A Reader Comments on Manuscript Evidence for a Pre-Origen Septuagint

Readers of this debate blog will be aware of the position by some influential KJV Onlyists that the Septuagint is a post-Christian creation.  Some say it didn’t exist before Origen.  Others are more nuanced and say that we can’t know if the Septuagint as an entity existed before that time.

The rationale for this tactic is to avoid the implications of the New Testament’s prolific use of the Septuagint.  John Owen and Jerome and others are put forth as defendants for a position which claims that the New Testament shaped the creation of the Septuagint, and scribes amended the LXX to conform to the NT.

While I would agree that an entire monolithic Septuagint was not to be found, I would nevertheless say that there is plenty of evidence for multiple translations of the Old Testament into Greek.  The variations between the Greek editions themselves, and between them and the New Testament quotations, point toward an inescapable conclusion.  Some harmonization by the New Testament’s influence may have happened, but by and large, the New Testament unmistakably leans heavily on the Septuagint.

All this is agreed on, I believe, by most scholars today.  In fact we recently had a reader leave an insightful comment as he was baffled by our defense of a pre-Origen LXX.  Since the comment may have been missed by our readers, and since it is worthy of repetition, I thought I’d share it here.

I tend not to use the KJV as I prefer to use a Hebrew OT and a Greek NT. For English translations my favourite is the KJV for its beauty – so please don’t react to what I have to say with any assumption that I must be some sort of KJV hater – I’m not.

May I suggest that many of the blog posters spend less time arguing, less time quoting whatever popular apologetic works they have read as “proof” that they are right when the popular apologetic works are usually badly researched – and spend serious time actually reading and researching the topics – I’ve spent the last 25+ years researching early biblical manuscripts, and work as a theological librarian in an academic institution. I’m also an evangelical Protestant Christian – I might even be described as a fundamentalist!

I have just read the blog posts about the Septuagint – it contains some incredibly stupid comments about no early Septuagint manuscripts, and none among the Dead Sea Scrolls. Please feel free to share the following with your blog posters.

Early Septuagint – pre-dating the third century A.D.

1. MS 89 of P.Foud 266 – remains of 24 chapters from Genesis and Deuteronomy, mid 1st century BC.
2. P Yale I 1 – remains of 1 chapter from Genesis, 1st or 2nd century AD
3. P.Oxy.656 – remains of 6 chapters from Genesis, 2nd or perhaps early 3rd century AD – imprecise dating of this manuscript makes it a borderline case
4. P. Deissman – remains of 1 chapter from Exodus, 2nd or 3rd century AD – imprecise dating of this manuscript makes it a boarderline case
5. P.Baden 56, remains of 4 chapters of Exodus and Deuteronomy, 2nd century AD
6. Schoyen Collection MS 2649 – remains of 6 chapters of Leviticus, late 2nd or early 3rd century AD – imprecise dating of this manuscript makes it a boarderline case
7. P.Beatty IV + P.Mich.5554 – remains of 38 chapters of Numbers and Deuteronomy, late 2nd or early 3rd century AD – imprecise dating of this manuscript makes it a boarderline case
8. P.Ryl.458 – remains of 6 chapters of Deuteronomy, 2nd century BC
9. Schoyen Collection MS 2648 – remains of 3 chapters of Joshua, late 2nd or early 3rd century AD – imprecise dating of this manuscript makes it a boarderline case
10. P.Montserrat Inv.3 – remains of 2 chpaters of 2 Chronicles, late 2nd century AD
11. P.Chester Beatty IX+X + John H. Scheide 3 + P.Colon theo.3-40 + P.Montserrat 42+43 + P.Matr.bibl.1 (the manuscript was broken up and ended up in 5 collections!) – remains of 58 chapters of Esther, Ezekiel and Daniel, 2nd century AD
12. P.Oxy.4443 – remains of 2 chapters of Esther, 1st or 2nd century AD
13. P.Oxy.3522 – remains of 1 chapter of Job, 1st century AD
14. P.Taur.27 – remains of 1 chapter of Psalms, 2nd century AD
15. PSI inv.1989 – remains of 1 chapter of Psalms, late 2nd century AD
16. P.Montserrat Inv.2 – remains of 1 chapter of Psalms, 2nd century AD
17. P.Bodmer XXIV – remains of almost all of Psalms, 2nd or 3rd century AD – imprecise dating of this manuscript makes it a boarderline case
18. Bodleian MS.Gr.Bib.g.5 (P) – remains of 2 chapters of Psalms, 2nd century AD
19. PSI.inv.921 – remains of 1 chapter of Psalms, 2nd century AD
20. P.Antin.7 – remains of 2 chapters of Psalms, 2nd century AD
21. Leipzig Uni.Bib.Pap.170 – remains of 1 chapter of Psalms, 2nd or 3rd century AD – imprecise dating of this manuscript makes it a boarderline case
22. Garrett Deposit 1924, H.I. Bell II G: small flat box 5 – remains of 1 chapter of Isaiah, 2nd or 3rd century AD – imprecise dating of this manuscript makes it a boarderline case
23. P.Beatty VIII – remains of 2 chapters of Jerimiah, 2nd or 3rd century AD – imprecise dating of this manuscript makes it a boarderline case
24. 4Q119 – remains of 1 chapter of Leviticus, pre First Jewish Revolt (pre destruction of the Temple)
25. 4Q120 – remains of 6 chapters of Leviticus, pre First Jewish Revolt
26. 4Q121 – remains of 2 chapters of Numbers, pre First Jewish Revolt
27. 4Q122 – remains of 1 chapter of Deuteronomy, pre First Jewish Revolt
28. 7Q1 – remains of 1 chapter of Exodus, pre First Jewish Revolt
29. 8Hev 1 – remaains of 24 chapters of the Minor Prophets, 1st century BC or 1st century AD

