Throughout the day today, I will celebrate by picking on Jeremy.
First, it begins here with comments by Dr. Francesca Stavrakopoulou, an expert in the Hebrew bible. T. Michael Law, the expert in the Greek Old Testament, known in the heavenly tongue as Septuagint, weighs in about the mistranslation part. Mark Goodacre finds his mic. John Barton, a colleague of Jim’s via SOTS, weighs in as well.
Dr. Stravrakopoulou suggests that Matthew reads Isaiah 7.14 as a mistranslation resulting in the understanding a virgin birth. The Law is laid down on whether or not the LXX Isaiah is a mistranslation or not. The LXX is not a mistranslation (in part, as there is no real whole translation theory until after the time of Jesus) but a re-authoring. That’s my pet theory, I guess. Anyway, Goodacre does a great job (warning, British accent that lulls you in) of discussing the use of Scripture in telling the story.
However, Barton is the focal point for me.
that no one would have translated parthenos as virgin unless there had ALREADY been a virgin-birth tradition.
There is a very important virginal/extra-natural birth tradition pre-dating Matthew’s retelling the story of Jesus. Noah, at Qumran and in Enoch (an obviously important book to early /an/Christians, is presented as having a miraculous birth. I am also going to go into my other pet theory, that the genealogy has something to do with Stoicism, etc… although this is not well-defined and thus, I’ll leave this for later.
A few other areas to look:
There iss a fertile ground in Matthew’s world not for a mistranslation, but for the use of portents, births out of the natural order to explain surprise births, and to highlight the divine qualities of a person. This is not, in anyway, required to be connected to a Greco-Roman schema of demigods and the such. Matthew, no doubt, intended his audience to understand that Mary was impregnated according to God’s will, the first factor in the greatness of Jesus and used his bible, the LXX (because, as T. Michael Law would have it, God Spoke Greek), to do so. He was not the first Jew to promote the divine-ordained, and free of the sins of this world, birth of a prophet to other Jews, but followed a rather Jewish pattern as seen in the Genesis Apocryphon and Enoch, books and thoughts closer to the authors of the Gospels and much more palatable to their audience than Greco-Roman myths.
This gets into the post-/structural debate of placing emphasis. Either we place it on Matthew or the audience, although I like the middle ground myself. We can reasonably identify certain qualities of Matthew and we can reasonably identify the audience in a certain social situation, but not the initial reception beyond that of acceptance. My supposition is that Matthew very well intended that the audience would understand the story as meaning that Mary was impregnated by an angel/holy Spirit but accepting a presented literary structure is not the only goal of the author — I would contend that Matthew would rather have wanted his audience to receive what he meant by the inclusion of this story. An example I used in discussing this with a friend via phone was Virgil reading his poem about the ascendency of Rome and Augustus to the Emperor Augustus who knew very well many of the events enshrined did not occur as written and more than likely, if reception history is the judge, understood the intended allegory.
Anyway, here is my 2.5 shekels.
Abram writes, in part -
It is my intention with this post, and a second to follow, to give a short primer or user’s guide to the Göttingen edition. Here I offer suggestions on how to read and understand the text, the apparatuses, the sigla/abbreviations, the introductions, and point to additional resources that will be of benefit to the Göttingen user.
I recently put together a basic orientation to the scholarly editions of the Hebrew Bible and the Greek translation of the same. That is here. It is worth nothing again that the International Organization for Septuagint and Cognate Studies (IOSCS) has a good, succinct article on the various editions of the Septuagint. Below, “OG” stands for “Old Greek.” They write:
The Septuagint, in my opinion, is something the Western Church should rediscover as part of the reason early Christianity was able to do what it did with its views on Jesus.
Also, the Letter of Aristeas says it it is inspired.
Kurk (because he is sorta insisting, I think) is in a conversation regarding Genesis 3.16 in the LXX. It is my contention that the LXX is not so much a translation (although in Deuteronomy it is) but a reauthorizing of the Text. Of course, I guess by truly translating Deuteronomy, they may be alluding to the fact that they considered it perfect and will within the Translator’s context, but that is another matter.
