The Religious A priori


Validity of LXX

for Messianich Prophesy

(page 2)


What we are looking for here are samples of usage of "non-MT" (even though there really wasn't an "MT" at that point in history) by writers in those various segments of Judaism. Fortunately, these are quite easy to find, especially from standard Textbooks on textual criticism.

Let's go through these:

1. Qumran. This community considered itself to be the true remnant of Israel, and was thusly even more 'pure' than the Pharisees of the day. This community is associated with those documents known as the Dead Sea Scrolls. These are dated in three periods: Archaic (250-150 bc), Hasmonean (150-30 BC), and Herodian (30 bc-70 ad). These Dead Sea Scrolls show usage of LXX, Samaritan, and various proto-MT textual traditions. One of the standard TC works today is Emmanual Tov of Hebrew University [OT:TCHB]. Only 60% of the texts found there agree with the MT (OT:TCHB:115). That's leaves 40% that vary. Let me show this from some of his material.

"Before the Qumran discoveries S [symbol for Samaritan text] was thought to be an ancient text, whose nature could not be determined more precisely beyond its popular character. However, since the discovery in Qumran of texts which are exceedingly close to S, this situation has changed...The best preserved pre-Samaritan text is 4QpaleoExod(m) of which large sections of 44 columns from Exodus 6 to 37 have been preserved...The main feature characterizing these texts is the appearance of harmonizing additions within Exodus and Numbers taken from Deuteronomy...This feature links these texts exclusively with S." [OT:TCHB:97-99. He also lists 4Q158 and 4Qtest (=4Q175) as following S.]The LXX is a Greek translation, of course, so we would not expect to see it among the DSS. However, it DOES show up in fragments there(!), and since it was translated from a Palestinian Hebrew original, we also find some documents that are related to that original. Also, it must be remembered that the LXX and MT are not as widely divergent as is commonly supposed:

"The Hebrew text presupposed by the LXX basically represents a tradition which is either close to that of MT or can easily be explained as a descendant or a source of it. In several individual instances, however, the LXX represents a text that comes close to other sources, viz., certain Hebrew scrolls from Qumran and the Sam. Pent." [Tov, in HI:TCULXX:188]He points out that "Several scrolls often coincide with details in the LXX, either with the central manuscript group or with a specific group of its manuscripts" [HI:TCULLXX:188] and he gives examples of 4QJer(b), 4QJer(d,17), 4Qdeut(q), 4Qsam(a), 4QLev(d), 4Qexod(b) [pp.191-195]. Let me be clear about one thing, though. I am NOT suggesting that the Hebrew Text underlying the LXX was itself a major substrate in the DSS; merely, that the various textual traditions at Qumran had knowledge of this strain of text. It is at best a minor aspect of the DSS, as it is a minority piece of the NT quotations (as seen in the previous discussion).

2. Philo. As an Alexandrian Jew, he even ascribed the highest level of divine inspiration to the LXX (the Pentateuch only), and called the translators prophets! (Life of Moses, II.38-40):

"But this, they say, did not happen at all in the case of this translation of the law, but that, in every case, exactly corresponding Greek words were employed to translate literally the appropriate Chaldaic words, being adapted with exceeding propriety to the matters which were to be explained; (39) for just as I suppose the things which are proved in geometry and logic do not admit any variety of explanation, but the proposition which was set forth from the beginning remains unaltered, in like manner I conceive did these men find words precisely and literally corresponding to the things, which words were alone, or in the greatest possible degree, destined to explain with clearness and force the matters which it was desired to reveal. (40) And there is a very evident proof of this; for if Chaldaeans were to learn the Greek language, and if Greeks were to learn Chaldaean, and if each were to meet with those scriptures in both languages, namely, the Chaldaic and the translated version, they would admire and reverence them both as sisters, or rather as one and the same both in their facts and in their language; considering these translators not mere interpreters but hierophants and prophets to whom it had been granted it their honest and guileless minds to go along with the most pure spirit of Moses.

