[sword-devel] clean bible or bad phantasy?

John Gardner sword-devel@crosswire.org
Wed, 4 Dec 2002 15:04:57 -0800

I believe some entertain a certain fear that we just HAVE to have the
absolute real thing.
There are actually two fears that mix together sometimes:
1)  We have to have the original or as close to it as possible or somehow
we'll be greatly deceived.
2)  We can't have man messing with it (i.e. translating it)

The scriptures actually address these issues.
1)  Christ himself (and the apostles) quoted the septuagint (as opposed to
the original hebrew) as authoritative.
2)  Everything WE do is mixed with ourselves, whether it is preaching,
giving, singing, or praying.  Yet it the scriptures teach us that for
Christ's sake, they are accepted.  Even when imperfect (and they always are)
in themselves.
3)  God has given us a teacher, his Spirit.
4)  The scripture abundantly teach that those who seek for truth find it.

Some of the godliest saints (e.g. John Bunyan, Peter, John) were not
scholars, didn't know textual criticism and didn't sweat it.  They loved God
and preached in power using what they had (John Bunyan used the Geneva bible
most likely as the KJV wasn't even around yet.) and in some cases what they
didn't (some notable saints were illiterate).

Usually if someone is too focused on the originality and accuracy of the
text they have more of a problem with obedience than with the text (from
personal experience with myself).

> -----Original Message-----
> From: owner-sword-devel@crosswire.org
> [mailto:owner-sword-devel@crosswire.org]On Behalf Of Daniel Russell
> Sent: Tuesday, December 03, 2002 11:28 AM
> To: sword-devel@crosswire.org
> Subject: Re: [sword-devel] clean bible or bad phantasy?
> I failed to mention that the Hebrews did in fact occassionally separate
> words with a point or stroke, like the Phonecians and Moabites (whose
> languages' alphabets were almost identical to old Hebrew). These points
> must not have been regularly used in the original text however, since
> the Septuagint often makes word-divisions different from those of the
> Masoretic text. Jewish tradition mentions several passages in which the
> separation of words was regarded as doubtful.
> As i understand it, the situation looks like this:
>                        original and old copies from the original
>                                          /            \
>                           Masoretic Text      Septuigant
> Most Old Testament translations come from the Masoretic Text since we
> have had those Masoretic Text as our best Hebrew texts the longest time,
> while New Testatment quotations of the Old Testament come from the
> Septuigant (which the New Testament writers used as their Bibles). There
> are quite a few disagreements. We can not be sure of how often word
> divisions were indicated in the original original text. The Masoretic
> Text refers to several "old" codices such as the Leningrad Codex
> (published as 'Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia' and the Aleppo Codex).
> Unfortunately, the oldest Manuscripts of the Masoretic Text date back
> only to around the year 900 A.D.. Most are from 1100 A.D. or later, and
> no complete Text is earlier than that 1100 A.D.. If you are thinking of
> these codices when you think that the original text had word divisions,
> you must remember that these are not original, but only about 1000 years
> old. We don't have the original text (except perhaps for a few small
> fragments which we are not even certain are THE original). Some of the
> earliest comprehensive Hebrew texts we even have the Dead Sea scrolls,
> and those were not written until around the 3rd century BC to 68 A.D.