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#403404 02/12/14 05:35 PM
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I probably know the answer to this already, but perhaps something has developed in the last 18 months of which I may not be aware.

Does anyone know of a project to produce a better printed version of the Greek Septuagint since the Αποστολική Διακονια version released several years ago?

That one was a disappointment to me since it turned out to be merely a back edited version of Alfred Rahlfs's cosmopolitan "Septuaginta" originally published by the German Bible Society in 1934.

It just seems odd to me that considering the rich manuscript tradition of the GOC which for centuries preserved the Biblical Text; since printed editions of both Greek Testaments came available Eastern scholars have been satisfied with flawed versions compiled by Western scholars.

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it's probably a dumb question, but is there anything wrong with the Greek NT that's behind the KJV? I think that's Erasmus' edition. Also what's wrong with a back-edited LXX? I've been saving up for the one at CBDH (probably non-back-edited) for a while now.

Is there an approved English liturgical edition for Eastern Catholics besides the 1970ish NAB?

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Originally Posted by JGlennCee
.... is there anything wrong with the Greek NT that's behind the KJV? I think that's Erasmus' edition.
Textual criticism is a complex undertaking: Best to read for yourself about the Textus Receptus. [en.wikipedia.org] Also, those who think that a modern scholarly interest in the scriptures started with the Protestant Reformation should become familiar with the Complutensian Polyglot Bible. [en.wikipedia.org]

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I am quite familiar with the so-called Textus Receptus. There were about 15 different editions of it - five from D. Erasmus in the early 1500's. Erasmus added the so called "Comma Johanneum" (1 John 5:7-8) in his 1522 edition. Those words came from the Latin Vulgate and were were never in any Byzantine Greek manuscript. Since Erasmus' 1522 edition was published, the GOC endorsed it complete with the Comma Johanneum and reprinted it many times. That fact quite underlines my point about the GOC abandoning their early manuscript tradition in favor of western printed texts.

I am also aware of the Complutensian Polyglot which was printed shortly before Erasmus first version but publication was delayed until after 1520. Cardinal Francisco Jiménez de Cisneros who sponsored the work died in 1517 which may have contributed to the delay.

For Greek New Testament uses I much prefer the so-called Byzantine Majority Text compiled by Maurice A. Robinson and William G. Pierpont and released into the public domain in 1991. I understand the critical theory underlying the work. This is a close as we get to the Byzantine manuscript New Testament tradition.

As far as the Αποστολική Διακονια LXX version being back edited from Rahlfs critical edition: Please understand that Rahlfs edition was compiled from the three principle Uncial manuscripts (Alexandrinus, Vatacanus and Sinaiticus) and does not properly represent any particular tradition. It represents a weighted two-out-of-three reading. The point of a text critical edition is to provide the student with a single source referencing several ancient manuscripts collated in the textual apparatus printed at the bottom of the page. Its meant to be a study tool, not a Bible version.

Simple back editing of so many different passages in Rahlfs LXX only complicates the overall mixed nature of the package. The Αποστολική Διακονια cannot properly represent their ancient manuscript tradition by back editing a western critical text. Also it appears to me the parts they edited were merely to protect the teaching of the GOC. The act of back editing really doesn't instill much confidence in the work.

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Thank you, Systratiotes and ajk. :-) Lots of great material to consider. I haven't done much reading in textual criticism since my first year in Bethel Seminary back in 1982. Metzger's Text of the New Testament and Textual Commentary of the NT were of course standard reading, but were slanted toward the modern critical text. At least they also included a little on the Majority Text. I can certainly see what you mean about the back-editing of the A.D. LXX. I had forgotten the story of the Johannine Comma. It helps to have skilled copyists available to produce the one "ancient manuscript" containing the Johannine Comma ;-)

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Indeed, anyone even involved in transcribing a single manuscript to a printed version has to make decisions akin to "textual criticism". Often it is necessary to judge whether one is looking at a natural feature of the leather or papyrus, or a faded mark made by the scribe. Also most Biblical manuscripts have parts missing. So it becomes necessary to compare similar manuscripts to fill in the missing part(s).

