The Instigator
Truth_seeker
Pro (for)
Losing
1 Points
The Contender
1Devilsadvocate
Con (against)
Winning
3 Points

The Septuagint is more accurate and closer than the Masoretic text to the originals

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after 1 vote the winner is...
1Devilsadvocate
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/9/2014 Category: Religion
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,163 times Debate No: 54336
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (7)
Votes (1)

 

Truth_seeker

Pro

First round is acceptance, I take the position that the Septuagint is more accurate and reliable than the Masoretic text.
1Devilsadvocate

Con

I accept.

Pro and I recently debated another topic http://www.debate.org... touched upon this topic. However, we did not get to debate it at length, so it's nice to have the chance now.


Definitions:

Septuagint, abbreviation Lxx, the earliest extant Greek translation of the Old Testament from the original Hebrew. (1)

Masoretic text, (from Hebrew masoreth, “tradition”), traditional Hebrew text of the Jewish Bible, meticulously assembled and codified, and supplied with diacritical marks to enable correct pronunciation. (2)

(1) http://www.britannica.com...
(2) http://www.britannica.com...
Debate Round No. 1
Truth_seeker

Pro

The Septuagint is the oldest Greek translation of the Hebrew scriptures. First, i would like to point out the flaws the Masoretic text has.

To begin, Rabbinic sources show that scribal changes were made (tikkune Soferim; Midrash Genesis Rabbah xlix. 7).

Adam Clarke, a scholar points:

"The Masorets were the most extensive Jewish commentators which that nation could ever boast. The system of punctuation, probably invented by them, is a continual gloss on the Law and the Prophets; their vowel points, and prosaic and metrical accents, &c., give every word to which they are affixed a peculiar kind of meaning, which in their simple state, multitudes of them can by no means bear. The vowel points alone add whole conjugations to the language. This system is one of the most artificial, particular, and extensive comments ever written on the Word of God; for there is not one word in the Bible that is not the subject of a particular gloss through its influence."

Justin Martyr in the 2nd century also wrote in his investigation of the Jewish scriptures in his general preface of his biblical commentary in 1890, within the synagogues:

"But I am far from putting reliance in your teachers, who refuse to admit that the interpretation made by the seventy elders who were with Ptolemy [king] of the Egyptians is a correct one; and they attempt to frame another. And I wish you to observe, that they have altogether taken away many Scriptures from the [Septuagint] translations effected by those seventy elders who were with Ptolemy, and by which this very man who was crucified is proved to have been set forth expressly as God, and man, and as being crucified, and as dying" (~150 A.D., Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho the Jew, Chapter LXXI)

As for the Septuagint, the institute of biblical and scientific studies says:

" Most Scholars saw the LXX as inferior to the Hebrew Bible called the Masoretic Text (MT). With the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, this all changed. Ancient Hebrew scrolls were found that follow the LXX, not the Masoretic Text. The DSS showed that the LXX had an underlying Hebrew Text that was different from the MT.

Now Scholars think the LXX has important readings that are superior to the MT. The LXX is now very important in textual criticism of the Hebrew Bible.."

Harper's Bible dictionary says:

" It is now apparent that these differing ancient text forms of the Old Testament deserve far greater care and attention than they received in the past. The lxx, for example, is now seen not just as a poor, tendentious translation of the Hebrew, but rather as a witness to a different pre-Christian Hebrew text form. Moreover, there appear to have been three local text types in pre-Christian times: a form of the Pentateuch known in Babylon, close to the mt; a form known in Palestine, close to the Samaritan Pentateuch; and a form of ot books known in Egypt, related to the lxx. Eventually (probably between a.d. 70 and 132 in Palestine), a process of standardization apparently set in, preferring one form of text, a set spelling, and even a definitive shape of writing."

John Allegro examined the Septuagint and compared it with the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Masoretic text and wrote this:

""His excitment mouting Cross began to refurr to the principal versions and almost immediately saw that this text corrosponded with the Greek translation. The precious peices joined to others and time and time again he found corrospondences with LXX against MT, until at the end of the week he was ale to affirm that he had the answer to the text-critic's dream, a Hebrew text from the same text family of tradition as that used by the ancient translators of the LXX..."

"It seems now that, to scholars engaged on this work in the future, Qumran has offered a new basis for a confience in the LXX in at least the Historical books, which should allow them to accept better readings of that version almost as readily as if they were found in the Hebrw MT. In other words, each reading in the future must be judges on it's merits not on any preconsieved notion of the supiriority of the Hebrew version simpley because it is Hebrew.. If the Greek offers a better reading than that ought to be taken and put in the text of the translation..."(81)."

With this, we can conclude that the Septuagint is closer to the originals than the Masoretic text.

Link:

http://www.doxa.ws...
1Devilsadvocate

Con

Pro claims that "Rabbinic sources sources show that scribal changes were made", based on Midrash Genesis Rabbah xlix. 7.

Here is the original text -http://he.wikisource.org...

Which is translated as:
Rabbi Simon said: "This is an emendation of the Soferim, for the Shechinah was actually waiting for Abraham." https://archive.org... , http://www.studylight.org...

