Wednesday, December 7, 2022 Evening Service

Bible Versions 10

Why Do Westcott and Hort Favor Vaticanus and Siniaticus

They believe it is something called the Septuagint (or LXX).

The following is from The Bible Version Question & Answer Database (beginning on page 356):

1. The evidence as to the existence of a standardized, commonly used Greek translation of the
entire Old Testament in Jesus’ day is vague at best.

    a. The story that a group of scholars translated the Old Testament into Greek in 250 to 150
    B.C. is clearly legendary. The letter of Aristeas is dubious in the highest degree,
    containing, as it does, statements that are fictitious upon their very face. “A letter,
    purporting to be written by a certain Aristeas to his brother Philocrates during the reign of
    Ptolomy Philadelphus (285-246 BC), relates how Philadelphus, persuaded by his librarian
    to get a translation of the Hebrew Scriptures for his royal library, appealed to the high
    priest at Jerusalem, who sent seventy-two elders (six from each of the twelve tribes) to
    Alexandria with an official copy of the Law. There in seventy-two days they made a
    translation which was read before the Jewish community amid great applause, and then
    presented it to the king. From the number of the translators it became known (somewhat
    inaccurately) as the Septuagint” (Moorman). “Its claims to authenticity were demolished by
    Dr. Hody two centuries ago (De bibliorum textibus originalibus, Oxon., 1705). Clearly the
    writer is not a Greek, but a Jew, whose aim is to glorify his race and to disseminate
    information about their sacred books” (International Standard Bible Encyclopedia). Thus
    even the name Septuagint is based on a fable.

    b. The extensive research of Paul Kahle has demonstrated that there was no Septuagint prior to
    the time of Christ. “Paul Kahle, a famous OT scholar who has done extensive work in the
    Septuagint, does not believe that there was one original old Greek version and that
    consequently the manuscripts of the Septuagint (so-called) cannot be traced back to one
    archetype. The theory, proposed and developed largely by him, is that the LXX had its
    origin in numerous oral, and subsequently written translations for use in the services after
    the reading of the Hebrew original. Later an official standardized version of the Law was
    made, but did not entirely replace the older versions, while for the rest of the books there
    never was a standard Jewish translation, but only a variety of versions” (Jack Moorman,
    Forever Settled). Frederic Kenyon, while not agreeing with Kahle, acknowledged that he
    made a strong case.

    c. There is no manuscript evidence of a Greek Old Testament that dates before Christ. At best
    there is a fragment of one small portion of the Law. The earliest of the extant manuscripts
    of a Greek translation of the Old Testament date to 200 years A.D. One possible exception
    is the Ryland Papyrus (No. 458), which has a few portions of Deut. 23-28. It is possible
    that this fragment dates to 150 B.C., though this is not certain. Thus the actual manuscript
    evidence is inconclusive at best. The best one can assume from the extant manuscript
    evidence is that it is possible that there was a translation of the Law into Greek prior to the
    time of Christ.

    d. Conclusion in regard to the history of the “Septuagint” --

        (1) At best, the evidence hints at a formal translation only of the Pentateuch in
        Alexandria. The New Bible Dictionary says that it is probable that a translation of
        the Pentateuch was made at one time and place and that the other books of the O.T.
        were then translated into Greek piecemeal by various individuals at a later date. The
        name Septuagint was subsequently extended to cover this hodge-podge of

        (2) Though there might have been a complete translation of the Old Testament in Greek
        by the time of Christ, there is no evidence showing that it was one that was produced
        with any authority acceptable to most Jews or that it was commonly received among
        the Jews.
2. For the following reasons we do not believe that Jesus or the apostles quoted a Greek
translation, even if one was then available:

    a. To think that the Jews in Israel, with their pride of language and tradition, would stoop to
    use a hodge-podge Greek translation from Egypt, which was a hotbed of Greek philosophytinged Jewish cults, is unreasonable.

    b. There is clear evidence from the Gospels that the Lord Jesus put His stamp of authority
    upon the Hebrew Old Testament and not upon a Greek translation:

        (1) Christ spoke of the jots and tittles of the Old Testament (Mat. 5:18), and this refers
        specifically to the Hebrew language. The jot or jod is the tenth and smallest letter in
        the Hebrew alphabet. It can be observed in many editions of the King James Bible in
        the heading to Psalm 119:73-80. The tittle is a tiny part of a Hebrew letter; in
        particular it is that part that distinguishes the daleth (see the heading to Psalm
        119:25-32) from the resh (see the heading to Psalm 119:153-160). A Greek
        translation has no jots or tittles.

        (2) Christ referred to the Old Testament by its Hebrew division rather than by its Greek

            (a) See Luke 24:44 -- Christ referred to the things “which were written in THE
            LAW of Moses, and in THE PROPHETS, and in THE PSALMS, concerning
            me.” This is precisely the order of the Old Testament in Hebrew, but it is not the
            order of the Greek Old Testament. In Greek the order is the Law, the Psalms,
            and the Prophets, as in the English Bible. “The phrase ‘in the Psalms’ makes it
            the complete threefold division of the Hebrew canon: the law of Moses (Torah);
            the prophets (Naviim); and the Psalms or Writings (Kethuvim). It is called the
            ‘TANACH’ today by the Jews, taking the ‘TA’ for ‘TORAH,’ the ‘NA’ from
            ‘NAVIIM,’ and the ‘CH’ for ‘KETHUVIM.’ This is the one abbreviation for the
            entire Masoretic Hebrew Old Testament. He put His hand on the entire
            Masoretic Hebrew Old Testament text that existed then and AUTHORIZED
            it” (D.A. Waite, Defending the King James Bible, p. 34).

            (b) See Matthew 23:35 -- When the Lord Jesus referred to the first and last prophets
            that were martyred in the Old Testament, He referred to them by the order of the
            Hebrew Text rather than by the order of the Greek. “That upon you may come
            all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel
            unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple
            and the altar” (Mat. 23:35). By this statement, Christ charged the Jewish leaders
            with the deaths of the prophets throughout the Old Testament age, and He used
            the Hebrew canon. Abel’s death is recorded in Genesis (chapter 4) and
            Zacharias’ death was recorded in 2 Chronicles (24:20-22). This follows the
            order of the Hebrew Old Testament, which begins with Genesis and ends with 2
            Chronicles. The Greek Septuagint, on the other hand, ends with the prophets
            (concluding with Malachi) and with some apocryphal books. The Septuagint
            translated by Lancelot Brenton and first published in 1851, for example, ends
            with the following apocryphal books: I Esdras, Tobit, Judith, Wisdom of
            Solomon, Wisdom of the Son of Sirach, Baruch, Epistle of Jeremiah, Song of
            the Three Children, Susanna, Bel and the Dragon, I-IV Maccabees, and the
            Prayer of Manasseh.

3. What about those places in the New Testament which appear to be quotations from the Septuagint?

a. Since the earliest extant copies of the Septuagint are of late date, it is just as possible that the
Septuagint is quoting the New Testament as it is that the apostles are quoting the
Septuagint. “How do we know that the present text of the Septuagint was not that found in
those Greek OT translations of the second century AD by Aquila, Symmachus and
Theodotian, or even that of Origen and his Hexapla. If this were the case, this text would
follow that of the NT and you might have these translators quoting the OT quotes found in
the NT rather than vice versa!” (D.A. Waite).

One man told me that the Septuagint must have been the Bible Jesus and the apostles used because no one in New Testament times spoke or understood the Hebrew language.

I asked that man what he was doing arguing about which Bible is the right one when he doesn’t believe it to begin with.