The Greek reads,
BGT Genesis 3:16 καὶ τῇ γυναικὶ εἶπεν πληθύνων πληθυνῶ τὰς λύπας σου καὶ τὸν στεναγμόν σου ἐν λύπαις τέξῃ τέκνα καὶ πρὸς τὸν ἄνδρα σου ἡ ἀποστροφή σου καὶ αὐτός σου κυριεύσει
The Hebrew, into English, reads,
NRS Genesis 3:16 To the woman he said, “I will greatly increase your pangs in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children, yet your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.”
I noticed that the next (besides Genesis 4.7 cf 1st Clement 4.5) place which deals with sorta the same context is in 3rd Maccabees,
NRS 3 Maccabees 2:10 And because you love the house of Israel, you promised that if we should have reverses and tribulation should overtake us, you would listen to our petition when we come to this place and pray.
BGT 3 Maccabees 2:10 καὶ ἀγαπῶν τὸν οἶκον τοῦ Ισραηλ ἐπηγγείλω διότι ἐὰν γένηται ἡμῶν ἀποστροφὴ καὶ καταλάβῃ ἡμᾶς στενοχωρία καὶ ἐλθόντες εἰς τὸν τόπον τοῦτον δεηθῶμεν εἰσακούσῃ τῆς δεήσεως ἡμῶν
Not sure if this means anything, but Philo uses the same word, but in English we read,
“And thy ἀποστροφή,” says God, “shall be to thy husband.” [Genesis 3:16.] There are two husbands of the outward senses. The one a legal one, the other a destroyer. For the object of sight, acting upon it like a husband, puts the sense of sight in motion; and so does sound affect the sense of hearing, flavor the sense of taste, and so on with each of the outward senses respectively. And these things attract the attention of and call the irrational outward sense to itself, and become the master of it and govern it. For beauty enslaves the sight, and sweet flowers enslave the sense of taste, and each of the other objects of outward sense enslaves that sense which corresponds to them. (Leg 3:220 PHE)
2. a resort, resource, Hdt.:-c. gen. objecti, u[datoj avp. a resource or means for getting water, Id.; swthri,aj avp. Thuc.
Maybe, the LXX translators are seeing a recourse for Life or a return to her Husband which may be meaning the return to the androgyny of Genesis 1.26. In 3rd Maccabees, the word is translated and means a reverse. What if the LXX translators saw the woman reversing herself?
Yep, the gift of Seminary. Personally, and don’t tell my wife I said this, but I am thinking that the only real reason that I am in Seminary is because it helps with blogging. Shhhhhh……
It is my position that the use of the Temple story has been contextualized by different authors during Israel’s history, and most notably by the authors/translators of the Septuagint, the Greek Old Testament. While it may not always be safe to call a translator an author, the fact remains that the Old Greek differs greatly in place from the Hebrew vorlage so much so that we may place upon the translators the title of author, or at least a reauthor of sorts. In 2nd Samuel 7.1-17 in the Septuagint, we find a contextualization of the passage to allow for the imminent ‘Great David’s greater Son’ (Mark 12.35-37; Luke 1.32) as well as the negatively to be placed not on the intended Saul but perhaps all of Israelite royal history. In doing so, the Greek translators allowed, as they did for Isaiah 7.14, for continued recontextualization of the passage to be made by New Testament authors and later writers. In his essay on this passage which was delivered to the 2008 annual meeting of the SBL, Omer Sergi argues that the Hebrew passage underwent at least three different redactions according to the worldview of the authors. Along this same vein, the Greek translators are, according to their own worldview, reauthoring this passage.
Second Samuel 7.4-17 has long been used in connection to Messianic Expectation in connection with Jesus Christ, rather, the periscope of verse 14-16 which speaks specifically to the future King. Ideally, however, the passage (both the Temple and the Dynastic Promise) should be taken as a whole given that promises once made to David by YHWH are now being removed from him and given to another, namely to that of Solomon. To blindly allow the passage to speak only in regards to Christ would be violently destructive to the text itself, to the intentions of the original author, and to the original application. No doubt that the original author(s) was writing in hope of something while attempting to misalign David as the ideal king, but it is doubtful that a future event some five centuries later was expected. While the text is prophetic, note that it is given from God to the Prophet Nathan and then to David in response to David’s prayer, prophecy was not about some long expected future event, but about the almost immediate present, although in this case, it would have been some decades later before Solomon was given the promises fully.
