Did Jesus read from the Septuagint?

Discussion in 'The Gospels & Acts' started by Eoghan, Sep 29, 2008.

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  1. Eoghan

    Eoghan Puritan Board Junior

    Jesus quoted from the Septuagint, so can we assume that He read it in the synagogue??:think:
  2. Jerusalem Blade

    Jerusalem Blade Puritan Board Post-Graduate

  3. BobVigneault

    BobVigneault Bawberator

    Why would he have to read it? He wrote the autographs and had a perfect memory. :p
  4. TimV

    TimV Puritanboard Botanist

    Good one, Bob ;-)

    You're not going to get a definitive answer anywhere. One one end, you'll get people saying He quoted the Septuagint far more than the Hebrew, and on the other end you'll get people who think the Septuagint was a complex conspiracy that didn't even exist. In the middle, which includes the great majority of experts, you get people who say Christ quoted from both the Hebrew and the Septuagint.
  5. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    He does appear to quote from the LXX more - why is that?

    Did Jesus have a perfect memory? Did he remember his own birth in the manger?
  6. BobVigneault

    BobVigneault Bawberator

    Remember it? He planned and executed it. Does God have three minds?

  7. ChristianTrader

    ChristianTrader Puritan Board Graduate

    Not out of print, just kinda hard to find.


  8. Grymir

    Grymir Puritan Board Graduate

    Aw, I thought Jesus read the KJV just like the apostile Paul! :lol:

    Just kidding for those who don't know.

    I wonder...When preaching, one of the guidlines is to open your Bible and read it even if you know the verse, so that the people can see you reading the words and giving them authority. Jesus knew it, but I wonder if this is what he did to and we get this from Him?
  9. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)


    I'm serious.

    Maybe I'll start a new thread.

    If Jesus took on human flesh did he remember his own birth? At what point did he remember? Did he see the light at the end of the tunnel before he came out? Doeshe remember swimming in the womb? Or justpost-fetal stage?

    It appears that He self-limited and one of these limitations might be memory. Thus huis memorieswould begin at 2 or 4 or whenever sharp people's memories begin.

    If not, if he has perfect memory, than would he remember back to birth, conception?

    ......"WHen I was a little zygote..."
  10. jwithnell

    jwithnell Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    If Greek were the common language of the day, it makes sense that he would have quoted from the Greek text, just like we would quote from the English. He would likely have been taught the hebrew at home and in worship.
  11. py3ak

    py3ak They're stalling and plotting against me Staff Member

    Pergamum, do start a new thread on that score. And remember Luke 2:52.
  12. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    Ha, I don;t remember Luke 2, I need to look it up....
  13. Eoghan

    Eoghan Puritan Board Junior

    Jews traditionally read from the Hebrew parashat each week since the restoration of the second temple. Are we wromng in thinking that it was ALWAYS a hebrew text? I mean they did translate it into Greek! They must have read it in Greek - in the synagogue!
  14. TimV

    TimV Puritanboard Botanist

    I think I'm missing something. Wasn't your original question the translation of Scripture Christ quoted from? Are you now narrowing it down to the times He spoke formally in Synagogues?
  15. Eoghan

    Eoghan Puritan Board Junior

    FF Bruce (sorry) The Torah was translated into Greek by seventy elders (72) brought to Alexandria for the purpose of translating the law into Greek. The importance being in understanding what was read.

    This supports my question so far but the subsequent translation of ALL of the Old Testament (i.e.) the rest appears to have been the work of later Jews and more specifically taken up by the Christians, as affirmed by Josephus and Philo.

    The Synagogue of the Freedmen that Stephen belonged to used the septuagint and his speech quotes from it.

    The quotation from Isaiah that speaks of the virgin who will give birth is Septuagint.

    So Jews (Hellenists) were unrolling Greek scrolls in their synagogues.