"Philo (ca. 25 bc-ad 40) makes the translation an act of divine inspiration, and the translators prophets: although they worked separately they produced a single text that was literally identical throughout." [WTOT:51]

3. Josephus. Josephus, like Philo, writes in Greek, but is a Palestinian Jew and not Alexandrian. He uses the LXX at places as well. "Josephus claims to have based his account on the Hebrew text of the sacred writings (Ant. I, 5). This claim appears to hold good for the Hexateuch. In the later books of the bible, however, he has clearly consulted the Septuagint." [HI:IIW:112-113].Josephus also used other Greek translations than the LXX, most notably the proto-Lucian texts [WTOT:60,n.38]. He also praises the pagan king, who received the Greek translation of the Pentateuch (Ant 1.10-13):

"I found, therefore, that the second of the Ptolemies was a king who was extraordinarily diligent in what concerned learning and the collection of books; that he was also peculiarly ambitious to procure a translation of our law, and of the constitution of our government therein contained, into the Greek tongue. (11) Now Eleazar, the high priest, one not inferior to any other of that dignity among us, did not envy the forenamed king the participation of that advantage, which otherwise he would for certain have denied him, but that he knew the custom of our nation was, to hinder nothing of what we esteemed ourselves from being communicated to others. (12) Accordingly, I thought it became me both to imitate the generosity of our high priest, and to suppose there might even now be many lovers of learning like the king; for he did not obtain all our writings at that time; but those who were sent to Alexandria as interpreters, gave him only the books of the law, (13) while there were a vast number of other matters in our sacred books.This mixture of textual elements in Josephus is noted in the ABD (s.v. "Josephus"):

"An important question centers around the issue of the biblical text that Josephus had at his disposal. It is important because the answer would help shed significant light on the state of the text in 1st-century Palestine, almost a millennium before our first extant complete Hebrew manuscript. Josephus seems to have had in his possession texts in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek; and he varied in his use of them from biblical book to book. In view of the fact that in Josephus' time there were a number of divergent Hebrew and Greek texts of the Bible, we cannot be sure which version he used at any given time, especially since he usually paraphrased and elaborated rather than translated. Nor must we discount the possibility that Josephus followed a tradition independent of both the MT and the LXX, as may be seen from the fact that he agrees with Pseudo-Philo in some places that diverge from both the MT and the LXX. "The fact that Josephus was himself writing in Greek would make it seem likely that his chief textual source was the LXX, especially since he cited it as a precedent for presenting the history of the Jews to a non-Jewish audience (Ant 1. Proem 3 10-12) and since he devoted so much space paraphrasing the account of the translation given in Let. Aris. (Ant 12.2.1-15 11-118), hardly what one would expect in a work which is essentially a political and military rather than a cultural and religious history of the Jews. And yet, the very fact that he paraphrased the Bible in Greek would seem to indicate that he hoped to improve on that rendering, since there would hardly be much point otherwise in a new version. Hence it is not surprising that where thestyle of the LXX is more polished, as in the Additions to Esther or in 1 Esdras, he adheres more closely to its text. And yet, to have ignored the LXX, in view of the tremendous regard in which that version was held, would have been looked upon as an attempt to hide something.

Nevertheless, even when Josephus agrees with the LXX, this is not necessarily an indication that he had the LXX text before him, since he may have incorporated an exegetical tradition which had been known earlier to the translators of the LXX. Finally, the biblical texts found at Qumran indicate that the differences between the Hebrew and the Greek texts were not so great as had been previously thought.

4. Writers of the Pseudepigraphical and Apocryphal works. Here we have a vast amount of literature, from 300 bc to 300 ad, from Palestine and beyond, written in Greek, Hebrew, or Aramaic (or 'other'!), by all types and stripes of theological persuasion. We can scarcely even sample this, but let's look at some of it.

As would be expected, the Greek-language and/or Egpytian-provenanced pieces demonstrate high LXX usage, but such usage is NOT confined to these texts. Below is a list of partial citations/allusions in the Pseudepigrapha to passages in the LXX. (The Apocrypha, of course, is PART of the LXX.)