The verse being discussed here is the 2nd half of Genesis 18:22. According to the Hebrew masoretic text, the verse would be translated as 'Abraham still stood before the LORD' / 'Abraham remained standing before the LORD.'. As opposed something like 'the LORD remained with Abraham'.

There are 2 important points to be made here:

1) LXX actually agrees with the M.T. text in this case:
"and Abram was still standing before the Lord."
- http://www.ellopos.net... , http://biblehub.com... , http://www.ccel.org...
The Aramaic Targums also confirm this reading.

So has the text indeed been altered (in all extant editions)? This brings me to the next point:

2) Tikkune Soferim - תיקון סופרים does not mean that the text was changed.
(One explanation is that it mean that the original author acted like one who corrects a text for reasons of honoring God.)
William Emery Barnes (Professor of Divinity at University of Cambridge, and author for Encyclopedia Britannica)
concludes a lengthy essay on the subject of Tikkun Soferim by stating:
"I have already drawn tentatively (p.402) the conclusion that the tikkun tradition is not Masoretic (i. e. textual), but Midrashic (i. e. exegetical or, more accurately, homiletic)..."
- Barnes, William Emery. "Ancient corrections in the text of the old testament (Tikkun Soferim)." The Journal of Theological studies Vol. I p. 387-414 - https://archive.org... , http://books.google.com...

(For further reading, see - http://hakirah.org...)


Pro quotes Adam Clarke as making the extraordinary claim that the system of punctuation "give every word to which they are affixed a peculiar kind of meaning, which in their simple state, multitudes of them can by no means bear... there is not one word in the Bible that is not the subject of a particular gloss through its influence."
But Clarke fails to provide a single example to back up his claim, neither here nor anywhere in his commentaries.

(V.S. Herrell writes: "Clarke appears to be one of the few commentators who have seen fully the significance of the Masoretic Text " namely, that it is a new "version" of the Scripture, written in a new language. Obviously, Hebrew Scholars have been aware of this fact. They should have called attention to the difference between Ancient Hebrew and the language of the Masoretes, and should have differentiated the two, by use of names such as Ancient Hebrew and Masoretic Hebrew. However, the majority of Hebrew scholars are "Jewish", and thus cannot be expected to be objective and candid regarding such a matter."
Bigotry and inaccuracy aside, he is right about one thing -) Clark is one of the only commentators who notes that the masoretic text 'changed' the meaning. And there is good reason for that - it's unsupported nonsense.
It may be relevant to note that Clarke himself was an anti-Semite. On Colossians 2:8 he writes "the Jews have ever been the most puerile, absurd, and ridiculous reasoners in the world." Perhaps this contributed to his opinion.

Finally, if you look in any traditional kosher/authentic Torah scroll, you will notice that they don't contain punctuation marks. In fact, including such marks invalidates it.



Pro quotes from Justin Martyr's "investigation of the Jewish scriptures".
Problem is - there was no "investigation of the Jewish scriptures" by Matyr.
The quote comes from his "Dialogue with Trypho", where he provides no evidence for the claim.
(It"s interesting to note that he also claimed many historical Greek philosophers (including Socrates and Plato), were somehow Christians, but they just didn't"t know it.)



Pro quotes from the IBSS (a site with opinions from; 'the Bible alludes to evolution', to creationism) & Harper's Bible dictionary
These quotes do not support the resolution.
They merely state that prior to the DSS discovery, LXX was considered an inferior translation of the M.T., but the DSS brought up the possibility that LXX is not simply a bad translation of the Hebrew Bible, but rather perhaps based on a slightly different version that no longer exists. IBSS does write that "Now Scholars think the LXX has important readings that are superior to the MT", but that doesn't mean that it is superior overall (but rather in specific places). (IBSS article provides no sources or even the name of the Author)

In fact, the opposite is true:
DSS are divided into five broad variation categories;
1) Proto-Masoretic: This consists of a stable text and numerous and distinctive agreements with the Masoretic Text. About 60% of the Biblical scrolls fall into this category.
2) Pre-Septuagint: These are the manuscripts which have distinctive affinities with the Greek Bible. These number only about 5% of the Biblical scrolls.
3) The Qumran "Living Bible": Manuscripts which, were copied in accordance with the "Qumran practice" which contain frequent errors and corrections, and a free approach to the text. Such scrolls comprise about 20% of the Biblical corpus.
4) Pre-Samaritan: These are DSS manuscripts which reflect the textual form found in the Samaritan Pentateuch"comprise about 5% of the Biblical scrolls.
5) Non-Aligned: This is a category which shows no consistent alignment with any of the other four text-types. These number approximately 10% of the Biblical scrolls.
- Laurence Shiffman, Reclaiming the Dead Sea Scrolls, p. 172

So, we see that if you look at all of the DSS as a whole, overall, they support M.T. over LXX.

On the topic of DSS, I'd like to point out a very important example where the DSS supports M.T. over LXX.
One of the main differences of significance between the 2 texts is Isaiah 7:14, where M.T. uses the Hebrew word for young girl, while LXX uses the Greek word for virgin. LXX supporters claim that this is a clear prophesy of the virgin birth, and that the Rabbis changed it for that reason. Aside from there being no evidence for this claim, the DSS show the opposite to be true. The DSS support the text of M.T. , thus indicating that it is the LXX that was corrupted to include christological references, rather than the other way around. (DSS were written prior to Christianity, thus presumably there would be no reason for them to change it.)
- http://www.arkcode.com...

