James quote from the LXX. Rather, the record presents to us his inspired expositional rendering, in Greek (yes, an inspired translation, but more than a translation) of some of the words that Amos and others spoke.


Well, that's your personal view and I'm not convinced it's correct. It seems rather contrived.
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#18 Flappie

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Posted 09 October 2010 - 02:55 AM

I'm not picking on the LXX.


Oh, come on! You've done nothing but pick on the LXX ever since you got here. The LXX is your personal whipping boy (though for the life of me, I can't understand why)


Because accepting the LXX for what it is, and how it is used by the NT, would mean turning a number of his beliefs, especially his views on inspiration, on their head. Mark has entreched himself in such a position that he can do nothing else than whip the LXX.
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#19 Mark Taunton

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Posted 09 October 2010 - 07:06 AM

I am not whipping the LXX. I am opposed to the notion that the NT quotes it. That is quite different.

#20 Mark Taunton

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Posted 09 October 2010 - 08:11 AM

No Mark, you always use an uninspired translation. There is no such thing as an inspired translation.

On the contrary! There are plenty of scriptural instances of inspired translation in the Greek NT, from the Hebrew & Aramaic OT. And many of those disagree with the LXX.

But I do also use an inspired Bible namely the original texts (or as close as I can get to them) in their original languages.


No you don't. You use an uninspired translation or an uninspired copy of a particular Hebrew manuscript set (remember that not all Hebrew manuscripts are the same). Only the original manuscripts were inspired, and they are no longer available. Everything else is uninspired.

So a text which is an accurate copy of the original manuscript (one that correctly represents the words that appeared in it), is actually "uninspired"? What does "inspired" mean to you? From what you say here, it appears you think it is perhaps some special property of the original physical writing material or ink, and not of the words themselves that were penned. When Paul tells Timothy that all scripture is inspired of God,and is profitable in those various ways for the perfecting of the man of God, was that true of only the autograph, and not of the copies made from it? That Timothy, despite knowing the scriptures from a child, in fact only knew uninspired words? The notion you imply is absurd.

Ev, we do have the inspired word of God available to us! God promised his people that he would preserve his word, which lives and abides for ever, and has fulfilled his promise. Christadelphians have argued for that throughout our history, as you know very well. It is a cornerstone of our foundation (as referred to in e.g. the BASF) that the scripture is available to us, in forms containing substantially the same words that the prophets and apostles spoke and wrote. Where there are slight doubts, because of minor errors in transcription, there are ways to resolve them, based on the principle of scriptural consistency.

Moreover, since more recent times we have a great wealth of additional archaeological evidence to back up our confidence in this fact. The Dead Sea scrolls in particular give substantial support to the veracity of the Masoretic text. For example, I have just now checked the detail of that Amos 9 quote in DJD 21, to confirm Washburn's assertion that the DSS version here follows the MT+, which I referred to in my earlier post. And indeed, though parts of the passage are missing because the page has lacunae, the words and remaining part-words in the verses at issue, and those of earlier verses also, are almost* exactly in agreement with the MT, despite the latter having gone through at least 1,000 more years of copying.

And guess what the LXX was translated from? That's right: it was translated from the inspired Hebrew.

Not according to what you've just said, it wasn't! By your view, it was translated from an uninspired Hebrew text, since the chances that the original physical writing by Moses was available to the 70 (or was it 72?) are effectively zero.

----
1Benoit, P., Milik, J. T., De Vaux, R. et al, Discoveries in the Judaean Desert: Volume II. Les Grottes de Murabba'at, Clarendon Press, 1997.

+ That is his phrase; in view of the implicit anachronism in it, I rather said "matches the MT".
* I found just a single difference: in Amos 9:5, the DSS text has "every dweller in her shall mourn", where the MT has "all dwellers in her shall mourn". Although both cannot be correct (Amos must have said one or the other at this point), the difference in the effective meaning is at the smallest possible scale.

Edited by Mark Taunton, 09 October 2010 - 08:53 AM.


#21 Evangelion

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Posted 09 October 2010 - 08:30 AM

I am not whipping the LXX. I am opposed to the notion that the NT quotes it. That is quite different.


