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Septuagint versus Masoretic Text: Which is truer to the original Hebrew text and why?

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posted on Dec, 31 2015 @ 06:40 PM
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originally posted by: Murgatroid

originally posted by: chr0naut
The LXX is validated by the Dead Sea Scrolls which all pre-date Christ (in fact, there are very few differences between the LXX and DSS, compared with the DSS and Masoretic text).

Can you give a source?

It seems to contradict what Dr. Phil Stringer is saying below...


"Scholars" are fond of saying that the Dead Sea Scrolls prove the Septuagint. In fact, there is not one single verse of the Old Testament in Greek in any manuscript found in the Dead Sea Scrolls. There is nothing about the Septuagint in these scrolls. There are no quotes from the Septuagint or references to it. None of the Dead Sea Scrolls mention anything about the Septuagint. All of the Dead Sea Scrolls are in Hebrew or Aramaic. There is no Qumran Septuagint! The Dead Sea Scrolls do prove that the "sacred language" (the language used in sermons, rituals and commentaries) of the Jews in Palestine around the time of Christ was Hebrew – not Greek.

Was the Septuagint the Bible of Christ and the Apostles?


I did not say that the DSS contained Greek LXX texts, it only validated the more modern copies of the LXX as being very much closer to the source Hebrew than, say, the Masoretic.

The issue is a confusion between the age of the oldest complete texts and the age, or even the very existence of, the originals of those texts.

We have 'texts' like the Ketef Hinnom fragments, that are from 650 BC. While they are so short and fragmentary that they don't themselves give a definitive text, they do tell us that there must have been revered text that they quote from (they are fragments of two tiny silver scrolls containing [possibly] Deuteronomy 7:9 and [definitely] Numbers 6: 24-26. They were most likely worn in an tefillah or phylactery by a resident of Jerusalem, having being found there).

The oldest 'close to complete' texts we have of the five books of Moses (the Torah) are from the Dead Sea Scrolls. We also have at least one other pre-Christian translation, Targum Onqelos (100 BC).

Also, the Samaritan Pentateuch has traditionally been held to have been handed down from the time of Moses and the use of Paleo-Hebrew characters would attest to an ancient origin. The academic estimate is that it was written about 122 BC but may also be even earlier, from about 432 BC when the early Samaritan community was established by Sanballat (mentioned in Nehemiah 13:28). There is close agreement between the LXX and the Samaritan Pentateuch.

It is important to note that although the scriptures may have been expanded by Jesus time, the LXX only consisted of the Pentateuch (the Torah). The Prophets and the Writings are separate documents, however, Jesus spoke of the Law and the Prophets which suggested that they were by His time, part of an integrated 'whole' of scripture.


edit on 31/12/2015 by chr0naut because: (no reason given)




posted on Dec, 31 2015 @ 09:16 PM
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originally posted by: chr0naut

originally posted by: BELIEVERpriest

originally posted by: DrogoTheNorman

originally posted by: BELIEVERpriest
a reply to: DrogoTheNorman

Masortetic text is metered (as the NT is), so its 90% good. Septuagint is not as accurate, but is quoted in NT and good for clarifying the masoretic translations. I use both.


Why do you say the Septuagint is not as accurate? Given the exactness of the Greek language wouldn't a Greek translation of a Hebrew text be the most accurate translation of all (even better than English)?


The Septuagint has some major variances.


From the Masoretic, perhaps, but as the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Hexapla attest, the LXX would seem to be a very close translation.



You're talking about manuscripts that where probably translated directly from the Septuagint.



posted on Dec, 31 2015 @ 09:38 PM
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originally posted by: BELIEVERpriest

originally posted by: chr0naut

originally posted by: BELIEVERpriest

originally posted by: DrogoTheNorman

originally posted by: BELIEVERpriest
a reply to: DrogoTheNorman

Masortetic text is metered (as the NT is), so its 90% good. Septuagint is not as accurate, but is quoted in NT and good for clarifying the masoretic translations. I use both.


Why do you say the Septuagint is not as accurate? Given the exactness of the Greek language wouldn't a Greek translation of a Hebrew text be the most accurate translation of all (even better than English)?


