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Septuagint

The Septuagint (LXX) has come up recently on this site. It is worth expanding what this refers to.

This is the translation into Koine Greek of the Jewish scriptures and other texts now not included by Jews in their canon. This was done before Christ.

Let me be the devil’s divine advocate for a moment: the Septuagint (rather than the Hebrew text) is the text that is generally quoted by the authors in the New Testament. This is the text that is used by the Apostolic Fathers and later Greek Church Fathers. This is the Old Testament as used by Eastern Orthodox.

Where did inspiration stop? Was the original “P” author of Genesis 1, and the original “J” author of Genesis 2:4ff inspired? Was the editor who combined these traditions inspired? Was the final redactor of the Pentateuch (or Hexateuch) inspired? If so, did inspiration stop there, or did it extend to the translation into Koine Greek for LXX?

If we attribute inspiration to the New Testament which quotes the LXX, sometimes with differences to the Hebrew Masoretic text that the rabbis canonised at their Council of Jamnia (distinguishing themselves from the Christian use of their scriptures but in this Greek form) are we, thereby, not implicitly attributing inspiration to the LXX?

And then, what of the strong Protestant holding to the Hebrew/Jamnia canon of the Old Testament? Is Ecclesiasticus inspired, for example? If so – why? If not – why not? How do you know? And what consequence does your approach have to the rest of your Bible? And to inspiration?

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8 Responses to Septuagint

  1. To my mind, anyone who considers “divine inspiration” to be a binary yes-no question is kidding themselves and creating inescapable epistemological problems for themselves.

  2. What is inspired, and where inspiration comes from are key questions. But founding a Canon of Scripture on a hypothetical gathering (Jamnia) that was theorised about, but probably never occured. The theory dates from the late 1800’s, well after the formation of the Protestant Biblical Canon. They say theology os speculative…

  3. I’m currently reading ‘The Bible Jesus Read’. Being a non-specialist I’m learning a lot. Loving it and understanding some Old Testament books better than before. Also finding psalms more accessible and have renewed interest in reading them. Would recommend for someone who’s been reluctant to read much OT esp Books like Deuteronomy or Ecclesiastes.

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About This Site Welcome to this ecumenical website of resources and reflections on liturgy, spirituality, and worship for individuals and communities. It is run by Rev. Bosco Peters.

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