So we have 29 manuscripts of which 20 are unquestionably 2nd century or earlier.

I won’t give the all bibliographical details from all of the mansucripts listed above, but here is a start of just 3 books for the Septuagint manuscripts found among the Dead Sea Scrolls:

  • Qumran Cave 4: IV. Palaeo-Hebrew and Greek Biblical Manuscripts, by P.W. Skehan, E. Ulrich and J.E. Sanderson; with a contribution by P.J. Parsons (Oxford: Clarendon, 1992), Discoveries in the Judaean Desert volume IX
  • Les ‘Petites Grottes’ de Qumrân: Exploration de la falaise, Les grottes 2Q, 3Q, 5Q, 6Q, 7Q, à 10Q, Le rouleau de cuivre, by M. Baillet, J.T. Milik and R. de Vaux; with a contribution by H.W. Baker (Oxford: Clarendon, 1962), Discoveries in the Judaean Desert volume III
  • The Greek Minor Prophets Scroll from Nahal Hever (8HevXIIgr), (The Seiyâl Collection I), by E. Tov; with the collaboration of R.A. Kraft; and a contribution of P.J. Parsons (Oxford: Clarendon, 1990), Discoveries in the Judaean Desert volume VIII

Matthew Hamilton
Sydney, Australia

17 Responses to “A Reader Comments on Manuscript Evidence for a Pre-Origen Septuagint”

  1. edivietro says:

    Hello Matthew,

    Thank you for your post. It has some excellent material in it. Particularly, I am intrigued by P.Oxy.4443 since Esther does not (to my knowledge) appear among the Qumran texts. This gives us an excellent early witness.

    The early LXX argument often presented is one of those things KJVO proponents have been arguing for over a century. Unfortunately, they are perfectly content to go round and round about it rather than examine the evidence. It is absolutely essential to them that Jesus used the MT because otherwise, their entire argument for preservation falls apart. If Jesus might have used the LXX or (gasp!) an Aramaic Targum, then Jesus himself did not hold to their position on preservation.

