This article will address the arguments made by Floyd Nolen Jones in his article entitled, “The Septuagint; A Critical Analysis.” In his article, he attacks the credibility of the Septuagint. This article will rebut his accusations and defend the Brenton's edition of the Septuagint. Floyd has four chapters in his article, and each of these four chapters will be addressed.
The Septuagint I will be quoting from in this article is "The Septuagint with Apocrypha" Brenton's edition (Sir Lancelot C.L. Brenton), by Hendrickson Publishers. Originally published by Samuel Bagster & Sons, Ltd., London, 1851.
In Chapter One, Floyd Nolen Jones engages in the “Straw Man” method of argumentation, and he is very good at it. A “Straw” Man” argument does the following. Instead of dealing with the actual topic at hand (the Septuagint itself), he deals with the opinions of what others say about this topic (opinions of the Septuagint). Once he attacks these opinions successfully, he assumes the original topic has been refuted. This is a fallacy because it does not deal with the Septuagint itself, but only with the “theories” and “opinions” that others say about the Septuagint.
For example, Floyd states, “In perusing the literature, the typical definition offered for the Septuagint is that it was an "authorized" Greek translation of the Old Testament prepared in Alexandria, Egypt around 285-250 B.C. The enterprise is said to have been accomplished by 72 Jewish scholars at the request of Ptolemy II Philadelphus or possibly begun during the reign of his father, Ptolemy Soter.”
Then he goes on to rebut this “theory” of “when” the Septuagint was translated and by “whom” it was translated by. And he assumes that by rebutting these speculations, that the Septuagint is worthless! Dear reader, let me ask you some questions. Do you consider the book of Hebrews a part of scripture? Well, there has been many “theories” of “when” this book was written, and by “whom” it was written by. Some say it was written by a Gentile, others a Jew. Some claim it was written by Paul, others by Luke, Barnabas, Silas, and Apollos. Some claim it was written in the early 60'sAD, others in the late 90'sAD.
The fact is the book of Hebrews itself does not state when or by whom it was written. Does this mean that the book of Hebrews is not inspired by God? No, of course not. Why doesn't the book of Hebrews state when and by whom it was written by? Because it is not important! What is important? Is this scripture inspired by God or not!
Likewise, the Septuagint itself does not state when or by whom it was written. Does this mean that the Septuagint is not inspired by God? No, of course not. Again, what is important? Again, is this scripture is inspired by God or not. The way to test it, to see if it is of God or not, is to examine the Septuagint itself! Not the opinions surrounding the Septuagint.
If somebody claimed the book of Hebrews was written by Paul, and somebody successfully proved that it was not written by Paul, does this mean the book of Hebrews is not the inspired Word of God? No. All it means is that someone rebutted an opinion about the book of Hebrews. Likewise, if somebody claimed the Septuagint was written by 72 Jewish Scholars in Egypt around 285 BC, and it was proven that it was not, does this mean the Septuagint is not the inspired Word of God? No. Rebutting opinions of the scripture is not the same as rebutting scripture itself.
Floyd says, “The history of the origin of the Septuagint is embellished with many diverse fables, hence its actual derivation is still being debated.”I agree with his statement. But I must ask, why is he discussing these “fables”? Why does he spend so much time rebutting opinions of the Septuagint, instead of going to the Septuagint itself?
My point is the following. It is meaningless to speculate about the origin of the Septuagint, or when it was written, or by whom it was written. Most scriptures do not mention these facts anyway. The books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, and many others, do not state when they were written, where they were written, or by whom they were written. Why? Because it has no bearing whatsoever on the authenticity of scripture. What is important is what is written in the scripture; not what others speculate about the scripture.
Floyd says, “Others speculate that the LXX was primarily prepared for the benefit of a large population of Greek-speaking Jews living in and around Alexandria, Egypt.”Again, he is dealing with “speculations,” and not the Septuagint itself.
Floyd says, “Some have suggested that Philo is possibly the author of The letter of Aristeas.”Why argue what others “suggested”? Most of his arguments, throughout his article, deal with these speculations, and not the Septuagint itself.
