OT: How we Got the Bible Question

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Ronald Quick | Forum Activity | Posted: Sat, Jul 7 2012 6:55 AM

I think I'm just not thinking clearly this morning, but I cannot seem to find this answer.

If I am understanding correctly, the organization of the Old Testament is taken from the Latin Vulgate which is from the Septuagint.  If this is the case, then how did the Massoretic text come into the picture?

Thanks,

Ron

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tom | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jul 7 2012 6:58 AM

Ronald Quick:

I think I'm just not thinking clearly this morning, but I cannot seem to find this answer.

If I am understanding correctly, the organization of the Old Testament is taken from the Latin Vulgate which is from the Septuagint.  If this is the case, then how did the Massoretic text come into the picture?

Thanks,

Ron

The MT is the "original Hebrew".  The LXX is a translation from the Hebrew.  

NOTE: The MT is not the same (as in 100% the same) as the LXX.

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Joseph Turner | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jul 7 2012 7:14 AM

Also, even though the MT is in Hebrew, the copies we have are dated at best after 800 AD or so.

The Septuagint is dated back to 200 or so BC, but it is in Greek.  It is also better preserved than the MT, but again, it is in Greek.

The Dead Sea Scrolls are the key, which represent the Hebrew text of the Hebrew Scriptures (OT) from about AD 200-Jesus' time.  We have every OT document accounted for, usually in multiples, except Esther.  There are verses that are in our modern Bibles that were never there before, because they were in the DSS (Psalm 145:14).  For the most part though the DSS attest to the reliability of our OT.  Modern versions already have any minor corrections supplied by the DSS.

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Dominick Sela | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jul 7 2012 7:52 AM

I believe the only place we see an accounting for Esther is in the Works of Josephus - The Antiquities of the Jews, where he writes extensively on the history of the Jewish people. If you have it in Logos, this link will take you to his writings on Esther in The Works of Josephus: New Updated Edition

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fgh | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jul 7 2012 7:57 AM

tom collinge:
The MT is the "original Hebrew".

a) The Samaritans would disagree. And so would the folks in Qumran. And presumably the LXX translators as well, who seem to have worked from slightly different manuscripts, either more or less "original" than the MT. The MT is simply the textual tradition that was eventually canonized within rabbinical Judaism, well after it separated from Christianity.

b) The question, as I understand it, was about the organization of the OT. The MT was handed down through scrolls. Scrolls have no order between them. The division in Torah, Prophets and Writings is traditional, and the order within certain scrolls is traditional, but the rest of the fixed order wasn't needed until one started to use books as well as scrolls. And I believe the LXX did that long before the MT did, so I believe the LXX order is actually older than the MT order.

Ronald Quick:
If I am understanding correctly, the organization of the Old Testament is taken from the Latin Vulgate which is from the Septuagint.

There is no the organization of the OT. Catholic Bibles build on the Vulgate, yes. Protestant? Well...

 

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Ronald Quick | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jul 7 2012 8:17 AM

Thanks for all the responses.

Let me explain a bit further my questions:

In Neil Lightfoot's "How We Got the Bible" (which I am waiting for Logos/Vyrso to have available) he states:  "The arrangement of Old Testament books found in English Bible is derived from the Latin Vulgate translation, which in turn is derived from the Septuagint or Greek version."

I really have two questions:

1) From what versions or translations do we get the order of our OT books for the current English Bible (Protestant).

According to the above quote by Lightfoot, it seems to me that the answer to this question is ultimately from the Septuagint.

If his statement is accurate then:

2) How did the Massoretic Text become the primary version from which our English Bibles are based?

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fgh | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jul 7 2012 8:52 AM

Ronald Quick:
1) From what versions or translations do we get the order of our OT books for the current English Bible (Protestant).

Is there a translation called the "English Bible"? If so, I don't have it, so I don't know what order it uses.

