RE: The Septuaginta -off topic

From: Steve Puluka (
Date: Tue Aug 31 1999 - 06:12:00 EDT

<x-flowed>My apologies to the list, I must clarify my answer about Roman Catholics use
of the LXX. I was working from my faulty memory of another tradition.
Charles was kind enough to point this out in a private E-mail that I
researched and post below.

Not being Roman Catholic, I was indeed confusing Jeromes work with the old
Latin texts. I mistakenly assumed that since Trent accepted the "Greek
Only" books from the LXX they had accepted the entire LXX. I was mistaken.

Which sort of leads me back to the start of my original response,
"authority" is in the eyes of the beholder. When one speaks of inspiration
in these texts we leave the texts and grammer behind (and b-greek too) and
enter into faith and theology. Ultimately this is not a matter for "proof"
but belief.

>From: "Stevens, Charles C" <>

>Ummmm.... I think you're confusing the LXX-based "Old Latin" text, >and
>Jerome's (early) revisions of it, with the "Vulgate", a fresh
> >translation *from the Hebrew* completed by Jerome in 406AD.
>The only LXX texts that ended up in Jerome's Vulgate, so far as I >know
>were his (second) translation of the Psalms (from the Hexaplar >version of
>the LXX) and the Deuterocanonicals. Jerome himself was >convinced of the
>superiority of the Hebrew text wherever it was >available, but his later
>translation *from the Hebrew* of the Psalms >never gained the popularity of
>the Roman Psalter that ended up in >the Vulgate.
>Jerome's text was "accommodated" some by scribes to the Old Latin >over the
>centuries, but the basic text that was accepted by Rome as >authoritative
>was, with the aforementioned exceptions, that of Jthe >*second* translation
>Jerome made, not the first. And that *second* >translation of the Law,
>the Prophets, and (most of) the Writings, was >direct from the Hebrew, not
>from the Septuagint.
>What the Tridentine Council accepted was the *Vulgate*, not the >revised
>Old Latin texts. Except for Psalms, and, of course, the
> >Deuterocanonicals.
>"The New Jerome Biblical Commentary" (R. E. Brown and J. A. >Fitzmyer are
>two of the editors; I forget the third) has some excellent >material on the
>LXX, the Old Latin, and the Vulgate. So do the >"Encyclopaedia Brittanica"
>articles on "Jerome, Saint", "Vulgate", and various other articles that
> >may be found in the Index under "Vulgate".
>The *Roman* Catholic Church has, since at least the Great Schism, >treated
>the LXX with about as much respect for its authoritativeness >as the most
>ardent supporters of the inerrancy of the King James >Version treat the
>Book of Mormon, which is to say, not a whole heck >of a lot!
>I agree that most of those on the "Eastern side" of the Great Schism >did
>tend to hang onto the LXX. But *not* those who sided with >Rome, because
>Rome accepted the authority of the Vulgar Latin version, the later of
>Jerome's two translations, which was based not on >the LXX but on the
>original Hebrew.
> -Chuck Stevens

As one from the Eastern side I can confirm that our usage of scripture has
been almost exclusivly from the LXX. There are however, notable early
exceptions (Athanasius, John of Damascus and Nicephorus) and this was not
declared a requirement by any of the early councils. The version of the LXX
used by Byzantine Eastern Churches was actually a series of progressive
revisions of the text by Origen (245), Hesychius (311), and Lucian (312).

The Seventh Ecumenical Council quotes from some of the Apochrapha as
authoritative. Byzantine Hymographers and preachers use this LXX version
for their writings.

The Protestant reformation sparked a movement in the Christian East led by
Cyril Lucar, the Patriarch of Constantinople, to adopt the Hebrew version in
our churches. This movement was rejected in the Synod of Jerusalem (1672).

Again, my apologies to those of the Roman Catholic Church for my
mis-representation of your Churches position on this issue.

Steve Puluka
Adult Education Instructor
Byzantine Catholic Archeparchy of Pittsburgh
(Little Greek)

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