    "The time came when one rabbi compared 'the accursed day whenthe seventy elders wrote the Law in Greek for the king' , to the day on which Israel made the golden calf (Tractate Sopherim 1.8)
  16. TimV

    TimV Puritanboard Botanist

    I don't dispute this because I don't know enough about the subject, but you didn't get there by anything that's been presented on this thread so far. Jews were allowed to read the Law even out of formal Synagogue settings.

    Sorry in advance if I'm not understanding you!!!
  17. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    I don't think this is verifiable. The Evangelist might have chosen "parthenos" because it is the natural rendering. At any rate, what is written in the Gospel of Matthew is on the narrative level, while the words of the Lord Jesus are on the historical level: one would need to confine his investigation to the historical level to discover what the Lord Jesus read from.
  18. Thomas2007

    Thomas2007 Puritan Board Sophomore

    The historic Protestant position as contained in Westminster Confession of Faith 1:8 is that only the Hebrew Masoretic text is the genuine preserved word of God for the Old Testament. So, no, we don't assume Christ read a greek translation in the Synagogue, nor do we assume he quoted it simply because post-Apostolic copies of the Greek Old Testament match the New Testament.

    We should, rather, remain consistent with our Confession.
  19. Jerusalem Blade

    Jerusalem Blade Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Hello Eoghan,

    I guess you didn't check out the thread I mentioned above, and you have your own views.

    The quotation of Isaiah 7:14 concerning the virgin is from the Hebrew, translated into the Greek by the apostle -- and if the Septuagint got it right, ok. This begs the question as to whether Isaiah was part of the translated LXX before the time of Christ (see this discussion, and my post 5). The Jones book in pdf linked to above explores the status of the LXX and when it was written, or when the various parts of it were written.

    This quote is from The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, Vol. 1, pp.129, 130; by Alfred Edersheim:

    If Greek was the language of the court and camp, and indeed must have been spoken by most in the land, the language of the people, spoken also by Christ and His Apostles, was a dialect of the ancient Hebrew, the Western or Palestinian Aramaic. It seems strange that this could ever have been doubted. A Jewish Messiah Who would urge His claim upon Israel in Greek, seems almost a contradiction in terms. We know, that the language of the Temple and the Synagogue was Hebrew, and that the addresses of the Rabbis had to be “targumed” into the vernacular Aramaen – and can we believe that, in a Hebrew service, the Messiah could have arisen to address the people in Greek, or that He could have argued with the Pharisees and Scribes in that tongue, especially remembering that its study was actually forbidden by the Rabbis?​

    The writing of the Tanakh (Hebrew Old Testament) was given exclusively into the the care of the priesthood. From Jack Moorman's, Forever Settled: A Survey of the Documents and History of the Bible, Part I, chap 1,


    The duty of preserving this written revelation was assigned not to the prophets, but to the priests. The priests were the divinely appointed guardians and teachers of the Law.

    Deuteronomy 31:24-26 And it came to pass, when Moses had made an end of writing the words of this law in a book, until they were finished, that Moses commanded the Levites… Take this book of the law, and put it in the side of the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, that it may be there for a witness against thee.​

    Thus the law was placed in the charge of the priests to be kept by them alongside of the most Sacred Vessel of the sanctuary, and in its innermost and holiest apartment. Also the priests were commanded to read the law every seven years.

    Deuteronomy 31:12 Gather the people together, men, and women, and children, and thy stranger that is within thy gates, that they may hear, and that they may learn, and fear the LORD your God, and observe to do all the words of this law.​

    The priests were also given the task of making correct copies of the law for the use of kings and rulers, or at least of supervising the scribes to whom the king would delegate this work.

    Deuteronomy 17:18 And it shall be, when he (the king) sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book out of that which is before the priests and Levites.​

    Apparently a goodly number of such copies were made. The numerous allusions to the law in all the subsequent books of the OT indicates familiarity with it. (p. 5 in hard copy)​

    So the tale (for it is not verifiable historically) of the Seventy (72) would have those not authorized by the Lord to undertake this work (as the 70 were allegedly chosen from each of the 12 tribes, not the Levites exclusively).