This might be a reasonable response if your opposition was itself reasonable and justified. But it is not. All the evidence contradicts you. The NT does quote the LXX, and your refusal to accept this fact despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, can only be explained by a personal objection to the LXX itself. There is no valid, objective basis for your view.
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#22 Mark Taunton

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Posted 09 October 2010 - 08:43 AM

All the evidence contradicts you. The NT does quote the LXX, and your refusal to accept this fact despite overwhelming proof can only be explained by a personal objection to the LXX itself.

Your response here comprises assertions. By contrast, I presented evidence for my case, by reference to a scholar's (McLay's) tabulated presentation of relevant source material. I pointed out that he thereby illustrates that the Greek of Acts 15:16-17 is in no way a simple quotation of the LXX of Amos 9:11-12, as your basic claim would lead one to expect, but something quite different and far more involved. That example alone goes directly against the supposed "overwhelming proof" that you speak of, that the NT quotes the LXX. Quite clearly, in this instance at least, it does not.

Edited by Mark Taunton, 09 October 2010 - 08:44 AM.


#23 Evangelion

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Posted 09 October 2010 - 09:18 AM

Your response here comprises assertions. By contrast, I presented evidence for my case, by reference to a scholar's (McLay's) tabulated presentation of relevant source material. I pointed out that he thereby illustrates that the Greek of Acts 15:16-17 is in no way a simple quotation of the LXX of Amos 9:11-12, as your basic claim would lead one to expect, but something quite different and far more involved. That example alone goes directly against the supposed "overwhelming proof" that you speak of, that the NT quotes the LXX. Quite clearly, in this instance at least, it does not.


Your "evidence" addressed only one passage, misrepresented the argument presented by McLay, and offered nothing to substantiate your wider belief that the NT never quotes the LXX.
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#24 Mark Taunton

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Posted 09 October 2010 - 09:41 AM

The problem here is that Mclay's work is saturated with and driven by his underlying assumption, that the NT does indeed quote the LXX. Inevitably, therefore, he takes it as beyond question that OT passages appearing in some form in the NT are quotes from the LXX in some form. Thus, when he analyses a case such as Amos 9/Acts 15, he does so exclusively on the basis of that understanding. He is evidently incapable of standing back, considering the facts of the respective texts as they appear in front of us, and asking himself (or his readers) whether his foundation is correct. His own presentation, which shows not only the similarities, but also the clear differences between OG Amos and NT Acts, ought to have given him reason to do that. But he doesn't, and most of his readers probably won't do it either. So despite the plain facts that the respective NT and OG texts are significantly different, he won't let go of his basic tenet, and claims that the quote still is from the LXX, but has been deliberately modified, and that's why they differ. That's simply not good enough to convince me.

#25 Mark Taunton

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Posted 09 October 2010 - 09:52 AM

Another issue of course is the text of the LXX. We simply do not have the relevant ancient texts, provably dating from before the writing of the NT, to confirm that the NT is indeed quoting from the LXX. And since the LXX has for the far greater part come to us in its various forms through Christian scribes, there is the obvious possibility that in some cases, the LXX text as we now know it was deliberately modified during that process of transmission, to bring it more into accordance with NT quotations. Since those same scribes evidently felt justified in modifying the text of the NT itself in many places, it is impossible to assert that they were incapable of doing such things to the LXX.

Edited by Mark Taunton, 09 October 2010 - 09:59 AM.


#26 Evangelion

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Posted 09 October 2010 - 10:13 AM

Mark, you've just vindicated everything I said about your anti-LXX prejudices.
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#27 Fortigurn

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Posted 09 October 2010 - 10:22 AM

The problem here is that Mclay's work is saturated with and driven by his underlying assumption, that the NT does indeed quote the LXX. Inevitably, therefore, he takes it as beyond question that OT passages appearing in some form in the NT are quotes from the LXX in some form. Thus, when he analyses a case such as Amos 9/Acts 15, he does so exclusively on the basis of that understanding.


No that is not true. You are simply making an unsubstantiated attempt to discredit him instead of addressing the evidence and argument he presents.

He is evidently incapable of standing back, considering the facts of the respective texts as they appear in front of us, and asking himself (or his readers) whether his foundation is correct.


Of course he does, he even uses a specific set of criteria to assess any conclusions regarding the texts, which you don't.

