Article: NO LXX Part 1 by Will Kinney

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NO LXX

The Lord Jesus Christ and the apostles did NOT quote from a Pre-Christian LXX.

There are Four main points to this article. I will list them, and then expand the points in order.

  • #2. The Bible itself contradicts the idea that God would approve of an authoritative Greek translation of the Old Testament Scriptures that would then be used by the Lord Jesus and the apostles in the making of the New Testament.
A. The Levites were guardians of the O.T. Scriptures
B. "Do not go back to Egypt"
C. Jots and Tittles shall not pass away
D. The Hebrew language was still widely used in the time of Jesus Christ.
  • #3.There is no solid proof of a Pre-Christian LXX.

What is generally referred to as the LXX today is nothing more than compilations of different Greek translations taken from Vaticanus, Sinaiticus and Alexandrinus, and these do not even agree with each other. Versions like the RSV, NIV will often reject the Hebrew readings and then tell you in a footnote: "SOME LXX versions say...." Not all LXX versions read the same. It is utterly impossible to reconstruct what an authoritative and widespread pre-Christian LXX version may have looked like, even if such a thing had existed.

  • #4. The LXX "quotations" and references in the Old Testament which differ significantly from the Hebrew Scriptures were taken directly from the already completed New Testament writings, and then transplanted back into the Greek O.T. translations in an effort to harmonize the different readings. This is the exact opposite view of the one held by many scholars and seminarians today.

Every New Testament "quote" can be explained by referring instead to the Hebrew texts and the manner in which God often "quotes" Himself by way of expansion, application, specificity, or explanation. Furthermore, there is not a scholar alive today who can prove otherwise.

Part Two will consist of An explanation of some of the alleged LXX readings.

These are the 4 main points I wish to cover in this article.

Contents

1. The Letter of Aristeas

Many Bible defenders have written articles refuting the fallacious idea that the apostles and our Lord Jesus Christ quoted from a Greek translation called the Greek Septuagint, or simply referred to as the LXX.

Here are a couple of good articles that give you a good overview of why the claims of those who promote the LXX are false.

Dr. Floyd Nolan Jones has written a very imformative article dealing with the evidence and history of the alleged pre-Christian Greek translation of the Old Testament.

http://www.frugalwater.com/LXX.pdf

Likewise, David W. Daniels has written a concise and well thought out article exposing the spurious nature of the claims made for a pre-Christian Septuagint version, titled "What is the Septuagint". He goes into specific detail about the alleged Letter of Aristeas, which is the primary "historical" document used to buttress the idea that a formalized LXX was actually put together. -

http://www.scionofzion.com/septuagint1.htm

Many LXX defenders who quote people like Justin Martyr, Philo, or Josephus, in support of a pre-Christian LXX version, overlook the fact that these men are merely parroting the same information found in the Letter of Aristeas. None of them have any independent evidence of a pre-Christian LXX.

For a scholarly work by Professor Dr. James Davila regarding the "quotes" of certain church fathers regarding the LXX please see:

http://www.geocities.com/brandplucked/LXXJophus.html

2. The Bible itself contradicts the LXX

The LXX got its name by supposedly having been written by six scholars from each of the twelve tribes of Israel who traveled to the city of Alexandria in Egypt, where they miraculously produced their Greek translation from the Old Testament Hebrew Scriptures. But there is a minor problem. The custodians of the Old Testament Scriptures were members of the tribe of Levi alone - not the other tribes. Not only that, but many orthodox O.T. Jews hated Paul's ministry to the Gentiles, and never would have accepted an O.T. translation made from a heathen, Gentile language. A Greek Old Testament translation into a pagan tongue and produced by the other eleven tribes in addition to the Levites is UNSCRIPTURAL and unacceptable.

2A. The Levites were guardians of the O.T. Scriptures

Malachi 2:7-8 "For the priest's lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth: for he is the messenger of the LORD of hosts. But ye are departed out of the way; ye have caused many to stumble at the law; ye have corrupted the covenant of Levi, saith the LORD of hosts."

