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Steve Rives

To consider this as valid, I would want to see the supposed LXX mss (noting their dates) on a book by book basis (e.g., Isaiah as used in Romans), then compare that to the non-LXX Greek OT texts of the same book, and see if there is a reverse influence from the NT to the Greek OT.


Steve, could you clarify what the antecedent of "this" is? "To consider this as valid..." Which one of the four areas of influence are you referring to (spelling, vocabulary, syntax, quotations)?

Steve Rives

Lee, "This" = all four area, because I am not sure what it is you mean by LXX. Understand this, I know the idea of the LXX, but what it is exactly? For each OT book, what are you calling the LXX, and where is the LXX to be found? I know of manuscripts, but I don't know of a single thing called the LXX. Did Paul ever even use the word Septuagint?

And, is it possible that the Greek OT mss we have that we call LXX were affected by the NT texts? Did Christians keep the LXX mss and then the flow of influence went the other direction (i.e., they sometimes brought OT mss into conformity to the NT usage). This may be determined if an investigation was made between the "LXX" of Origen and the other columns.

For these reasons alone (and others, besides), I think more has to be demonstrated before such a large thesis can be accepted. Much more.



(1) In response to the question of epistemology -- where is the "Septuagint" to be found? -- I agree that no single manuscript equals the LXX as it left the hands of the translators (a process that occurred over several centuries, beginning with the Torah in the 3rd century and then various books translated by various translators after that). But the same epistemological issue confronts us when we ask "where is the Greek NT?" or "where is the Masoretic text?" Of course, we can't answer these questions with 100% certainty. All we have are manuscripts. All we have is the best attempt that we can reconstruct with reasonable certainty based on the principles of textual criticism. The Göttingen Septuagint is the best that we have now, but it is incomplete. The next best is Rahlfs. But neither one can be pointed to as a perfect reproduction of the original. Yes, we should be critical and not accept every reading in a critical edition of the LXX as necessarily valid, but that does not mean we should be totally skeptical. With regard to the issue of LXX influence on the NT in the areas of spelling, vocabulary, and syntax, there is even less need for skepticism, since the case does not rest on any single verse but on scores of passages that demonstrate a larger pattern that influenced the NT authors.

(2) With regard to the possibility of reverse influence, wherein Christian scribes brought LXX mss into conformity with the NT (or with a manuscript of the NT accessible to them), yes, this has happened here and there, but mostly with places where the NT quotes the OT. This objection is largely irrelevant to the other three areas of influence (spelling, vocabulary, and syntax), which are holistic patterns and tendencies throughout the LXX or in certain portions of the LXX. But even with the Scripture quotations, the scribal influence of the NT on the LXX is not that hard to detect, since we have hundreds if not thousands of LXX mss to cross-check. Further, there are numerous interesting cases where the NT quotation differs somewhat from the LXX (as it has come down to us), indicating that on the whole scribes were conservative (e.g., see my paper on Matt 12:17-21 http://www.upper-register.com/papers/matt12_isa42.pdf).

Steve Rives

Thanks Lee.

Off subject: An unexpected first from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary that you might be interested in: Note, KP is required! http://mrrives.com/Gezer/


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