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Why has modern scholarship (I suppose "modern" could translate to the last 400 years or so) put so much focus on the Masoretic text and largely ignored the Vulgate and Septuagint? Most modern Catholic translations (besides the Douay-Rheims I suppose) have taken to selectively using the Masoretic text for translation and use the Vulgate/Septuagint only as "secondary" sources. Why, for example, has the Church not done a new English (or any other language) translation of the Latin Vulgate? I think there was a new English translation done of the Septuagint not too long ago but the name of that translation escapes me at the moment. I believe it was done by a rather small translation team.

I think the Masoretic text dates only to the last 1,000 years. I am not sure how the Dead Sea Scrolls differ from the Masoretic text but I thought I read somewhere that the Dead Sea Scrolls are closer to the Septuagint and that the Samaritan Torah is closer to the Septuagint Torah than it is with the Masoretic Torah. I will need to do more research and look into this but does anyone have any further insight into these subjects?
(10-10-2014, 05:26 PM)Sequentia Wrote: [ -> ]Why has modern scholarship (I suppose "modern" could translate to the last 400 years or so) put so much focus on the Masoretic text and largely ignored the Vulgate and Septuagint? Most modern Catholic translations (besides the Douay-Rheims I suppose) have taken to selectively using the Masoretic text for translation and use the Vulgate/Septuagint only as "secondary" sources. Why, for example, has the Church not done a new English (or any other language) translation of the Latin Vulgate? I think there was a new English translation done of the Septuagint not too long ago but the name of that translation escapes me at the moment. I believe it was done by a rather small translation team.

I think the Masoretic text dates only to the last 1,000 years. I am not sure how the Dead Sea Scrolls differ from the Masoretic text but I thought I read somewhere that the Dead Sea Scrolls are closer to the Septuagint and that the Samaritan Torah is closer to the Septuagint Torah than it is with the Masoretic Torah. I will need to do more research and look into this but does anyone have any further insight into these subjects?

The Dead Sea Scrolls don't necessarily agree with the LXX over the MT all the time; sometimes they support the MT against the LXX and sometimes they have different readings altogether. The value of the Dead Sea Scrolls is to help establish that the LXX represents a separate Hebrew textual tradition than that represented by the MT, and that the textual history of the OT is much more complicated than was believed before their discovery. The main mss used for the MT are only about 1000 years old, but the tradition is attested in smaller chunks another 1000 years before that.

The Roman Church seems to have completely capitulated to textual criticism; the Nova Vulgata is just an attempt to represent the critical reconstructions in traditional Vulgate phraseology where possible. An ecclesiastical translation of the traditional Vulgate is not forthcoming, I'm afraid. Interestingly, the Syriac Peshitta (NT is contemporaneous with Vulgate, OT is probably 2nd-century AD) is being translated into English and published by Gorgias Press; a few books have appeared. I don't know what the demand for English-language liturgies in the Syriac Churches is, but it would be nice if they made use of this new translation liturgically.
The Masoretic was written 1000 years after the Septuagint and corrupted by Jews to hide or greatly water down prophecies fulfilled by Jesus Christ.  Not only did they corrupt what they copied, they excluded certain books.  The feast of Hanukkah comes from 1 Maccabees for crying out loud.  New Testament book Hebrews references 2 Maccabees.  But Sirach, Tobit, Baruch, and Judith remained in the canon of the Ethiopian Jews.  The Dead Sea Scrolls were a disaster for the Protestants.  They showed first century Jews accepted the Deuterocanonical books as authentic scripture.  Even the Talmud specifically refers to Sirach as authentic scripture.  The Latin Vulgate edition was affirmed to be beyond reproach by the Council of Trent, and that whosoever should contemn this, let him be an anathema.  THAT is a bugle call for modern scholars who hate medieval ideologues.  And Trent is the only reason we need as Catholics. 
(10-10-2014, 07:28 PM)Landless Laborer Wrote: [ -> ]The Masoretic was written 1000 years after the Septuagint and corrupted by Jews to hide or greatly water down prophecies fulfilled by Jesus Christ.  Not only did they corrupt what they copied, they excluded certain books.  The feast of Hanukkah comes from 1 Maccabees for crying out loud.  New Testament book Hebrews references 2 Maccabees.  But Sirach, Tobit, Baruch, and Judith remained in the canon of the Ethiopian Jews.  The Dead Sea Scrolls were a disaster for the Protestants.  They showed first century Jews accepted the Deuterocanonical books as authentic scripture.  Even the Talmud specifically refers to Sirach as authentic scripture.  The Latin Vulgate edition was affirmed to be beyond reproach by the Council of Trent, and that whosoever should contemn this, let him be an anathema.  THAT is a bugle call for modern scholars who hate medieval ideologues.  And Trent is the only reason we need as Catholics.