    • Matthew Hamilton says:

      hello edivietro,

      the existence of translations into the Greek of the OT prior to Jesus’ earthly ministry is, from the earliest extant mansucripts, a fact the KJV-onlyites cannot question – and if they do they are nuts who are ignoring the evidence.

      However, they might still want to argue that
      (1) the existence of Greek translations does not automatically mean that Jesus used those translations or saw them in any way as authoritative
      (2) most of the early Greek biblical manuscripts listed were found in Egypt so may not reflect the situation in Israel. From what we do know of early biblical MSS found in Israel and dating to around the time of Jesus – and the extant sample is only about 200 MSS – most are in Hebrew with only 6 in Greek.

      <
      Matthew

  2. JasonS says:

    Matthew,
    Is this information available in any single place, or did you compile this?
    Can you give us sources to view online, or resources that you’ve read that we can reference?
    This is very interesting.
    Thanks

    • Matthew Hamilton says:

      Hello Jason,

      compiled the list myself. If I get a chance I will form a list of references – probably in the order of about 50 or so books and articles, many not in English

      <
      Matthew

    • Matthew Hamilton says:

      Hello again Jason,
      here is the information I promised, and I’ve corrected a few typos in the original posting.

      <
      Matthew

      List of earliest copies of OT in Greek (with correction of typos), with a very basic selection of bibliographic references
      1. MS 89 of P.Foud 266 – remains of 24 chapters from Genesis and Deuteronomy, mid 1st century BC – see Aly (1980)
      2. P Yale I 1 – remains of 1 chapter from Genesis, 1st or 2nd century AD – see Oates, Samuel and Welles (1967), p.3-8, plate I
      3. P.Oxy.656 – remains of 6 chapters from Genesis, 2nd or perhaps early 3rd century AD – imprecise dating of this manuscript makes it a borderline case – see Grenfell and Hunt (1904), p.28-36, plate II
      4. P. Deissman – remains of 1 chapter from Exodus, 2nd or 3rd century AD – imprecise dating of this manuscript makes it a borderline case – see G. Horsley (1993)
      5. P.Baden 56, remains of 4 chapters of Exodus and Deuteronomy, 2nd century AD – see Bilabel (1924), p.24-27 and Dorn, Rosenberger and Trobisch (1985)
      6. Schoyen Collection MS 2649 – remains of 6 chapters of Leviticus, late 2nd or early 3rd century AD – imprecise dating of this manuscript makes it a borderline case – unpublished but some details available on Schøyen Collection website
      7. P.Beatty VI + P.Mich.5554 – remains of 38 chapters of Numbers and Deuteronomy, late 2nd or early 3rd century AD – imprecise dating of this manuscript makes it a borderline case – see F. Kenyon (1935), H. Sanders (1935), Hayes (1958), Pietersma (1987), p.39-40,50-51
      8. P.Ryl.458 – remains of 6 chapters of Deuteronomy, 2nd century BC – see C. Roberts (1936)
      9. Schoyen Collection MS 2648 – remains of 3 chapters of Joshua, late 2nd or early 3rd century AD – imprecise dating of this manuscript makes it a borderline case – see Pintaudi (2005), p.81-145, Tav.XVI-XXVII
      10. P.Montserrat Inv.3 – remains of 2 chapters of 2 Chronicles, late 2nd century AD – see Roca-Puig (1961)
      11. P.Chester Beatty IX+X + John H. Scheide 3 + P.Colon theo.3-40 + P.Montserrat 42+43 + P.Matr.bibl.1 (the manuscript was broken up and ended up in 5 collections!) – remains of 58 chapters of Esther, Ezekiel and Daniel, 2nd century AD – see F. Kenyon (1937)(2), A.C. Johnson, Gehman and Kase (1938), Geissen (1968), Hamm (1969), Jahn (1972), Hamm (1977), Roca-Puig (1976), and Galiano (1971)
      12. P.Oxy.4443 – remains of 2 chapters of Esther, 1st or 2nd century AD – see Haslam et al. (1998), p.4-8, plate I
      13. P.Oxy.3522 – remains of 1 chapter of Job, 1st century AD – see A. Bowman et al. (1983), p.1-3, plate I