    Thanks, Hermonta (ChristianTrader); that certainly is not a reputable site! I hope Jones' book does not suffer guilt by (unwitting) association!

  20. Eoghan

    Eoghan Puritan Board Junior

    Why was the Pentateuch translated into GreeK - already stated!
    When was the Pentateuch read in the synagogue - already stated!

    You seem to be overlooking the institution of Torah Study by Ezra and Nehemiah. You also overlook the importance of "understanding" which was behind the call to the seventy to translate - not dissimilar to the protestant view that people should be able to read the scriptures in church "in the vulgar tongue"
  21. TimV

    TimV Puritanboard Botanist

    Neither of us is understanding the other. Christ did quote from the Septuagint. About the only scholars who deny this are Independent Baptists. That doesn't mean it was used in formal Synagogue readings though. You are doing what Tomas is, and taking a general principle and using it to prove something it just doesn't. Although some Jews may very well have been using them in their Synagogues.

    I've pointed out within the last year to Steve that Aramaic wasn't a dialect of Hebrew, no matter what Edersheim may have thought, but perhaps he's done some looking into the subject and if that's the case, I'm willing to learn.

    You see, Edersheim's big point is that Christ wouldn't (he doesn't say why) press His claims on the Jews in Greek. Edersheim can't get out of the fact that He at the very least spoke often in Aramaic, so he conveniently sweeps Aramaic into this handy mythological language group where one was a dialect of the other. Yet everything I've ever read about it, and given the history of why the Jews spoke it, shows a close parallel with Hebrew and Yiddish.

    Palestinian Aramaic was the Aramaic mentioned here in Isaiah 36

    with some Hebrew phrases and grammar thrown in, just like Yiddish is German with some Hebrew phrases and grammar thrown in.
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2008
  22. KMK

    KMK Moderator Staff Member

    I was not aware that Mr. Rafalsky was a Baptist! Good to have you in our camp, brother.
  23. TimV

    TimV Puritanboard Botanist

    Ken, you took part in the very discussion I was referring to, and you know good and well Brother Steve admitted relying heavily on IBs for his theories about the Septuagint.

    I trust, since he's brought the very same quote up again by Edersheim that he has done some further research into whether or not Palestinian Aramaic is just a dialect of Hebrew SINCE THAT IS THE MAIN ARGUMENT OF EDERSHEIM. Christ wouldn't have pressed His claims on His people in a foreign tongue.

    If Aramaic was (and it was and is and always has been) a foreign tongue, you could substitute Aramaic for Greek in the above quote, and it would be ridiculous, right? So Edersheim has to make Aramaic a form of Hebrew.
  24. KMK

    KMK Moderator Staff Member

    I am now understanding your objections better, brother. Thanks for the clarity. (Although it seems like you try to poison the well with your remark about IBs)

    Mr. Rafalsky has been kind enough to provide some source/s for his argument. Can you provide some sources for this statement?

    What are the distinguishing factors between a 'language' and a 'dialect'? I know a lot of people argue that KJ English is a 'foreign tongue' as well.

    I am not being argumentative, but would really like to understand.
  25. TimV

    TimV Puritanboard Botanist

    Yes, you are right, but I did edit that remark out 15 minutes ago.

    You may remember that I don't mind Edersheim as a source, at least when we're talking about the historical Septuagint (did you catch that, Steve ;-) )

    There is no solid border between a dialect and a language, and people have been fighting over this for years, generally for things like national recognition etc... But for now, one can say that a dialect of a language is different, but still mutually intelligible with the main language. So, Dari, the main language in Afghanistan is different than Persian, but Iranians and Tadjiks can understand each other, so Dari is a dialect, i.e. a form of Persian.

    I speak Afrikaans with an Elder of my church, who is Dutch, but that's only because he lived in Southern Africa for some years. I can read Dutch pretty well, but I can't speak to people from Holland, so Afrikaans and Dutch are separate languages.