Note, Pro has failed to provide us with even one instance where the LXX has been shown to be superior to M.T.

Pro writes: "John Allegro examined the Septuagint and compared it with the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Masoretic text and wrote..."
If pro reads his source carefully, he'd see that Allegro wasn't talking about his own experiences, but rather those of a Frank Cross. Why not quote either one of them saying that based on his own experience, LXX is superior, could it be because they didn't? Furthermore, both of these men only worked in cave 4, thus they did not have a full view of all the text.



Pro quotes some experts who he claims support his position (I have shown that they in-fact do not) so I'll provide some quotes of my own:

Dr. Gerhard Hasel PhD writes:
"around 400 AD Jerome ventured the opinion that the Septuagint "differs widely from the original [Hebrew], and is rightly rejected.""
New Light on the Book of Daniel from the Dead Sea Scrolls - Spring 2011 issue of Bible and Spade
http://www.biblearchaeology.org...
http://archive-org.com...

"The oldest extensive manuscripts of the Septuagint that are extant are dated in the fourth century, at least a century after Origen, so we cannot always be certain that our Septuagint text corresponds to that of his day (either in its pre-Origenic or post-Origenic form). . . We do not, and Origen did not, have extant for any book what anyone would consider the original form of that translation. All manuscripts display a considerable amount of textual development-certainly unintentional changes, such as the well-known panoply of errors, but also intentional changes, such as clarifications, revisions, doublets, and harmizations"
- (Eugine Ulrich, The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Origins of the Bible).

'As to the accuracy of the Hebrew Old Testament in our day, Bishop Kennicott did a study of 581 manuscripts involving 280,000,000 letters... The result was one variant in 316 letters which is less than 1/3 of 1%. Of those 900,000 variants, 750,000 pertain to spelling - whether the letter should be an "i" or "u". Thus we are left with only .0006 (six ten thousandths). Indeed, most of those variants are found in only a few manuscripts; in fact, mostly in just one corrupted copy. The DSS of Isaiah agree with the Hebrew M.T....Actually, the Masoretic Text is the true text, not the Dead Sea Scrolls, as the DSS were written by a small group of outcasts known as the Essenes...'
- Chronology of the Old Testament - Dr. Floyd Nolen Jones - http://books.google.com...

Finally, I'd like to point out that LXX - being a translation, is inherently less reliable due to the rule of 'omnis traductor traditor, every translator is a traitor. Meaning inevitably gets lost in translation due to numerous factors that I explained in our previous debate and intend to repeat next round.
Debate Round No. 2
Truth_seeker

Pro

Changes were made to the Masoretic text contrary to Con's claims.

Clarke's position for there being changes in the Masoretic text is supported by Louis Cappel, a Hebrew scholar in his article "Chappel Louis" written in Encyclopedia Britannica:

"As a Hebrew scholar, he concluded that the vowel points and accents were not an original part of Hebrew, but were inserted by the Masorete Jews of Tiberias, not earlier then the 5th Century AD, and that the primitive Hebrew characters are Aramaic and were substituted for the more ancient at the time of the captivity. . . The various readings in the Old Testament Text and the differences between the ancient versions and the Masoretic Text convinced him that the integrity of the Hebrew text as held by Protestants, was untenable. This amounted to an attack upon the verbal inspiration of Scripture. Bitter, however, as was the opposition, it was not long before his results were accepted by scholars."

Menahem stated that " that there was indeed a Hebrew text-type on which the Septuagint-translation was based and which differed substantially from the received MT" (1).

According to Wikipedia, the Masoretes weren't working with the original Hebrew, but with corrupted texts and points to Bible Archaeology (http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org...).

Con is right, the Septuagint isn't always better than the Masoretic text, but in the passages talking about the Messiah, the Septuagint provides the actual rendering of the Hebrew Scriptures. In Con quoting Eugine Ulrich, it won't help his case as we are about to see.

According to Hershal Shanks "texts like 4QSama show is that the Septuagintal translations are really quite reliable" (2). We find evidence from the DSS that the Septuagint is reliable. You can compare the three regarding the Messiah:

Deut. 32:43 according to the LXX in comparison to DSS 4QDeutq reads:

"Rejoice, ye heavens, with him, and let all the angels of God worship him; rejoice ye Gentiles, with his people, and let all the sons of God strengthen themselves in him [4QDeutq has "and bow down to him all you gods," which merges the last two items underlined in the LXX]]; for he will avenge the blood of his sons, and he will render vengeance,and recompense justice to his enemies, and will reward them that hate him; and the Lord shall purge the land of his people."

The MT reads:

" Rejoice, O ye nations, with his people: For he will avenge the blood of his servants, And will render vengeance to his adversaries, And will make expiation for his land, for his people."

Ps. 17:11 LXX reads:

"They have now cast me out and compassed me round about: they have set their eyes so as to bow them down to the ground."

MT reads:

"They have now compassed us in our steps; They set their eyes to cast us down to the earth."