Two things are taken from David on this night, namely his goal of centralizing the cult via his service to God in building the Temple and the fact that his son’s throne will be the established Throne, or restored throne as the LXX has it. What is interesting is that in 2nd Samuel, God refuses David’s offer of building the House of the Lord while in 1st Chronicles 22.9, David recounts a prophecy which as part of his punishment, God has removed from David the right to build the Temple while promising that in the future, Solomon would be given the honor and duty. Added to this is Solomon’s words in 1st Kings 8.14-21 which has God praising David’s desire to build the house, couching the refusal into a prophetic statement that Jerusalem, named by Solomon, would be chosen and that Solomon would build the Temple. I note the differences as well in where, and perhaps when, the son of David will come from, as given in the various statements mentioned above. In 2nd Samuel, the son comes from the belly (7.12, LXX), in 1st Kings 8.19, the son comes from the King’s side, while only in 1st Chronicles 22.9 is the son said to be born unto the King. While the language may all mean the same thing, I find it difficult to see it as such, especially given the translation, and oftentimes interpretation via translation, of the Septuagint. The Hebrew, at least preliminary, seems to all contain the same thought, that the son of David which will have the established throne will be an immediate descendent of David.
The Actors in 2nd Samuel 7.1-17
God is absent as David’s genesis of though in building the Temple, only to intervene later after God’s prophet had given what should have been divine permission for the construction of the Temple. What is of note here is that the God in this passage, at first a passive actor, does not live up to the God of Ezekiel 14.6-11, in which a prophet who speaks without divine permission and the inquirer will be punished and ‘annihilated’ (Eze 14.9 NETS). The Deuteronomist was equally clear in Deuteronomy 18.20 when YHWH says that ‘the prophet who acts impiously by speaking a word in my name that I have not ordered to speak…that prophet shall die (NETS).’ Here, God allows David to inquire of Nathan and Nathan simply gives David the answer, speaking, as Prophets were known to do, for God but without permission. God, at least in v1-3 is a passive actor who goes on to never admonish either David or Nathan for their wrong speech.
Both David and Nathan, however, are almost not existent in this scene, besides the initial dialogue. David, however, in the rest of the chapter, issues a Psalm in response to God’s new covenant with his house. The prompting of the request, however, is important. 7.1 tells us that David had been given a gift by YHWH. In the Hebrew, the word is nuach while the Greek, κατεκληρονόμησεν, means inheritance. The meaning is different in that with the Hebrew, I believe that it points to the immediacy of the situation. David was given rest from his enemies, although at the start of chapter 8 David can hardly to be said to be at rest, and wanted then to give God a place of rest. The Greek speaks to the inheritance, perhaps the future dynastic house which the Greek translators saw in the passage. Further, we see that David was at ease in his own house, and only after that, began to think about the things of God. Nathan, otherwise only hinted at being heard (v17), makes only one statement in this passage, and that of speaking for YHWH without authorization, which as I discussed earlier, should have been both David and his death sentence.
Perhaps the only remaining actor to discuss is the one which is not mentioned but implied by later interpreters, the Son of David. This son, mentioned in v12-16, is the once future king. For David, it was Solomon, but for the Greek translators, it would have been the expected Messiah, the Greater Son. In the Hebrew, a son is called for after the death of David and will be given the throne of David while in the Greek, a seed (cf Romans 1.3) which is planted will be the new king. The future aspect of the Kingdom is found when God is said to ‘ἀνορθώσω his throne forever (v13, cf v16, LXX).’ Further, in the Hebrew, God says that he will become a father, while the Greek seems to imply a pre-existing parental relationship. Further, what is telling is in the Greek, the Son of David is the one given the dynasty unlike the Hebrew which explicitly states that it will be David’s dynasty which is made permanent (NET).