      14. P.Taur.27 – remains of 1 chapter of Psalms, 2nd century AD – see Cecchetti (1954)
      15. PSI inv.1989 – remains of 1 chapter of Psalms, late 2nd century AD – see Bastianini (1984)
      16. P.Montserrat Inv.2 – remains of 1 chapter of Psalms, 2nd century AD – see Roca-Puig (1985)
      17. P.Bodmer XXIV – remains of almost all of Psalms, 2nd or 3rd century AD – imprecise dating of this manuscript makes it a borderline case – see Kasser and Testuz (1967)
      18. Bodleian MS.Gr.Bib.g.5 (P) – remains of 2 chapters of Psalms, 2nd century AD – see Barns and Kilpatrick (1957)
      19. PSI.inv.921 – remains of 1 chapter of Psalms, 2nd century AD – see Vitelli and Norsa (1927), p.90-95
      20. P.Antin.7 – remains of 2 chapters of Psalms, 2nd century AD – see C. Roberts (1950), p.1-2, plate I
      21. Leipzig Uni.Bib.Pap.170 – remains of 1 chapter of Psalms, 2nd or 3rd century AD – imprecise dating of this manuscript makes it a borderline case – see Heinrici (1903), p.29-32
      22. Garrett Deposit 1924, H.I. Bell II G: small flat box 5 – remains of 1 chapter of Isaiah, 2nd or 3rd century AD – imprecise dating of this manuscript makes it a borderline case – unpublished but mentioned in Anon. (1999)
      23. P.Beatty VIII – remains of 2 chapters of Jeremiah, 2nd or 3rd century AD – imprecise dating of this manuscript makes it a borderline case – see F. Kenyon (1937)(1)
      24. 4Q119 – remains of 1 chapter of Leviticus, pre First Jewish Revolt (pre destruction of the Temple)
      25. 4Q120 – remains of 6 chapters of Leviticus, pre First Jewish Revolt
      26. 4Q121 – remains of 2 chapters of Numbers, pre First Jewish Revolt
      27. 4Q122 – remains of 1 chapter of Deuteronomy, pre First Jewish Revolt
      28. 7Q1 – remains of 1 chapter of Exodus, pre First Jewish Revolt
      29. 8Hev 1 – remains of 24 chapters of the Minor Prophets, 1st century BC or 1st century AD
      So we have 29 manuscripts of which 20 are unquestionably 2nd century or earlier.
      There is also 2 another items I forgot to previously mention
      30. 7Q2 – remains of part of the Epistle of Jeremiah, pre First Jewish Revolt – however so little remains it isn’t absolutely certain the remains have been correctly identified, and it may not be strictly “biblical”, depending on how the canon is defined
      31. Collection of Pères Blancs de Ste-Anne no 3 – parts of 1 chapter of Psalms inscribed on a clay jug, 2nd half of 2nd century-start of 3rd century AD – imprecise dating of this inscription makes it a borderline case – see Steve and Benoit (1949)
      So we have 31 manuscripts or inscriptions of which 21 are unquestionably 2nd century or earlier of which 20 are unquestionably copies of the OT in Greek
      For items numbered 24-30, “Dead Sea Scrolls” in Greek, the 3 main sources are:
      • Qumran Cave 4: IV. Palaeo-Hebrew and Greek Biblical Manuscripts, by P.W. Skehan, E. Ulrich and J.E. Sanderson; with a contribution by P.J. Parsons (Oxford: Clarendon, 1992), Discoveries in the Judaean Desert volume IX
      • Les Petites Grottes’ de Qumrân: Exploration de la falaise, Les grottes 2Q, 3Q, 5Q, 6Q, 7Q, à 10Q, Le rouleau de cuivre, by M. Baillet, J.T. Milik and R. de Vaux; with a contribution by H.W. Baker (Oxford: Clarendon, 1962), Discoveries in the Judaean Desert volume III
      • The Greek Minor Prophets Scroll from Nahal Hever (8HevXIIgr), (The Seiyâl Collection I), by E. Tov; with the collaboration of R.A. Kraft; and a contribution of P.J. Parsons (Oxford: Clarendon, 1990), Discoveries in the Judaean Desert volume VIII
      For items numbered 1-23 and 31, the main sources are:
      Aly (1980) = Three Rolls of the Early Septuagint: Genesis and Deuteronomy, by Z. Aly; with preface by L. Koenen (Bonn: Habelt, 1980), PTA Bd.27
      Anon. (1999) = http://www.princeton.edu/papyrus/Njpdipp99.htm
      Barns and Kilpatrick (1957) = “A New Psalms Fragment”, by J.W.B. Barns and G.D. Kilpatrick, Proceedings of the British Academy, vol.XLIII (1957), p.229-232, plate X