LXX Ps. 22:16 reads:

"the assembly of the wicked doers has beset me round: they pierced my hands and my feet."

MT reads:

A company of evil-doers have inclosed me; Like a lion are my hands and feet [or, My hands and feet are shriveled - the meaning of the Masoretic Hebrew is uncertain]

Is. 65:1 LXX reads:

"I became manifest to them that asked not for me"

MT reads:

"I am inquired of by them that asked not for me"

Ps. 40:6 in the LXX says "a body you have prepared for me.." But this isn't found in the MT, being replaced with "You opened my ears.."

You can find more when comparing the LXX with the MT here:

http://theorthodoxlife.files.wordpress.com...

In response to Con's claim that the LXX replaced the Hebrew almah with the Greek word for virgin, scholar Cyrus Gordon says:

"The commonly held view that "virgin" is Christian, whereas "young woman" is Jewish is not quite true. The fact is that the Septuagint, which is the Jewish translation made in pre-Christian Alexandria, takes almah to mean "virgin" here. Accordingly, the New Testament follows Jewish interpretation in Isaiah 7:14. Therefore, the New Testament rendering of almah as "virgin" for Isaiah 7:14 rests on the older Jewish interpretation, which in turn is now borne out for precisely this annunciation formula by a text that is not only pre-Isaianic but is pre-Mosaic in the form that we now have it on a clay tablet." (3)

The LXX rendering of Almah is consistent as in ancient cultures, a young lady would be living with her parents away from her fiance with a veil over her face, implying that she was a virgin (4).

More comparisons between the LXX and MT show significant differences

Isa. 6:10 MT

"Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed."

LXX

"For the heart of this people has become gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them."

Isa. 11:10 MT

"And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious."

LXX

"And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, and he that shall rise to rule over the Gentiles; in him shall the Gentiles trust, and his rest shall be glorious."

Ps. 2:1-2 MT

"Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed,"

LXX

"Wherefore did the heathen rage, and the nations imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers gathered themselves together against the Lord, and against his Christ."

Ps. 78:2 MT

"I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old:"

LXX

"I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter dark sayings which have been from the beginning."

Num. 16:5 MT

"And he spake unto Korah and unto all his company, saying, Even to morrow the LORD will shew who are his, and who is holy; and will cause him to come near unto him: even him whom he hath chosen will he cause to come near unto him."

LXX

"Cursed is every man that continues not in all the words of this law to do them; and all the people shall say, So be it."

Isa. 42:4

"He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his law."

LXX

"He shall shine out, and shall not be discouraged, until he have set judgment on the earth: And in his name shall the Gentiles trust."

Clearly, the MT has intentionally altered the Hebrew Scriptures to remove any clear references to Jesus being the Messiah and the son of God.

These verses support the authenticity of the Septuagint to the DSS over the MT:

Gen. 1:9 LXX

"Let the water which is under the heaven be collected into one gathering"

MT

"Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together unto one place"

LXX

And the water which was under the heaven was collected into its gatherings, and the dry land appeared.

This text isn't found in the MT

Gen. 1:14 LXX

"let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and for years"

MT

" let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days and years"

LXX Gen. 6:20

"of all reptiles creeping upon the earth after their kind"

MT

"of every creeping thing of the ground after its kind"

LXX Gen. 41:16

"And Joseph answered Pharaoh and said, Without God an answer of safety shall not be given to Pharaoh."

MT

"And Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, It is not in me: God will give Pharaoh an answer of peace."

With all of these in mind, it is clear that the evidence to support the Septuagint is stronger than the Masoretic text being faithful to the original text.

Sources:

1. Menachem Cohen, The Idea of the Sanctity of the Biblical Text and the Science of Textual Criticism in HaMikrah V'anachnu, ed. Uriel Simon, HaMachon L'Yahadut U'Machshava Bat-Z'mananu and Dvir, Tel-Aviv, 1979.

2. Hershal Shanks, 4QSama - The Difficult Life of a Dead Sea Scroll, Biblical Archaeology Review, Vol 33 No 3, May/June 2007, pp66-70.

3. Gordon, Cyrus H., Almah in Isaiah 7:14, The Journal of Bible & Religion, Vol. 21(April 1953), p. 106.

4. The Septuagint renders the Hebrew term as he parthenos "the virgin," but the three second-century Greek translations, Aquila, Symmachus and Theodotion, read neanis "young woman, girl." (Note that Isa 7:14 and Gen 24:43 are the only instances where the Septuagint renders the Hebrew term "almah with parthenos [so Vulgatevirgo].) The Isaiah Scroll found at Qumran (1QIsaa), and copied in the 2nd century BC, has the same reading as the Masoretic Text, "lmh. TheTargum of Jonathan on Isaiah reads "wlymt' "young woman, girl," while the Syriac Peshitta, perhaps under the influence of the Septuagint, uses a Hebraism, btwlt', meaning "virgin."
1Devilsadvocate

Con

1Devilsadvocate forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
Truth_seeker

Pro

I wait for my opponent's response
1Devilsadvocate

Con

Sorry about last round, I typed my response, but apparently did not submit it, so here it is now:

.

'Clarke's position for there being changes in the Masoretic text is supported by Louis Cappel, a Hebrew scholar in his article "Chappel Louis" written in Encyclopedia Britannica...'


