A Question About the Masoretic Text in the KJV

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Wthompson

Inactive User
I am a College Student, and an avid student of Calvinist/Reformed Theology in my off time.

The other day, I was speaking with my friend who happens to be the Campus Orthodox Rabbi, and he mentioned that I should throw out my KJV because the Old Testament, while translated from the Masoretic Text...was translated from the Greek Translation thereof. And since there were errors in the greek translation, there are errors in the KJV's English as well.

I have never heard of this anywhere before? Is he misinformed? What is the truth here?
 

smallbeans

Puritan Board Freshman
Will - hit the campus library and get a book on the creation of the King James Translation. You can get them through inter-library loan if they don't have them in the stacks:

The Bible in English : Its History and Influence
by David Daniell

The History of the Bible in English: From the Earliest Versions to Today
by Frederick Fyvie Bruce

etc.

There are others, but these are a good start. The first one is pretty recently published.
 

DocCas

Inactive User
Your Rabbi friend is misinformed. The Authorized Version of 1611, OT, was translated using the Second Rabbinic Hebrew Bible as published by Daniel Bomberg in 1524. ("Rabbinic" means it was a "teaching bible" or a bible containing notes). Bomberg's bible was edited by Felix Pratensis, a Jew who was converted to Christ in 1518. While still an adherent of Judaism he was said to have "acquired a perfect knowledge of three languages" (Jewish Encyclopedia). The most probable reason your Rabbi friend dislikes Bomberg's Bible, which follows the Mesoretic text of Rabbi Jacob ben Chayyim, a Jewish refugee who later became a Christian, is that most Jews consider both Pratensis and ben Chayyim to be "apostates" because they converted to Christianity. However, it must also be noted that the two competing Hebrew Mesoretic texts, the ben Chayyim and the ben Asher, differ in only nine places that would affect translation: 1 Kings 20:38; Proverbs 8:16; Isaiah 10:16; Isaiah 27:2; Isaiah 38:14; Jeremiah 34:1; Ezekiel 30:18; Zephaniah 3:15; and Malachi 1:12.

The KJV translators were very gifted men.

The First Westminster Company translated the historical books, beginning with Genesis and ending with the Second Book of Kings. They were, Dr. Lancelot Andrews, Dr. John Overall, Dr. Hadrian Saravia, Dr. Richard Clarke, Dr. John Laifield, Dr. Robert Tighe, Francis Burleigh, Geoffry King, Richard Thompson and Dr. William Bedwell

The Cambridge Company translated Chronicles to the end of the Song of Songs. They were Edward Lively, Dr. John Richardson, Dr. Lawrence Chaderton, Francis Dillingham, Dr. Roger Andrews, Thomas Harrison, Dr. Robert Spaulding, and Dr. Andrew Bing.

The Oxford Company translated beginning of Isaiah to the end of the Old Testament. They were Dr. John Harding, Dr. John Reynolds, Dr. Thomas Holland, and Dr. Richard Kilby, Dr. Miles Smith, Dr. Richard Brett, and Daniel Fairclough.

A google search on these men will give you their amazing qualifications as translators.

[Edited on 5-8-2005 by DocCas]
 

Shane

Puritan Board Freshman
I have a question on this.

I have never heard of any errors in the greek translation. Are there any?
 

fredtgreco

Vanilla Westminsterian
Staff member
Here is one tiny example of a difference between the LXX (Greek OT) and BHS (Masoric text) where the KJV follows the BHS and not the LXX:

ha,r>YIw: !m"+[]n: ) yrEx]a; yzIx]yGE @Dor>YIw:
`~Al)v'h] rm,aYOw: Atar"q.li hb'K'r>M,h; l[;me lPoYIw: wyr"x]a; #r" !m'[]n: )
WTT 2 Kings 5:21


LXT 2 Kings 5:21 kai. evdi,wxe Giezi ovpi,sw tou/ Naiman kai. ei=den auvto.n Naiman tre,conta ovpi,sw auvtou/ kai. evpe,streyen avpo. tou/ armatoj eivj avpanth.n auvtou/

LXE 2 Kings 5:21 So Giezi followed after Naiman: and Naiman saw him running after him, and turned back from his chariot to meet him.

KJV 2 Kings 5:21 So Gehazi followed after Naaman. And when Naaman saw him running after him, he lighted down from the chariot to meet him, and said, Is all well?

NAU 2 Kings 5:21 So Gehazi pursued Naaman. When Naaman saw one running after him, he came down from the chariot to meet him and said, "Is all well?"

Notice that the LXX leaves out Naaman's question (it is missing in the LXX and in the translation LXE). But the WTT (Hebrew), NASB and KJV all include it. Unless the KJV translators were using Hebrew, they would have left it out.

Not that this is the end all example, it is simply one small one I have from recent work I was doing.
 

C. Matthew McMahon

Christian Preacher
The rabbi is not misinfomred, but willfully ignorant. Tell him to do more study before he start regurgitating old errors on things like this. Its no atypical for them to be so "misinformed."

The KJV was also not "particularly" translated. The translators translated the "difficult portions" they thought needed translating while cutting and pasting much from the Geneva Bible and Bishop's bible, both of which were translated directly form the Hebrew and Greek texts of the day.
 

DocCas

Inactive User
Originally posted by Shane
I have a question on this.

I have never heard of any errors in the greek translation. Are there any?
I guess that would depend on what you mean by "errors." The Greek translations of the OT (known collectively as the Septuagint) differ from the Masoretic Hebrew OT in many, many instances.