The covenant of Levi was with this tribe alone, to copy and guard the Old Testament Hebrew Scriptures. Deuteronomy 31:24-26 "And it came to pass, when Moses made an end of writing the words of this law in a book, until they were finished, That Moses commanded the Levites, which bare the ark of the covenant of the LORD, saying, Take this book of the law, and put it in the side of the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, that it may be there for a witness against thee."

Ezra 7:6 "This Ezra went up from Babylon: and he was a ready scribe in the law of Moses, which the LORD God of Israel had given." Ezra was a Levite and a scribe of the law of God.

Davis's Dictionary of the Bible tells us that "the Levites were employed as scribes for the business of repairing the temple", and it refers to 2 Chronicles 34:13-15 "...and of the Levites there were scribes, and officers, and porters. And...Hilkiah the priest found a book of the law of the LORD given by Moses. And Hilkiah answered and said to Shaphan the scribe, I have found the book of the law in the house of the LORD."

2B. "Do not go back to Egypt"

In the book of Jeremiah God brought judgment upon the nation of Israel because of their idolatry. There was a remnant left in the land, and yet these too rebelled against God and his prophet. In Jeremiah 42 the people feign a desire to know the mind of the Lord, but in reality they wish to go their own way back into Egypt. The prophet Jeremiah clearly tells them "when ye shall enter into Egypt...ye shall be an execration, and an astonishment, and a curse, and a reproach...O ye remnant of Judah, GO YE NOT INTO EGYPT; know certainly that I have admonished you this day." Jeremiah 42:13-19.

In Genesis 26:2 there was a famine in the land where Isaac dwelt, "And the LORD appeared unto him and said, GO NOT DOWN INTO EGYPT...Sojoun in this land, and I will be with thee, and will bless thee."

God delivered His people out of Egypt, and did not want them to return there. In Matthew 2:12-21 when Herod sought to kill the baby Jesus, Joseph was warned of God to take his wife Mary and the child Jesus and flee into Egypt. However this was done to fulfill the spiritual type and prophecy - "that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, OUT OF EGYPT have I called my son."

This is a direct reference to Hosea 11:1 "When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called MY SON OUT OF EGYPT." It is of interest that the LXX translation is wrong here. It says "out of Egypt I called HIS CHILDREN", instead of the Hebrew text which says " I called my son".

While in Egypt there is no recorded revelation given by God until He told Joseph to leave Egypt and "go into the land of Israel".

Jerusalem will be in a corrupted state in the last days. In Revelation 11:8 we read of the beast who arises to kill the two prophets sent from God. "And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom AND EGYPT, where also our Lord was crucified."

Many commentators have pointed out the great truths of the book of Genesis, which begins with the words: "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." The book goes on to tell of the creation of Adam in innocence, his fall, and the sad history of his descendants which ends with these final words: "in a coffin in Egypt."

The Bible itself tells us what God thinks of anything associated with the land of Egypt.

2C. Jots and Tittles shall not pass away

The Lord Jesus Christ said in Matthew 5:18 "For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled."

"Jots and Tittles" have only to do with the Hebrew written tongue. They are not found in a Greek language translation of the Old Testament Scriptures.

God committed His O.T. words of truth only to the nation of Israel, not to the Greek, the Syrians or the Romans. "He sheweth his word unto Jacob, his statutes and his judgments unto Israel. He hath not dealt so with any nation: and as for his judgments, they have not known them. Praise ye the LORD." Psalm 147:19-20

Romans 3:1-2 "What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision? Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God."

It is supremely important to recognize the truth that God gave His inspired words in the Old Testament Scriptures in the Hebrew language and only to the nation of Israel. Any translation that rejects or departs from the Hebrew text is not the pure words of God.

The Greek Septuagint changes the Hebrew text in literally thousands of places, and omits hundreds of whole verses from the Hebrew Scriptures. It changes many numbers and names, and the book of Jeremiah alone is over one-eigth shorter that its Hebrew counterpart.