I checked Encyclopedia Britannica, there is no article “Chappel Louis".


Furthermore, what pro quoted merely repeats what was said previously, but does not address my response at all.

In the previous round I made 2 points regarding this matter;


1) Clarke fails to provide a single example to back up his claim, neither here nor anywhere in his commentaries.”

Still not a single example, according to what Clarke said (that the system of punctuation "give every word to which they are affixed a peculiar kind of meaning,) this shouldn’t be too hard.


2) If you look in any traditional kosher Torah scroll, you will notice that they don't contain punctuation marks. In fact, including such marks invalidates it.”

If the Rabbis intended to change the meanings of the verses, they would have made it part of the official text.


Perhaps it will help if I explain what marks are, I don't have room to go into detail here, and it's not central to the debate, so I'll keep it very basic and leave a link (&/ use the comment section) for a more detailed explanation for those interested.


There are 2 types of marks, vowels/nekudot and cantillation/trup.

1) Vowels/nekudot – These are marks like phonetic symbols, they tell you how to pronounce the words, not what they mean.

2) Cantillation/trup – these are like music notes for the Cantors (they must be memorized beforehand since there are no marks in the scroll).

https://docs.google.com...


"Menahem stated that “that there was indeed a Hebrew text-type on which the Septuagint-translation was based and which differed substantially from the received MT""

This was also already discussed.

Again, note that he did not say that the Septuagint is superior or more accurate than M.T., but simply that LXX was based on a different (not better) Hebrew text (,as opposed to what was thought previously (I.E. that LXX is based M.T., and full of errors).

Additionally, in the previous round I quoted Dr. Floyd Nolen Jones saying that ‘the M.T. is superior to even the DSS, since DSS come from a small group of outcasts known as the Essenes, as opposed to M.T., which comes from the larger mainstream tradition.

Indeed, later on in the article that Pro just quoted, the author writes of the DSS as follows:

“The lack of an authorized MT at Qumran can also be proven from the correction-methods used by the scribes. Corrections and additions can be found in many of the scrolls and it is obvious that they are not based on a single ideal text which was letter-perfect. Rather, they are based on the scribe's personal taste and his discretion to choose between the variant readings. Often, the later hand in the manuscript did not mean to correct the original version, but to mark the existence of an alternative reading and to preserve it. In this fashion, many doublets were created.”

It’s also worth repeating Lawrence Schiffman’s statistics that show that overall (I.e. when looked at as a whole rather than specific fragments or caves) the majority of the DSS are more similar to the M.T. than LXX.


"According to Wikipedia, the Masoretes weren't working with the original Hebrew, but with corrupted texts and points to Bible Archaeology"

First of all, while Wikipedia is a great source of information, it is not itself an authoritative source. Furthermore, the link provided doesn’t even reference Wikipedia, but rather a site called “bibicalarchaeology.org”, which is no more authoritative than Wikipedia. Furthermore, this isn’t even purported to be a scholarly article at all, but rather something like a book promotion, and it certainly doesn’t ‘point to Bible [sic] Archaeology’.

More importantly – as far as this debate is concerned, is that what is written there still does not support the resolution, as it does not compare the M.T. to LXX, and does not claim or even indicate that LXX is superior in any way.


"Con is right, the Septuagint isn't always better than the Masoretic text, but in the passages talking about the Messiah it is “According to Hershal Shanks "texts like 4QSama show is that the Septuagintal translations are really quite reliable””"

Again, Shanks is just saying that prior to DSS, LXX was considered a really bad messed up translation of M.T., In the discovery of the dead sea scroll, they found some texts (like 4QSama) that fit the translation of the LXX relatively well, thus indicating that rather than being really bad corrupt translations of M.T., they were translations of a different version. ((If you’re not convinced - see the context from which this quote was cherry picked, it’s clear that this is all he was saying)). That does not mean it is superior!!! In fact as we noted before the majority of DSS align with M.T. more than LXX. If you notice in the quote pro just mentioned, Shanks says "texts like 4QSama…” it’s not all or even most.


Pro provides an instance (Deut. 32:43) where M.T. differs from LXX and attempts to support LXX on the basis of DSS 4QDeutq which is more similar to LXX than M.T.

This is a good attempt, but as I keep pointing out we have to look at the DSS as a whole not one fragment here or there that happens to fit our bias. If we look at the rest of the DSS, we find 33 scrolls from Deut., And of these 33, 4QDeutq is the only one with this additional text that matches LXX, the rest support M.T.(1).

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that 4QDeutq just so happens to be one of the DSS that was written in C.E. (I.E. after the death of Jesus and the beginning of Christianity), and also happens to be the only one the DSS with this addition (2). (Interestingly, this text is also found in Heb. 1:6)

So once again this argument too backfires and contrary to pro’s claim, it actually provides us with another example of the M.T.’s superiority.


Pro lists more differences beween LXX and M.T.

However, he fails to even attempt to show that the LXX version is more accurate than the M.T..

I'm not sure what Pro is trying to accomplish with this.

.

.

Isiah 7:14

'Cyrus Gordon says that Almah means virgin.'

