I beleive the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated, copied, and interpreted correctly. In the course of my studies of the Bible, I've discovered that it has a long and convoluted history. So, these are my discoveries and my musings of Christian history and doctrines.

Location: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, United States

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Origen Compares the Different Biblical Translations

Because most of the Christians in the early centuries of the church spoke Greek, the Septuagint was regarded as the inspired Word of God. Christian copyists tended to corrupt text by introducing Christological information. Because of this, the Greek speaking Jews eventually rejected the Septuagint and turned to several other Greek translations that were more literal, especially the one made by Aquila (ca. 130 A.D.)

The controversy became so extreme that at one point a Biblical scholar by the name of Origen (ca 185 - ca 251 A.D.) attempted to put all the bickering to rest by carefully comparing the Septuagint (sometimes called "LXX", or "Seventy") with the traditional Hebrew version that was used in his day. He divided his work into six columns. In the first column he put the Hebrew version word for word. The next column contained a transliteration of the Hebrew into Greek. The third column contained Aquila's Greek Translation. The fourth contained the translation of Symmachus. The fifth contained the LXX, and the last contained a translation by Theodotion. This immense book of 6,000 pages came to be known as the Hexapla.

He marked the places that the LXX was longer than the Hebrew and where the LXX was shorter, he added whatever words were necessary to match the Hebrew. The entire book was lost at some unknown point in time. Some scholars seem to think that it was burned during the Muslim conquest of Palistine during the seventh century A.D. along with who knows how many other priceless Christian documents. However, the fifth column was copied with all his notes and was circulated around so much that it eventually corrupted the original Greek translation. (1)

The Septuagint was translated into Latin, Coptic, Syriac, Ethiopic, Armenian, Georgian, Arabic, and many other languages. Again, here is double the potential for errors in translation - Hebrew to Greek, and then Greek to whatever. Not only that, but often the Septuagint was used to restore the text of corrupted passages of the Hebrew Bible. For example, it witnesses to a form of Hebrew text that no longer exists for the books of Samual and Kings.

In short, the history of the Septuagint is long and complex. There have been many revisions and even new translations made and scholars agree that many errors have been introduced throughout it's history. (2)

  1. Hexapla, Encyclopedia of Early Christianity, second edition. Editor, Everett Ferguson. (Garland Publishing, Inc., 1997).
  2. Septuagint, Ibid.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

if we compare Septuagints with DSS, we know a lot of self inserted words base own their interpretations were added in the LXX

7:41 PM  

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