The Septuagint has some major variances.


From the Masoretic, perhaps, but as the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Hexapla attest, the LXX would seem to be a very close translation.



You're talking about manuscripts that where probably translated directly from the Septuagint.


The DSS were not translated from the LXX.

The Hexapla was a comparison of several versions, including the original Hebrew text, the Hebrew bible with Greek letters in the place of Hebrew letters and the LXX. In other words, the did have a copy of the original Hebrew text which they were comparing the LXX to.



posted on Dec, 31 2015 @ 09:44 PM
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a reply to: Murgatroid

Murgatroid -

Ref: Greek copies of the LXX at Qumran, you wrote QUOTE It seems to contradict what Dr. Phil Stringer is saying below...


"Scholars" are fond of saying that the Dead Sea Scrolls prove the Septuagint. In fact, there is not one single verse of the Old Testament in Greek in any manuscript found in the Dead Sea Scrolls. There is nothing about the Septuagint in these scrolls. There are no quotes from the Septuagint or references to it. None of the Dead Sea Scrolls mention anything about the Septuagint. All of the Dead Sea Scrolls are in Hebrew or Aramaic. There is no Qumran Septuagint! The Dead Sea Scrolls do prove that the "sacred language" (the language used in sermons, rituals and commentaries) of the Jews in Palestine around the time of Christ was Hebrew – not Greek. UNQUOTE

This statement above is replete with un-truths and is flatly and completely disproved by the discovery of 4QLXX Deut c. 1953 which was found at Qumran Cave 4 and is a copy of Deuteronomy [Δευτερονόμιον] written in Greek. Caves 1-11 contain the oldest of the Dead Sea Scrolls dating PRIOR to the 1st Failed Jewish War against Rome (66-72 CE) and the ones with the most fluid texts when compared to the Masoretic. The scrolls found at Wadi Muraba'at and at Masada date from the 2nd failed Jewish War against Rome (c. 135 CE) are are more aligned with the Masoretic text which by this time was becoming the defacto text of the Tanakh including the Torah. There is also 4QLXX Lev-b which is also in a similar handwriting written in Greek - see The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible edited by Martin Abegg, Peter Flint and Eugene Ulrich, 1999 Harper San Francisco ISBN 0-06-060063-2 - see page 145 etc.

Facts of the hardest evidence such as these two scrolls mentioned above are stubborn things. and cannot be written off - Moreover these finds (and others like it) show that there were indeed Greek speakers, readers and writers among the Dead Sea covenanters at Qumran (BCE 250 to 68CE) before their monastery at Qumran (Heb. Seccacah, aka Damasqim) was destroyed by Rome (June 68 CE). One shudders to think where 'Dr.' Phil Stringer got his PhD...his claims are so specious and out of touch with the true state of affairs it is laughable and certainly not worth appearing in print.





edit on 31-12-2015 by Sigismundus because: stutterringg computtterr keyyboardddd



posted on Jan, 1 2016 @ 01:07 PM
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a reply to: DrogoTheNorman


The bottom line is this: whether the Protestant or Catholic Bible is more "correct" depends on which version of the Old Testament is used. The New Testament seems to be the same for both (with minor variations) since it was translated mostly from the same Greek manuscripts.

No, that is not the bottom line. The Greek bible called the Septuagint is presented as entirely from the Greek language. The KJV bible is presented from both Greek and Hebrew /Aramaic languages. The Greek manuscripts used in the Septuagint are different from the manuscripts used in the KJV bible.

When one reads Matthew 5:18 that one will read from Greek manuscripts translated to English. In other words from Greek to English. Now the problem is this. How could English translators translate the Hebrew Yodh and the Greek iota into English as jot? And then translate the Hebrew Chireg and the Greek keraia into English as Tittle. Jot and tittle? The reason being that yodh and chireg are actually vowels and consonants and were not used in Hebrew literature at the time of Jesus. If they were not used then why would one believe that Jesus was referencing the Septuagint in Matthew 5:18?