Here is my response:

(1) His argument is based on the claim that the Ugaritic word "glmt" and the Hebrew word "Almah" are cognates, based on the English transliterations, this does not appear to necessarily be true. ;P)

2) "The Aramaic terms עלמהא and עולימא May be used of women who are not virgins; e.g. Targum of Jud. 19:5 an unfaithful concubine is so described and in a Palmyrene tariff document written about 137 CE prostitutes are termed this. The Ugaritic equivalent for עלמה is glmt and was generally thought to be an virgin. However, more recently questions have been raised concerning the Ugaritic text CTA 24:7 which reads hl glmt tld b[n ] and is translated similarly to Isa. 7:14...”(3)

3) Aside from being written in different languages, the Ugaritic text and the book of Isiah were also written many centuries apart.

4) The three second-century Greek translations, Aquila, Symmachus and Theodotion, read neanis "young woman, girl...TheTargum of Jonathan on Isaiah reads "wlymt' "young woman, girl"..."(4)

5) Gordon states that the Septuagint is a pre-Christian Jewish translation. This is misleading; for a number of reason;

a) Originally, only the Pentateuch (which does not include Isiah) was translated. The Septuagint we have today includes not only the rest of the Hebrew bible, but the N.T. as well, surely those parts cannot be "Pre-Cristian". Not much is known as to who or when the rest of the LXX was written.

b) "With few and fragmentary exceptions, the Septuagint manuscripts now in existence were produced by Christians" (5)

6) "The Book of Isaiah shows "obvious signs of incompetence". As a translation, it is not only bad; it is the most inferior book within the LXX..."(6)

I'll provide 2 (of several) arguments in support of the claim that עלמה means young girl in general (as opposed to a virgin specifically):

1) Everyone agrees that the masculine form of the word עלם means a young man, thus it follows that the feminine form עלמה means a young woman, not virgin. To specify virgin, the word בתולה (would be used.

2) Elsewhere in the Bible (I.E. the vast majority of the time), עלמה is translated as a young girl, maiden, etc. Curiously only here (and one other place) does it get translated as virgin.


"The LXX rendering of Almah is consistent as in ancient cultures, a young lady would be living with her parents away from her fiance with a veil over her face, implying that she was a virgin (4)."

'Sir, That is entirely beside the point'.

Even if most young ladies were virgins, it doesn't follow (from that), to say that the word for young lady means virgin. According to this logic the Hebrew word "נערה" also means virgin - a claim which no one makes. To give an analogy, it's like saying the word 'kid' means student since most kids are students, even if true (that most kids are students) that is not what the word 'kid' means. So too, with the word "נערה", even if it so happens to be that most are virgins, that's still not what the word "נערה" means!

(Furthermore, although it may looks like Pro is bringing this from a source,) '(4)' is not a source, but a footnote - that supports my position and runs counter to his.

.

(1) "Hearing the Old Testament in the New Testament", edited by Stanley E. Porter, p. 47

(2) Gert J. Steyn "A Quest for the Assumed LXX Vorlage of the Explicit Quotations in Hebrews", p.63 (see also fn 31)

(3) Paul D. Wegner, "An Examination of Kingship and Messianic Expectation in Isaiah 1-35". p. 111-112

(4) Eugen J. Pentiuc, "Jesus the Messiah in the Hebrew Bible". p. 135

(5) F.F. Bruce, "The Cannon of Scripture" p. 43-45

(6) ibid. "The Septuagint: A critical Analysis" p. 9

Debate Round No. 4
Truth_seeker

Pro

1. My mistake, the article "Chappel Louis" is found in the 1948 edition of Encylopedia Britannica.

2. Just because the Masoretes took measures to prevent errors in the transmission of the text doesn't imply that they didn't draw from earlier manuscripts which gave references to Jesus being the Messiah. This is evidenced by the comparison of Scriptures quoted above.

Con is incorrect in saying that Bible Archaeology.com is a completely non-scholarly source. The staff are qualified experts and come from various backgrounds, furthermore, James A. Sanders, a scholar, is involved in providing information on the Masoretic text in the article i gave. More information can be found here

http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org...

Con hasn't provided any evidence for how the LXX has Christian influences in it as well nor does he Gordon provides no evidence that the LXX is produced by Christians.

My point in bringing up the concept of a "virgin" in Isa. 7:14 is to show the LXX's consistency with the M.T. I reaffirm my position in quoting scholar, Adam Clarke who writes this:

"..A virgin was not called עלמה almah, because she was concealed by being kept at home in her father's house, which is not true; but, literally and physically, because as a woman she had not been uncovered - she had not known man..."

This was taken from his commentary on the Bible of Isaiah 7 found here:

http://www.sacred-texts.com...

Herbert Wolf notes:

"The "marriage" solution to the relationship between chs 7 and 8 clarifies two vigorously debated points about 7:14. One is the meaning of "almah. It must mean "virgin," as Ugaritic text 77 has proved by its parallelism of 'glmt and btlt, equivalents to Hebrew "young woman" and "virgin"" (1).

It is then clear that the Septuagint's choice of using Parthenos which usually means virgin according to the Wiki article "Isaiah 7:14" is consistent with the Hebrew.