Ronald Quick:
According to the above quote by Lightfoot, it seems to me that the answer to this question is ultimately from the Septuagint.

All Christian Bibles that I can think of, except the Messianic CJB, ultimately take their order from the LXX. It's just a question about how much they've removed, rearranged, and/or (in a few rare cases) added.

Ronald Quick:
How did the Massoretic Text become the primary version from which our English Bibles are based?

Blame Jerome.

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fgh | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jul 7 2012 9:03 AM

fgh:
All Christian Bibles that I can think of, except the Messianic CJB, ultimately take their order from the LXX. It's just a question about how much they've removed, rearranged, and/or (in a few rare cases) added.

As a general rule the Eastern traditions add, mainline Protestants rearrange, and Evangelicals remove.

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Denise | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jul 7 2012 10:09 AM

It IS true ... using (American) legal jurisprudence, only the LXX has been validated as a Holy-Spirit sourced document (not sure which version; I guess maybe one being used in western Asia?).

The fact that Jesus quoted from the LXX of course is the ultimate validation (Jesus was from heaven and obviously knew the Holy Spirit as a part of the Trinity). The hebrew text is largely a long series of traditions. Just one of the many ironies facing modern day exegetes.

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steve clark | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jul 7 2012 10:11 AM

an interesting article on Hebrew order vs Greek order of minor prophets:

logosres:ots-mnpr;art=chart2

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Gary Butner, Th.D. | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jul 7 2012 11:45 AM

Present-day copies of the Septuagint contain the Apocrypha. Since the New Testament frequently quotes from the Septuagint Old Testament, many scholars argue that the New Testament sanctions the Apocrypha. It is important, however, to know that our Septuagint copies come from a late time—about a.d. 325. There is no evidence that the early Septuagint contained the Apocrypha. Indeed there is evidence against it.

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fgh | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jul 7 2012 11:55 AM

steve clark:

an interesting article on Hebrew order vs Greek order of minor prophets:

logosres:ots-mnpr;art=chart2

Oops. Guess I was wrong above. Embarrassed I thought the Twelve Prophets were the same order in both.

Serves to prove that what we should all do is to open:

  • the LXX,
  • the JPS or similar,
  • the Vulgate, and
  • whatever more or less modern translations we want to compare with,

open the TOCs for all of them, and arrange them side by side. Only, when I did that they all had Joel after Hosea, even Brenton's LXX. Logos' LXX has Amos, though. 

We need MJ; she is ten times better at this than I am.

 

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steve clark | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jul 7 2012 12:02 PM

fgh,

i wasn't trying to correct you (or anyone). You seem to have a pretty good knowledge on many Biblical topics. Thanks!

i was searching my L4 library and ran upon this article. Wish i had the paper copies in L4 that i own (Metzger, Lightfoot, etc). Some years ago i became curious how we got our version of the Bible and did a little reading on it.

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jul 7 2012 12:37 PM

English Bibles that I have which do not agree on the order of the OT:

  • NRSV with apocrypha
  • NRSVCE
  • Community Bible

As for the Vulgate:

The Vulgate has a compound text that is not entirely the work of Jerome. Its components include:

  • Jerome's independent translation from the Hebrew: the books of the Hebrew Bible, usually not including his translation of the Psalms. This was completed in 405.
  • Translation from the Greek of Theodotion by Jerome: The three additions to the Book of Daniel; Song of the Three Children, Story of Susanna, and The Idol Bel and the Dragon. The Song of the Three Children was retained within the narrative of Daniel, the other two additions Jerome moved to the end of the book.
  • Translation from the Septuagint by Jerome: the Rest of Esther. Jerome gathered all these additions together at the end of the book of Esther.
  • Translation from the Hexaplar Septuagint by Jerome: his Gallican version of the Book of Psalms. Jerome's Hexaplaric revisions of other books of Old Testament continued to circulate in Italy for several centuries, but only Job and fragments of other books survive.
  • Free translation by Jerome from a secondary Aramaic version: Tobias and Judith.
  • Revision by Jerome of the Old Latin, corrected with reference to the oldest Greek manuscripts available: the Gospels.
  • Old Latin, more or less revised by a person or persons unknown: Baruch, Letter of Jeremiah, 3 Esdras, Acts, Epistles, and the Apocalypse.
  • Old Latin, wholly unrevised: Epistle to the Laodiceans, Prayer of Manasses, 4 Esdras, Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus, and 1 and 2 Maccabees.

