Wilbur N. Pickering, ThM PhD
The LXX has been much abused, put to false use for well over 100 years, or so I deem. To begin, what do we really know about the LXX? What are the bare facts (without interpretation or imagination)? We know that it exists, being a translation of the Hebrew Old Testament into Greek. Do we know when the translation was done, or by whom? Statements on this subject generally derive from a single source, Aristeas, who offers an answer to both questions.
Alfred Rahlfs offers the following (Septuaginta, 2 vols., Sixth edition [New York: The American Bible Society, n.d.], vol. I, p. xxii):
The Septuagint is the ancient Jewish translation of the Old Testament into Greek. The Pentateuch, the earliest and the fundamental part of the Old Testament Canon, was translated first of all, and, according to the Letter of Aristeas, this took place during the rule of Philadelphus (285—247 B.C.). The story is told that this translation was made in Alexandria by 70—or to be more accurate 72—Jewish scholars; hence it received the name of “Septuagint” (LXX). This title, though it originally applied only to the translation of the Pentateuch, was eventually transferred to the whole of the Old Testament. The translation of the Pentateuch was followed by that of the other books. The translation of these latter was evidently the work of a great number of different hands. This we know, in the first place, from the variations in rendering, which range from the most literal to the most free, and in the second place from the differences in the Greek style . . . .
Note that the date given applies only to the Pentateuch; the other books were presumably done later, by different translators.
Kenneth Scott Latourette offers the following (A History of Christianity [New York: Harper & Brothers, 1953], p. 15):
The Septuagint was made up of translations of Jewish sacred books into Greek. The name is derived from the tradition that the task of translation was accomplished in the third century B.C. in seventy-two days by seventy-two scholars sent from Jerusalem to Alexandria at the request of one of the Ptolemies. This tradition is found in a letter which is undoubtedly spurious.
I have read a transcription of the letter, and it does seem to be rather fanciful, improbable.
However, since both Philo and Josephus evidently cite this Aristeas, we may reasonably conclude that at least the Pentateuch, in Greek, existed at the time of Christ, whatever the circumstances that produced it. But even if a translation of the OT into Greek existed in His day, what possible reason would Jesus Himself have had for using it? He taught in Hebrew, and would certainly use a Hebrew OT. For that matter, how many Jews, residents of Judea and Galilee, could read Greek in those days? Probably very few, and even those who could, why would they use a translation when they had access to the original in their mother tongue? It seems to me to be perfectly obvious that neither Jesus nor His disciples made any use of the LXX (or whatever) during His lifetime. It was only later, as they were composing the books that make up the Greek NT, when the OT is quoted, that the question of an existing translation comes to the fore.
To give an idea of just what is at issue, I offer statistics taken from Gleason L. Archer & G.C. Chirichigno (Old Testament Quotations in the New Testament [Chicago: Moody Press, 1983]):
A: N.T. = LXX = M.T. [Masoretic Text] — 268 = 70%
B: LXX is closer to M.T. than is N.T. — 50
C: N.T. is closer to M.T. than is LXX — 33
D: N.T. = LXX ¹ M.T. — 22
E: N.T. ¹ LXX ¹ M.T. — 13
The 70% where all are in agreement are ‘home free’; it is the remaining 30% that require scrutiny. We must begin by defining the terms. The Masoretic Text is an objective entity; we know what it is. But what about N.T., which of the many competing editions are we going to use? Archer and Chirichigno used the eclectic text currently in vogue. Someone using a ‘Majority Text’ may come up with slightly different numbers, but the difference will be minimal, for this purpose. The principal difficulty with the comparison above lies with LXX, and here I must go into detail.
The LXX that we know and use is primarily based on three manuscripts: Vaticanus, Sinaiticus and Alexandrinus, none earlier than the fourth century A.D. On what basis do people assume that the NT writers used the LXX? What hard evidence do we have that it even existed in their day? Considering the proclivities of the Alexandrian school of textual criticism, why would they not alter the LXX to conform to the NT? With reference to the NT, the three MSS mentioned above are of poor quality, objectively so. Sinaiticus is one of the worst copies in existence, followed quite closely by Vaticanus, with Alexandrinus lagging somewhat behind (in poor quality), but only in the Gospels. Based on their performance in the NT, what should we expect from them in the Old? We should expect equally poor work. Since they made deliberate changes in the New, why would they not do so in the Old as well?