As I have mentioned earlier, the Greek translators were almost reauthoring this passage from the Hebrew vorlage. Further, I have briefly mentioned some of the differences between the Hebrew and the Greek. As is evident with the Temple Scroll and Deuteronomy, communities during this time were not above taking the Sacred Text and contextualizing it to fit their current needs, even rewriting sections to make it address their present needs. In this next section, I will explore more of those differences and what they might mean to the newly minted section of 2 Samuel 7.1-17. What comes about is not the soon-to-inaugurated Solomon as we see in the Hebrew, but an expectation of a restored Kingdom ripe for the Messianic contender.
In 7.5, God is asking a rhetorical question, where the Greek has YHWH firmly stating that David will not be the builder of God’s house. The idea of ‘house’ is here meaning the Temple, but as we will see, comes to mean the dynasty of David. In verse 6, the Greek Translators, showing that their Sitz im Leben is far removed from that of the original Hebrew authors, implied that the Wilderness Tabernacle was only supposed to be temporary. This is contrary to the Hebrew which has imagined a more permanent perspective. This may be a result of the time period in which the Greek translators were writing in that they had had time for theological reflection.
7.9-11 seems to imply that YHWH is speaking before Israel entering the Promised Land, with a future tense being applied to a future security in a future place. The Greek verse 9 solidifies the tenses. Whereas in the Hebrew, YHWY tells David that He has been with him in battle already and that He will make David a great name, in the Greek, David already has the great name, again, implying the date of the LXX translation. The tenth verse may, in fact, be the lead in understanding the ability of the Greek Translators to force of a future tense upon the text. This verse, rife with Deuteronomic thought, places this ideal relationship between Israel and God in the future. If this is so, then the Greek Translators, noting that a place of security (Israel) had already been established when 2 Samuel was written may have seen this as an indication of a ‘now, but not yet’ futuristic view of this passage, which further allowed them to see the passage as speaking of a Son of David beyond that of Solomon. 7.11 (Gr) implies that there is hope for David making a house for God, whereas the Hebrew in the NASB has YHWH making a house (dynasty) God and the NRSV turns this a bit with YHWH making David into a dynasty. What is further interesting in verse 11 is that here, in both the Hebrew and the Greek, YHWH promises ‘rest’ to Israel. The Hebrew in verse 1 and verse 11 is unchanged, but the Greek in verse 11 (ἀναπαύσω) reflects the idea of rest, whereas the first verse speaks to an inheritance.
7.12 (Gr) has the future son coming from David’s belly (NETS; womb, my translation) whereas the Hebrew notes that the future son will come from David’s body. It may be that the Greek is looking forward to a yet unfulfilled expectation or is relying upon Psalm 131 (132 Eng) in which, having been written on David’s behalf, attempts to remind God of the promise made to David while the author sits in exile of some sort. Further, the same Greek word is used in 2nd Samuel 16.11 in which David laments after Absalom, the ‘son who came out of my belly’ (NETS) in what may an author’s trick and getting the audience to think that Absalom was the future son from chapter 7.
7.13-16 (Gr) has YHWH promising to ‘restore’ the throne of the future son, or perhaps restore the throne for the future son whereas the Hebrew have God establishing the throne for the future son, as I have briefly detailed earlier. In the Hebrew, Saul’s name is expressly mentioned in verse 15, whereas in the Greek, the singular becomes the plural, again revealing the Translator’s place in life. It may be that the Translator has in mind not only the kinds which God has removed (Saul, Ahab, Manassah) but also the exile of Israel. In 2nd Kings 23.27, we read,
The LORD said, “I will remove Judah also from My sight, as I have removed Israel. And I will cast off Jerusalem, this city which I have chosen, and the temple of which I said, ‘My name shall be there.’” (2Ki 23:27 NAU)
This passage calls to mind 2 Samuel 7.13 and verse 15, both with the mention of the Temple being for the name of YHWH and the remembrance of all those who God had removed. For the writer of the Kings, however, both Israel and Judah were removed as well. This is followed in verse 16 which again has YHWH promising to restore (build in the Hebrew) the House and the Throne of the Greater Son, whereas in the Hebrew, it is the David’s House.
