For the most part the Masoretic Text (MT) aligns with the Dead Sea Scroll (DSS) from the Essene community and the Greek translation Septuagint (LXX) which was compiled from older copies of an older Hebrew text, (Not the MT or it’s older counterpart) and obviously agrees for the most part with other texts too.

Upon looking at the NT quotations of the OT there is obvious discrepancies between the Greek translated text which aligns with the LXX and the MT.

Would it stand to reason that given the early church used the Septuagint as their inspired Scriptures and given the quotes do not align with the MT, that the corruption of the text was not from an older Hebrew text that the Septuagint was translated from but the much more recent MT and it’s second century predecessor text?

Does it seem at all suspicious that the texts which differ between the Septuagint and the MT mostly revolve around Messianic texts?

I’ll give some examples. I’ll start with quotes from the book of Joel. First the English translation of the MT and then the English translation of the LXX:


  • Joel 2:28
    And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions.

    with Acts 2:17

    And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams;
  • Joel 2:29
    Even on the male and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit
    with Acts 2:18
    even on my male servants and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy.
  • Joel 2:30
    And I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and columns of smoke.
    with Acts 2:19
    And I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke;
  • Joel 2:31
    The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes.
    with Acts 2:20
    the sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the day of the Lord comes, the great and magnificent day.
  • Joel 2:32
    And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.
    with Acts 2:21
    And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
  • Joel 3:13
    Put in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe. Go in, tread, for the winepress is full. The vats overflow, for their evil is great.
    with Mark 4:29
    But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.

I can put up more examples. But the point is the NT is not the same as the MT but it is the same as the LXX.

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    No it’s about two hermeneutic tools the MT and the LXX and their veracity – Nihil Sine Deo Aug 4 '20 at 21:03
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    I do believe textual criticism is on topic, though a couple specific examples would help narrow this down. You also might be unaware of the role that Aramaic translations played in this period, and were considered authoritative, (Targum Jonathan, Onkelos, etc.). I think the question would be better served to consider the three different language categories, (Aramaic, Greek, and Hebrew). Also, Biblical Hebrew was a dead language at this time. – elika kohen Aug 4 '20 at 21:38
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    The NT writers almost never quoted verbatim - they often used the LXX and sometimes MT and often quoted paraphraistically. One cannot use the the loose NT quotes as a final determinant of which text is original. – Dottard Aug 4 '20 at 22:42
  • @elikakohen I’d highly welcome other texts/languages. Bottom line the question remains the same though, was the LXX or the MT corrupted. – Nihil Sine Deo Aug 4 '20 at 23:50
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    ... One wonders why no Biblical figure or writer ever considered such questions as "on-topic" or even mentionable. – elika kohen Aug 6 '20 at 0:26

It is a debatable claim that LXX was based on a textual stream that is independent of the textual stream that MT is based on

Many scholars consider the Kaige recension to be an attempt to conform the Greek translation to the Hebrew tradition that would develop into the Masoretic Text (and the so called proto-Masoretic Text).

Anderson, A., & Widder, W. (2018). Textual Criticism of the Bible. (D. Mangum, Ed.) (Revised Edition, Vol. 1, p. 72).

I also don't see any systematic evidence of adulteration of messianic passages. More likely that early Christians focused on citing these passages and when translated into English you get the double translation effect (see below).

What you are seeing is two effects

  1. Double translation creates illusion of a bad translation: A translation of a translation is less faithful than just a translation, which is itself less faithful than the original. So if in the future someone would translate an english sermon into, say, Mandarin, and translate our english scripture verses into Mandarin, those translations from Hebrew to English to Mandarin would result in more corruption than a simple translation from Hebrew to Mandarin, but that does not mean that we, the english speakers, have access to a more corrupt version of the Hebrew than do the Mandarin speakers. Obviously the best situation would be to read Hebrew directly, but barring that, there is nothing wrong with reading a Greek translation of Hebrew anymore than reading an english translation of Hebrew.

  2. Paraphrasing In many letters, texts, the verses are paraphrased, because the writers may not have had access to copies and relied on memory. It was a different world with respect to availability of text on demand than today, so we need to apply different standards for citing passages.

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