And then there is the little matter of the Apocrypha. The LXX contains ‘Judith’, ‘Tobit’, ‘Bel and the Dragon’, four ‘Maccabees’, and so on. Since those books were not in the Canon recognized by the Hebrew community of faith, where did they come from? And why would someone translating the Hebrew Canon include them? Recall that the Letter of Aristeas, such as it is, deals only with the Pentateuch. So what about all the other books; and what confidence can we place in whoever produced the three Alexandrian MSS mentioned above? Judging by their works, they were ‘sons of the disobedience’ (Ephesians 2:2).
Really, we have no objective way of knowing what Greek translation of the OT, if any, the authors of the NT may have used. Why might not the Holy Spirit have guided them in their own translation, which most of the time would coincide with any other serious translation of the same text? Further, the Holy Spirit was obviously within His prerogatives to give to an Apostle an interpretation of the OT that might not be transparent to us. An Apostle under divine inspiration would have guidance that we do not.
Going back to the chart above, I would simply delete the LXX. Under divine inspiration the authors of the NT translated the OT as they were so guided. I reject as unfounded any criticism of the NT based on the LXX.
A LXX tem sido
muito abusada, objecto de uso falso para bem mais de 100 anos, ou assim eu
começar, o que realmente sabemos sobre a LXX? Quais
são os fatos nus (sem interpretação ou imaginação)? Sabemos
que ela existe, sendo uma tradução do hebraico o Antigo Testamento em grego. Não sabemos
quando a tradução foi feita, ou por quem? Declarações
sobre este assunto geralmente derivam de uma única fonte, Aristeu, que
oferece uma resposta a ambas as perguntas.
A Septuaginta é a antiga tradução judaica do Antigo Testamento em grego. O Pentateuco, a mais antiga e a parte fundamental da Canon do Antigo Testamento, foi traduzido em primeiro lugar, e, de acordo com a Carta de Aristeu, isso aconteceu durante o governo de Filadelfo (285-247 aC). A história é contada que esta tradução foi feita em Alexandria por 70 ou para ser mais precisos estudiosos de 72 judeus; Por isso, recebeu o nome de "Septuaginta" (LXX). Este título, embora originalmente se aplicava apenas à tradução do Pentateuco, acabou por ser transferido para o todo o Antigo Testamento. A tradução do Pentateuco foi seguida pela dos outros livros. A tradução destes últimos era, evidentemente, o trabalho de um grande número de diferentes mãos. Isso nós sabemos, em primeiro lugar, a partir das variações na renderização, que vão desde o mais literal aos mais livres, e em segundo lugar a partir das diferenças no estilo grego. . . .
Note-se que a data
indicada aplica-se apenas ao Pentateuco; os
outros livros foram presumivelmente feito mais tarde, por diferentes
A Septuaginta foi feita de traduções de livros sagrados judaicos em grego. O nome é derivado a tradição de que a tarefa de tradução foi realizada no terceiro século aC em setenta e dois dias por setenta e dois estudiosos enviados de Jerusalém para Alexandria, a pedido de um dos Ptolomeus. Esta tradição é encontrado em uma carta que é sem dúvida espúrio.
Só use as duas Bíblias traduzidas rigorosamente por equivalência formal a partir do Textus Receptus (que é a exata impressão das palavras perfeitamente inspiradas e preservadas por Deus), dignas herdeiras das KJB-1611, Almeida-1681, etc.: a ACF-2011 (Almeida Corrigida Fiel) e a LTT (Literal do Texto Tradicional), que v. pode ler e obter em http://BibliaLTT.org, com ou sem notas.
(Copie e distribua ampla mas gratuitamente, mantendo o nome do autor e pondo link para esta página de http://solascriptura-tt.org)
(retorne a http://solascriptura-tt.org/ Bibliologia-PreservacaoTT/
retorne a http:// solascriptura-tt.org/ )