Any modern bible translation use the Septuagint for ot? Not the masoretic text


I have heard it mentioned on ca live quite a few times that it was most likely the lxx that was used by the apostles and read by Jesus. Yet every modern bible seems to use the masoretic texts as the basis for the ot. I don’t understand why this is. Whatever was good enough for the Lord and quoted by the apostles is good enough for me.

Does anyone know which, if any, Catholic translations use the lxx as their basis?


The NKJV is not a Catholic translation, and it does not use the LXX as its basis, but where the LXX and/or the Vulgate readings are significantly different from the MT in the OT, there is a footnote giving the different readings.




Both of those are masoretic ots.


Most modern Catholic Bibles use the Masoretic text as the base of their OT translation but also use the Septuagint and the Dead Sea Scrolls if it is judged that they represent a better textual tradition. See the introduction to the Old Testament in any Catholic (NAB, RSV, etc.) Bible.


The problem is that those who claim Jesus and the apostles used the LXX is false. Jesus and the apostles were Palestinian Jews, and as such, used the Hebrew in worship. Catholic apologists should stop using this argument; it makes us look desperate.

What IS true, is that the New Testament *authors *(some of whom were apostles), did use the LXX for their Greek New Testament quotes.

No Catholic translation uses the LXX as its basis, as the Church (Divino Afflante Spiritu, Liturgiam authenticam) requires translations from the original languages. The LXX is only a translation and any translation made from is would be one translation level removed from the inspired originals.


The Orthodox Study Bible (not Catholic) uses the Septuagint and the NKJV OT:

'The contributors used the Alfred Rahlfs edition of the Greek text as the basis for the English translation. To this they brought two additional major sources. The first is the Brenton text, a British translation of the Greek Old Testament, published in 1851…
Secondly, Thomas Nelson Publishers granted use of the Old Testament text of the New King James Version in the places where the English translation of the LXX would match that of the Masoretic (Hebrew) text. The development team at St. Athanasius Academy carefully studied these sources, along with the other documents, to produce an English Old Testament text suitable for the project.


I was under the impression that the Dead Sea Scrolls contained the books of the LXX in Hebrew.


How can you say that? What about the books of the Bible that are not contained in the Masoretic text? The LXX was the only translation of these books available for many hundreds of years.


And Jesus and the apostles did not use those books either. They were in use only among the Jewish Diaspora, whose first language was Greek. Palestinian Jews simply did not use those books.


Some, not all. Fragments of Tobit have been found, and if I recall right, some Hebrew of Sirach.

But not all the Deuterocanonical books were written in Hebrew. Some of them (e.g. Wisdom, portions of Daniel and Esther, 2 Maccabees, Judith, Baruch were written originally in Greek.



Thank you for shining light on the very important distinction between what the disciples (and Jesus) used in their daily lives and what the NT writers used as they were compiling their various documents.


I didn’t make the claim that Jesus used the Greek, what I am arguing is Catholics have used the LXX for the basis of Catholic edition Bibles. Not all the Scriptures could be found in Hebrew.

Maybe I am misunderstanding you as claiming the original language has to be Hebrew?


Oh, I see. Well, yes, Catholic Bibles do use the LXX for the Greek works (a typical example is Daniel, which most modern Bibles translate from Theodotion). For those books, the Greek is the original language, and so Catholic Bibles are translated from those (as opposed to, say, from the Vulgate).

But for those protocanonical books, the Church requires that Bibles be translated from the Hebrew.


You can just buy a translation of the Septuagint, or even read one online. No biggie.

The Masoretic text isn’t the only Hebrew Bible text that ever existed. It’s the reading that was agreed upon and collated later, long after Jesus’ time. So it would have been impossible for Him to use the Masoretic text exclusively, except by using His divine omniscience.


Thank you, that was my point!


Methinks you are wrong here. What many people fail to realize is that there were many Greek speaking Jews in Jerusalem, and for that matter throughout Palestine, including Greek speaking synagogues in Jerusalem, at the time of Christ. We know that Jesus answered people’s questions on THEIR turf. Meaning, the Sadducees, who only accepted the first five books of the OT, He answered their questions by only using the books they accepted. The Pharisees, He answered them using the many more books that they accepted. AND if you were a Greek speaking Jew, in Palestine, who used the Septuagint, how would Jesus answer them, if they had a question for Him, or if He were teaching in one of their synagogues?

The following link shows just how widespread Greek was in Palestine at the time of Christ.

And the following came from this link.

Jesus quotes the LXX version of Isaiah 29:13 in Mark 7:6-8; the MT version says “theirworshipof me is made up only of rules taught by men,” with no reference to the worship being vain; the LXX version says “They worship me in vain; theirteachingsare but rules taught by men.” Jesus chooses the LXX, which makes a difference. Thecontext of Mark 7 is not on worship, but on the way they’re living and expecting others to live (ceremonial washing before eating, the Corban, etc.), so the MT version of Isaiah 29:13 doesn’t fit very well, while the LXX version is directly on point, since it deals with both vain worshipandteachings.In Matthew 21:16, Jesus asks,*"have you never read, ‘From the lips of children and infants, you have ordained praise’?“That’s the Greek version. The Hebrew version says "ordainedstrength.” And note that Jesus is responding to the chief priests and scribes of Jerusalem, who were upset at the children praising Jesus, “Hosanna to the Son of David” (Matthew 21:15).There are plenty of other examples, but those are three I know of where it almost certainly wasn’t Matthew or Mark translating into the Greek, but Jesus using the Greek originally, since using the Hebrew would have made substantially less sense.