Those who defend the LXX version today are men like James White and Doug Kutilek who do not believe that any Bible or any text in any language is now the inspired, infallible, complete and inerrant word of God. They always promote the modern versions like the NASB, NIV, ESV, or Holman Standard, and all of these versions frequently reject the Hebrew texts and follow various readings of the LXX, the Syriac, or the Vulgate, and none of them do this in all the same places as any of the others. "Every man did that which was right in his own eyes." The King James Bible is the only popular Bible that consistently follows the God inspired Hebrew texts in all its readings.

If you want to know the real reasons these men promote the LXX, just listen to the words of Doug Kutilek.

"If the LXX existed in the days of Christ and the Apostles, and if Christ and the Apostles often quoted from it as authoritative , and if the LXX is demonstrably a less-than-perfect translation of the Hebrew text (as it admittedly is), then we have a clear case of Jesus and the Apostles making good use of and deriving spiritual profit from an uninspired, imperfectly preserved translation. In short, the example of Christ and the Apostles in their use of the LXX version of the OT demonstrates that it was not necessary that they--or we--have an “infallible and inspired, perfectly preserved” translation before they could know or serve God. It is therefore not a corollary of perfect verbal inspiration that there must be perfect verbal preservation in translation. Rather, a translation that is generally good though imperfect in details can be entirely adequate. It then follows that the very foundational premise of KJVOism--that we must have, and therefore do have such an inspired and infallible Bible translation in the KJV--is exposed as entirely bogus, a sham, a fraud."

Mr. Kutilek then goes on to give us his "opinion" about the LXX, and you will notice his opinion is different than many others in his "No Bible is Inspired" camp. He says (caps are mine) : “My own OPINION, on the controversial part of the subject, may be given in a few words: I believe that the five books of Moses, the most correct and accurate part of the whole work, were translated from the Hebrew into Greek in the time of Ptolemy Philadelphus, king of Egypt, about 285 years before the Christian era; that this was done, not by seventy-two, but PROBABLY by five learned and judicious men, and that when completed it was examined, approved, and allowed as a faithful version, by the seventy or seventy-two elders who constituted the Alexandrian Sanhedrim; and that the other books of the Old Testament were done at different times by different hands, as the necessity of the case demanded, or the providence of God appointed. IT IS PRETTY CERTAIN, from the quotations of the evangelists, the apostles, and the primitive fathers, that a complete version into Greek of the whole Old Testament, PROBABLY called by the name of the Septuagint, was made and in use before the Christian era; but IT IS LIKELY that some of the books of that ancient version are now lost, and that some others, which now go under the name of Septuagint, were the production of times posterior to the incarnation.” - Doug Kutilek

Well, there you have it. I was somewhat amazed that Mr. Kutilek would be so out in the open about what his real agenda is, but those are his own words. He has no infallible Bible and promotes the idea that what we have is a diverse ballpark collection of "generally good though imperfect ...adequate translations." Is this what you read in your Bible?

2D. The Hebrew language was still widely used in the time of Jesus Christ

Dr. Norman Golb demonstrated the fact that the majority of the poetry at Qumran (Dead Sea Scrolls site) was written in Hebrew. This shows that the Hebrew language was very much in use during the time of the Lord Jesus and the apostles. "Who Wrote The Dead Sea Scrolls? The search for the secret of Qumran"; Dr. Norman Golb ISBN 0-02-544395-x

Dr. Golb states (caps are mine): "We must thus observe, as a notable example, how the 'Paean to Alexander Jannaeus' - one of several Jewish historical personalities mentioned in the scrolls - emerges as the work of a Palestinian poet who took pride in that ruler's reign and had a conception of the overall unity of the Jewish nation, both in Palestine and in the widespread Diaspora that already existed long before the destruction of the Second Temple. The hymn is one small fragment among MANY HEBREW POEMS found in the caves that have no sectarian bias. From it, as from others, we may note the lyrical RICHNESS OF ANCIENT HEBREW UP TO THE VERY DESTRUCTION OF THE Second Temple in A.D. 70; and we observe that virtually all of this poetry, as well as OVER THREE QUARTERS OF THE PROSE TEXTS, WAS COMPOSED IN HEBREW, disproving the view that Aramaic had overtaken Hebrew as the main language of the Jews in Palestine in the first century A.D."