Under the sub-heading: Discordant Ages Of The Patriarchs In The LXX:
In Chapter one, Floyd does speak of the discrepancies between the Masoretic Hebrew text and the Septuagint text, as far the length of years that some Patriarchs lived. However, he has a pre-conceived idea that, since the Masoretic Hebrew text is more accurate, that the Septuagint must be wrong. He does not consider the possibility that the Septuagint could be correct, and the Masoretic Hebrew incorrect.
One of the reasons he gives for why the Septuagint is wrong is because of the age of Methuselah. The Septuagint records that he was 167 at the birth of Lamech (Genesis 5:25), while the Masoretic Hebrew reads 187. Here is his reasoning:
“The majority of LXX manuscripts give 167 as the age of Methuselah at the birth of his son, Lamech (the Masoretic Hebrew reads 187 - Gen. 5:25). However, if Methuselah were 167 at the birth of Lamech, Lamech 188 at the birth of Noah, and Noah 600 at the Flood (as recorded in the LXX), Methuselah would have been 955 at the date of the Flood. Since he lived to be 969 (the life span given in both), the LXX becomes entangled in the absurdity of making Methuselah survive the Flood by 14 years! Yet Genesis 7-10 and II Peter 3:20 are adamant in proclaiming that only Noah, his three sons and all four of their wives; that is, only 8 souls survived the Deluge.”
It "seems" like a good argument! The only thing wrong with it is that Floyd is lying as to what the Brenton's edition of the Septuagint states! Both the Septuagint and Masoretic texts state that Methuselah died at 969 years of age; the Septuagint does not say 955 years old. Both manuscripts are in harmony with each other on this point. Floyd says the Septuagint records Methuselah being 167 at the birth of Lamech, Lamech being 188 at the birth of Noah, and Noah 600 at the Flood, which totals 955! Thus, he claims the Septuagint says Methuselah was 955 years old when he died. This is a lie!
In the Brenton's edition of the Septuagint, even though it does record that Methuselah was 167 at the birth of Lamech (Genesis 5:25), it records Lamech being 802 years at the birth of Noah (Genesis 5:26), and not 188 as Floyd claims it says. Therefore, 167 + 802 = 969 years old! Exactly what it's supposed to be. As a matter of fact, the Septuagint specifically states that Methuselah lived to be 969 years old in Genesis 5:27!!!
Therefore, Floyd's claim that the Septuagint records Methuselah being 955 is a blatant lie! The Septuagint says no such thing. Dear reader, you must not believe everything you read from those who would attack the Word of God. Please test these people, and read the Septuagint for yourself to see if it really says what these people claim it says.
After Floyd's blatant falsehood, in the very next paragraph he speculates as to why Methuselah's age is different in the Septuagint (which it is not); What is his claim? Because it is “a philosophy which embraced the basic precepts of evolution. That is, they were primeval evolutionists.”So, here is Floyd accusing the writers of the Septuagint of being evolutionists! He comes to this conclusion on nothing more than his claim that the Septuagint says Methuselah lived to be 955! Yet, as is easily verified, the Septuagint says no such thing! The Septuagint says Methuselah lived to be 969 years old, just like the Masoretic Hebrew text states.
Not only is Floyd debating opinions of others about who wrote the Septuagint, but now he is digressing into his own opinions (based on a lie to begin with) about those "mystery" writers being evolutionists! Dear reader, God does not respect opinions and lies, but Truth.
So, since Chapter One mostly deals with people's “opinions” about the Septuagint, and misrepresentations about the Septuagint, I shall move on to Chapter 2.
In Chapter Two, Floyd starts by criticizing Origen Adamantius, who compiled an Old Testament "Bible" called the Hexapla (c.245 A.D.). It was, in effect, a parallel Bible comprising six columns. Here is his quote:
“When researching materials relevant to the Septuagint, a typical statement encountered by the inquirer is that it was "the" Bible of the early Christians. The problem with this and many similar declarations is that most scholars consider that Origen was a Christian, but he was not. Neither was Eusebius nor many other of the so-called early Church "Fathers". Their beliefs relevant to the deity of Christ Jesus reveal that they were merely religious Gnostics, steeped in pagan Greek philosophy. Thus, a significant number of the people about whom such statements are directed were not actually Christian in the true sense of having been born again.”