The thing is, the gospels are not tape recordings of Jesus speaking. I highly doubt the NT authors jotted down every actual bit of dialogue Jesus and the apostles literally spoke years ago word-for-word. What we only have are the writings of people who knew Jesus, and people who knew people who knew Jesus, written in a language probably different from what Jesus would have spoken in everyday life (well, while it’s true Greek was widespread at a certain level at the time, it’s not like it was His first language and that He spoke it regularly, especially if He was speaking to village peasants in the Galilee) - so that’s two to three degrees of separation. Add to that the fact that Jesus did not necessarily have to quote the Greek version, but the Hebrew text underlying that translation.

And you’re kinda oversimplifying here. It’s true most scriptural allusions or quotations in the NT are from the Septuagint, but some NT authors provide a quotation or allusion that differs from the Septuagint text: even habitual Septuagint users will at times use a different translation of the passage if that proved to be more suitable to their needs (i.e. when they thought it fits their interpretation more).


That’s true. Fragments of five manuscripts of Tobit and three of Sirach were found. Four of those Tobit manuscripts (including the oldest one) were in Aramaic, while one was in Hebrew. (Speaking of which, Tobit is a very interesting case, since we have different versions of it: two Greek versions, and some more in Latin - the Vulgate version is a version in itself - and in other languages.) Strictly speaking, only two of the three Sirach manuscripts (preserving portions of just three chapters) were from Qumran while the third one (six chapter’s worth of text) was found in nearby Masada.

As for the Sirach text, even before the DSS were discovered we have already found several manuscripts of it in (a storage room of worn old religious manuscripts) in a synagogue in Cairogenizah accounting for two-thirds of the book. The thing is, these manuscripts are medieval (11th-12th centuries); what the DSS fragments showed is that they are in substantial agreement with the Cairo manuscripts (of course with some minor differences), in turn showing that these medieval manuscripts are reliable witnesses to the Hebrew original.

It’s true that Wisdom of Solomon and 2 Maccabees and the Letter of Jeremiah (appended to Baruch) were original Greek compositions. For the record, we do have a very small fragment of the Letter of Jeremiah in Greek among the DSS, only it’s just a tiny scrap (only two complete words and parts of seven other). Baruch (or at least the prayer in the first half of the book - 1:1-3:8), Judith and 1 Maccabees are thought to be originally written in Hebrew or Aramaic, only no manuscript written in that language has survived (or we haven’t found them yet). Greek Daniel and Greek Esther, meanwhile are ‘expanded’ versions of the shorter Hebrew texts which add in more material.


I recommend A New English Translation of the Septuagint (aka NETS).

The Masoretic text isn’t the only Hebrew Bible text that ever existed. It’s the reading that was agreed upon and collated later, long after Jesus’ time. So it would have been impossible for Him to use the Masoretic text exclusively, except by using His divine omniscience.

It’s true though that the ancestor of the Masoretic text had already existed during the time of Jesus, known as the ‘proto-Masoretic’ and the ‘proto-rabbinic’ text.

(Strictly speaking, the ‘Masoretic text’ refers to the Hebrew text which has vowel markings or niqqud (remember that Hebrew was originally - and still is, to an extent - is an abjad, a writing system that only represented consonants) and concise marginal notes, added to the text. These ‘additions’, which was fixed from the 6th to the 10th centuries, are collectively known as masorah (the “transmission” of a tradition), and the Rabbis who developed these are known as the Masoretes. When we identify a text as ‘proto-Masoretic’ it really means that text is nearly identical to the consonantal text - i.e. the letters only, without the vowels or the marginalia - found in the MT and which could well be the ancestor of the MT’s consonantal text.)

You’re right that “the Masoretic text isn’t the only Hebrew Bible text that ever existed.” The thing is, as the manuscripts from the Judaean desert (Qumran specifically) imply, there was a multiplicity of versions. The proto-Masoretic text was (going by the numbers) the most-represented form of the text in the manuscripts so we can assume that it was the most-commonly used version in the Holy Land before and during Jesus’ day, but we also have (fewer) texts which represent the Hebrew version underlying the Greek Septuagint and a Hebrew version which is quite similar to the later Samaritan version of the Torah/Pentateuch.

But here’s the thing. By the time we get to the later 1st-2nd century (from other sites in the Judaean desert we know was inhabited by the 2nd century), we only have proto-Masoretic manuscripts. So we might assume that that particular version was singled out as the ‘standard’ by that time to the exclusion of the other versions. But it’s not like whoever chose it picked a version at random; they chose what was by then the most common text, at least in Palestine.

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