In his book Crowned With Glory, Dr. Thomas Holland discusses the LXX question in chapter Six. Here are a couple of his quotes:

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

Alan Millard, Professor of Hebrew and Ancient Semitic Languages at the University of Liverpool, England, observed that for years scholars believed that Hebrew was limited to religious usage during the time of Christ. But from the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls and books written in common Hebrew among them, it can now be established that a form of Hebrew, like the Hebrew used in the Old Testament yet distinct in form, was in use during the time of Christ and the apostles."

As the aforementioned quotes demonstrate, not only did Aramaic not overtake the Hebrew, but neither did Greek.

The King James Bible translators and the so called Septuagint reference

Brother Steven Avery, a dear brother in the Lord Jesus Christ and an adamant defender of the King James Bible has noted the reference of the KJB translators to the LXX. He comments:

The A.V. reference to the Greek O.T. reads to me as politely and humorously dismissive, especially in light of their emphasis on translating from the Hebrew and Aramaic Tanach.

http://www.ccel.org/bible/kjv/preface/pref10.htm THE TRANSLATORS TO THE READER Neither did we run over the work with that posting haste that the Septuagint did, if that be true which is reported of them, that they finished it in 72 days; [Joseph. Antiq. lib. 12.]... the work hath not been huddled up in 72 days, but hath cost the workmen, as light as it seemeth, the pains of twice seven times seventy two days and more:

Sounds like they were very wary of the strangeness of the Aristeas fable. The one area where the Greek OT was quite helpful to them (and the Vulgate and Peshitta and other versions would help on this as well) was to have the early language cross-reference translation understanding of difficult words, often animals and plants. Here is another section from the preface.

"S. Jerome maketh no mention of the Greek tongue, wherein yet he did excel, because he translated not the old Testament out of Greek, but out of Hebrew... If you ask what they had before them, truly it was the Hebrew text of the Old Testament, the Greek of the New. These are the two golden pipes, or rather conduits, where-through the olive branches empty themselves into the gold. Saint Augustine calleth them precedent, or original tongues; [S. August. 3. de doctr. c. 3. etc.] Saint Jerome, fountains. [S. Jerome. ad Suniam et Fretel.] The same Saint Jerome affirmeth, [S. Jerome. ad Lucinium, Dist. 9 ut veterum.] and Gratian hath not spared to put it into his Decree, That "as the credit of the old Books" (he meaneth of the Old Testament) "is to be tried by the Hebrew Volumes, so of the New by the Greek tongue," he meaneth by the original Greek. If truth be tried by these tongues, then whence should a Translation be made, but out of them?" - Steven Avery

3. There is no solid proof of a Pre-Christian LXX

Here are a few statements by Jobes & Silva, both of whom are noted LXX scholars and both of whom believed that the New Testament writers made use of the LXX - "We have NO EVIDENCE that any Greek version of the Hebrew Bible, or even of the Pentateuch, was called the Septuagint prior to the second century of this era." Jobes & Silva, Invitation To The Septuagint, p 32. (emphasis mine)

"The great task of Septuagint textual criticism is to RECONSTRUCT the pre-Hexaplaric text, which means UNDOING Origen's labor so as to rediscover the form of the Septuagint in the second century. WITHOUT GREEK MANUSCRIPTS predating Origen, however, that goal is not easily achieved." ibid, p 53.

"There really is no such thing as THE Septuagint. If the entire corpus of the Hebrew Bible had been translated at one point in history by one group of translators in one location and for one purpose, then it would be much easier to use the Septuagint as a snapshot of the history of interpretation and theological thought. However, apart from the translation of the Pentateuch (for which we have very limited information), the when, where, and who, and why of the Greek translation of other books is basically unknown." ibid, pg 89-90.

