2

I am currently in discussion with a Muslim who appears to be arguing for Christian authorship of books of the Septuagint, who he argues have tampered with the text through mistranslation. These books were then used by the New Testament writers. He says it also explains the discrepancy between the quotes from the Tanakh in the New Testament not matching up with the Hebrew.

I am querying the claim that Books of the Septuagint available during the lifetime of Jesus/New Testament writers had Christian authorship. I have done some searching but struggling to find any such references.

2
  • Hi, welcome to the site! Please be sure to take the site tour. I edited your question slightly for readability--I think it preserved the focus of your question, but let me know if you disagree. Feb 1 at 20:47
  • Excellent series of questions you have. I would recommend “Textual Criticism of the Bible by Amy S. Anderson” she mentions the Septuagint in it, amongst other info.
    – Cork88
    Feb 2 at 4:55

1 Answer 1

1

The Septuagint is the Greek translation of the Hebrew Tanakh made ~2 centuries before Christ--the translation was decidedly not made by Christians.

The earliest believers in Jesus in Judea & Galilee were Jews--in fact, it is very likely that every book of the New Testament except Luke & Acts was written by a Jew. That the overlap between Judaism & Christianity lasted for several decades is evident in the words of a number of writers (e.g. Acts 18:2 refers to a man who was decidedly Christian as a Jew).

The full separation of Judaism & Christianity into distinct religions did not happen until the Flavian era (70s-90s), and was closely tied to the destruction of Jerusalem.

So not only the Greek translation of the Old Testament, but a very substantial portion of the New Testament, were written by Jews. Because Greek was the lingua franca of the eastern Roman Empire, much of the early Christian preaching & record-keeping happened in Greek, and when quoting the Old Testament in a Greek text, the Greek Septuagint is usually used.

Your friend may be referring to Origen's edits to the Septuagint in the 3rd century--he made an effort to correct/harmonize variations in the text...but this was well after the New Testament was written.

Claims that a religious group corrupted an important text are common -- Christians also accused the Jews of editing the Hebrew Tanakh to remove some of the Messianic prophecies.

We don't have the autographical (original) texts for either the Hebrew Tanakh or the Greek Septuagint, and there are known disagreements between them. For a deeper dive on textual criticism, see my thoughts here.


Sources

https://www.britannica.com/topic/Septuagint

https://ccel.org/ccel/edmundson/church/church.xi.html

https://www.newadvent.org/fathers/01286.htm chapter 72

1
  • thank you for your quick response. It would appear that there has been a conflation of the original septuagint used by the writers of the New Testament with later revisions/translations into greek from the 2nd century onwards.
    – KGB
    Feb 1 at 22:45

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.