    As far as Aramaic and Hebrew, they are both Semitic languages, but different branches, as you can see from the Bible verse I quoted. The Hebrews in the city couldn't understand Aramaic at all. As for other sources, any good online article dealing with language trees will show you the history of Aramaic. There are several million people who still speak that language, and just like they couldn't understand Hebrew in OT times, they can't understand it now.

    When you go online to look up things like this, avoid Wikipedia, since anyone can write anything there.
  26. Jerusalem Blade

    Jerusalem Blade Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Hello again, Tim!

    You said above,

    Ken, you took part in the very discussion I was referring to, and you know good and well Brother Steve admitted relying heavily on IBs for his theories about the Septuagint.

    I trust, since he's brought the very same quote up again by Edersheim that he has done some further research into whether or not Palestinian Aramaic is just a dialect of Hebrew SINCE THAT IS THE MAIN ARGUMENT OF EDERSHEIM. Christ wouldn't have pressed His claims on His people in a foreign tongue.​

    I hope we don't have to wrangle about this again!

    Edersheim's "main argument" was certainly not concerning Aramaic being a Hebrew dialect (one can read the quote in post #19 above), but that Jesus did not

    address the people in Greek, or that He could have argued with the Pharisees and Scribes in that tongue, especially remembering that its study was actually forbidden by the Rabbis...​

    These are his main arguments. Now listen, Tim; Edersheim was a world-class and renown Hebraist (a converted Jew); if he chose the nomenclature, "a dialect of the ancient Hebrew" to describe "the Western or Palestinian Aramaic", I am willing not to bust his chops about it. He was a learned man in Hebraics, and in the knowledge of the Jews. I would tend to agree with you that it was more than a dialect, and a distinct language. It was, though, closely related to the Hebrew, being one of the Semitic language group, along with Assyrian, Arabic, etc. The later (from the time of Ezra?) Hebrew script was in the Aramean alphabet. But I do think you are right, it was another language, albeit close to the Hebrew. To me this is a minor point in this discussion.

    When you say in post #23,

    If Aramaic was (and it was and is and always has been) a foreign tongue, you could substitute Aramaic for Greek [in this] quote — "A Jewish Messiah Who would urge His claim upon Israel in Greek, seems almost a contradiction in terms" — and it would be ridiculous, right? So Edersheim has to make Aramaic a form of Hebrew.​

    A couple of comments on this. First, we're talking about Jesus' using the Greek and not the Aramaic. The Aramaic increasingly became the language is Israel after the Babylonian exile. When Ezra and Nehemiah read from the book of the law of Moses to the assembled people of Israel, they translated it from the Hebrew into the Aramaic (Nehemiah 8) so they could understand it. It seems from that time the Aramaic alphabet was also used when writing the actual Hebrew, which is the square lettering used even to this day in modern Hebrew. So this was not a "foreign language" to the Jewish people, neither then nor in Christ's time, hundreds of years later. It was the language of the people. But the language of the Scriptures, and of the synagogues, and of the temple, was Hebrew. When the Scriptures were read in the synagogues, they were "targumed" (translated) into the Aramaic so the people could understand. Aramaic was not a foreign language to the Jewish people of those days when Christ walked among them. But Greek was! Although they spoke it — for it was the language of commerce, and of the occupying Roman forces, the lingua franca of the Roman empire — it was the language of the enemy, the oppressors, and not the language of Israel.

    Second, you impugn Edersheim's motives and scholarship, over his use of nomenclature. This is not godly.

    I do use the Independent Fundamentalist Baptist scholarship a good bit when it comes to the Scriptures, seeing it is superior to much of what comes forth from the general evangelical community, including the Reformed. Do the IFBs err when it comes to their view of Calvinism? Indeed they do, and their teachings in this area must be fought as a perversion of the gospel. But we smart Presbyterian and Reformed folks have spawned (or furthered) heresies and aberrant doctrines of our own, to wit, FV, NPP, and "Theonomy" (sorry folks, about this latter, but more on that shortly).