More Quotes from the experts

Eugene Ulrich is the chief editor of the biblical scrolls from Qumran, and is the John A. O'Brien Professor of Hebrew Scriptures at the University of Notre Dame.

Dr. Ulrich states: "The oldest extensive manuscripts of the Septuagint that are EXTANT are dated in the fourth century, at least A CENTURY AFTER ORIGEN, so we cannot always be certain that our Septuagint text corresponds to that of his day either in its pre-Origenic or post-Origenic form. (Ulrich, pg. 203)

"We do not, and Origen did not, have extant for any book what anyone would consider the original form of that translation. All manuscripts display a considerable amount of textual development-certainly unintentional changes, such as the well-known panoply of errors, but also intentional changes, such as clarifications, revisions, doublets, and harmizations." (ibid, pg. 211)

Dr. F. F. Bruce points out that, strictly speaking, the LXX deals only with the Law and not the whole Old Testament. Bruce writes, " The Jews might have gone on at a later time to authorize a standard text of the rest of the Septuagint, but . . . lost interest in the Septuagint altogether. With but few exceptions, every manuscript of the Septuagint which has come down to our day was copied and preserved in Christian, not Jewish, circles." (The Books and the Parchments, p.150). This is important to note because the manuscripts which consist of our LXX today date to the third century AD.

Josephus - Apparently one of the strongest evidences against there being a Greek Tanach in full at the time of the New Testament writings has been overlooked. The following links are all the same text, with different style pages.

http://www.godrules.net/library/flavius/flaviusb10c10.htm (Christian site) http://www.nalanda.nitc.ac.in/resources/english/etext-project/history/antiqjews/book-10chapter10.html http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/josephus/ant-10.htm (Peter Kirby) http://www.earlyjewishwritings.com/text/josephus/ant10.html (Peter Kirby) http://wesley.nnu.edu/biblical_studies/josephus/ant-10.htm http://www.ccel.org/j/josephus/works/ant-10.htm http://www.jcsm.org/StudyCenter/josephus/ant-10.htm - (Jason Gastrich)

Here is the quote by Josehpus, Antiquities - Book 10, Chapter 10 (AJ 10.218) "But let no one blame me for writing down every thing of this nature, as I find it in our ancient books; for as to that matter, I have plainly assured those that think me defective in any such point, or complain of my management, and have told them in the beginning of this history, that I intended to do no more than translate the Hebrew books into the Greek language, and promised them to explain those facts, without adding any thing to them of my own, or taking any thing away from there."

Obviously, there would be little need for such a translation in Rome by Josephus in 70AD if such a translation was circulating.

Throughout history various individuals have taken upon themselves to translate the Hebrew Scriptures into various foreign languages. Well into the Christian era, there were at least five individuals who attempted a Greek translation - Aquila, Symmachus, Theodotian, Lucian and Hesychius. Yet all five versions differed not only from the Hebrew texts, but from each other as well. Other individuals translated portions of the Hebrew Scriptures into Syriac, Aramaic and the Sammaritan tongues.

When some LXX scholars claim there are a few scraps here and there of a Greek translation of "THE Septuagint" that predate the Christian era, the more likely explanation is these are nothing more than surviving pieces of individual attempts at a personal translation of the Hebrew into another language, just as they did with the Aramaic and Samaritan languages.

Robert A. Kraft (University of Pennsylvania) has published a paper about the Greek fragments found in the Dead Sea Scrolls. How these fragments read are generally in disagreement with both the Hebrew and the present day "LXX" versions.

He notes: "The textcritical situation seems analogous to what the NT papyri have shown -- that the textual relationships prior to the imagined watershed of recensional activity in the 3rd and early 4th centuries CE are in many ways just as confused and confusing as afterwards. Of course, the materials from this early period, on rolls and early mini-codices, must be examined book by book (and sometimes even in smaller units within "books") rather than in generalized "text types," but even then clear patterns seldom emerge. Did we really expect clear patterns, given what we have learned from the Judean Desert discoveries as well as from other avenues of information about those textually tumultuous early times?"