 

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jul 7 2012 1:25 PM

Gary Butner:
There is no evidence that the early Septuagint contained the Apocrypha. Indeed there is evidence against it.

It issue is legitimately debatable. NT evidence for deuterocanonicals:

Matt. 2:16 - Herod's decree of slaying innocent children was prophesied in Wis. 11:7 - slaying the holy innocents.

Matt. 6:19-20 - Jesus' statement about laying up for yourselves treasure in heaven follows Sirach 29:11 - lay up your treasure.

Matt.. 7:12 - Jesus' golden rule "do unto others" is the converse of Tobit 4:15 - what you hate, do not do to others.

Matt. 7:16,20 - Jesus' statement "you will know them by their fruits" follows Sirach 27:6 - the fruit discloses the cultivation.

Matt. 9:36 - the people were "like sheep without a shepherd" is same as Judith 11:19 - sheep without a shepherd.

Matt. 11:25 - Jesus' description "Lord of heaven and earth" is the same as Tobit 7:18 - Lord of heaven and earth.

Matt. 12:42 - Jesus refers to the wisdom of Solomon which was recorded and made part of the deuterocanonical books.

Matt. 16:18 - Jesus' reference to the "power of death" and "gates of Hades" references Wisdom 16:13.

Matt. 22:25; Mark 12:20; Luke 20:29 - Gospel writers refer to the canonicity of Tobit 3:8 and 7:11 regarding the seven brothers.

Matt. 24:15 - the "desolating sacrilege" Jesus refers to is also taken from 1 Macc. 1:54 and 2 Macc. 8:17.

Matt. 24:16 - let those "flee to the mountains" is taken from 1 Macc. 2:28.

Matt. 27:43 - if He is God's Son, let God deliver him from His adversaries follows Wisdom 2:18.

Mark 4:5,16-17 - Jesus' description of seeds falling on rocky ground and having no root follows Sirach 40:15.

Mark 9:48 - description of hell where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched references Judith 16:17.

Luke 1:42 - Elizabeth's declaration of Mary's blessedness above all women follows Uzziah's declaration in Judith 13:18.

Luke 1:52 - Mary's magnificat addressing the mighty falling from their thrones and replaced by lowly follows Sirach 10:14.

Luke 2:29 - Simeon's declaration that he is ready to die after seeing the Child Jesus follows Tobit 11:9.

Luke 13:29 - the Lord's description of men coming from east and west to rejoice in God follows Baruch 4:37.

Luke 21:24 - Jesus' usage of "fall by the edge of the sword" follows Sirach 28:18.

Luke 24:4 and Acts 1:10 - Luke's description of the two men in dazzling apparel reminds us of 2 Macc. 3:26.

John 1:3 - all things were made through Him, the Word, follows Wisdom 9:1.

John 3:13 - who has ascended into heaven but He who descended from heaven references Baruch 3:29.

John 4:48; Acts 5:12; 15:12; 2 Cor. 12:12 - Jesus', Luke's and Paul's usage of "signs and wonders" follows Wisdom 8:8.

John 5:18 - Jesus claiming that God is His Father follows Wisdom 2:16.

John 6:35-59 - Jesus' Eucharistic discourse is foreshadowed in Sirach 24:21.

John 10:22 - the identification of the feast of the dedication is taken from 1 Macc. 4:59.