      Bastianini (1984) = “Frammento di una sugli angeli (P. Vind. G 19930)”, by G. Bastianini, Wiener Studien, n.F. Bd.18 (97. Bd.) (1984), p.196-202

      Bilabel (1924) = Veröffentlichungen aus den badischen Papyrus-Sammlungen IV, Griechische Papyri und Ostraka, by F. Bilabel (Heidelburg: Winter, 1924)

      A. Bowman et al. (1983) = The Oxyrhynchus Papyri: Volume L, ed. A.K. Bowman, H.M. Cockle, W.E.H. Cockle, R.A. Coles, E.W. Handley, M.W. Haslam, E. Lobel, H. Maehler, P.J. Parsons, T.S. Pattie, J.R. Rea, C.H. Roberts, J.L. Rowlandson, T.C. Skeat, J.D. Thomas, E.G. Turner and J.E.G. Whitehorne (London: Egypt Exploration Society, 1983), PEES.GR.no.70
      Cecchetti (1954) = “Un interessante documento dei prima tempi del cristianesimo in Egitto, il papiro “T.Gr.1” del Museo Egizio di Torino”, by I. Cecchetti, Miscellanea Giulio Belvederi, (Citta del Vaticano: Societa Amici delle Catacombe, 1954), p.557-578, Collezione Amici delle Catacombe XXIII
      Dorn, Rosenberger and Trobisch (1985) = “Zu dem Septuagintapapyrus VBP IV 56”, by H.-J. Dorn, V. Rosenberger and D. Trobisch, Zeitschrift fur Papyrologie und Epigraphik, Bd.61 (1985), p.115-121, Tafel V-VI
      Galiano (1971) = “Nuevas páginas del códice 967 del A.T. griego (Ez 28, 19-43, 9)”, by M.F. Galiano, Studia Papyrologica, Tomo X fasc.1 (Enero-Junio 1971), p.5-76
      Geissen (1968) = Der Septuaginta-Text des Buches Daniel Kap. 5-12, zusammen mit Susanna, Bel et Draco, sowie Esther Kap. 1, 1a-2, 15 nach dem Kölner Teil des Papyrus 967, by A. Geissen (Bonn: Habelt, 1968), PTA Bd.5
      Grenfell and Hunt (1904) = The Oxyrhynchus Papyri: Part IV, ed. B.P. Grenfell and A.S. Hunt (London: Egypt Exploration Fund, 1904), PEEF.GR.no.VI