To produce his first Greek New Testament edition, Erasmus collected perhaps nine manuscripts of different parts, compared them and decided what he should print. Those decisions were "textual criticism" based upon whatever criteria Erasmus chose. Thus, his finished edition was entirely new. It did not represent any one manuscript entirely. And since at first he didn't have a complete manuscript of the Apocalypse, Erasmus supplemented the lacunae by translating the Latin Vulgate into Greek. Thus Erasmus employed "textual emendation" and did all the things a modern scholar doing textual criticism might do.

My issue is not with "textual criticism" so long as the principles underlying it are sound. No printed Greek Biblical Text can be made without some degree of textual criticism. I think it is in the best interests of the Greek Orthodox Church to appoint qualified scholars to employ sound textual criticism to analyze their own Greek Old Testament monastic scribal tradition to produce a credible printed Greek Septuagint that truly represents the long textual tradition which is theirs. Nobody else has anything like that. Why take short cuts that don't represent the real thing?

But there may be a different internal problem to consider. After Constantine von Tishendorf practically stole Codex Sinaiticus from St. Catherines, I don't think the monasteries are likely to give up any other ancient manuscripts they posses to western scholars. Its likely those monks wouldn't even relinquish their valuable manuscripts to their own church hierarchy. But surely, leaders in the oldest church in the world should realize the value of making their own ancient Biblical Greek textual tradition available to scholars and translators worldwide. That can only be good.

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So Tishendorf didn't rescue Sinaiticus from a trash bin? (Or was that another story?) The stories we were told!

The story of the texts becomes much more interesting when you see them within the context of living Orthodoxy rather than as dry facts/artifacts curated in isolation.

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JGlennCee, actually the trash heap story is promoted by Protestant KJVO adherents who wish to discredit Codex Sinaiticus. The more reliable account had the Codex wrapped in soft cloth and kept in an honored place far from any peril.

C. von Tishendorf has been accused of secreting away other valuable manuscripts he "discovered" in old European libraries. The second time von Tishendorf visited St. Catherines, he had the authority of the Russian Czar (head of Orthodoxy at the time) to demand the remaining portion of the Codex he didn't get the first time. And yet is seems a small portion remains at the monastery.

My purpose is not to impugn anybody's faith. Truly the Orthodox Church system was used of God to preserve the Biblical text through the manuscript period. For that the Christians should be grateful. Getting the preserved text from them seems to be at issue today.

I believe God is sovereign in all things concerning the Church. But I also believe the obedience of men is often at odds with the sovereignty of God. Nevertheless, it is clear to me that the Holy Spirit gave the Greek Old Testament and the New Testament writings to the Church as scripture.

I'll not bore you with my ecclesiastical background, but I am quite familiar with Orthodoxy. My scholarship is toward exegetical studies in the Koine Scriptures. My purpose is to better know the revelation of God and Testimony of the Christ. I am persuaded in order to do that, one needs the best, most reliable Biblical text-base available.

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Yes, those were the days of the Elgin Marbles, etc. That's why the best place to do Assyriology is/was the British Museum.

In all fairness my profs at the Baptist seminary were still surprised that the OT Mss from Qumran followed the LXX. They just couldn't wrap their heads around it. It took me about 25 years to realize that my pilgrimage lay to the East. Wish they could have had a few more years to digest this stuff.

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Yes, the Dead Sea Scrolls from caves 4 and 11 tend to support the Septuagint where it deviates from the Masoretic. But there are also other Hebrew text-bases reflected among those scrolls. One is quite like but not exactly like the 10th century Masoretic and is called accordingly the Proto-Masoretic. Another is unlike any Hebrew text-base known before the scrolls were more fully analyzed. That one is now called "Palestinian". If anything these things mean the Hebrew Bible text was quite mixed up in the first century A.D.

I think Fundamentalists find the Scrolls and the LXX troublesome because they call into question their strict views on plenary inspiration.

I also think it remarkable that the Epistle to the Hebrews was written to the fledgling Church at Jerusalem, yet the epistle is written with the most exquisite Greek grammar in the whole New Testament. Surely, people living in the Holy Land at the time of the Apostles were much more Hellenized than many modern scholars care to admit. Thus, it is easier to see how the Septuagint gained currency as scripture so quickly in Palestine and elsewhere.

