LXX better than MT? KJV better than RSV/NRSV/etc.?

Edward Hobbs (EHOBBS@wellesley.edu)
Thu, 05 Dec 1996 17:40:41 -0500 (EST)

From: LUCY::EHOBBS "Edward Hobbs" 5-DEC-1996 17:38:52.27
To: IN%"jwrobie@mindspring.com"
Subj: RE: Septuagint: better than the oldest Hebrew manuscripts?

Jonathan Robie wrote:

Septuagint: better than the oldest Hebrew manuscripts?

I just read this on an Orthodox bulletin board. They apparantly see the
Septuagint as more authoritative than the Hebrew scriptures, and take
exception to our translations because the translate the Hebrew rather than
the Greek. One person stated the following:

"it's interesting to note that the Septuagent (LXX) is generally considered
to be a better translation of the original Hebrew than the oldest Hebrew
manuscripts we have. This is due to textual variations, since we are very
distanced from the original autographs of the Hebrew. Also because of the
nature of the Greek language, you can get a better translation of Hebew in
Greek than you can in English (or any other modern language for that matter)"

I'm completely uninformed on these matters, and it isn't very easy to check
his references, since "generally considered" and "better translation" aren't
particularly clear claims. I'm sure that *my* opinions are "generally
considered" to be "better" than *your* opinions ;->

Does anybody out there have some *information* on this subject?




This claim is the same as the claim made for many centuries by the
Roman Catholic hierarchy about the Vulgate (and why only the Vulgate could
be used as the basic text from which to make vernacular translations),
although their scholars knew better. Pius XII's 1943 encyclical brought
that to a close, and Vatican II nailed it into a coffin.
This claim is the same as the claim made for the 1611 ("Authorized"
or "King James") version into English, by multitudes of fundamentalists.
"If it was good enough for Paul and Silas, it's good enough for me.!"
The LXX claim has about the same merits as these other two. There is
no doubt that in some places, the Old Greek ("Septuagint" is a misleading
term, since there were several versions and many phases in the process of
producing the Old Greek) translates an older Hebrew text than the Masoretic
text does. But to extrapolate that into a general principle is nonsense.

Edward Hobbs (who loves the Old Greek, AKA "Septuagint")