Regardless of the text used, Hebrew or Greek, the passage has played a part in the development of the Davidic theology present not just in the Jewish Canon, but so too the Christian canon. Sergi notes (Sergi, 2010, 262) that the Davidic monarchy occupies a ‘major role in biblical historiography’, but even beyond canonical sources, such as the Psalms of Solomon, we find the idea that the promised Throne and House which is to last forever provides a hope for Jewish believers, regardless of their sect. It is this Covenant which many sought to see restored as they were weighted down under the boot of the Greeks and, later, the Romans (See 1st and 2nd Maccabees and the above mentioned work) and was the covenant which allowed the Messianic Expectation which Christians believe was fulfilled in the person of Jesus Christ. The Greek Translators were able to urge this suggestion along with their reauthoring of the text to reflect their present day hope of the soon coming King, the Greater Son of the Great David.
For the Greek translators, and thus readers, what was already once fulfilled may have just been a shadow of things to come. The Jews in Palestine were technically in exile, with no government of their own, the Temple was less than the first one, and the Land itself wasn’t secure. The ‘permanent’ dynasty was simply no more, and yet, the translators were able to show a ‘not yet, but soon’ mentality in their translation. While we have no evidence of the passage being used at Qumran, there is plenty of evidence of it being used in the Messianic Community which surrounded the followers of Jesus. It gave them verification of their own understanding of who Jesus was.
 Sergi Omer, “The Composition of Nathan’s Oracle to David (2 Samuel 7.1-17) as a Reflection of Royal Judahite Ideology,” Journal of Biblical Literature 129 (2010): 261-279.
 Although, the connection is rather weak in the New Testament. Paul uses it in 2nd Corinthians 6.18, not for Christ in particular, but for the Church corporately.
 I will be using the NETS: Pietersma, Albert, & Wright, Benjamin G. (2007). A New English Translation of the Septuagint. Oxford University Press, USA.
 I note Matthews, et al, who writes, ‘Here it is indicated that God has given David rest from his enemies, and throughout the Old Testament the Lord speaks of giving rest to his people. This is especially significant in this context where David wants to build a temple, because in the ancient Near East the temple of the deity was supposed to offer rest to the deity. Some of the temple names even suggest that as a primary function of the temple. This divine rest then often results in rest for the people in their land. In contrast the Bible says little about divine rest, and it is never the prerequisite for human rest except for the Sabbath. (Victor Harold Matthews, Mark W. Chavalas and John H. Walton, The IVP Bible Background Commentary : Old Testament, electronic ed., 2 Sa 7:1 (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2000).)
 P. Kyle McCarter II Samuel (Garden City, 1984), 202-3 argues that the future tense refers to the Temple, although latter scholars note flaws in his argument.
 D.F. Murray (Vestus Testamentum XL, 3), in his 1990 essay, however, argues against this future as temple, and instead turns the meaning of the ‘place’ as land. I understand it to mean place, in regards to land, following David Qimhi’s lead. See David Vanderhoot (JBL 118.4 (1999( 625-633) for further discussion of Temple v. Land.
 Sergi notes that ‘setting the royal dynasty and the temple at the heart of royal ideaology was common practice in the ancient Near Eastern Kingdoms.’
As we turn to the exegesis of Mark 5.1-20, which I have already weighted heavily with the idea that Mark is using mimesis to undue Vespasian’s actions in Gadara and Simon bar Giora’ claims, it is necessary that I examine the normative source for a Gospel writer, the Jewish Prophets. The Gospel writers’ use of the Old Testament as a means of showcasing who Jesus is is well documented and must not be overlooked during any exegesis. In Mark, the writer has a formula for introduction when he is using the voices of the Prophets to introduce something which Jesus has done/is doing. The Evangelist used it least eight times, with a preference for Isaiah and the Septuagint. Knowing that, then, one must examine Isaiah 65.1-7 as a possible backdrop to Mark’s story of the demoniac.
On the surface, the two passages are similar. Gerasa was a Gentile city, which matches Isaiah 65.1c. Also of note is the imagery of living among the tombs and demons in Isaiah 65.3-4a while 63.4b speaks about swine’s flesh. Also similar is the warning of the people to the Lord in Isaiah of not to come closer which is similar to Legion’s plea with Jesus not to have anything to do with it. The pattern is between the two is familiar as well, with the Lord/Jesus coming to a people who didn’t want to see him and being met with the insistence to stay away. Further, as just noted, the imagery of the tombs plays a large part in both passages, although in Isaiah the scenery is filled with the images which accompany pagan sacrifices and the move from henotheism to monotheism (65.3b – ‘the demons, which do not exist.’). Finally, what is also present is the images of hills and mountains as well as the repayment for the deeds done by the people.