John 10:36 – Jesus accepts the inspiration of Maccabees as He analogizes the Hanukkah consecration to His own consecration to the Father in 1 Macc. 4:36.

John 15:6 - branches that don't bear fruit and are cut down follows Wis. 4:5 where branches are broken off.

Acts 1:15 - Luke's reference to the 120 may be a reference to 1 Macc. 3:55 - leaders of tens / restoration of the twelve.

Acts 10:34; Rom. 2:11; Gal. 2:6 - Peter's and Paul's statement that God shows no partiality references Sirach 35:12.

Acts 17:29 - description of false gods as like gold and silver made by men follows Wisdom 13:10.

Rom 1:18-25 - Paul's teaching on the knowledge of the Creator and the ignorance and sin of idolatry follows Wis. 13:1-10.

Rom. 1:20 - specifically, God's existence being evident in nature follows Wis. 13:1.

Rom. 1:23 - the sin of worshipping mortal man, birds, animals and reptiles follows Wis. 11:15; 12:24-27; 13:10; 14:8.

Rom. 1:24-27 - this idolatry results in all kinds of sexual perversion which follows Wis. 14:12,24-27.

Rom. 4:17 - Abraham is a father of many nations follows Sirach 44:19.

Rom. 5:12 - description of death and sin entering into the world is similar to Wisdom 2:24.

Rom. 9:21 - usage of the potter and the clay, making two kinds of vessels follows Wisdom 15:7.

1 Cor. 2:16 - Paul's question, "who has known the mind of the Lord?" references Wisdom 9:13.

1 Cor. 6:12-13; 10:23-26 - warning that, while all things are good, beware of gluttony, follows Sirach 36:18 and 37:28-30.

1 Cor. 8:5-6 - Paul acknowledging many "gods" but one Lord follows Wis. 13:3.

1 Cor. 10:1 - Paul's description of our fathers being under the cloud passing through the sea refers to Wisdom 19:7.

1 Cor. 10:20 - what pagans sacrifice they offer to demons and not to God refers to Baruch 4:7.

1 Cor. 15:29 - if no expectation of resurrection, it would be foolish to be baptized on their behalf follows 2 Macc. 12:43-45.

Eph. 1:17 - Paul's prayer for a "spirit of wisdom" follows the prayer for the spirit of wisdom in Wisdom 7:7.

Eph. 6:14 - Paul describing the breastplate of righteousness is the same as Wis. 5:18. See also Isaiah 59:17 and 1 Thess. 5:8.

Eph. 6:13-17 - in fact, the whole discussion of armor, helmet, breastplate, sword, shield follows Wis. 5:17-20.

1 Tim. 6:15 - Paul's description of God as Sovereign and King of kings is from 2 Macc. 12:15; 13:4.

2 Tim. 4:8 - Paul's description of a crown of righteousness is similar to Wisdom 5:16.

Heb. 4:12 - Paul's description of God's word as a sword is similar to Wisdom 18:15.

Heb. 11:5 - Enoch being taken up is also referenced in Wis 4:10 and Sir 44:16. See also 2 Kings 2:1-13 & Sir 48:9 regarding Elijah.

Heb 11:35 - Paul teaches about the martyrdom of the mother and her sons described in 2 Macc. 7:1-42.

Heb. 12:12 - the description "drooping hands" and "weak knees" comes from Sirach 25:23.

James 1:19 - let every man be quick to hear and slow to respond follows Sirach 5:11.

James 2:23 - it was reckoned to him as righteousness follows 1 Macc. 2:52 - it was reckoned to him as righteousness.

James 3:13 - James' instruction to perform works in meekness follows Sirach 3:17.

James 5:3 - describing silver which rusts and laying up treasure follows Sirach 29:10-11.

James 5:6 - condemning and killing the "righteous man" follows Wisdom 2:10-20.

