Re: The Septuaginta

From: Jim West (jwest@Highland.Net)
Date: Mon Aug 30 1999 - 13:20:10 EDT

At 11:30 AM 8/30/99 +0000, you wrote:
>Pondering a question for a possible upcoming article; Is the Septuaginta
>"authoritative" or simply "accommodative" or both.

What do you mean?

>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

He is right. You may as well have based your paper on some english version,
because the LXX is a translation of the Hebrew text just like any other
translation- and exegesis is, by definition, based on the original text of
the document you are exegeting.

>I would be more comfortable had you used a "hebrew based help"

I would be even happier had you based it not on some "help" but on the
Hebrew text itself. But in time...

>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.

This is a wide open question- because it asks:
"what was the language of Jesus?"
"what was the language of the common people in Jesus' day?"
further- it begs the question- for how do you know Jesus even knew the LXX
much less used it? Why would he use it? Did Jesus know Greek? Did he
speak Greek to the people in his sermons? How do you know the people were
"hebraically challenged"?

Most scholars of the NT assume that Jesus spoke Aramaic, the language of the
populum vulgarum of Palestine in the first century CE. Thus, he would have
no use for the LXX. In fact, the LXX was most likely used in diaspora
synagogues (though there are copies of LXX texts at Qumran and Wadi Mur'abbat).

> Your comments and thoughts will be
>greatly appreciated.

In short- you have to show that Jesus used the LXX and that the people of
Palestine would have understood it if he had, before you can ask if it were
mere accomodation.



Jim West, ThD
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