Yes I've heard about that as well. Apparently since the Septuagint was considered divinely inspired in the Early Church the Jews abandoned its use. My guess is since the influence of the Roman Empire (wasn't there the sacking of Jerusalem by Rome in 70 AD or was that Masada?), Greek was seen as a language of the Gentiles or Christians and not for Jews, despite the fact that the Septuagint was a translation made for Greek-speaking Jews. My guess is That many Jews spoke Greek in Jesus' time around the Mediterranean at least. Maybe this theory of mine is completely wrong but I would think some of it has basis in fact?

Oddly enough the Septuagint isn't widely studied by Jewish scholars, although I've read that it has begun to catch interest again in Judaica. I would think the vulgate is studied even less by those outside the Church.
(10-10-2014, 09:14 PM)Sequentia Wrote: [ -> ]I would think the vulgate is studied even less by those outside the Church.

It is cited in the apparatus of the critical editions, so anyone doing serious work in text criticism would consult it. But apart from that you are probably right.
A Jewish gentleman told  me that the Septuagint is good when it comes to the Torah proper, but it is deficient when it comes to the prophets, like Isaiah. He went on to claim that Christian understandings of messianic prophecies are rooted in deficient, vague, or overly-interpreted language in the Greek, which strays from the sense of the Hebrew. A good Hebraist, approaching the texts honestly and without the confirmation bias of actively looking for Christ, would not arrive at the Christian interpretation, he said.
(10-10-2014, 09:14 PM)Sequentia Wrote: [ -> ]
(10-10-2014, 07:28 PM)Landless Laborer Wrote: [ -> ]The Masoretic was written 1000 years after the Septuagint and corrupted by Jews to hide or greatly water down prophecies fulfilled by Jesus Christ.  Not only did they corrupt what they copied, they excluded certain books.  The feast of Hanukkah comes from 1 Maccabees for crying out loud.  New Testament book Hebrews references 2 Maccabees.  But Sirach, Tobit, Baruch, and Judith remained in the canon of the Ethiopian Jews.  The Dead Sea Scrolls were a disaster for the Protestants.  They showed first century Jews accepted the Deuterocanonical books as authentic scripture.  Even the Talmud specifically refers to Sirach as authentic scripture.  The Latin Vulgate edition was affirmed to be beyond reproach by the Council of Trent, and that whosoever should contemn this, let him be an anathema.  THAT is a bugle call for modern scholars who hate medieval ideologues.  And Trent is the only reason we need as Catholics.

Yes I've heard about that as well. Apparently since the Septuagint was considered divinely inspired in the Early Church the Jews abandoned its use. My guess is since the influence of the Roman Empire (wasn't there the sacking of Jerusalem by Rome in 70 AD or was that Masada?), Greek was seen as a language of the Gentiles or Christians and not for Jews, despite the fact that the Septuagint was a translation made for Greek-speaking Jews. My guess is That many Jews spoke Greek in Jesus' time around the Mediterranean at least. Maybe this theory of mine is completely wrong but I would think some of it has basis in fact?

Oddly enough the Septuagint isn't widely studied by Jewish scholars, although I've read that it has begun to catch interest again in Judaica. I would think the vulgate is studied even less by those outside the Church.

I don't think language had a thing to do with the post-Incarnation Jewish rejection of the Septuagint. I think they rejected it precisely for the reasons Landless and Cyriacus stated. And Protestants followed along a few hundred years later. The Septuagint simply offers too much support for Christian doctrine in general, and Catholic doctrine in particular, for either post-Temple Jews or Protestants to cope with it, so in spite of the fact that the Septuagint was, as you say, written by Jews and for Jews, it was discarded. But the fact that Our Lord and the Apostles referred to the Septuagint version (including the deutero-canonical books) many, many times is more than good enough for me.