This is obvious when one studies the way the Apostle Paul used the Greek Old Testament in his writings. In every occasion when he wrote, "καθὼς γέγραπται" "It is written:" He cites from the LXX. On some occasions he cited partly from the LXX and adds paraphrase to support his teaching point. But besides outright citations, Paul also nuanced phrases from the LXX in his general writing such that it appears he was utterly familiar with the Greek version. This is surprising coming from one tutored a Pharisee trained under the feet of the most esteemed Pharisee of his day if the effects of Helenization has somehow not saturated people then living in Jerusalem.

The other New Testament writers tend to cite from the text of the LXX more consistently verbatim. And so, having a reliable LXX is quite important if one would truly understand the meaning of the New Testament. There is no getting around it.

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Yes, you are certainly right about the need for a reliable LXX. How extensive is this Palestinian text base? Have any other NT fragments like the 7Q5 cited by O'Callaghan-Martinez been found?

Could you also enlighten us as to the current state of scholarship of the Western NT tradition (e.g. MS D)? Thanks. :-)

Sorry. I don't often get the chance to hob-nob with learned exegetes, particularly of the Orthodox/Byzantine persuasion. Hope I'm not wearing out my welcome.

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Established DSS scholars like J. H. Charlesworth and his fellows disregard claims about any New Testament fragment being found among the Qunmran documents. I've seen photographs of the claimed fragment and find convincing evidence lacking. There just isn't enough there to be conclusive.

The Palestinian Hebrew Text-base hasn't been published as a "Bible". Expect readings from the Palestinian text-base to be collated in the textual apparatus of the forthcoming "Biblia Hebraica Quinta". I don't know any English Bible versions that translate divergent passages from the DSS Palestinian text-base.

As to theological degrees: I know a number of men holding Master of Divinity (Mdiv) degrees, but none holding a "Master of Science in Divinity". The MDiv's I know are mostly Pastors at churches. Those who pursue academic studies generally matriculate a Master of Theology (ThM) degree. That's an index higher than MDiv and generally the minimum degree required for teaching at a seminary in North America. Higher yet are Doctorate degrees.

I don't want to mislead anyone about my ecclesiastical affiliation. I was born and baptized into the GOC. My Grandmother was delighted. But among other things I came to understand Mark 10:43/44 differently than those in that hierarchic structure do. You can imagine the disappointment my Grandmother felt in me.

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Sorry. I meant to ask about uncial manuscript D, Codex Bezae. From what I have gleaned from Wikipedia, it doesn't seem to have changed much, other than copious resources now being available on the internet.

A cursory reading of Mk 10:43f would tend to bolster Petrine claims of Rome. I might understand something of her anguish. My Dad was shocked when I became the first Catholic in in our family in nearly 500 years. Quite a shock for the grandson of a frontier Southern Baptist preacher who founded some 20 Baptist churches in West Texas 100 years ago. He was somewhat consoled when I started attending an Eastern Rite parish.

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Codex Bezae, "D5" (according to Heinrich von Soden's catalog) is a 5th century Uncial having most of the Gospels and Acts. F. H. A. Scrivener wrote quite a bit about it in the 19th century. Most I might have to say would probably reflect his summation since I haven't made it a point to research it for myself. I know Bezae has quite a number of unusual textual variations compared to other manuscripts judging by annotations in a published collation.

In Mark 10:43 the Greek, διάκονος means "a servant". That's a bit different than the observable application at certain ecclesiastical institutions. Sometimes one standing on principle finds ecclesiastical persons very much more august than himself in active disagreement.

"Blessed is the man who does not slip and fall because of his mouth, and is not stung with pain caused by his sin. Blessed is he whose soul does not condemn him, and who has not fallen away from his hope". Sirach 14:1-2 (SAAS)

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Anyone wanting a better understanding about the influence the Septuagint had when the Apostles were writing the New Testament might find this book helpful:

"When God Spoke Greek, The Septuagint and the Making of the Christian Bible", Timothy Michael Law, Oxford University Press.

Copies are available in trade paperback. Law approaches the topic as a historian not a theologian. His writing style is engaging and his evidence is generally compelling. But like many modern scholars Law seems to have accepted Julius Wellhausen's so-called "Document Theory". But even so I'd give the book pretty high marks.

Michael Kostas, ThM


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