Rather than assuming the existence of a Pre-Christian, authoritative and widespread Greek translation of the entire Old Testament which was supposedly used and quoted from by the the Lord Jesus and His apostles (and which differ significantly from anything we have now), doesn't it make more sense to see these scrapes of Greek writing as the efforts of various men trying their individual hand at a personal translation?

The sites that list some alleged Pre-Christian LXX fragments never seem to tell us exactly what portions have been found, and more importantly, whether they differ significantly from what passes as "The Septuagint" today.

The only Greek translations of the Hebrew Scriptures that possibly predate the New Testament writings are a few scraps of papyrus which contain small portions of a few chapters from the book of Deuteronomy. None of these partial sections are quoted in the New Testament. These are Ryland's Papyrus, Papyrus Fouad, and another labeled 848. All together they contain only part of few verses from Deuteronomy. No one knows who wrote them, and the scholars do not tell us IF they match any of the other LXX's or not.

The oldest piece that exists contains only parts of the following verses: Deut.23:24-31; 25:1-3; 26:12,17, 19; and 28:31-33. That's it!

The Dead Sea Scrolls and the LXX

When it comes to the Dead Sea Scrolls, it seems every "scholar" has his own opinion on things, and his opinion differs from everybody else's. The vast majority of the writings found at the DSS sites were written in Hebrew. In fact, in three different types of Hebrew texts. There also were writings found in Aramaic and a very few in Greek.

To see a factual and easily verified study of how fickle and inconsistent the modern new version scholars are regarding the often wildly divergent Dead Sea Scrolls readings and how they use them or not, please see my study of Isaiah called "The Dead Sea Scrolls Fiasco" here: http://www.geocities.com/brandplucked/DSSfiasco.html

It used to be quite fashionable and widely taught that the Jews had lost their use of the Hebrew language at the time of Christ. However, one thing the Dead Sea Scrolls has done is to demolish this previously held theory. The Hebrew language was very much alive and well in the time of Jesus Christ.

Also found in the DSS were texts of several books of the Apocrypha and the Pseudepigrapha. These texts — none of which was included in the Hebrew canon of the Bible — are Tobit, Sirach, Jubilees, portions of Enoch, and the Testament of Levi, hitherto known only in early Greek, Syriac, Latin, and Ethiopic versions. Also found were Ecclesiasticus, first composed in Hebrew and later translated into Greek, and the Letter of Jeremiah, a single chapter attacking idolatry, and Psalm 151 written in Hebrew.

Many scholars, in an effort to support the idea of a Pre-Christian LXX version, make mention of a Greek translation of the 12 minor prophets found in the DSS. However, most who mention these fail to give us the whole story about this Greek minor prophets translation, but thankfully, some do.

There is NOTHING at all in the DSS to prove a Pre-Christian Septuagint. The alleged 12 minor prophets in Greek were not found in Qumram but some 12 miles away and they were found with pottery and coins that date well into the Christian era. Charles Pfeiffer says in his book that the coins prove the scroll was written after 200 A.D. (Charles F. Pfeiffer - The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Bible, Baker Book House 1969.) This was just some guy making a translation into Greek as they also did with the Aramaic.

Scott Jones, who has examined a lot of the DSS evidence, says: "The so-called LXX quotes from the DSS,fragmentary as they are, are fictitious. They do NOT match the quotations in the LXX of Vaticanus, Sinaiticus or Codex Alexandrinus, thus proving yet again that what passes for the LXX today is not even remotely what existed prior to Christianity."