Well, here we go back to the “Straw Man” method of argumentation again! I guess Floyd did not want to lie too much about what the Septuagint says (somebody might actually take the time to verify his false claims).
So, here he is arguing about somebody's opinion that the Septuagint was the bible of the early Christians! My question is, So What?! What does it matter? First of all, “bibles” did not come into existence until the 15th century. Before then, the “church” kept most of scripture. Believers did not have easy access to scripture. The 66 books of scripture were not compiled into “one” book back then, like we have today. Christians usually memorized certain books of scripture, and shared that with others, because they would have been killed if caught carrying scripture with them. Again, this is totally irrelevant to whether or not the Septuagint is the Word of God or not.
Floyd also attacks many “church fathers” and claims they were Gnostics, not Christians. Tell me, dear reader, what does this have to do with whether or not the Septuagint is the Word of God? These church fathers did not write the Septuagint. Floyd is avoiding the Septuagint itself, and changing the subject by attacking people he never knew! By attacking people's opinions about bibles!
Again, Floyd makes this statement, “As mentioned previously, nearly all scholars believe that the fifth column of Origen's Hexapla is Origen's revision of a B.C. Septuagint. Nevertheless, as noted in the previous heading, some dissenters believe that the so called LXX in fact originates with Origen's fifth column - that the 5th column is based on and constructed from the versions in the other columns - and that Origen also had a N.T. at his side to further assist him.”
So what?! Floyd is wasting so much time in debating people's beliefs and opinions about the origin of the Septuagint, perhaps people might start believing the Septuagint itself is shrouded in mystery! But, remember, it is not the Septuagint that Floyd is talking about, he is only dealing in speculations, opinion, and fables about the Septuagint. In truth, he is avoiding the Septuagint, and depending upon a Straw Man to attack God's Word.
He already tried attacking the Septuagint itself in Chapter One, and this was a failure, because he blatantly lied about what the Septuagint actually says. The only people who might believe what Floyd says are those who won't take the time to verify his claims for themselves.
Under the sub-heading: Is The Apocrypha The Clue To The Truth Regarding The Septuagint?
Floyd states, “the Apocrypha has always been "part and parcel" of the Septuagint…”This is not true. The books of the Apocrypha are “appended” to the Septuagint. They are not mixed in with the Septuagint. In the Brenton's edition, the Septuagint is first, and after the Septuagint is finished, there are a few pages of separation and the Apocrypha begins. The page numbers begin at “1” again with the Apocrypha. It is not a continuation of the Septuagint, but it is added for historical purposes, to show the history during the 400 years between the last book of the Old Testament and the beginning of Christ's ministry.
And he fails to mention (or does he know) that the Apocrypha was also "appended" to the original 1611 King James Version (which is a translation of the Masoretic text). With his attempted taint of the Septuagint by "part and parceling" it with the Apocrypha, he also taints the King James.
Floyd ends Chapter Two with the following statement, “Similarly, the Septuagint manuscripts exhibit considerable significant differences among themselves and disagree with the Masoretic Hebrew Text in many places. Both cannot be correct. As the Masoretic Hebrew text is the inerrant, infallible Word of God - the Septuagint should be seen as spurious and rejected.”
So far, Floyd has not shown any evidence of how or where “the Septuagint manuscripts exhibit considerable significant differences among themselves.” He hardly touched upon what the Septuagint actually says! So how can he claim the Septuagint contradicts itself? This is his opinion! This is the only thing he has discussed in these two chapters, opinions!
It is true that the Septuagint differs from the Masoretic Hebrew in many places, and therefore both cannot be correct. He claims that we should reject the Septuagint because it contradicts the Masoretic Text. But he never suggests that we should reject the Masoretic text because it differs from the Septuagint, since there is very strong evidence that the Masoretic Hebrew is a corrupted text, as many scholars have pointed out in their many books (which he never mentioned in this article).
Well, let's proceed to Chapter Three, and hope he finally confronts the Septuagint on its own ground.
In Chapter Three, Floyd actually has a chart, comparing the Masoretic Hebrew with the Septuagint text, as well as the New Testament text. Finally! Now we are getting down to the real issue. Was the New Testament quoted from the Masoretic Hebrew text, or from the Septuagint text? Let's find out.
