LXX foundation and Anti-Missionaries

From: Eric Weiss (eweiss@acf.dhhs.gov)
Date: Tue Oct 31 1995 - 09:37:26 EST

Forwarded to: Internet[b-greek@virginia.edu]
Comments by: Eric Weiss@OSP@ACF.DAL

   -------------------------- [Original Message] -------------------------
I read your question on B-GREEK re: Anti-Missionaries and the LXX and saw
that the only response you got was a remark about the Anti-Missionaries not
just having a negative focus and suggesting that Jews would not use the term
"Old Testament" but would rather call it "the Bible" (which is probably true
since it's not "old" to them). It did not answer your question.

The "Anti-Missionaries" are probably affiliated with Jews for Judaism--if you
want to read what they're all about, their web page is at


They have a valid point about the LXX, but not one that can't be overcome by
the Christian wishing to share the Messiah Jesus with Jews. The NT uses the
LXX often in its quotes of the "Old" Testament, and without being a scholar
in this area, I can't specifically say how accurately the LXX (and hence the
NT) conveys the meaning of the Hebrew OT in every case. I understand that
parts of the LXX are translated very well and other parts are not. I've read
that the Dead Sea Scrolls discoveries have shown that there were probably at
least 3 Hebrew text traditions current in the first century, or at least
manuscripts found at Qumran exhibited evidences of having come from these
three families: a) the one that eventually led to the Masoretic text which
is the basis for our Hebrew Old Testament text today; b) one that appears to
be the Hebrew basis for the LXX translation; and c) one with close affinities
to the Samaritan Pentateuch. The LXX rendering thus can't be automatically
ruled out as being an "incorrect" translation of the Hebrew text--it depends
on which Hebrew text you are talking about.

There are A LOT of books out there on the NT use of the Old Testament which
discuss this very question you are asking, since this is something Christian
scholars have had to deal with and explain--I just wish I could remember the
titles! A remark one author made which I think is probably true is that the
NT interpretation of Old Testament passages is often much more conservative
than how some rabbis treated OT passages, so if the Anti-Missionary wants to
start debating the issue of misinterpreting or mishandling the Biblical text,
he better be ready to defend the rabbis' handling of the text. Since the
rabbinical tradition is the basis for much of modern religious Judaism, which
is what Anti-Missionaries want to call Jews back to, he will find that the
arguments he uses to try to discredit how Peter and Paul and John misused the
Old Testament may end up discrediting his own religious tradition.

For more information, you might also want to contact Jews for Jesus. Their
web page is

        http://www.jews-for-jesus.org/index.html or

You can E-mail them at

        jfj@jews-for-jesus.org or

Since the work of Jews for Jesus is one of the main targets of the "Anti-
Missionaries" efforts, they probably have more experience in handling this
and every other objection a Jew might raise about the Christian use of the
"Old" Testament than anyone else you could ask. If you want to discuss this
more, since it could go beyond the purpose of this discussion group, feel
free to E-mail me directly.

Eric Weiss

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