What is missing, however, is the Markan use of the phrase ὡς γέγραπται. Without that formula it is difficult to assume that Mark is using his story in 5.1-20 as an eschatological fulfillment of Isaiah 65.1-7 (LXX). While Mark shows that he is familiar with the Septuagint and the Prophets, especially Isaiah, we cannot easily assume that Mark is writing to show that Christ fulfilled the words of the Prophet Isaiah. If we do, we must assume then that the Evangelist is employing recent historical events in such a way that they themselves cause the situation in Isaiah 65.1-7 to take place so that Jesus as the Son of God can now fulfill them. As we have seen, the historical events which pre-dated Mark’s writing would have been prevalent in his mind, and if he was writing to counter, as Winn suggests, the rise of the Roman pretender to the Messianic throne then the author may well have seen the fulfillment of Isaiah’s oracle in Vespasian and thus would use mimesis to show that the mighty acts of Jesus were far superior to that of the Roman pretender.
I am currently writing my exegesis paper on Mark 5.1-20. This passage, specifically in the LXX, was brought to my attention as something that Mark may have been using, at least literary. Granted, I think that Mark is using a real historical situation, but in the end, nothing we say or write is done in a vacuum. To probe Mark’s literary backdrop helps us to see first his lexicon and second what he may be trying to say as he tells the story. While some may find this almost blasphemous, I find that the more you know, as best you can without going overboard, the the better and more poignant the story becomes.
To that end, is there an intertexual connection between the passage below and Mark 5.1-20?
“I made myself available to those who did not ask for me; I appeared to those who did not look for me. I said, ‘Here I am! Here I am!’ to a nation that did not invoke my name. I spread out my hands all day long to my rebellious people, who lived in a way that is morally unacceptable, and who did what they desired. These people continually and blatantly offend me as they sacrifice in their sacred orchards and burn incense on brick altars. They sit among the tombs and keep watch all night long. They eat pork, and broth from unclean sacrificial meat is in their pans. They say, ‘Keep to yourself! Don’t get near me, for I am holier than you!’ These people are like smoke in my nostrils, like a fire that keeps burning all day long. Look, I have decreed: I will not keep silent, but will pay them back; I will pay them back exactly what they deserve, for your sins and your ancestors’ sins,” says the LORD . “Because they burned incense on the mountains and offended me on the hills, I will punish them in full measure.” -65.1-7 NETS
How far do we take intertextuality between the Gospels and the Jewish Canon?
I will be attending only but a few days – Sunday and Monday. Just enough, really, to get a few sessions in and attend the 2nd Annual Biblioblogger dinner on Sunday night. I have a roommate who is too embarrassed to know me and asked me not to reveal who he or she is. (I’m trying to use more inclusive language, although, there are times that I really don’t know the gender of my roomie).
Anyway, there are plenty of sessions that I want to attend at the 9am-11:30 section, but that means I would have to leave my house at midnight. If I don’t make it for that….
I’ll start my day at 1pm. I most likely will attend P21-214 International Organization for Septuagint and Cognate Studies (they are the ones who translated the New English Translation of the Septuagint).
Then, rushing from there, I’ll attend between 4-6:30 p21-318 Functions of Apocryphal and Pseudepographal Writings in Early Judaism and Early Christianity Section. The theme for this section is 1st Enoch.
Let’s just be honest here – Throw in Septuagint, Deuteronomy, Wisdom or Deuterocanonical and I’m there.
Monday morning’s going to be tough… but most likely, I’ll end up at Wisdom and Apocalypticism in Early Judaism and Early Christianity Section/Qumran Section.
And of course, without question (okay, so a lot because Larry Hurtado is presenting on early Jewish monotheism too) the Biblioblogger section – s22-209
I’ll end my time at SBL with the Markan Literary Sources Seminar, which will feature Adam Winn as a presenter.