Several explanations are given. One is that Yodh and Chireg is not used in the Hebrew texts of the dead sea scrolls and they predate all Hebrew manuscripts that we have today. If the Septuagint was translated from the Hebrew then it did not have Yodh and chireg to translate into the Greek of Iota and Keraia. Where did iota and keraia come from to be translated into jot and tittle by the English translators?

Quote
The earliest copies of the Hebrew Bible were written without vowels or accents, as written Hebrew did not represent vowels until the Middle Ages. To preserve traditional spoken readings, starting in the fifth century C.E., a group of Jewish scribes known as the Masoretes carefully selected, copied, and annotated biblical scrolls, adding vowels and accents to the ancient Hebrew consonants in the process. Though the Masoretic scribes added these vowels to the ancient text long after it had been written, they were likely preserving traditional vocalizations that dated to much earlier times. The Masoretes produced several different systems of vocalization (writing in vowels) between 500 and 700 C.E.
Unquote
www.bibleodyssey.org...

Did the English translators of 1611 have the original Septuagint or was the Septuagint edited unknown to the KJV translators? Do we have the original Septuagint today?

How could Jesus say Yodh and Chireg when no evidence is shown that Yodh and Chireg even existed in the literature of the scrolls? How could Matthew know literature containing Yodh and Chireg when it did not exist at his time? As you can understand it is not the bottom line but a great mystery



posted on Jan, 1 2016 @ 01:37 PM
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a reply to: Seede

Yud is the 10th letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Chirik Is a vowel that was only given a symbol in the Middle Ages.
Ancient Hebrew was written without vowels because the vowels were known as laws of grammar.
The validation characters written above and below the Hebrew words were only later introduced as people began to forget the basic laws ofgrammar and pronunciation



posted on Jan, 1 2016 @ 05:30 PM
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a reply to: DrogoTheNorman

Dr. Margaret Barker, Old Testament Scholar, Lambeth PhD, and founder of the study known as Temple Theology speaks about what the Christian Old Testament is as opposed to the Masoretes' text:




posted on Jan, 1 2016 @ 09:49 PM
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a reply to: dashen


Yud is the 10th letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Chirik Is a vowel that was only given a symbol in the Middle Ages. Ancient Hebrew was written without vowels because the vowels were known as laws of grammar. The validation characters written above and below the Hebrew words were only later introduced as people began to forget the basic laws ofgrammar and pronunciation

Yes i understand that but let me explain the problem. KJV bible tells us in Matthew that Jesus said ---

Mat 5:18 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.

But Jot and tittle (Yodh and Chireg) could not have been in the Hebrew text to be translated to the Septuagint as iota and keraia. They were incorporated hundreds of years later in Hebrew literature. Where would Matthew pick this up in those days of Jesus? Some thing is not right here.

KJV uses the Greek Majority texts in the NT and reads Matthew 5:18 in the same manner as does the Septuagint. My question is, where did Matthew get iota and keraia or where did the translators get iota and keraia when it did not exist in Matthews life time? As I understand this, there has to be some redaction of scripture to claim that Matthew wrote something that did not exist in his day.



posted on Jan, 2 2016 @ 09:17 AM
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a reply to: Kapriti

Yes thank you. Though scholarly viewpoints rarely carry weight round these parts
so crickets is all the response you'll likely receive.




posted on Jan, 2 2016 @ 10:01 AM
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a reply to: Sigismundus


Facts of the hardest evidence such as these two scrolls mentioned above are stubborn things. and cannot be written off - Moreover these finds (and others like it) show that there were indeed Greek speakers, readers and writers among the Dead Sea covenanters at Qumran (BCE 250 to 68CE) before their monastery at Qumran (Heb. Seccacah, aka Damasqim) was destroyed by Rome (June 68 CE). One shudders to think where 'Dr.' Phil Stringer got his PhD...his claims are so specious and out of touch with the true state of affairs it is laughable and certainly not worth appearing in print.

Yes, well said.
One thing should be noted and that is that of the 11 caves there was only 3% Greek and those were dated as between the 3rd and 8th century CE. This would not represent the Septuagint by any stretch of the imagination nor would it reference any strength to bolster the usage of Greek with the tribes of the Judaic structure at that time.