      Hamm (1969) = Der Septuaginta-Text des Buches Daniel Kap. 1-2 nach dem Kölner Teil des Papyrus 967, by W. Hamm (Bonn: Habelt, 1969), PTA Bd.10
      Hamm (1977) = Der Septuaginta-Text des Buches Daniel Kap. 3-4 nach dem Kölner Teil des Papyrus 967, by W. Hamm (Bonn: Habelt, 1977), PTA Bd.21
      Haslam et al. (1998) = The Oxyrhynchus Papyri: Volume LXV, ed. M.W. Haslam, A. Jones, F. Maltomini, M.L. West and W.E.H. Cockle, R.A. Coles, D. Montserrat, J.D. Thomas; with contributions by J.L. Calvo Martínez, D. Colomo, R. Hübner, D. Hughes, N. Litinas, K. Luchner, U. Schlag, T. Schmidt, P. Schubert, I.A. Sparks, J. Spooner (London: Published for the British Academy by the Egyptian Exploration Society, 1998), PEES.GR.no.85
      Hayes (1958) = The Chester Beatty Biblical Papyri: Descriptions and texts of twelve manuscripts on papyrus of the Greek Bible: Fasc.V: Numbers and Deuteronomy, and VI, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ecclesiasticus, Plates, by R.J. Hayes (Dublin: Hodges Figgis and Co., 1958)
      Heinrici (1903) = Der Leipziger Papyrusfragmente der Psalmen, by C.F.G. Heinrici (Leipzig: Dürr, 1903), Beiträge zur Geschichte und Erklärung des Neuen Testamentes 4
      G. Horsley (1993) = “An unpublished Septuaginta Papyrus from the Nachlass of Adolf Deissmann”, by G.H.R. Horsley, Archiv fur Papyrusforschung und verwandte Gebiete, 39. Bd. (1993), p.35-38, plates 14-15
      Jahn (1972) = Der griechische Text des Buches Ezechiel nach dem Kölner Teil des Papyrus 967, by L.G. Jahn (Bonn: Habelt, 1972), PTA Bd.15
      A.C. Johnson, Gehman and Kase (1938) = The John H. Scheide Biblical Papyri, Ezekiel, by A.C. Johnson, H.S. Gehman and E.H. Kase, Jr. (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1938), Princeton University Studies in Papyrology no.3

      Kasser and Testuz (1967) = Papyrus Bodmer XXIV. Psaumes XVII-CXVIII, by R. Kasser and M. Testuz (Cologny/Genève: Bibliotheca Bodmeriana, 1967)
      F. Kenyon (1935) = The Chester Beatty Biblical Papyri: Descriptions and texts of twelve manuscripts on papyrus of the Greek Bible: Fasc.V: Numbers and Deuteronomy, Text, by F.G. Kenyon (London: Emery Walker, 1935)
      F. Kenyon (1937)(1) = The Chester Beatty Biblical Papyri: Descriptions and texts of twelve manuscripts on papyrus of the Greek Bible: Fasc.VI: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ecclesiasticus, Text, by F.G. Kenyon (London: Emery Walker, 1937)
      F. Kenyon (1937)(2) = The Chester Beatty Biblical Papyri: Descriptions and texts of twelve manuscripts on papyrus of the Greek Bible: Fasc.VII: Ezekiel, Daniel, Esther, Text, by F.G. Kenyon (London: Emery Walker, 1937)

      Oates, Samuel and Welles (1967) = Yale Papyri in the Beinecke Book and Manuscript Library, I, by J.F. Oates, A.E. Samuel, and C.B. Welles (New Haven: American Society of Papyrologists, 1967), American Studies in Papyrology vol.2

      Pietersma (1987) = “New Greek Fragments of Biblical Manuscripts in the Chester Beatty Library”, by A. Pietersma, Bulletin of the American Society of Papyrologists, vol.24 (1987), p.37-61
      Pintaudi (2005) = Papyri Graecae Schøyen (PSchøyen I), ed. R. Pintaudi; con i contributi di G. Agosti, P. Carrara, K. De Troyer, D. Limongi, D. Minutoli, E. Pöehlmann, G. Ucciardello, M.L. West, D.A. Scott, R.D. Woodard, P.K. McCarter, B. Zuckerman, M. Lundberg, S. Mitchell (Firenze: Edizioni Gonnelli, 2005), Papyrologica Florentina vol.XXXV, Manuscripts in the Schøyen Collection V, Greek Papyri vol. I