Sources:

1. Wolf, Herbert Martin. "Solution to the Immanuel Prophecy in Isaiah 7:14-8:22." Journal of Biblical Literature 91:4 (1972): 449-456.
1Devilsadvocate

Con

" My mistake, the article "Chappel Louis" is found in the 1948 edition of Encylopedia Britannica."

Nope, not there either.
(Note - I did eventually find the article - the problem is that Pro both misspelled the name, and reversed the order of the names.)
But even if it were there, if you have to go to an article in a 1948 edition of E.B. on a no name theologian from the 16th cent., to find support for such a claim...

(I haven't looked into it, but Wikipedia states" Eighteenth-century theologian John Gill in his writing, A Dissertation Concerning the Antiquity of the Hebrew Language, Letters, Vowel-Points and Accents, disputed the idea that the vowel points were invented by the Masoretes, and claimed that Hebrew authorities removed the vowel points because of their rejection of Jesus as the Messiah.")

As I've pointed out twice, there hasn't even been an attempt to provide a single example to back up this extraordinary claim that 'the system of punctuation "give every word to which they are affixed a peculiar kind of meaning,"'. and still, for some reason pro fails to attempt a single example. On the basis of this alone, we should disregard this argument


"Just because the Masoretes took measures to prevent errors in the transmission of the text doesn't imply that they didn't draw from earlier manuscripts which gave references to Jesus being the Messiah. "

Of course it does.
If "the Masoretes took measures to prevent errors in the transmission of the text",
and this transmitted text does not contain 'references to Jesus being the Messiah',
that certainly does 'impliy' that the texts from which they were copied, also did not contain such references.
(Obviously it doesn't prove it 100%, but then again nothing is proven 100%.)


"This is evidenced by the comparison of Scriptures quoted above."

I don't follow the 'logic' here.
How is LXX being different and perhaps even based on other Hebrew versions, evidence that the M.T. 'drew from earlier manuscripts which gave references to Jesus being the Messiah'?
Not only is there no evidence that M.T. was copied from LXX (or it's supposed base texts), I know of no one who even makes such a claim.



Pro attempts to bolster the credibility of a site which he quoted (Bible Archaeology.com)

- by quoting what that site says about itself - now there's a good reliable unbiased review. Furthermore, even if it were a reliable/authoritative source, no argument was provided, but rather simply an appeal to authority.
Furthermore, Pro fails to respond to my main points regarding that quote which were;

a) 'The source of the quote
isn’t even purported to be a scholarly article at all, but rather something like a book promotion, and it certainly doesn’t ‘point to Bible [sic] Archaeology’.'

b) More importantly – as far as this debate is concerned, is that what is written there still does not support the resolution, as it does not compare the M.T. to LXX, and does not claim or even indicate that LXX is superior in any way.



"Con hasn't provided any evidence for how the LXX has Christian influences in it as well nor does he Gordon provides no evidence that the LXX is produced by Christians."

There are actually two pieces of evidence mentioned in this debate, that indicate post-christ tampering with LXX.

1) The mistranslating of Isiah 7:14. (I've made several arguments showing that LXX indeed mistranslated the text.)

2) The fact that in Deut. 32:43, the LXX text differs from the text found in all 33 of the DSS which contain Deut. - except one, and that one just so happens to be a Post-Christ manuscript. So we have all pre-christ texts saying one thing, only one manuscript which is post christ that saying another, and the LXX just so happens to concur with the single post-christ text (which supposedly (according to pro) includes a Christological reference). This strongly indicates post-christ tampering with the text.

I'm not sure what pro means by "as well nor does he Gordon provides no evidence that the LXX is produced by Christians."



("My point in bringing up the concept of a "virgin" in Isa. 7:14 is to show the LXX's consistency with the M.T."



If you want to make them consistent, why not say the other way around - that the Greek word 'Parthenos ' does not mean virgin, but rather simply a young girl. Indeed there is evidence for this (for example, the same word Parthenos is used with reference to Dina after being raped by Shechem), and such an argument could be possibly be made. But alas, it wasn't. (If it were made, I did have a rebuttal. However, even with my rebuttal, the proof of LXX corruption from Isiah 7:14 would still be somewhat weakened.)


Pro brings Adam Clarke to support the virgin translation.

This is yet another pure appeal to authority, without any sort of attempt at providing a reasoned argument.
Neither Clarke nor Pro even attempted to provide any sort argument or reasoning for this baseless assertion.
Additionally, there was not even an attempt to counter/address the 2 arguments that I made in the previous round, proving that the word in question does not mean virgin.

(Anyway, according to Clarke, I have another example of LXX corruption.
On Isaiah 19:18 Clarke writes "for the Greek version has here been either translated from a corrupted text, or wilfully mistranslated or corrupted, to serve the same cause.")


Pro quotes Herbert Wolf - who is just basically repeating Gordon's argument - which I responded to at length in the previous round (to which there has been no(/little) attempted rebuttal).
Over here, there is a bit more (but still not much) detail about (the basis/ background details of) the argument. However, I researched the arguments for the previous round and my response(s) were based on and addressed these (basis background details of) the argument.