Mr. Jones continues: "Take this statement concering the VERY fragmentary scroll of the minor prophets found at Nahal Hever -"...it preserves twenty-four FRAGMENTARY COLUMNS written in the hand of two different scribes. Moreover, THE TEXT THAT IT PRESERVES HAS DISTINCT CHARACTERISTICS THAT SET IT APART FROM THE MAIN LXX TRADITION." Jobes & Silva, Invitation To The Septuagint, p 172. (emphasis added). And further -"The order of the twelve prophets apparently follows the sequence of the MT, not the LXX codices." ibid. These 24 fragmentary columns are hardly impressive. Only half of the minor prophets are represented, and only a few verses from each one can be clearly discerned."

Mr. Scott Jones continues: "There were NO Greek LXX bibles found in Qumram and nobody has ever produced one that predates around 320 AD. The Septuagint today is in reality Vaticanus. There are 4 small texts that come from parts of Deuteronomy that they think are pre-Christian, but none of these verses were ever quoted by any apostle. I have yet to see what these fragments actually say in Greek and if they match up with the present day LXX versions."

Other LXX experts admit there is no actual evidence for a BC LXX. Here is Sir Frederick Kenyon: "A considerable number of MSS. exist which give information AS TO ORIGEN'S HEXAPLARIC TEXT and PARTICULAR PASSAGES in the other columns, BUT THESE DO NOT GO FAR towards enabling us to recover the LXX text AS IT EXISTED BEFORE ORIGEN; AND THIS REMAINS THE GREATEST PROBLEM WHICH CONFRONTS THE TEXTUAL STUDENT OF THE SEPTUAGINT." "The Text of the Greek Bible", Sir Frederick Kenyon, p 35.

Now comes Brenton, who edited a contemporary issuing of the LXX: "It may also be doubted whether in the year 285 BC there were Jews in Palestine who had sufficient intercourse with the Greeks to have executed a translation into that language; for it must be borne in mind how recently they had become the subjects of Greek monarchs... we must also bear in mind that we find at this period NO TRACE OF ANY VERSIONS HAVING BEEN MADE BY THE JEWS INTO THE LANGUAGES OF OTHER COUNTRIES in which they had continued for periods much longer than that of their settlement at Alexandria." Brenton's Septuagint Introduction, Zondervan, from the original 1851, p ii.

With regard to being able to recover a pre-Origenian LXX, Brenton then remarks: "The Hexapla itself is said never to have been copied: what remains of the versions which it contained (mere fragments) were edited by Montfaucon in 1714, and in an abridged edition by Bahrdt in 1769-70. The Hexaplar text of the Septuagint was copied about a half century after Origen's death by Pamphilus and Eusebius; it thus obtained a circulation; but the errors of copyists soon confounded the marks of addition and omission which Origen placed, AND HENCE THE TEXT OF THE SEPTUAGINT BECAME ALMOST HOPELESSLY MIXED UP WITH THAT OF OTHER VERSIONS." ibid, p vi.

In other words, we can't even reconstruct Origen's fifth column of the LXX, let alone a pre-Origenian Septuagint, much less a BC LXX.

Was There a Pre-Christian Septuagint?

In his book Forever Settled, Jack Moorman writes on page 13 "Paul Kahle (a famous O.T. scholar) who has done extensive work in the Septuagint does not believe that there was one original old Greek version and that consequently the manuscripts of the Septuagint (so-called) cannot be traced back to one archtype.

His arguments can be summarized as follows:

The letter of Aristeas is mere fabrication (Kahle calls it propaganda), and THERE IS NO HISTORICAL EVIDENCE THAT A GROUP OF SCHOLARS TRANSLATED THE O.T. INTO GREEK BETWEEN 250 - 150 B.C.

The research of Paul Kahle shows that there was no pre-Christian LXX.

Jack Moorman continues: No one has produced a Greek copy of the Old Testament written before 300 A.D. In fact, the Septuagint "quotes" from the New Testament and not vice versa, i.e. in the matter of N.T. - O.T. quotation, the later formulators of the Greek O.T. made it conform with the New Testament Text."

In the Second part of this article, I would like to address the very interesting topic of some of the alleged LXX readings found in the New Testament.

Will Kinney


No LXX - Part One

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