      C. Roberts (1936) = Two Biblical Papyri in the John Rylands Library Manchester, by C.H. Roberts (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1936)
      C. Roberts (1950) = The Antinoopolis Papyri: Part I, by C.H. Roberts; with an appendix by W.D. McHardy (London: Egypt Exploration Society, 1950), PEEF.GR.no.28

      Roca-Puig (1961) = “Un papir grec del Ilibre segon dels Paralipomens. Papyrus Barcinonensis, inv.no.3.2 Par 29,32-35;30,2-6”, by R. Roca-Puig, Boletin de la Real Academia de Buenas Letras de Barcelona, 29 (1961), p.219-227
      Roca-Puig (1976) = “Daniele. Due semifogli del codice 967”, by R. Roca-Puig, Aegyptus, Anno LVI (1976), p.3-18
      Roca-Puig (1985) = “Dos Pergamis Biblics”, by R. Roca-Puig, Salmanica, 14 (15) (1985), p.7-16
      H. Sanders (1935) = “Some Fragments of the Oldest Beatty Papyrus in the Michigan Collection”, by H.A. Sanders, Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, vol.LXXV no.4 (1935), p.313-324
      Steve and Benoit (1949) = “Une cruche aver inscription biblique”, by M.A. Steve and P. Benoit, Revue Biblique, Année LXI no.3 (July 1949), p.433-442, planche XII

      Vitelli and Norsa (1927) = Papiri greci e latini, pubblicazioni della Societá Italiana per la ricerca dei papiri greci e latini in Egitto, vol.VIII, ed. G. Vitelli and M. Norsa (Firenze: Stabilimenta Tipografico E. Ariani, 1927)

    • Bob Hayton says:

      Thanks for the work on this Matthew. It helps a lot. Thanks too for dropping by our blog.

      In Christ,

      Bob

  3. Damien says:

    Thanks for the info. I’m sure it will remain unconvincing for the determined KJVonlyist, however, since only one mss appears to be from before Christ (with the possible exception of another), and because the fact that there’s no substantial evidence for a pure LXX prototype prior to Christ continues to be interpreted as, “there was no LXX prior to Christ.” Even so, the case is strong for pre-Christian Greek translations of the OT, and for the use of such translations/a translation during the New Testament period, which, of course, presents major problems with the KJVO view of Bible versions.

    • Matthew Hamilton says:

      Hello Damien,

      “since only one mss appears to be from before Christ (with the posible exception of another)” – actually MSS numbers 1,8, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28 are ALL from before Christ, and contain Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. Added to that might be another MS I didn’t previously list, 7Q2, with what is most likely (but not certainly) parts of the Epistle of Jeremiah. If the identification of 7Q2 is correct then it is probable the rest of the OT was also translated into Greek prior to Christ as it is unlikely translators would work on a fairly minor book like Epistle of Jeremiah before they worked on books like Isaiah or Psalms.

      Matthew

  4. Bill Brown says:

    Damien,

    The reaso there are no LXX mss from before Christ is simple: they were used and copied so much that they all wore out :)

    Sound familiar?

  5. Bill Brown says:

    But Josephus wasthe founder of the Alexandrian Cult!!
    :)

  6. JasonS says:

    Matthew,
    I’m sure that work took much time for you. We greatly appreciate it and I’m sure that it will serve for a reference for a long time to come.
    Is there any single book in which the findings of Greek OT fragments are catalogued?
    Thanks again.

    • Matthew Hamilton says:

      Jason,

      you might want to try the most comprehensive list found in the book Septuaginta, Supplementum: Verzeichnis der griechischen Handschriften des Alten Testaments von Alfred Rahlfs, Band I, 1: Die Überlieferung bis zum VIII. Jahrhundert, ed. D. Fraenkel (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2004.
      Alternatively for a much briefer online list – but focused on earlier manuscripts – you might want to try Some Observations on Early Papyri and MSS for LXX/OG Study, by R.A. Kraft (last updated to 2001), available at http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/rs/rak/earlypaplist.html

      Matthew

  7. Steven Avery says:

    Hi Folks,

    Robert Kraft has a very nice page on this that has been used in earlier discussions. If it is lacking any mss, perhaps Matthew can ask him to expand his page.

