Re: Septuagint MSS

Tim McLay (
Sun, 29 Sep 1996 23:23:52 -0300 (ADT)

>To: Mark Arvid Johnson <>
>From: (Tim McLay)
>Subject: Re: Septuagint MSS
>>-- [ From: Mark Arvid Johnson * EMC.Ver #2.5.02 ] --
>>When an ancient Greek translation of all or part of the Old Testament is
>>discovered, how do the scholars determine whether it is a MSS of the
>>Septuagint, as opposed to another Greek version of the Old Testament?


Sorry, my mailer wasn't working yesterday.

>You are asking a question that requires the same answer from any textual
critic. The ms that is found [you don't happen to have one do you :)], is
collated (i.e. its text is compared to) against some other base text in
order to see how similar or different it is. Only in the Alpha-Text of
Esther and the Theodotion text of Daniel do we have versions of books that
exist as distinct from the Septuagint books.
>In LXX studies most mss. are related in some way to the Septuagint text, by
which I take you to mean the original translation or composition of a book
in question. There were recensions of the LXX, chiefly the hexaplaric, and
the lucianic has been isolated in some books as well. Kaige-Theodotion is
sometimes referred to as a recension, but it is really a mixed bag because
in some cases the "Theodotion" text is the only one we have and is thus the
Septuagint text. We know of certain readings for Aquila, Symmachus, or
Theodotion because they are preserved as marginal readings in some texts;
however, even these attributions are sometimes wrong. So the readings of
your ms. are compared to other mss. to see how they relate to what is
already known or not known, as the case may be. When comparing a number of
mss. in the same place it may be that they have several different readings,
and there might be no attribution to Aq., Sym., or Th. If one or more
readings exhibits similar characteristics to what is already known and well
established as characteristic of one of the recensions, then there may be
grounds to identify recensional influence for that reading. This takes on
greater significance when the ms. shows this relationship consistently. Then
again, there may be no means and one is left with variant readings, one of
which may preserve the original reading.
>Hope this helps.
Tim McLay
Halifax, Nova Scotia