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

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

The Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs, Part 4

And yet, the saga continues.

Roberts and Donaldson say that only four manuscripts exist in Greek today. One is at the University Library of Cambridge, another at the Bodleian Library at Oxford, another at the Vatican Library at Rome, and last of all, one exists on the island of Patmos. They say that there is a considerable amount of differences between the manuscript at the University Library of Cambridge and the one at the Bodleian Library at Oxford, the latter of which has a large amount of text missing in places, in some cases entire chapters.

The Greek text of the Patriarchs was printed in 1698 by someone called Grabe, which was supposedly made from the document at the University Library of Cambridge, but it was actually made from an "very" inaccurate transcript of it. In a subsequent printing of the Patriarchs, some of the text was properly corrected. Then at some point in time, Bishop Robert Grosseteste's Latin version, which is supposed to be a very accurate translation, was altered to match Grabe's incorrect rendering of the Patriarchs. Another person by the name of Fabricus printed a version in 1714 which was basically a knockoff of the Grabe version. Fabricus made a second edition in 1722 that was less accurate than his own first version. Last of all, Roberts made a modern translation of the manuscript sometime after 1869, including with it a statement regarding all the differences of the aforementioned publications.

Geez. I know I sometimes make mistakes when I copy text, but entire chapters? Really now. And then to alter an accurate Latin version to match an incorrect Greek version. Is that craziness or what? Is it any wonder that scholars are amazed that so many documents have lasted as long as the have? All this reminds me of reading something similar to a mystery novel.


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