One of the great discoveries related to the Dead Sea Scrolls was what was first called the "Septuagint Type Text" of the Hebrew OT that differed from the Masoretic Hebrew text in ways that were too similar to the LXX (Septuagint) to be mere coincidence. That "Septuagint Type Text" is now called the "Vorlage" text (vorlage meaning "before translation") and is generally understood to be the Hebrew text underlying the LXX.

That, of course, has raised the obvious question (similar to the question regarding NT texts), which competing textform is most likely to best represent the original textform?

The Vorlage textform seems to be older (or at least as old as) the Masoretic textform, but lacks the historic attestation (use by both Jews and Christians down through the ages of history), much as we see in NT textual criticism. The more prolific textform which was evidently commonly used down through the ages of church history has been supplanted by a supposedly older and "better" textform that enjoyed no consistent historical usage.

Gives us a lot to study and a great excuse to dig deeper and deeper into the mysteries of textual transmission and preservation. :)
 

Shane

Puritan Board Freshman
I guess I should have been more specific, my apologies.

I do agree that it is interesting and I understand there are some differences.

What I really meant is are there any major differences in the sense that they can affect any major doctirines or beliefs?
I have a friend who is a KJonly fanatic and he keeps telling me that doctrines change in these texts and major errors etc are brought in.
I have never seen a clear example of this, it seems to me to be a total exageration.
 

WrittenFromUtopia

Puritan Board Graduate
I like the LXX ending of Job better :p

English Standard Version:
42:17 And Job died, an old man, and full of days.

Brenton LXX English Translation:
42:17 And Job died, an old man and full of days: and it is written that he will rise again with those whom the Lord raises up. This man is described in the Syriac book [as] living in the land of Ausis, on the borders of Idumea and Arabia: and his name before was Jobab; and having taken an Arabian wife, he begot a son whose name was Ennon. And he himself was the son of his father Zare, one of the sons of Esau, and of his mother Bosorrha, so that he was the fifth from Abraam. And these were the kings who reigned in Edom, which country he also ruled over: first, Balac, the son of Beor, and the name of his city was Dennaba: but after Baac, Jobab, who is called Job, and after him Asom, who was governor out of the country of Thaeman: and after him Adad, the son of Barad, who destroyed Madiam in the plain of Moab; and the name of his city was Gethaim. And [his] friends who came to him were Eliphaz, of the children of Esau, king of the Thaemanites, Baldad son of the Sauchaeans, Sophar king of the Kinaeans.

[Edited on 5-21-2005 by WrittenFromUtopia]
 

WrittenFromUtopia

Puritan Board Graduate
ESV:
Gen 6:5 The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6 And the Lord was sorry that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. 7 So the Lord said, "œI will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them."

LXX:
Gen 6:5 And the Lord God, having seen that the wicked actions of men were multiplied upon the earth, and that every one in his heart was intently brooding over evil continually, 6 then God laid it to heart that he had made man upon the earth, and he pondered [it] deeply. 7 And God said, I will blot out man whom I have made from the face of the earth, even man with cattle, and reptiles with flying creatures of the sky, for I am grieved that I have made them.
 

WrittenFromUtopia

Puritan Board Graduate
ESV:
Job 1:21 And he said, "œNaked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord."

LXX:
Job 1:21 and said, I myself came forth naked from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither; the Lord gave, the Lord has taken away: as it seemed good to the Lord, so has it come to pass; blessed be the name of the Lord.
 

kevin.carroll

Puritan Board Junior
Originally posted by ShaneWhat I really meant is are there any major differences in the sense that they can affect any major doctirines or beliefs?
I have a friend who is a KJonly fanatic and he keeps telling me that doctrines change in these texts and major errors etc are brought in.
I have never seen a clear example of this, it seems to me to be a total exageration.

No major doctrines are affected. While this may sound harsh, one really needs to check his brain at the door to be a rabid KJ only type. Preference is one thing, and I can respect that.

I once heard a baptist minister say from the pulpit, "If you were led to Christ witha version other than the KJV, you are not saved!" Let us draw the curtain of charity across that pathetic scene...
 

kevin.carroll

Puritan Board Junior
Originally posted by WrittenFromUtopia
:detective:

Those are some fairly interesting differences, I'd say. Somewhat significant, depending on how you look at it.

Interesting maybe but I wouldn't get too excited about it. The LXX is kind of The Message of the ancient world.

One thing that is interesting, however is the author of Hebrews use of the LXX, especially as it differs from the MT.

NIV Hebrews 10:5 Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said: "Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me;

BGT Hebrews 10:5 Dio. eivserco,menoj eivj to.n ko,smon le,gei\ qusi,an kai. prosfora.n ouvk hvqe,lhsaj( sw/ma de. kathrti,sw moi\

C.f. 9 `y['(me %AtÃ¥B. ^ªt.r"Atïw>÷ yTic.p'_x' yh;äl{a/ ^Ã¥n>Acr>-tAf)[]l;( 9 `yl'([' bWtïK' rp,se©÷-tL;gIm.Bi ytiab'_-hNEhi yTir>m;a'â za'ä 8 `T'l.a'(v' al{Ã¥ ha'ªj'x]w:÷ hl'îA[ yLi_ t'yrIÃ¥K' ~yIn:z>a'â T'c.p;ªx'-al{) Ÿhx'´n>miW xb;z<Ãœ WTT Psalm 40:7

NIV Psalm 40:6 Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but my ears you have pierced; burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not require. 7 Then I said, "Here I am, I have come-- it is written about me in the scroll. 8 I desire to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart."

Fred and I had a lively discussion about this one!

[Edited on 5-21-2005 by kevin.carroll]

[Edited on 5-21-2005 by kevin.carroll]
 
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