T Nation

Correcting Mistakes in the Bible


"Scholars in this out-of-the-way corner of the Hebrew University campus have been quietly at work for 53 years on one of the most ambitious projects attempted in biblical studies â?? publishing the authoritative edition of the Old Testament, also known as the Hebrew Bible, and tracking every single evolution of the text over centuries and millennia.

And it has evolved, despite deeply held beliefs to the contrary."


Very interesting read. It seems like a worthwhile endeavor.


Wow that is pretty interesting. I wonder how they are doing verification? It's not like every single remotest biblical text that can be attained hasn't already been meticulously poured over. I wonder if it's the dead sea scrolls they are using?
It is definitely interesting. But they are going to need a lot more people if they are going to get a comprehensive revision. 200 years from now, I'll be dead and will already know one way or the other.


Oh good another religious thread. Now could someone please start another thread on homosexuality?

Deja Vu anyone?


I am wondering if it will end up being closer to Septuagint or Masoretic text, however considering that their core text is the Aleppo Codex it will probably end up being Masoretic unless going on one of the principles of textual criticism where they favor the older texts where it will end up being closer to the Septuagint.

I am confused as to why they used the Samaritan torah unless they want to show how the Samaritan torah was changed from the originals.


I am starting to think we need a new section....


It's far closer to the Masoric text. In fact the differences between the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Masoric text are generally minute.

The Septuagint was hastily translated into Greek purely for the purpose of informing Ptolomy of the basics of Jewish law, as he loved to pick-and-chose the "best" from different cultures for Greece. It's rather horridly innaccurate compared to the Masoric. I'm not sure of anyone who studies these things who really considers it.

Regarding the Samaritan Torah: much of it (e.g., Genesis) is exactly the same, or should be. So they look back to old copies when there are missing characters or two or more potential interpretations.


I know a Jewish man, twelve of his friends, and a Pharisee that considered it. :wink:


I need to study up on these things sometime in the future although all I know is a general date for the oldest existing copies for the DSS, LXX and the MT where they are older in that order. Where copies are from the first century, third-fourth century and ninth-tenth century respectively.

What is your take on the Samaritans changing the place of worship to Mount Gerizim in one of the ten commandments?


Well, they are a mix of Jewish, patermally ancestrally Jewish, and Kuthim who came in after the Babylonian exile (possibly/probably mixed descendants of "lost" tribes). If you recall, the children of non-Jewish women (who refused to convert) were exiled from Jerusalem, and had to go somewhere, so they mixed in with this pseudo-Jewish group that had come in during the exile.

From this mishmash, came Samaritans. Obviously, being expelled, they couldn't have the Temple in Jerusalem, so they changed it.

FWIW, they are considered "Jewish" in Israel under the law.

I've actually seen sacrifices at Mt. Gerizim. They've been studied closely on the assumption that one day the gold-domed pagan abomination sitting on the Temple Mount will one day be removed and the real Temple could be built. (The assumption being that the Samaritan practices would be similar, and so might be able to fill in holes in the text and traditions.)

You can see the sacrfices on Youtube, in face.


They were undoubtedly more familiar with Targum Onkelos and Targum Yonatan.

Paul-better described as a Shammaiite--may have had a better grasp of the Sept., and then, rather selectively. (Lloyd Gaston, Paul and the Torah, Wipf and Stock, Eugene, Oregon, 1987)


So your saying they spoke Aramaic?


That's amazing, because when you compare their quotes of the OT, they match up with the Septuagint. :slight_smile: Weird that they would be familiar with one text, but then quote another version. Must have had one of those Bibles with multiple translations.

Really, you mean the Paul that called himself a Pharisee?


Jesus and the Apostles spoke Aramaic; it is doubtful that they were fluent in the koine.
The Septuagint was popular in Alexandria, where knowledge of Hebrew was lacking and Aramaic was marginalized.
Paul and the redactors of the NT were writing for a Greek-speaking audience; of course they would use the Sept. BUt surely you do not think that the Sermon on the Mount, for example, was delivered in Greek.

There were parallel translations in Hebrew, Aramaic and two versions of Greek, but these would not have been available to Jesus and the Apostles; instead they would have heard the Torah recited in Hebrew, with each line repeated in Aramaic, as was the custom during the Second Temple period.


My old friend Gaston's work is beyond my understanding. Let's just say that most people do not understand the original distinction between Saducees and Pharisees--the former having been lost in the NT--as well as the distinctions among Pharisees between the Schools of Shammai and Hillel. Gaston puts Paul among the School of Shammai because of a few doctrinal issues. (And he did not comment on whether Jesus and James were followers of Hillel.)


Let me rephrase, their quotes of the OT match up to the Septuagint. I never said they spoke Greek exclusively, Jesus spoke Aramaic as obvious from his prayers on the cross.

Well, I am sure when Paul says clarifies that he was a Pharisee it is abundantly clear.

And Jesus and James were not followers of Hillel, Christ did not receive any knowledge by the teaching of any man. [1] Paul and James were followers of Jesus Christ.

[1] http://www.newadvent.org/summa/4012.htm#article3