Podcast: SER 175 – Doug Woodward – Rebooting the Bible

2019.01.30 ser

For five hundred years, the Church used this Old Testament Bible. Its Apostles quoted this Bible almost 300 times when they created the books of the New Testament. We know this Bible as the Greek Septuagint (LXX).

Its Pentateuch was created about 280 B.C. in Alexandria, Egypt, only 200 years after the Hebrew Bible had been assembled by Ezra in Jerusalem. Translators added the remaining books over the next 150 years. Once finished, Greek-speaking Jews throughout the world relied on the LXX as the Hebrew language grew increasingly unfamiliar. The Church Fathers (e.g., Polycarp, Irenaeus, and Justin Martyr) quoted it extensively since they did not know Hebrew. However, after the Latin Vulgate became the accepted Bible of the Western Church during the fifth and sixth centuries, and Greek ceased as the “lingua franca” of the world, the LXX receded into the background. Only the Eastern Orthodox Church retained it as its Bible.

By the time of the Reformation in the sixteenth century, both Latin and Greek Bibles were inaccessible for many reasons, but chiefly because common people did not read or speak these languages. Consequently, translators such as Martin Luther and William Tyndale created Bibles in their native tongues. Coupled with Guttenberg’s historic invention of the printing press, Protestant Bibles spread across Europe and soon, entered the New World.

What Protestant leaders didn’t know was that the source of their Bibles, the Hebrew Masoretic Text (MT) had been altered from the original Hebrew text that the translators creating the Greek Bible used. Attempting to quash the growth of the burgeoning Christian faith, the original Hebrew was altered by second-century rabbis. This corruption of the original Hebrew text occurred in two areas: First, altering and obscuring Messianic prophecies (plus passages that spoke of the Messiah seeking out the Gentiles) and secondly, compressing the chronologies of Genesis 5 and 11 by almost 1600 years. So, why did these revered men besmirch their Holy Scriptures? They found it necessary to survive. The rabbis hoped they would thwart the swirling evangelistic claims that Jesus was the Christ. Their altered Hebrew Bible, created within the generation after the destruction of Herod’s Temple, served as the basis for three new Greek Bibles, created almost 400 years after the original Septuagint. These recensions supported by the rabbis, were finished during the remainder of the second century. They became alternate Greek Bibles created by Aquilla, Symmachus, and Theodotion. They sought to replace the “Old Greek” Septuagint (OG/LXX) that, by then, had become “the Christian Bible” and which threatened to influence Jews worldwide to convert to Christianity. This altered Hebrew Bible transmitted by the Talmudists and later the Masoretes for almost 1,000 years. The first complete Hebrew Codex, the Codex Leningradensis, dates to 1008 A.D. There are three Septuagint extant codices dating approximately 600 years earlier.

THIS IS A FASCINATING CONVERSATION ABOUT A TOPIC MANY CHRISTIANS DO NOT EVEN CONSIDER.

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