There are 85 passages he quotes. Many of these New Testament verses do agree with the Septuagint! This should be evidence in favor of the Septuagint, but Floyd dismisses the harmony of the Septuagint with a shrug of his shoulders. Out of the 85 New Testament passages that are in harmony with the Septuagint, Floyd lists some that are different than one another. Let us take a look at the Septuagint passages that apparently do not agree with the New Testament passages.
Hebrews 1:7 is a quote from Psalm 104:4 (Psalm 103:4 in the Septuagint). Floyd has Hebrews 1:7 agreeing with the Masoretic Hebrew text:
Hebrews 1:7 and Psalm 104:4, "Who maketh his angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire."Yet, Floyd claims the Septuagint says something completely different in the Psalms verse:
Psalm 103:4, "Who maketh winds his messengers, and flaming fire his ministers."But does the Septuagint really say this? Here is what it really says:
Psalm 103:4, "Who makes his angels spirits; and his ministers a flaming fire."
What deception! The Septuagint does not say what Floyd claims it says; it reads identical to the New Testament passage!
Acts 4:26 is a quotation of Psalm 2:2. Here is how the New Testament passage reads:
Acts 4:26, "The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ."
Floyd claims that both the Masoretic Hebrew and the Septuagint have the word "anointed" where "Christ" appears in the above passage. He claims the Septuagint reads like this:
Psalm 2:2, "The kings of the earth stood up and the rulers assembled together against the Lord and his Anointed."Yes, it is true that the title "Christ" does not appear in the Masoretic Hebrew, BUT, does it appear in the Septuagint? Let's find out…
Psalm 2:2, "The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers gathered themselves together against the Lord, and against his Christ."
Yes!!! As a matter of fact, the title "Christ" appears three times in the Septuagint! The title "Christ" never appears in the Masoretic Hebrew texts. Why does Floyd constantly misquote the Septuagint? Can it be because he must lie in order to discredit the Septuagint? Is it because he cannot accept the fact that the New Testament writers did, indeed, quote from the Septuagint?
Romans 8:36 is quoting Psalm 44:22 (Psalm 43:22 in the Septuagint). Floyd has Romans 8:36 agreeing with the Masoretic Hebrew:Romans 8:36 and Psalm 44:22, "...we are counted as sheep for the slaughter."But Floyd has the Septuagint reading differently in the Psalms verse:
Psalm 43:22, "...and accounted as sheep for the slaughter."But is this really what the Septuagint reads? Let's see.
Psalm 43:22, "...we are counted as sheep for the slaughter."
The Septuagint reads exactly, word for word, as the New Testament passage. How many times must Floyd lie about the Septuagint's reading?
Romans 4:17 is a quotation of Genesis 17:5.
Romans 4:17, "I have made thee a father of many nations.”The Masoretic Hebrew text only says, “a father of many nations.”
But Floyd claims the Septuagint reads slightly different:
Genesis 17:5, “I have made thee the father of many nations.”Is this true? No! Again, Floyd must change the Word of God in order to deceive his readers into thinking the Septuagint is false. Here is what the Septuagint reads:
Genesis 17:5, “I have made thee a father of many nations.”Exactly, word for word, as Romans 4:17 states. It is the Masoretic Hebrew text, in this case, which leaves out the phrase, “I have made thee…” The Septuagint is correct, the Masoretic Hebrew wrong.
John 2:17 is a quotation of Psalm 69:9 (Psalm 68:9 in the Septuagint). Floyd has John 2:17 agreeing with the Masoretic Hebrew as follows:John 2:17 and Psalm 69:9, "...the zeal of thine house.."
But he claims the Septuagint reads as follows:
Psalms 68:9, "...the zeal for thine house.."
Is this accurate? NO!!! By reading Psalms 68:9 for yourself in the Septuagint, you will see it reads exactly, word for word, as John 2:17 does.
Psalms 68:9, "...the zeal of thine house.."
Matthew 22:44 is a quotation of Psalm 110:1. Floyd has Matthew 22:44 agreeing with the Masoretic Hebrew, while the Septuagint does not. He claims that the Septuagint reads as follows:
Psalms 110:1, "The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool."