Just some casual reading….
6. And hence it happened that even Holy Scripture, which brings a remedy for the terrible diseases of the human will, being at first set forth in one language, by means of which it could at the fit season be disseminated through the whole world, was interpreted into various tongues, and spread far and wide, and thus became known to the nations for their salvation. And in reading it, men seek nothing more than to find out the thought and will of those by whom it was written, and through these to find out the will of God, in accordance with which they believe these men to have spoken.
16. The great remedy for ignorance of proper signs is knowledge of languages. And men who speak the Latin tongue, of whom are those I have undertaken to instruct, need two other languages for the knowledge of Scripture, Hebrew and Greek, that they may have recourse to the original texts if the endless diversity of the Latin translators throw them into doubt. Although, indeed, we often find Hebrew words untranslated in the books as for example, Amen, Halleluia, Racha, Hosanna, and others of the same kind. Some of these, although they could have been translated, have been preserved in their original form on account of the more sacred authority that attaches to it, as for example, Amen and Halleluia. Some of them, again, are said to be untranslatable into another tongue, of which the other two I have mentioned are examples. For in some languages there are words that cannot be translated into the idiom of another language. And this happens chiefly in the case of interjections, which are words that express rather an emotion of the mind than any part of a thought we have in our mind. And the two given above are said to be of this kind, Racha expressing the cry of an angry man, Hosanna that of a joyful man. But the knowledge of these languages is necessary, not for the sake of a few words like these which it is very easy to mark and to ask about, but, as has been said, on account of the diversities among translators. For the translations of the Scriptures from Hebrew into Greek can be counted, but the Latin translators are out of all number. For in the early days of the faith every man who happened to get his hands upon a Greek manuscript, and who thought he had any knowledge, were it ever so little, of the two languages, ventured upon the work of translation.
22. Now among translations themselves the Itala is to be preferred to the others, for it keeps closer to the words without prejudice to clearness of expression. And to correct the Latin we must use the Greek versions, among which the authority of the Septuagint is pre-eminent as far as the Old Testament is concerned; for it is reported through all the more learned churches that the seventy translators enjoyed so much of the presence and power of the Holy Spirit in their work of translation, that among that number of men there was but one voice. And if, as is reported, and as many not unworthy of confidence assert,(2) they were separated during the work of translation, each man being in a cell by himself, and yet nothing was found in the manuscript of any one of them that was not found in the same words and in the same order of words in all the rest, who dares put anything in comparison with an authority like this, not to speak of preferring anything to it? And even if they conferred together with the result that a unanimous agreement sprang out of the common labor and judgment of them all; even so, it would not be right or becoming for any one man, whatever his experience, to aspire to correct the unanimous opinion of many venerable and learned men. Wherefore, even if anything is found in the original Hebrew in a different form from that in which these men have expressed it, I think we must give way to the dispensation of Providence which used these men to bring it about, that books which the Jewish race were unwilling, either from religious scruple or from jealousy, to make known to other nations, were, with the assistance of the power of King Ptolemy, made known so long beforehand to the nations which in the future were to believe in the Lord. And thus it is possible that they translated in such a way as the Holy Spirit, who worked in them and had given them all one voice, thought most suitable for the Gentiles. But nevertheless, as I said above, a comparison of those translators also who have kept most closely to the words, is often not without value as a help to the clearing up of the meaning. The Latin texts, therefore, of the Old Testament are, as I was about to say, to be corrected if necessary by the authority of the Greeks, and especially by that of those who, though they were seventy in number, are said to have translated as with one voice. As to the books of the New Testament, again, if any perplexity arises from the diversities of the Latin texts, we must of course yield to the Greek, especially those that are found in the churches of greater learning and research.
Jason is taking on the argument made by many KJVO’ers, that the Greek Old Testament didn’t really exist:
When one reads King James Version Only arguments, one of the issues that arises is that of the New Testament quotation of the Septuagint (LXX).
Read the rest here:
A few years ago, when I taught a youth Sunday School class, I asked them to read Psalm 151 in their bibles for next Sunday. Surprisingly, over half of them did. Of course, Psalm 151 is not printed in the King James Version….