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Dead Sea Scrolls
The "Translation of the Seventy" (from the Greek Ἡ μετάφρασις τῶν Ἑβδομήκοντα), better known as the '''Septuagint''' (a name derived from the Latin word for ''septuaginta'' or "seventy", also referred to as by the Roman numeral for seventy, '''LXX''') originally referred to a 3rd century B.C. translation of the [[Pentateuch]] into [[Koine Greek]]. By the time of [[Justin Martyr]] (+ c. 160), the term has come to refer to the other scriptural and related texts translated from Hebrew and Aramaic into Greek in the next century. It is the basis of the canonical [[Old Testament]] of the [[Orthodox Church]].
The differences with Rome are fairly small and have never been a subject of much contention between the Orthodox and that communion. The canonical lists are essentially the same in content (some of the names are different) but for the following items: The Latin canon does not include [[I Esdras]] (though it uses that name for what the Orthodox call [[II Esdras]]); there are only 150 [[Psalms]] in the Latin canon, while the LXX has 151 (and the Psalms are numbered and divided differently between the two canons, because the modern Latin canon is based on the Hebrew Masoretic Text, though the [[Vulgate]] used the Septuagintal Psalm numbering); the [[Epistle of Jeremiah]] is a separate book in the LXX, while it is included as part of Baruch for the Latins; and the Latins do not include either [[III Maccabees|III]] or [[IV Maccabees]]. Traditionally, Roman Catholics used the numbering of the Latin Vulgate, which follows the Septuagint. However, since the Second Vatican Council, Roman Catholic publications, including Catholic Bibles and liturgical texts, have used the numbering found in the Masoretic Text.
The differences with the Protestant canon are based on the 16th century misunderstanding of Martin Luther's opinions about the Old Testament. His argument was that St [[Jerome]] distinguished the Hebrew Old Testament from the Greek Old Testament and that only the texts in Hebrew should be considered canonical, while the others may be good to read. When he was translating the Old Testament into German, he mistakenly believed that used the oldest source for common Hebrew text available at the Old Testament would be in Hebrewtime, so he found and used the so-called Masoretic Text (MT), which contains a 9th century Jewish smaller canon compiled largely in reaction to Christian claims that the Old Testament Scriptures belonged to and is based on another manuscript tradition from the ChurchLXX. The Other reformers followed suit, so the MT is thus also the basis for the Old Testament text of the 17th century Authorized Version in English (the "King James Version"). There are multiple differences between the LXX and MT. The MT lacks the following texts: [[I Esdras]], the portion of [[II Esdras]] (which the MT simply calls "Ezra") called the "[[Prayer of Manasseh]]," [[Tobit]], [[Judith]], portions of [[Book of Esther|Esther]], [[Wisdom of Solomon]], [[Wisdom of Sirach]] (Ecclesiasticus), [[Baruch]], the [[Epistle of Jeremiah]], the so-called "additions to Daniel" (The [[Prayer of the Three Holy Children|Song of the Three Children]], [[Susanna (Book of Daniel)|Susanna]], and [[Bel and the Dragon]]), the 151st Psalm, and all four Maccabees books. The Psalms are also numbered and divided up differently.
== Variations with the Masoretic Text (MT) ==
There are multiple internal variations between the LXX and the MT. The texts read differently in many places, giving a much more [[Christology|Christological]] tone to the LXX which was deliberately avoided when the Masoretes were putting together their anti-Christian canon. These differences in wording are the evidence that the Apostles were using the LXX. Here follow several examples of radical differences in wording:
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The ''[[Orthodox Study Bible]]'' was released in early 2008 with a new translation of the Septuagint based on the Greek text of Alfred Rahlfs ''Septuaginta'', and with reference to the Brenton translation. Thomas Nelson Publishers granted use of the New King James Version text in the places where the translation of the LXX would match that of the Hebrew Masoretic text. This edition includes the New Testament as well, which also uses the New King James Version. It also includes extensive commentary from an Eastern Orthodox perspective.<ref></ref>
''The Eastern / Greek Orthodox Bible'' (EOB) is an extensive revision and correction of Brenton’s translation. Its language and syntax have been modernized and simplified. It also includes extensive introductory material and footnotes featuring significant inter-LXX and LXX/MT variants.
''The New English Translation of the Septuagint and the Other Greek Translations Traditionally Included Under that Title'' (NETS), published in 2007 (with corrections and revised emendations issued in 2009and 2014), is a major scholarly translation based on the critical texts available at the time from Gottingen and Rahlfs semi-critical ''Septuaginta''.
Kevin Mayhew Publishers has printed the translation by Peter King, SJ, in four volumes (''The Pentateuch'' 2010, ''The Historical Books'' 2012, ''The Wisdom Literature'' 2008, and ''The Prophets'' 2013), which are now available (along with King's translation of the New Testament) as ''The Bible''. King's work, however, is difficult to obtain in the US.
With the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in the mid twentieth century many examples have been recovered of the Old Testament in Hebrew from the time of Christ and the Holy Apostles and earlier. Scholarship during the past half century based upon these Dead Sea discoveries has revealed a close agreement between the LXX and pre-Masoretic Hebrew texts. In a review of some of this scholarship, Hershal Shanks<ref> Hershal Shanks, ''4QSama - The Difficult Life of a Dead Sea Scroll'', Biblical Archaeology Review, Vol 33 No 3, May/June 2007, pp66-70.</ref> notes that ''”…many Hebrew texts [are available] that were the base text for Septuagintal translations…”''. Further he notes that what ''”…texts like 4QSama show is that the Septuagintal translations are really quite reliable”'' and ''”…gives new authority to the Greek translations against the Masoretic text”''. Quoting Frank Moore Cross (a co-author of the book under review), Hershal continues ''”We could scarcely hope to find closer agreement between the Old Greek [Septuagintal] tradition and 4QSama than actually is found in our fragments”''.
The scholarship based upon However, Emanuel Tov <ref>Tov, Emanuel. Textual Criticism of the new information provided in Hebrew Bible. 2nd Rev. Ed. Fortress Press: Minneapolis, 2001., 114-117.</ref> summarizes the contents of the Dead Sea Scroll thus supports the millennial old tradition on use of Scrolls biblical manuscripts with the following percentage breakdown: * Qumran-specific texts – 20%* Proto-Masoretic texts – 35%* Proto-Samaritan texts – 5%* Proto-Septuagint by the Orthodox Church.texts – 5%* Non-Aligned texts – 35%
== External links ==
* [ Departing Horeb: The Masoretic Hebrew vs the LXX Part 1] by Eric Jobe. A series of articles on the Masoretic Text and Septuagint from a scholarly perspective. [ Part 2], [ Part 3], [ A Clarification]
* [ The Orthodox Study Bible page] - contains the Septuagint Old Testament using the NKJV as a base text
* [ The Septuagint Online] - Compiled by Joel Kalvesmaki, Editor in Byzantine Studies at Dumbarton Oaks and convert to Orthodoxy 1993.
==See also==
*[[Aristobulus of Paneas]], the earliest write writer to give an account of the Septuagint version.
*[[Deuterocanon]] (Apocrypha)

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