His own presentation, which shows not only the similarities, but also the clear differences between OG Amos and NT Acts, ought to have given him reason to do that.


If you read what he wrote you'll find that the differences are part of his case. He doesn't need to explain them away, they provide evidence for borrowing from the OG. Such differences, as he rightly says, should cause us to question whether the OG is really being used as the source, as opposed to the Hebrew text. However, such differences need to be analyzed and assessed with care to see how they inform the question. He analyzes and assesses them, and demonstrates how they contribute to his case. You don't do any of this.
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‘John Wesley once received a note which said, “The Lord has told me to tell you that He doesn’t need your book-learning, your Greek, and your Hebrew.”

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Osborne & Woodward, ‘Handbook for Bible study’, pp. 13-14 (1979)

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#28 Mark Taunton

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Posted 09 October 2010 - 11:06 AM

No, I am making no attempt to "discredit" McLay. I cast no aspersions on his character or credentials. Rather, I am simply questioning his assumptions, because I believe they are faulty. He works within the same framework as many Biblical scholars. In their eyes, that the NT quotes the LXX in some degree is not in doubt. This founding pre-supposition drives their whole approach whenever the issue of OT quotations in the NT is discussed. Within the scholarly world, since so many assume this founding premise, they find mutual support for their individual views, and this collective agreement is thus self-sustaining.

Scholars take this, that the NT is quoting the LXX, as a fact. So do many here. But that is despite the NT never once telling us that that is what it is doing.

Don't you think that there should be at least some grounds for such an interpretation? Some sort of mention in the words of the apostles, prophets, and scribes of the NT themselves, that they were using a pre-existing Greek translation? Yet no term such as "the septuagint", or "a translation of the Hebrew scriptures into Greek", or anything even remotely resembling those, or implying such a thing, ever comes. Scripturally speaking, the evidence is not "overwhelming", but precisely the reverse: it is non-existent.

Edited by Mark Taunton, 09 October 2010 - 11:24 AM.


#29 Mark Taunton

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Posted 09 October 2010 - 11:21 AM


Another issue of course is the text of the LXX. We simply do not have the relevant ancient texts, provably dating from before the writing of the NT, to confirm that the NT is indeed quoting from the LXX. And since the LXX has for the far greater part come to us in its various forms through Christian scribes, there is the obvious possibility that in some cases, the LXX text as we now know it was deliberately modified during that process of transmission, to bring it more into accordance with NT quotations. Since those same scribes evidently felt justified in modifying the text of the NT itself in many places, it is impossible to assert that they were incapable of doing such things to the LXX.

Mark, that's a grossly simplistic view of the subject. Once again, I recommend you read some of the scholarly literature to correct this misunderstanding. One example:

Why Is the NT Quotation Different from Both the MT and the OG?

The fact that frequently there are significant differences between what the NT author identifies as an explicit quotation of the Scripture and the text that is actually cited, whether one identifies the Hebrew or the Greek as the source of the quotation, raises several questions. First and foremost is the integrity of our textual witnesses. Are they reliable? We must remember that the same codices that are important witnesses for determining the original text of the NT, such as Sinaiticus (א), Alexandrinus (A), and Vaticanus (B), are just as significant for reconstructing the text of the OG because they preserve a witness to the Jewish Scriptures in their Greek form.

Note his unqualified assertion of his conclusions. He is already taking it as a fact that the LXX ("the Jewish Scriptures in their Greek form") is being quoted in the NT.

These manuscripts that are several hundred years removed from the original writing of the NT documents are even further removed from the period when the books of the Hebrew Bible were translated. So, our textual witnesses to the LXX are comparatively late when compared to textual witnesses to the NT. Moreover, since the Greek Scriptures of the Church were transmitted together, that is, both the LXX and the NT, there was a tendency to harmonize readings so that the text in the NT and the text of its source matched.

But here, he actually confirms his agreement with what I have been suggesting, at least in part. (He does not say that only one of the LXX and NT was modified, to agree with the other: harmonization allows that both could have been changed.)

The study of the critical apparatus in any Göttingen edition of an OG book reveals numerous variant readings, often with only one or very few supporting witnesses that were influenced by the text of the NT.