1 Peter 1:6-7 - Peter teaches about testing faith by purgatorial fire as described in Wisdom 3:5-6 and Sirach 2:5.

1 Peter 1:17 - God judging each one according to his deeds refers to Sirach 16:12 - God judges man according to his deeds.

2 Peter 2:7 - God's rescue of a righteous man (Lot) is also described in Wisdom 10:6.

Rev. 1:4 – the seven spirits who are before his throne is taken from Tobit 12:15 – Raphael is one of the seven holy angels who present the prayers of the saints before the Holy One.

Rev. 1:18; Matt. 16:18 - power of life over death and gates of Hades follows Wis. 16:13.

Rev. 2:12 - reference to the two-edged sword is similar to the description of God's Word in Wisdom 18:16.

Rev. 5:7 - God is described as seated on His throne, and this is the same description used in Sirach 1:8.

Rev. 8:3-4 - prayers of the saints presented to God by the hand of an angel follows Tobit 12:12,15.

Rev. 8:7 - raining of hail and fire to the earth follows Wisdom 16:22 and Sirach 39:29.

Rev. 9:3 - raining of locusts on the earth follows Wisdom 16:9.

Rev. 11:19 - the vision of the ark of the covenant (Mary) in a cloud of glory was prophesied in 2 Macc. 2:7.

Rev. 17:14 - description of God as King of kings follows 2 Macc. 13:4.

Rev. 19:1 - the cry "Hallelujah" at the coming of the new Jerusalem follows Tobit 13:18.

Rev. 19:11 - the description of the Lord on a white horse in the heavens follows 2 Macc. 3:25; 11:8.

Rev. 19:16 - description of our Lord as King of kings is taken from 2 Macc. 13:4.

Rev. 21:19 - the description of the new Jerusalem with precious stones is prophesied in Tobit 13:17.

Exodus 23:7 - do not slay the innocent and righteous - Dan. 13:53 - do not put to death an innocent and righteous person.

1 Sam. 28:7-20 – the intercessory mediation of deceased Samuel for Saul follows Sirach 46:20.

2 Kings 2:1-13 – Elijah being taken up into heaven follows Sirach 48:9.

On manuscripts in general - just a sample

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GregW | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jul 7 2012 2:58 PM

MJ. Smith:

Gary Butner:
There is no evidence that the early Septuagint contained the Apocrypha. Indeed there is evidence against it.

It issue is legitimately debatable. NT evidence for deuterocanonicals:

Thank you MJ - that is a really helpful post: I have never seen it collated in such a helpful way before.  


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Denise | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jul 7 2012 3:42 PM

Wonder how Mar 9.48 was matched to Judith 16.17 (vs Isa 66.24). Only noted since I'm reading 'Sealed: Isaiah' (recently broken out of a collection).

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fgh | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jul 7 2012 3:59 PM

Gary Butner:
There is no evidence that the early Septuagint contained the Apocrypha. Indeed there is evidence against it.

Well worth reading: Michael Barber: Loose Canons: The Development of the Old Testament (Part 1)(Part 2), (Part 3). He actually supports the claim that the earliest LXX didn't include the deuterocanonicals, but nevertheless makes a pretty compelling case for them always having been a part of the Christian canon. Plus he deals with a couple of other issues that's been mentioned in this thread as well.

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jul 7 2012 4:02 PM

fgh:
He actually supports the claim that the earliest LXX didn't include the deuterocanonicals,

In fact, from my reading the earliest LXX included only the Torah and the other books were added gradually. (In this case my source is Reventlow which is my current reading.)

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jul 7 2012 4:05 PM

DMB:
Wonder how Mar 9.48 was matched to Judith 16.17 (vs Isa 66.24).

Unfortunately I lack sufficient knowledge of the languages and manuscripts to answer that. I suspect that a search of journals would be the most likely source of an answer. JETS 27/3 (September 1984) 325334 (http://www.edwardfudge.com/JETS_final_end_wicked.pdf) may provide the answer.

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