The Dead Sea Scrolls and Septuagint (LXX) Bibles.
By Cody Stewart
San Diego, California
July 9, 2012 3:01am CST
First and most importantly, no Bible translation is error free. If it has one error, it is not the word of YAHVAH, period. The Dead Sea Scrolls,(DSS): Some scholars believe that the religious sect called the Esseens, were responsible for these manuscripts,(MSS). They also believe that they were heretics because of some of their beliefs. They copied these DSS from a more ancient source, so these scholars say. Since we have them today, a few things are actually known about them. 1: They are in Hebrew, and, 2: they were copied from older versions. It is also believed that they are 1000 years older than MSS that were known about before 1947 A.D. Seeing that this is the case, really, very little is known about them. One thing is for sure, the people (men,women, children?) who wrote them were gone from this community by 72 A.D. This means that the scrolls were placed in the caves before then. Could they have been placed in the caves after 72 A.D.? Yes. If this was the case, it would mean that they left the area with their scrolls, and when the Roman army left, they came back and later hid the MSS. I see this as very doubtful. Jerusalem, being only 15 miles from these caves, was completely destroyed. The Romans turned Israel on its head from north to south, and the Qumran community was not immune. These people were either killed, taken prisoner, or sent somewhere else. Their MSS stayed in those caves for nearly 1,880 years without being disturbed. There is nothing written about them before 1947 A.D. because nobody knew they existed. About the Septuagint, (LXX): It is stated by scholars that this MSS was written by 70-72 "Jewish" men near 300 B.C. These men were called to Alexandria Egypt, by Ptolemy, to make a Greek translation of the Hebrew text for those non-Hebrew speaking Jews who lived there. Since Greek was the common language at the time, up until at least 200 A.D. (when Latin took its place), this would have been fine. It is said that 6 men from each of the 12 tribes were chosen for this task, and completed it in record time. Some say that there are only 5 extra biblical witnesses to this translation. There is the letter of Ariteas, Eusebius, Philo, Rylands #458, and Origens Hexapla. Some say that the letter of Ariteas was actually written by Philo. He lived on the A.D. side, whereas Ariteas lived on the B.C. side. Also, about this event, some scholars believe that this event never took place, and that the Septuagint is just a made up document. They even go as far as saying that Origen made this document in his Hexapla in the second column. Most, if not all, scholars believe that he had the ability to create a Greek translation of the O.T. Eusebius too quoted from the LXX. (Psudopigrapha.) Philo too quoted from this fabled document. The only "real" known proof of this document, these scholars say, is the Ryland papyrus #458. In it, only Deuteronomy chapters 23-28 remain. Many more scholars say that there is no written evidence from the Jewish community stating that the LXX is a real document. They continue with the theory that if the LXX was completed by 250 B.C. the 70-72 "Jewish" men added the Apocrypha before they were penned,or penned by them. Worse yet, they claim that Origen added them. Well, if these things were true, then we have the proof we need to not trust the LXX. But, if these claims were ill founded... The LXX was written before 68 A.D. It actually was written no earlier than 100 B.C. At this time Israel, spoke Greek, and Egypt as well but 100 years earlier. Was the translation done in 72 days? It would have been impossible due to the fact that in 280 B.C. none of the events in 1st Maccabees had transpired. Thus, the translation would have been completed by 100 B.C. There is no way that the LXX was finished after 68 A.D. It is possible that the document was completed by 50 A.D. But since Yashua quoted from it, the completion date moves back to before he was born. It took many years to copy the entire O.T. And after that, it had to be accepted by the people. Another problem posed by some scholars is, "why didnt the Jews write about the LXX?" Yashua was a Jew. He of course is the best source. Now, about the 5 witnesses to the LXX. Were there only 5? Yashua quoted from it, Matt 15:8,9; 21:16; 26:38--Mark 10:45. It is also known that Ignatius and Polycarp both quoted from it in their letters. Now we have 8 witnesses. The 9th one is the book of Hebrews. There are 68 places in the LXX that line up exactly with the DSS. Of these 68, 48 of them are completely different from the Masoretic Text, (MT). There are 7 additions in the LXX and DSS MSS (that are the same in both) that are not in the MT. 3 times words that are in the MT, are not in the DSS or LXX, in the same passages. If Origen wrote the LXX, that must mean he had access to the DSS. This would have been impossible. Nobody had access to them after 72 A.D. This means that the DSS and the LXX were written about the same time. More than likely the DSS were written shortly after the LXX. Plus,it is impossible for the DSS and the LXX to have 48 renderings that are exactly the same, and at the same time be completely different from the MT, unless the LXX existed before 200 A.D.
15 Jul 12
Thanks for the clarification! I think both are useful to serious students of the Bible or those that want to do more research. I remember reading that DSS dated about the second century BC when compared to the Masoretic text of more than a thousand years later contained only minor spelling differences. I am no student of ancient languages and rely on different English translations to understand God's word. Thanks for posting all the details that you did.
1 person likes this
• United States
11 Jul 12
It's amazing all the confusion we can find about the original transcripts and who wrote them, but that we have the complete translation of the manuscript today, and I believe what we have today is the true Word of Almighty God. Truly miraculous.