Re: The Septuaginta

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Mon Aug 30 1999 - 13:14:20 EDT

At 11:30 AM -0500 8/30/99, Guy Lipkins wrote:
>Pondering a question for a possible upcoming article; Is the Septuaginta
>"authoritative" or simply "accommodative" or both. I did a research paper
>on Gen.12:1-3 "The Call of Abraham" employing the Septuaginta (as my Hebrew
>is virtually nil. My professor gave me an "A" but,in his comments, he
>stated; "though your exposition, application and exegegis was excellent, I
>questioned the validity/accuracy of your use of the LXX,to stress your
>position. I would be more comfortable had you used a "hebrew based help"
>such as "Keil & Delitzsch" or "Theological Dictionary of the Old
>Testament". My question is, If the LXX is the Bible that Jesus used, was
>it authoritative and binding, or did He merely use it to accommodate the
>"Hebraically Challenged" populous. Your comments and thoughts will be
>greatly appreciated.

While this is not, strictly speaking, a B-Greek question, it is one that
B-Greek members will certainly have some input regarding. I have two
comments of my own:

(a) Although many of us believe that Jesus probably did speak some Greek,
it is highly questionable whether his reading and study of the Hebrew
Scriptures was based upon the LXX; what is more evident is that the OT
Scriptures are generally (more often than not) cited in the gospels and
elsewhere in the NT in form in which passages appear in the LXX.


(b) There are no few Biblical texts where the Masoretic OT differs
considerably from the text of the LXX. I would think that where the LXX
formulation is cited in the NT and bears upon exegesis of a NT Greek
passage, one clearly MUST consider the LXX formulation as having
considerable authority, but it does strike me as rather strange that
exegesis of an OT passage by itself or in its own context should be based
upon a translation of the Hebrew rather than on the Hebrew itself.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics/Washington University
One Brookings Drive/St. Louis, MO, USA 63130/(314) 935-4018
Home: 7222 Colgate Ave./St. Louis, MO 63130/(314) 726-5649

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