(10-11-2014, 11:23 AM)Vox Clamantis Wrote: [ -> ]I don't think language had a thing to do with the post-Incarnation Jewish rejection of the Septuagint. I think they rejected it precisely for the reasons Landless and Cyriacus stated. And Protestants followed along a few hundred years later. The Septuagint simply offers too much support for Christian doctrine in general, and Catholic doctrine in particular, for either post-Temple Jews or Protestants to cope with it, so in spite of the fact that the Septuagint was, as you say, written by Jews and for Jews, it was discarded. But the fact that Our Lord and the Apostles referred to the Septuagint version (including the deutero-canonical books) many, many times is more than good enough for me.

Precisely. And this is a funny development in Protestantism: the Jews reject the deuterocanonical books more to contrast themselves, to define themselves in opposition to the Church, than anything else.
Then the Protestants go around the Synagogues to see what books they use and adopt their canon.
It really sounds like something out of the three stooges.

Later this obsession with the more “ancient” manuscripts and so on is really a lack of faith in the Jesus living today; so one must go far back in time to rescue a Jesus lost to us, and if we try hard enough maybe we could find some pure text, undefiled by the centuries of “Catholicism”.
I think this is a Protestant anxiety, and we shouldn't feel the need to follow this path.

(10-10-2014, 09:14 PM)Sequentia Wrote: [ -> ]I would think the vulgate is studied even less by those outside the Church.

Well, not to be a party pooper, but those outside the Church shouldn't even have the right to study the Bible. The Bible is part of the Church and outside the Church (the only one Church) it loses something of its meaning.
(10-10-2014, 09:14 PM)Sequentia Wrote: [ -> ]
(10-10-2014, 07:28 PM)Landless Laborer Wrote: [ -> ]The Masoretic was written 1000 years after the Septuagint and corrupted by Jews to hide or greatly water down prophecies fulfilled by Jesus Christ.  Not only did they corrupt what they copied, they excluded certain books.  The feast of Hanukkah comes from 1 Maccabees for crying out loud.  New Testament book Hebrews references 2 Maccabees.  But Sirach, Tobit, Baruch, and Judith remained in the canon of the Ethiopian Jews.  The Dead Sea Scrolls were a disaster for the Protestants.  They showed first century Jews accepted the Deuterocanonical books as authentic scripture.  Even the Talmud specifically refers to Sirach as authentic scripture.  The Latin Vulgate edition was affirmed to be beyond reproach by the Council of Trent, and that whosoever should contemn this, let him be an anathema.  THAT is a bugle call for modern scholars who hate medieval ideologues.  And Trent is the only reason we need as Catholics.

Yes I've heard about that as well. Apparently since the Septuagint was considered divinely inspired in the Early Church the Jews abandoned its use. My guess is since the influence of the Roman Empire (wasn't there the sacking of Jerusalem by Rome in 70 AD or was that Masada?), Greek was seen as a language of the Gentiles or Christians and not for Jews, despite the fact that the Septuagint was a translation made for Greek-speaking Jews. My guess is That many Jews spoke Greek in Jesus' time around the Mediterranean at least. Maybe this theory of mine is completely wrong but I would think some of it has basis in fact?

Oddly enough the Septuagint isn't widely studied by Jewish scholars, although I've read that it has begun to catch interest again in Judaica. I would think the vulgate is studied even less by those outside the Church.

Remember that the two main languages of the Jews used in trade and other exchanges in the first century were aramaic and greek.  Hebrew was largely on the way out as a spoken language and by the early 3rd century, it was probably endangered as a spoken except in a few enclaves.  The points I would give to the Hebrew text is that there are far fewer descrepencies in their text, as there was a limited area of hebrew being used and much better quality control on the parts of the scribes.  Whereas Greek can show some very wild variations as it was presumably a second language to many who performed the translation (in some cases third or fourth), had a much wider distribution, lacked consistent punctuation, grammar and even orientation of letters (there are Greek texts that go up and down or right to left).

That being said, I disagree with much in the presumption of some modern textual critics that if we say we find a bunch of caves in Judea or Egypt that contain hundred of scrolls of the Gospel that date to the 2nd century and that they are all consistent among themselves but different from the current editions we have, ergo we have been in the wrong.  It really ignores the importance of tradition in scholarship.     

Also bear in mine that the Vulgate uses the Hebrew not the Septuagint as the basis for its OT translation, because St. Jerome believed that the Hebrew illuminated Christ better than the Greek in the OT.