[this proves that at least these parts of the LXX had to exist before the time of Christ, and thus, the high probability that Is. 53 did as well]

1 Chron 29.2 in Joseph and Asenath 2c

1 Sam 13.17 in Joseph and Asenath 24z 2 Sam 4.6 in Joseph and Asenath 10g

Dan 4.13 in Joseph and Asenath 10e

Dan 4.33a-34 in Joseph and Asenath 10b

Dan 4.33a-b in Joseph and Asenath 10h2

Dan 4.34 in Joseph and Asenath 12a

Dan 7.15 in Joseph and Asenath 12y

Deut 32.21 in 3 (Greek Apoc) of Baruch (Gk) 16.3

Deut 32.30 in Apocalypse of Daniel 4.14

Esther 3.17 in Hellenistic Synagogal Prayers 2.2

Ex 12.40 in Demetrius Frag 2.16,18

Ex 13.9 in Aristobulus Frag 2.8

Ex 17.16 in Joseph and Asenath 8d2

Ex 2.15-18 in Artapanus Frag 3.27.19

Ex 20.11 in Aristobulus Frag 5.12

Ex 22.27 in Joseph and Asenath 10v

Ex 3.20 in Aristobulus Frag 2.8

Ex 9.3 in Aristobulus Frag 2.8

Gen 1.2 in Joseph and Asenath 12d, 12e

Gen 1.3-24 in Aristobulus Frag 4.3

Gen 1.6 in Joseph and Asenath 12h

Gen 10.1 in Apocalypse of Adam 4.9

Gen 10.1f in Joseph and Asenath 2q

Gen 14.19 in Joseph and Asenath 8f

Gen 2.8 in Testament of Abraham A 11.1

Gen 22.17 in Greek Apoc. of Ezra 3.10

Gen 25.1-4 in Demetrius Frag 3.1

Gen 3.23 in Joseph and Asenath 16.n

Gen 30.37 in Greek Apoc. of Ezra 1.3

Gen 39.19 in Joseph and Asenath 23r

Gen 42.19 in Joseph and Asenath 26e

Gen 42.33 in Joseph and Asenath 26e

Gen 44.7 in Joseph and Asenath 23u

Gen 46.27 in Hellenistic Synagogal Prayers 12.64

Gen 49.24 in Joseph and Asenath 8w

Gen 5.4 in Apocalypse of Adam 1.1

Gen 50.22b-26 in Joseph and Asenath 29i

I Kings 4.29-34 in Testament of Solomon 3.5

Is 1.13 in Joseph and Asenath 14c
Is 14.12 in Greek Apoc. of Ezra 4.28

Is 26.19 in Apocryphon of Ezekiel Frag 1

Is 40.12 in Greek Apoc. of Ezra 7.5

Is 47.8 in Joseph and Asenath 11k2

Is 52.13 in Ascension of Isaiah 4.21

Is 58.11 in Joseph and Asenath 24x

Is 66.1 in Joseph and Asenath 22r

Is 8.20 in Hellenistic Synagogal Prayers 12.69

Is 9.5 in Hellenistic Synagogal Prayers 12.10

Jer 38 in Joseph and Asenath 12f

Job 38.38 in Hellenistic Synagogal Prayers 4.16

Job 9.18 in Joseph and Asenath 12x

Jonah 1.17 in Testament of Zebulun 4.4

Judges 7.16 in Joseph and Asenath 24z

Mal 1.1 in Lives of the Prophets 16.2

Micah 1.8 in 2 (Syriac) Apocalypse of Baruch 10.8

Numbers 12.8 in Greek Apoc. of Ezra 6.6

Numbers 16.48 in Hellenistic Synagogal Prayers 6.6

Prov 11.31 in Apocalypse of Daniel 11.11

Prov 24.21 in Syriac Menander 9

Prov 8.27 in 2 (Slavonic Apocalypse) of Enoch 25.4

Ps 100.3 in Odes of Solomon 7.12

Ps 102.1 in i 12y

Ps 103.2 in Hellenistic Synagogal Prayers 3.3; 12.16

Ps 103.24 in Hellenistic Synagogal Prayers 4.7

Ps 103.25 in Hellenistic Synagogal Prayers 12.24

The Religious A priori