Assyrian, Cryptic and Paleo Hebrew comprised over 80% of the total find which does indicate that these people did use Hebrew over all other languages in their religious understandings. While the languages dated from the 10th century BCE, the manuscripts dated from the third century BCE. So as i can understand all of this (not being a scholar) the comparison of the known Hebrew does agree with the Masoretic (Aleppo Codex 1,000 CE) very very close to word for word.

This means that the OT that is now used in the KJV or the Jewish Torah is a very good translation choice for bible study.



posted on Jan, 2 2016 @ 04:50 PM
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a reply to: Seede

actually yud was part of the language, hirik was a vowel which at that time was not a written symbol but had a name and a use even by that time. So that use in the verse may yet be contemporary.



posted on Jan, 2 2016 @ 05:46 PM
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a reply to: Seede

Just for fun, let's briefly review what has been posted on this phrase [and add a few scraps of data to it]

In the Greek the translated phrase "jot and tittle" יודוקוץ (Heb. Yod ve Kotz = 'Hand' and 'Thorn') are the words iota (Gk. ιώτα kai keraia (Gk: κεραία 'horn')

cf: the expression, 'the Kotz of a Yod' - the Hebrew word for 'letter' is 'ot' [ אוֹת ] which can also mean “sign” - when "Jesus" said that "not a jot (yod) or a tittle (kotz) will pass from the Torah until all is fulfilled" (Matt 5:18), he surely was referring to the "kotz of the yod" i.e. the upper serif of the letter Yod which is the tiniest stroke one can make using the square Aramaic consonants (as opposed to paleoHebrew). He also may have been making a verbal pun on the meaning of 'ot - which would render the expression something like 'not one sign shall pass away until all be fulfilled...'

Today the phrase 'jot or tittle' is a grammatical 'tautology', as BOTH jot [from the Greek Iota] and tittle (from the Latin word 'titilus') refer to tiny amounts. It has passed into English via William Tindale's translation of the New Testament in 1526 see Matthew 5:17-18:

For truely I saye vnto you till heven and erth perisshe one iott or one tytle of the lawe shall not scape tyll all be fulfill'd

The more familiar language of the King James Version, 1611, renders that verse as:

For Verilly 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...

A jot (iott) is the Anglicised name of the smallest letter of the Greek alphabet iota -which corresponds to the Roman letter 'i'. Apart from its specialist typographical meaning, we still use the word jot when we have a brief note to make, we 'jot it down'.

A tittle (sounds like a combination of tiny and little), is smaller still. It refers to a tiny stroke or point in writing or printing. In classical Latin this applied to any accent over a letter, but is now most commonly used as the name for the dot over the letter 'i'. It is also the name of the dots on dice.

It is thought that the phrase "to a T" is derived from the word tittle because originally the phrase was "to a Tittle"
The use of the word 'dot' (Old English dott ‘head of a boil') as a small written mark didn't begin until the 18th century. We may have been told at school to dot our i's; Chaucer and Shakespeare would have been told to 'tittle' them.





edit on 2-1-2016 by Sigismundus because: stutterrringg commputerr keyyboardd



posted on Jan, 2 2016 @ 06:03 PM
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a reply to: Sigismundus

Oh by the by, which one of the oodles of versions of that verse are you referring to?
cuz theres a bunch


Jesus Fulfills the Law
17"Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. 18"For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19"Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.…


interestingly, since jewsus clearly says here that he did not come to change even one letter of the prophets, why do christians not eat kosher?



posted on Jan, 2 2016 @ 06:28 PM
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a reply to: Seede

Seede

You wrote : QUOTE

"One thing should be noted and that is that of the 11 caves there was only 3% Greek and those were dated as between the 3rd and 8th century CE. This would not represent the Septuagint by any stretch of the imagination nor would it reference any strength to bolster the usage of Greek with the tribes of the Judaic structure at that time." UNQUOTE