However, it occurred to me that those unfamiliar with these points may not have understood some of my arguments due to unfamiliarity with the background/ basis of the argument (- which I should add, was & is pro's responsibility, since he's the one that is supposed to be making the argument. I shouldn't have to go research the argument and then write out what it is.) Therefore, I'll repeat some (the first 4) of the arguments here (with a bit more detail):

(1) His argument is based on the claim that the Ugaritic word "glmt" and the Hebrew word "Almah" are cognates, based on the English transliterations, this does not appear to necessarily be true. ;P)

Added: (This is half in jest, the basis for comparison, is that the 'g' in gmlt and 'A' in Almah are not pronounced as we usually pronounce 'g' and 'a', but rather they both come from deep in the back of the throat, and thus they are not so different. However, combined with my next argument, this point is significant, since the Aramaic words are is still much closer to the Hebrew word than this Ugaritic word is, & thus a better indicator of the Hebrew word.)

2) "The Aramaic terms עלמהא and עולימא May be used of women who are not virgins; e.g. Targum of Jud. 19:5 an unfaithful concubine is so described and in a Palmyrene tariff document written about 137 CE prostitutes are termed this. The Ugaritic equivalent for עלמה is glmt and was generally thought to be an virgin. However, more recently questions have been raised concerning the Ugaritic text CTA 24:7 which reads hl glmt tld b[n ] and is translated similarly to Isa. 7:14...”(3)

Added: (There are 2 points here contained within this quotes;
1) The Aramaic equivalent of the Hebrew word does not mean virgin. As I pointed out is much more similar in sound (as compared to the Ugaritic) to the Hebrew word and thus superior in terms of determining the Hebrew words meaning)

2) It is not clear / obvious / accepted that glmt (the Ugeratic word which is similar to Almah) even means virgin, in which case there is no argument.
(I should have mentioned last round, that I find the whole reasoning behind Gordon's 'parallelism proof' to be rather shaky. Just because it referred to a person as a btlt/virgin, and latter referred to her as glmt (which was Gordons basis for translating glmt as virgin), does not prove that glmt means virgin.

3) Combining all these strings, we have an extremely powerful counter argument.

Here we have 2 words, one (the Aramaic) which is more similar to the Hebrew and is clearly not defined as virgin, while the other (Ugaritic) is not only, not as close to the Hebrew word, but even the claim that it means virgin (in the 1st place) is dubious and in doubt. Obviously we should go with the more similar word whose definition is know rather than the less similar word whose definition isn't even really known.)



3) Aside from being written in different languages, the Ugaritic text and the book of Isiah were also written many centuries apart.

4) The three second-century Greek translations, Aquila, Symmachus and Theodotion, read neanis "young woman, girl...TheTargum of Jonathan on Isaiah reads "wlymt' "young woman, girl"..."(4) "

Refer back to the previous round for more including two proofs that that the Hebrew word Almah does not mean virgin.


In summary/conclusion, The resolution is not only unsupported, but thoroughly negated.
Pro has failed to fulfil his BOP that "The Septuagint is more accurate and closer than the Masoretic text to the originals", as
I have thoroughly refuted each of his claims & arguments.
In addition, I have
made a number of arguments negating the resolution, and supporting the superiority of M.T. over LXX, most of which, Pro failed to even attempt to respond to. Pro relied largely & heavily (IMHO way too much) on appeals to Athority, while I provided a mix of; well reasoned arguments, quotes from authorities and experts in relevant fields, and arguments based on what these scholars have written.

Thus/Hence, the resolution is not only unsupported, but thoroughly negated.

Therefor, I urge a vote Con!

Thanks for reading,

Vote Con!

Anyone - including pro, who would like to debate this or a similar topic, just send me a challenge, if there are any questions, feel free to P.M. me.

Debate Round No. 5
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by Wylted 2 years ago
Wylted
Devil's advocate, my notes are just writing down points for both sides. You guys both did an awesome job and I wish my vote could provide more feedback, but both of you guys, provides so many awesome details already.
Posted by 1Devilsadvocate 2 years ago
1Devilsadvocate
@ Wylted
Thanks for voting. (I was afraid it would be a no vote tie.)
Would I be able to see your notes ?
(It sounds like you went through the debate very thoroughly, so I'm rather interested, as to what you wrote. I always appreciate 3rd party feedback, particularly if it's well done.)
Posted by Wylted 2 years ago
Wylted
This
Posted by Wylted 2 years ago
Wylted
This is a tough debate to judge. I'm in the process of taking a ton of notes and going through them. I assure you we will have a winner within 24 hours.
Posted by Ozymandias_KingofKings 3 years ago
Ozymandias_KingofKings
Sadly i Cant debate you as i am a Pro-LXX person. I will be watching your debate tho.
Posted by Truth_seeker 3 years ago
Truth_seeker
B.c
Posted by creationtruth 3 years ago
creationtruth
What LXX are you defending? The post-Hexaplaic LXX (>300 A.D.) or the non-existent B.C. LXX?
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Wylted 2 years ago
Wylted
Truth_seeker1DevilsadvocateTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:13 
Reasons for voting decision: pro wins conduct points for the forfeited round. I felt arguments were extremely close, which actually gives con the edge, based on the slightly higher BOP of pro. Pro had about 51% of the BOP, in my interpretation.