REBOOTING THE BIBLE, PARTS ONE AND TWO, explore the “Battle for the Bible” – which version of the Bible should the Church utilize? It was debated in the second, third, and fourth centuries by the Church Patriarchs. It is still an issue today. The Septuagint (Greek-LXX) and Masoretic (Hebrew Text-MT) have both been translated in English and allow us today to compare the translation accomplished in Alexandria Egypt, 280 years before the birth of Christ, with the conventional translation of the Old Testament created by the rabbinical school at Jamnia (Palestine) 400 years after the LXX.
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“I have always known rabbinic sources 1900 years ago redacted the Hebrew texts to point away from Yeshua (Jesus). This has been documented by various Messianic apologists. In his book, Douglas Woodward provides an in-depth analysis of the what and why of the changes made by early rabbinic sources at the end of the first century A.D.”
“Indeed, there is much that supports Doug’s accurate thesis of deliberate rabbinic corruption of certain texts to point Jews away from accepting the Messiahship of Yeshua after A.D. 70, at the beginning in the Yavne (יַבְנֶה Jamnia) era.”
THE DEBATE BEGAN WITH AUGUSTINE AND JEROME AT THE END OF THE FOURTH CENTURY. LETTERS WERE EXCHANGED AND THE ARGUMENT WOULD CONTINUE FOR CENTURIES. Here is what Augustine wrote to Jerome (author of the Vulgate translation completed in AD 395):
… I beseech you not to devote your labour to the work of translating into Latin the sacred canonical books, unless you follow the method in which you have translated Job, viz. with the addition of notes, to let it be seen plainly what differences there are between this version of yours and that of the Septuagint, whose authority is worthy of highest esteem.
For my own part, I cannot sufficiently express my wonder that anything should at this date be found in the Hebrew manuscripts which escaped so many translators perfectly acquainted with the language. I say nothing of the Seventy, regarding whose harmony in mind and spirit, surpassing that which is found in even one man, I dare not in any way pronounce a decided opinion, except that in my judgment, beyond question, very high authority must in this work of translation be conceded to them.
I am more perplexed by those translators who, though enjoying the advantage of labouring after the Seventy had completed their work, and although well acquainted, as it is reported, with the force of Hebrew words and phrases, and with Hebrew syntax, have not only failed to agree among themselves, but have left many things which, even after so long a time, still remain to be discovered and brought to light. Now these things were either obscure or plain: if they were obscure, it is believed that you are as likely to have been mistaken as the others; if they were plain, it is not believed that they [the Seventy] could possibly have been mistaken.
The position that Augustine settled on was that both versions would be useful for understanding the Word of God. The Septuagint was inspired and could be viewed as writings equivalent to the prophets. Jerome insisted on using the Hebrew writings of the rabbis, a Hebrew version that was corrupted by them to obscure that Jesus was the Messiah.
The quotes are from The Letters of Augustine (No. 28, 71, 82) and the Letters of Jerome (No. 112) in A Select Library of Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church, Translated into English with Prolegomena and Explanatory Notes under the Editorial Supervision of Henry Wace and Philip Schaff. (Oxford: Parker; New York: Christian Literature Co., 1890-1900).