Where are you getting your dates from for the material found in caves 1-11 at Qumran? The range of dates for the scroll material found there is carbon-dated from between BCE 250 to June 68CE - the final date is when the Romans invaded the region and destroyed the monastery at Secacah (Qumran aka Damaqim) during the 1st Failed Jewish War against Rome (66-72 CE)

Yes, we can safely assume that there were far fewer Greek MSS found at Qumran than Hebrew and Aramaic scrolls but it is evident that the caves had been rifled in antiquity by the Bedouin several times before 1947 - the first time apparently around c. 214 CE and again in 790 CE - and these previous openings to the caves in antiquity is borne out by the 1947 excavations (they found Caves 1 and 2 and 3 already rifled in antiquity with many broken jars and torn MSS) thus we do not know for sure how many Greek MSS may have once existed in the Qumran Community -

Either way the fact that the Torah in Greek in the LXX recension was found at Qumran (4QLXX Deut and 4QLXX Lev) proves that at the very least there were at least some Greek speakers, readers and writers among the Dead Sea Scroll Covenanters (whether they were 'Ossim (Essenes) or not is another story...). This is not surprising since Greek was the Lingua Franca of the Roman Empire and was widely spoken and understood by those with any education in languages.

NB: The Bishop Origen (lived from 185 to 254CE) mentioned in his sixth Greek version of the Psalms in his Hexapla that his recension was based on a Greek Text that had been found in a clay jar from rock caves near Jericho - which description can only mean one of the Qumran caves.

In describing the same text, the church historian Eusebius, who lived from about 260 to 340, added in his Ecclesiastical History (6.16.1) that a Greek version of the Psalms and other Greek and Hebrew manuscripts had been 'found in a jar in rock caves near Jericho' during the reign of the Roman emperor Caracalla (Antoninus; reigned 211-17).

Later, in approximately the year 800, the Nestorian patriarch of Seleucia, Timotheus I (727-819), wrote a letter to Sergius (who died about 805), the metropolitan (=archbishop) of Elam. In it he noted: "We have learnt from trustworthy Jews who were then being instructed as catechumens in the Christian religion that some books were found ten years ago (790 CCE) in a rock-cave dwelling near Jericho.

The story was that the dog of an Arab out hunting, while in pursuit of game, went into a cave and did not come out again; its owner went in after it and found a chamber, in which there were many books, in the cave. The hunter went off to Jerusalem and told his story to the Jews, who came out in great numbers and found books of the Old Testament and others in the Hebrew script.

THe Metropolitan later asked an expert whether passages that in the New Testament are considered quotations from the Old Testament but cannot be found in existing copies of Rabbinic scriptures were present in these manuscripts. He was assured that they were indeed there, but his attempt to obtain more information on this point failed. The Jewish expert apparently added: "We have found more than two hundred Psalms of David among our books..."

We also have copies of the Hebrew Vorlage consonantal textual underlay to the Greek LXX Septuaginta's recension of the book of the prophet Jeremiah found in the Caves 1-11 (especially cave 4) see 4QJer-b and 4QJer-d which Hebrew consonants follow the LXX Greek Septuaginta word for word - showing that the LXX Greek Septuaginta was very carefully translated from Hebrew texts (not just a sloppy translation job) - and follows a recension of Jeremiah (like the LXX) which is 13% shorter than the later Masoretic text of Jeremiah (MT Jer) which has several additions to Jeremiah scattered throughout the book (the Masoretic Textual additions in the Leningrad Codex taken together reflect a similar Hebrew writing style, vocabulary and Weltanschauung which somewhat at odds with the rest of the book)...the LXX may well preserve the original recension of the book (see Jeremiah 10:3-11 where verses 6, 8 and 10 have been added by a scribe at a later date, extolling the 'greatness of YHWH')

So not only the Greek LXX was copied at Qumran (at least as far as the Torah) but also we have found some of the Hebrew textual consonantal underlay to the Greek translation for the LXX there too.



posted on Jan, 2 2016 @ 07:10 PM
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a reply to: dashen

You wrote: QUOTE interestingly, since jewsus clearly says here that he did not come to change even one letter of the prophets, why do christians not eat kosher? UNQUOTE

The reason is that Nazorean Christianity died out after the 1st Failed Jewish War against Rome (66-72CE) while Pauline Christianity in the Diaspora survived to this Day.