    The IFBs are genuine brothers and sisters (for the most part), and if one does not identify them with the bizarre and extreme among them, they are generally godly and kindhearted folks. It is a wicked bigotry to demean and hold in contempt those whom Christ has redeemed — has died for! — just because they err in some points, and because their church culture differs from ours.

    Ken, I'm not in the Baptist camp, although I am a lover of Baptists, for I am indebted to them for many things. It was in a Reformed Baptist church I first learned of the Doctrines of Grace, and the 1689 was the first Reformed confession I came into contact with (the 3FU the second, the WCF the third). The people there nurtured me during a difficult period in my life. It was a RB preacher who opened the heavens for me inaugurating a new work of grace in my heart (that was Al Martin, used by the Holy Spirit). The RBs are dear to me, and I have many friends yet among them.

    When I go after the antipaedobaptist teachings, however, I do not let my love deter me from addressing that error.

    Tim, I hope we have come to some closure on the dialect issue. You are really not wrong in what you say about it.

  27. TimV

    TimV Puritanboard Botanist

    I didn't say anything at all about his motives!! And I can criticize his scholarship all I want, as long as I have good reason. And criticizing his scholarship is a whole lot more common among historians than you might think.

    Sorry, but there's no difference. If he says

    One can twist and turn, but Aramaic is every bit as foreign to Hebrew as Greek. Many people spoke Aramaic, many people spoke Greek. The fact that Aramaic is closer to Hebrew than Greek is like saying Swedish is a dialect of English since Swedish is very closely related to English (it is) and Chinese is not close to English one can call Swedish a dialect of English. It makes no sense, just like it made no sense for Edersheim to call Aramaic a dialect of Hebrew. It is a false statement, and it doesn't make me ungodly to point it out.
  28. Jerusalem Blade

    Jerusalem Blade Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    "...Aramaic is every bit as foreign to Hebrew as Greek."​

    Not really, as it is from the same Semitic language group, but that's beside the point. The point is, Aramaic was not foreign to the Jewish people. It was not a foreign language to them, as Greek was.
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2008
  29. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    This seems apparently obvious to the casual observer. I'm actually shocked that this discussion is still ongoing and don't know how this point is being missed. Aramaic was the language of the common people.

    It is well documented in the Jewish traditions that Rabbis would read the Hebrew in the Synagogue and then targum (explain) the Scriptures in the common tongue. In fact, one can note some targumin by the Apostles in their Epistles in the way they quote the Scriptures.

    It's not an aversion to any language than the Hebrew that is at the heart of this issue but whether or not the Synagogues in Palestine would have scrolls in the Greek language, whether the Rabbis would then read from the Greek, and then targum the Greek to people who spoke Aramaic.

    If we can avoid getting distracted by the pretty ponies then we might remain focused on the issue here.
  30. TimV

    TimV Puritanboard Botanist

    Steve, you are just wrong on this. It depended entirely on where the Jewish people were living. Egyptian Jews from the third century BC spoke Greek, and no one spoke Aramaic except recent immigrants. Philo didn't speak either Aramaic or Hebrew. And the Gospel came to them in Greek, and the sermons were in Greek. And in some Palestinian areas it was the same.

    And in the West as well. There is about Zero chance that Paul grew up having anything Targumed to his community in Tarsus in Aramaic. They were taught in Hebrew and Greek, and read the Bible in Greek. And the Gospel was brought to them in Greek.

    I'm not sure what a pretty pony is, but the question of the thread was whether or not Christ read Greek from scrolls in Synagogue. The consensus is that the scrolls were normally read in Hebrew, then translated, when necessary. Most of us can agree up to this point. But some here have a philosophical objection to the historical use of, and even to the historical existence of, the Septuagint, and this is manifesting itself.
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