The reason this does not agree with the New Testament passage is because the word "thou" is left out after the word "sit." However, the reason this word is left out is because Floyd left it out! In the Septuagint, this passage is identical, word for word, to Matthew 22:44! See for yourself:
Psalms 110:1, "The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool."
SevenHebrews 10:30 is a quote from Deuteronomy 32:36. Floyd has both Hebrews 10:30 and the Masoretic Hebrew reading the same:
Hebrews 10:30 and Deuteronomy 32:36, “The Lord shall judge his people.”Whereas, the Septuagint, he claims, reads as follows:
Deuteronomy 32:36, “The Lord will judge his people.”
Well, like usual, this is not what the Septuagint says. It reads just like Hebrews 10:30 reads:
Deuteronomy 32:36, “The Lord shall judge his people.”
Floyd claims that these 85 passages are "quotations agreeing verbatim with the Septuagint.” And this is an accurate statement. So, my question is this. If Floyed correctly agrees that these quotations agree with the Septuagint in his own writings, why does he turn around and attack the Septuagint? There are many, many more passages as well that prove that many New Testament quotations are taken directly from the Septuagint, but Floyd refuses to accept even his own proof.
Under the sub-heading: To Defend "Virgin" In Isaiah 7:14
Floyd claims that the Septuagint changes Isaiah 7:14, from the word "virgin" to "young woman.” Well, let's see if this is true:
Isaiah 7:14, "Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive in the womb, and shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Emmanuel."
Whatever “scripture” Floyd is quoting from, it is certainly not the Brenton's edition of the Septuagint. The Septuagint does speak of the virgin birth of Christ. Why must Floyd repeatedly lie about what the Septuagint says?
Floyd starts out by saying, “The LXX was unmistakably the labor of men not possessing that almost superstitious veneration for the letter of Scripture which characterized the Hebrews of Palestine. A Palestinian Jew would never have dared to add, take from, or alter a single letter of the "Original" text.”
He claims that the Septuagint should not be trusted because the Jews would never add, take from, or alter a single letter of the “Original text.”
Well, in truth, the Masoretic Hebrew Text was altered by the Jews. The same Masoretic Hebrew Text that Floyd defends.
Here's the facts. Around the 8th-10th century AD, the Masorites took the liberty within themselves to add vowel signs (points) to the original Hebrew Alphabet (their assigned duty was only to preserve the texts). The original Hebrew alphabet had only 22 letters and had no vowels. This 8th-10th century manuscript is what all modern bibles base their Old Testament translations on.
Now, if one starts taking liberties within himself and says, "Gee, there aren't any vowels in this alphabet. Why don't I start adding these little points in there and I'll re-create something here. I'll just add what God left out. It was a mistake for God to omit vowels in His alphabet, so I must correct His mistake." What has he now done to a language that was perfect at its conception? Can anybody improve on God? Can anybody do better than God Himself?Romans 11:34, "For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor?"By the way, the Septuagint agrees, word for word, with these verses:
1 Corinthians 2:16, "For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ."Isaiah 40:13 (LXX), "Who has known the mind of the Lord? and who has been His counsellor, to instruct Him?"Whereas, the Masoretic text reads:Isaiah 40:13 (KJV), "Who hath directed the Spirit of the LORD, or being his counsellor hath taught him?"If God intended for the Hebrew alphabet to have vowels, He would have added them himself!
We must give Him praise for preserving His Word in the Septuagint, eleven centuries before the Masorites came along!
We are not to tamper with the Word of God or His ordained languages, i.e., Hebrew, Greek, Aramaic, English, etc. We are not to take away or add to God's Word (Deuteronomy 4:2; 12:32, Proverbs 30:6, Jeremiah 26:2, Revelation 22:18-19). But this is what the Masorites blatantly did! There is not one place in the Masoretic Hebrew where they can show that God ever authorized them to change the original language by adding vowel points to it. And by adding the vowels, they changed the words, and by changing the words, they have changed the meaning of these words, and by changing the meaning of words, they have changed the Word of God. And if they have changed the Word of God within the Masoretic Hebrew text, we must take care.
We must all be diligent in these matters concerning His Word, for diligence is one of the attributes which separate the wheat from the chaff. Dear Lord, let us all be diligent to show ourselves approved unto You, Amen.
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