The Nazorean Christians were any early sect of Messianic Jews known as Evionim ('the poor ones') originally headed up by R. Yakkov bar Yosef called haTsaddiq ('James the Just') the younger brother of R. Yehoshua bar Yosef ('Jesus') were Messianic Jews living within the confines of in Eretz Yisro'el and thus made it obligatory for his followers to keep kashrut and maintained circumcision and had no thought of starting a new religion - much to the chagrin of the Diaspora born Saul of Tarsus (aka Paul) who could not gain enough converts to his own (non-Nazorean) anti-nomal (anti Torah) brand of 'Christianity' if he insisted on Kashrut dietary laws and circumcision for Diaspora Greek goyim so basically re-wrote the laws to accommodate them in order to increase the number of followers.

After the 1st Failed Jewish War against Rome (66-72 CE), these Nazorean messianic Jews (original followers of 'Jesus' and 'James the Just') were all but wiped out and ... you guessed it, all that was left standing were the various 'Pauline' churches and the Gnostic churches, both groups (who varied between each other like Protestant sects to-day) were Greek speaking torah ignoring non Kashrut eating gentile congregations (and overtly anti-Semitic at times).

To-day 90% of persons who style themselves 'Christians' are followers of Pauline Christianity - and have very little background to the Jewish roots of R. Yehoshua's mission to the 'Elect of the Lost Sheep of the House of Yisro'el' see the 1st canonical gospel 'according to Matthew' (whoever he was) chapter 15 when 'Jesus' is speaking to a Syro-Phoenecian gentile woman who had come to her for help with her daughter who had 'a bleeder daemon'...

"And she fell on her knees imploring him saying, Son of David have mercy upon me !' and ho Iesous says to her : Lady, the Bar Enasha (Son of Man' see Aram. Daniel chapter 7:13) was ONLY sent to the Elect of the Lost Sheep of the House of Yisro'el and anyway, since when would it be right to take the children's bread out of their mouths and throw it away on the dogs under the table?'

where 'dogs' (Aram כלבים) is a perjorative for 'unclean goyim' - (the lady was Syro-Phoenecian and not 'Jewish') and we find a similar phrase in the Dead Sea Scrolls Miqsat Ma'aseh haTorah and in apparently some of the more right wing Rebbes in the Talmudic literature...

Either way, 'Christians' had by the 2nd century clearly broken away from the tenets of their original Teacher whose mission was only to the 'Lost Sheep of the House of Israel.'

Take a close reading of Galatians chapter 2 for a glimpse of the bad blood between the original 'apostles' and the Greek speaking Saul of Tarsus (where in his own words he called James and Cephah, 'those so-called Pillars of the Church...') and the friction which was toned down in Acts chapter 15 where 'James the Just' is still (he was killed prior to the War) in charge of the Nazorean movement and still promulgating circumcision and kashrut. See Acts chapter 10:14 where Peter objects to a vision telling him to kill and eat non Kashrut food ('Lord, I have never in my life eaten anything that was not kosher or that was unclean...') which suggests that he was accustomed to eating kashrut as a follower of 'Jesus'...

To get around the keeping of a Kosher diet, persons who style themselves 'Christians' to-day generally appeal to the saying placed into a Greek speaking 'Iesous' :

"Amen I say unto you there is nothing that enters the stomach of a man that defiles him - for what is ingested passes through the intestines and then is evacuated - what defiles a man in fact is what comes out of a man, for out of his heart comes all sorts of evil inclinations..." etc. a saying which apparently (see Matthew 15:11-12) incensed the Pharasim who had heard him make the pronouncement.





edit on 2-1-2016 by Sigismundus because: stutteringggg commputerr keyboardddd



posted on Jan, 3 2016 @ 05:16 PM
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a reply to: Kapriti

Kapriti -

You wrote QUOTE: "Dr. Margaret Barker, Old Testament Scholar, Lambeth PhD, and founder of the study known as Temple Theology speaks about what the Christian Old Testament [LXX] is as opposed to the Masoretes' text..." UNQUOTE

Just for fun, here is some background on the Septuaginta LXX from the so-called Letter of Aristeas (c. 190 BCE) which is written in unpolished Koine Greek - but is a primary source for understanding (roughly) how the Septuaginta LXX came about in the first place.