    Matthew
    “MSS numbers 1,8, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28 are ALL from before Christ, and contain Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy”

    Yet most informed KJB-ers are well aware that the Penteteuch was translated into some Greek edition or editions before the time of Jesus.

    Josephus provides us quite clear evidence that the Historical books were not circulating even in the late 1st century.

    The likelihood of any extensive Greek Bible use in Israel in 30 AD. or the writing of the Gospels, eg. by Luke (addressed to the high priest Theophilus) shortly thereafter is very small.

    Clearly the Greek OT had extensive competing translations and corruptions from about 150 AD (yes, before Origen but after the NT) till 400 AD.

    These included smoothing to NT readings.

    Psalm 14 – Romans 3.

    Shalom,
    Steven Avery

  8. Steven Avery says:

    Hi Folks,

    “(Rather inconsistent, for example, is the logic of Theo Letis when he, on the one hand, argues that God must have preserved the pure text in an open, public, and accessible manner for Christians in every generation and, on the other hand, he argues that “the Latin and non-majority readings [of the TR] were indeed restorations of ancient readings that fell out of the medieval Greek tradition”!

    Nothing inconsistent at all. The church from 100 AD to 1500 AD was primarily Greek and Latin, with Syriac a significant third and others of less import historically.

    The works of Erasmus and Beza actually had the goal of improving the Latin text, by reference to the Greek. Similarly with Jerome in 400 AD, improving the diverse Old Latin with the Greek “fountainhead” (except that Jerome limited his Greek mss selection, a fascinating discussion on its own.) The Reformation scholars understood that the earliest Latin translations and church writings were very early .. and thus an excellent window unto the text. And it was also understood how the easiest textual corruption was an omission.

    The Greek-onlyism view is recent, a modern phenomenon from the 1800s. Many writers today are trapped in that false paradigm.

    And yes, some KJB-defenders do not fully grasp the dynamic of the Reformation Bible in regard to the integration of the dynamic Greek and Latin textual truths.

    Shalom,
    Steven Avery
    Queens, NY

  9. brainout says:

    Thank you for the LXX listing. I posted it as a link in a Youtube video description (at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FrwTpXAL7qo ), since Youtube is infected with the idea Origen invented the LXX.

    Video description lists related common-sense lie detectors: LXX Greek is obviously pre-1st century, even were we absent pre-Origen mss. We have tons of extra-Biblical Greek material from Alexander’s day, the Greek plays, etc. Anyone can read these at Perseus, for example. Analogy: KJV’s English is clearly 400+ years older than today’s English, irrespective of paper age on which printed. LXX Greek is to NT, what Elizabethan English is to modern.

    So Origen travelled back in time and added material to Philo, Josephus, Targums, Mishnah, too? :)

    By contrast, NT Greek is preposition and article-heavy, far more cumbersome or conversely, leaves more in ellipsis, versus LXX Greek; place names radically changed, etc. Finally, many weird additions in LXX betray political issues not relevant by the first century, like Genesis 5′s weird subtracting of years from ‘one’ side, adding those years to the ‘other’ side, maybe to ‘balance’ to a Babylonian kings chronology; the tamperer tired out before he reached the end of the roster, so his subtractions and additions, don’t balance. Would Origen be so dumb?

    Saddest of all, KJVO make their own KJV a hoax, when they claim no pre-Origen, origin: for TR faithfully quotes from LXX 1000 times+; I’m making a Youtube playlist of sample quotes, of which the above video link is the playlist header.

    So it must be true that KJVO cannot read the Greek text; they clearly don’t know how they’ve proved themselves wrong. Thank you again!

  10. brainout says:

    Here’s a link to the aforesaid NT-quotes-LXX playlist, which I forgot to include in my prior post: http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=DA3CF01F9BA03EB9

    Notice I only use BibleWorks in those videos, live and readable onscreen. It has the Scrivner edition of TR.

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