More of the same: he says that though in the minority, some OG textual variants are "influenced by the text of the NT"; this indicates their production being after the NT, so that they could be so influenced. But those other variant texts are thereby implied to be different from the NT, which means that the NT is not quoting from them. Again at this point, McLay is actually doing a good job of supporting my case, not refuting it!

The flaw in your assertion that "there is the obvious possibility that in some cases, the LXX text as we now know it was deliberately modified during that process of transmission, to bring it more into accordance with NT quotations" is the fact that - as we see in the Amos / Acts example - the LXX is not entirely in accordance with the NT text. Furthermore, as McLay says, the next verse in acts is nearly identical to that of Amos. If the Christian scribes were altering the LXX to bring it into accordance with the NT text, they did a pretty shoddy job of it. That hypothesis lacks credibility.

No. Please read my words again. You are responding to things I did not say, not to what I actually did say. You are thereby setting up a straw-man. I did not claim that in all cases, the LXX text was modified; I said only "in some cases". And nor did I claim that the LXX is "entirely in accordance with the NT text". I suggested only that the LXX was modified "to bring it more into accordance with NT quotations". And in that, McLay's words above about some OG text variants being "influenced by the text of the NT" directly support my case.

Edited by Mark Taunton, 09 October 2010 - 12:00 PM.


#30 Fortigurn

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Posted 09 October 2010 - 12:03 PM

No, I am making no attempt to "discredit" McLay. I cast no aspersions on his character or credentials. Rather, I am simply questioning his assumptions, because I believe they are faulty.


No Mark, you are attempting to discredit him by claiming he is pre-supposing his case. You claim 'Mclay's work is saturated with and driven by his underlying assumption'. You haven't even attempted to address his argument.

He works within the same framework as many Biblical scholars. In their eyes, that the NT quotes the LXX in some degree is not in doubt. This founding pre-supposition drives their whole approach whenever the issue of OT quotations in the NT is discussed. Within the scholarly world, since so many assume this founding premise, they find mutual support for their individual views, and this collective agreement is thus self-sustaining.

Scholars take this, that the NT is quoting the LXX, as a fact. So do many here. But that is despite the NT never once telling us that that is what it is doing.


This has absolutely no relevance to what has been quoted from McLay. You have not once addressed McLay's own reasons for believing the OG/LXX was used by the New Testament. You make the unsubstantiated claim that scholars just assume the New Testament uses the OG/LXX in some way, so every argument used as evidence of such use is simply the product of their presupposition. If this were true it would be possible to prove it, but you haven't even attempted to prove it.

The irony is that you are completely open about the fact that you advance on the presupposition that the OG/LXX is not used by the New Testament. This is why you don't ever advance any arguments, you just make unsubstantiated assertions.

Don't you think that there should be at least some grounds for such an interpretation?


Of course. And there are. And McLay provides them. You simply ignore this.

Some sort of mention in the words of the apostles, prophets, and scribes of the NT themselves, that they were using a pre-existing Greek translation?


Why?

Yet no term such as "the septuagint", or "a translation of the Hebrew scriptures into Greek", or anything even remotely resembling those, or implying such a thing, ever comes.


Of course not. This is exactly what we would expect. The fact that you are unaware of this shows you just don't know enough about the relevant background. You're reading the 1st century as if it was the 21st century.

Scripturally speaking, the evidence is not "overwhelming", but precisely the reverse: it is non-existent.


The problem with this sentence is that here 'Scripturally' doesn't have a meaning which has anything to do with Scripture, it's just a placeholder for 'What Mark Taunton thinks'.
Miserere mei Deus,
Secundum magnam misericordiam tuam.
Et secundum multitudinem miserationum tuarum
dele iniquitatem meam.

______________________________________________________________________
target="_blank">I am a Christadelphian. Click here to see my confession of faith.
______________________________________________________________________
‘John Wesley once received a note which said, “The Lord has told me to tell you that He doesn’t need your book-learning, your Greek, and your Hebrew.”

Wesley answered “Thank you, sir. Your letter was superfluous, however, as I already knew the Lord has no need for my ‘book-learning,’ as you put it. However—although the Lord has not directed me to say so—on my own responsibility I would like to say to you that the Lord does not need your ignorance, either.”

Osborne & Woodward, ‘Handbook for Bible study’, pp. 13-14 (1979)

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