How serious we should take all of the details of the Greek translation of the Torah as recounted in the Letter is still debatable among scholars. But 'where there is smoke, there must be fire...' despite the writer's predilection for absurdities (e.g. 'now the species of Weasel is unique among animals, for besides being of unclean habits, it procreates through its ears and gives birth through its mouth...') etc.

Some portions of the Letter purport to describe how the Torah was translated from Hebrew into Greek by 72 Jewish scribes (6 allegedly from each tribe) who had travelled to Alexandria for this purpose - Aristeas writes to his brother Philocrates about this 'mission' (set during the reign of the Egyptian king Ptolmey II (285-247 BCE) which was meant to add the Torah of the Jews to the Library at Alexandria. The translators were conducted to well furnished apartments and drafts of the translation were made into Greek and then compared for voting between the 72 and (probably deliberately) the process of translation of the Torah into Greek took 72 days.

Here is an excerpt of the Letter (which is lengthy with over 16,000 words) and is highly tangential in content but (inter alia) touches briefly upon the translation process:

"A Trustworthy narrative has been compiled Philocrates of the meeting we had with the High Priest Eleazar arising from your desire to know a personal account of the Mission of Translation, its content and its purpose...our Deputation waited upon the king with a view to the translation of the Torah of the Jews which was written in Hebrew...when Demetrius of Phalerum was appointed Keeper of the King's Library he undertook negotiations to collect every book in the world, and as far as he was able he purchased and translated as many as came into his possession, as far as he could...and he said to the King that information had reached him that the laws of the Jews are worth translating and inclusion in the Royal Library...but translation was needed since the books are written in the language of the Jews (Hebrew) just as the Egyptians use their own formation of signs in accordance with their own language...the King then gave orders that a Letter be written to the High Priest of the Jews that the project might come to fruition....

EXCERPT from the LETTER to the High Priest :

"Concerning the Collection of missing volumes for the Royal Library, we have not included the Torah in Hebrew in the Library yet, for the copies we possess have been transcribed and copied out carelessly and not at all as they should be according to the opinions of the experts who have examined them - and this is due to the fact that they have not received Royal Patronage - and we feel that these books must be presented to your Library in the most accurate version possible...

"We have accordingly decided that your Torah should be translated into Greek from the Hebrew in order that they might take their place in the Royal Library with other Royal Books...therefore we ask that you do yourself a service by selecting elders of exemplary virtue with experience in transcribing the Torah and the ability to translate it into Greek, 6 from each tribe, so that in the end an agreed Version may be created from the larger majority of scribal opinion in view of the great importance of these matters..."

Aristeas then names the 72 scribes in detail, e.g. From the First Tribe, Joseph, Ezekiah, Zechariah, Yohanon, Ezekieah and Elissaeus, from the Second Tribe, Yehudah, Shimeon, Shmuel, Adaeus, Mattathias &tc. then continues :

"Let us now expound some detail about the Translation. The High Priest Eleazar himself selected men of the most excellent education ... those who had mastered not only Hebrew but also made a serious study of Greek literature. They were therefore all the more qualified for this Embassy and were able to bring it to fruition as the occasion demanded - moreover each had a tremendous natural facility for the linguistic negotiations between opinions of the group but also were able to answer questions arising from the text, with the Middle Way being the ideal, fully committed to the Plan and engaging in Discourse respectfully listening to and answering each member's questions...

"Demetrius took the [72] men with him to an island...and assembled them in a large house which had been furnished near the shoreline, a building set apart from the noise and bustle, then invited the men inside to commence the work of translation, with all of their physical needs met most lavishly by command of the King...

"They then set to work completing their divided tasks and reached agreement among themselves on each section by comparing their versions, with the result of a consensus among them, Demetrius then set about copying out a fair copy of what they produced.

Each day their work lasted until the 9th hour (3pm) after which they were free for rest and relaxation of body and mind...the outcome was that over the course of 72 days the business of translating the Law into Greek was completed, almost as if the number of days was part of their design from the beginning....they then read the translation to a crowd along with the translators who received a great ovation from the people...

"Demetrius then stood up and said to them, "Since this Version of the Torah has been created rightly and properly, and in every respect accurately, it would be good that this is the case so that there would not have to be any cause for revisions..."

"There followed a Curse on all those who would try to alter this translation either by addition, change or omission to any part of the written text - this was a very good step taken to ensure that the words were preserved completely and permanently in perpetuity...."

When the King had received Demetrius' account of the matter, he issued orders that great care be given to the books and for their special preservation [in his Library] ...




edit on 3-1-2016 by Sigismundus because: stutterringg compputerr keyboardddddd



posted on Jan, 3 2016 @ 05:33 PM
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a reply to: Sigismundus

Fantastic post. Much thanks



posted on Jan, 4 2016 @ 01:21 PM
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originally posted by: Sigismundus
a reply to: Seede

Just for fun, let's briefly review what has been posted on this phrase [and add a few scraps of data to it]

In the Greek the translated phrase "jot and tittle" יודוקוץ (Heb. Yod ve Kotz = 'Hand' and 'Thorn') are the words iota (Gk. ιώτα kai keraia (Gk: κεραία 'horn')

cf: the expression, 'the Kotz of a Yod' - the Hebrew word for 'letter' is 'ot' [ אוֹת ] which can also mean “sign” - when "Jesus" said that "not a jot (yod) or a tittle (kotz) will pass from the Torah until all is fulfilled" (Matt 5:18), he surely was referring to the "kotz of the yod" i.e. the upper serif of the letter Yod which is the tiniest stroke one can make using the square Aramaic consonants (as opposed to paleoHebrew). He also may have been making a verbal pun on the meaning of 'ot - which would render the expression something like 'not one sign shall pass away until all be fulfilled...'

Today the phrase 'jot or tittle' is a grammatical 'tautology', as BOTH jot [from the Greek Iota] and tittle (from the Latin word 'titilus') refer to tiny amounts. It has passed into English via William Tindale's translation of the New Testament in 1526 see Matthew 5:17-18:

For truely I saye vnto you till heven and erth perisshe one iott or one tytle of the lawe shall not scape tyll all be fulfill'd

The more familiar language of the King James Version, 1611, renders that verse as:

For Verilly 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...

A jot (iott) is the Anglicised name of the smallest letter of the Greek alphabet iota -which corresponds to the Roman letter 'i'. Apart from its specialist typographical meaning, we still use the word jot when we have a brief note to make, we 'jot it down'.

A tittle (sounds like a combination of tiny and little), is smaller still. It refers to a tiny stroke or point in writing or printing. In classical Latin this applied to any accent over a letter, but is now most commonly used as the name for the dot over the letter 'i'. It is also the name of the dots on dice.

It is thought that the phrase "to a T" is derived from the word tittle because originally the phrase was "to a Tittle"
The use of the word 'dot' (Old English dott ‘head of a boil') as a small written mark didn't begin until the 18th century. We may have been told at school to dot our i's; Chaucer and Shakespeare would have been told to 'tittle' them.







So if I am readin this correctly, Jesus is speaking figuratively and translators have tried to render too exacting a translation here? In other words, "jot and tittle" is an unfortunate translation because it should have been more generally translated "not one tiny bit" and not literally to mean Hebrew or Greek grammatical symbols?



posted on Jan, 4 2016 @ 01:31 PM
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I think this has been a really good discussion.... Lots to ponder.

So, to avoid confusion, let's have a show of hands:

If you had to pick which version of the Old Testament is historically most accurate, would you pick English translations based on the Septuagint or Masoretic?



posted on Jan, 4 2016 @ 01:56 PM
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a reply to: DrogoTheNorman

Artscroll mesorah publications have one of the most concise English translations available.
the fact that I used to work there has nothing to do with it.



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