…which alluded to some of my misgivings about the Masoretic Text and asked for help and comments.
While I await, and look forward to, the answers that thread gets, I wanted to ask a question here. I am growing more and more troubled by the feeling that the Masoretic Text (from which all Protestant Old Testaments and almost all(?) Catholic Old Testaments today are translated) is not the same as the scriptures employed by the Apostles.
I am not claiming that the Septuagint is identical to the scriptures employed by the Apostles, but as I struggle with this issue, and simultaneously consider Catholicism and Orthodoxy, I wanted to ask if there are any Eastern Rite Catholic churches which employ the Septuagint as their OT (the way many Orthodox do)?
Any information others can share would be greatly appreciated!
Thank you BpBasilPhx. I actually was aware of this. I even posted to the thread on the subject of the forthcoming Orthodox Bible that existed in the old Eastern Christianity forum (by the way, what happened to that forum? I know it was archived and closed, but now I can’t find it - was it deleted?).
While your comments were greatly appreciated, and I do intend to purchase that Orthodox Bible, I think your answer was somewhat outside the scope of what I was looking for here. I was curious if there are any Eastern Rite Catholic churches (or any churches in communion with Rome!) which employ the Septuagint as their Old Testament (e.g. maybe Uniates do this? I don’t know!).
You’re correct; the MT is not the bible of Jesus and the apostles, and I think that certain Catholic eastern churches used the LXX, although I can’t speak to what’s going on today.
In his scriptural commentaries, St. Jerome often gives detailed explanations of why the various translators rendered the Hebrew in different ways, and the Vulgate has its divergences from both the MT and LXX.
The Melkite Greek Catholics do use the full Septiugent Old Testament Scriptures unlike the Roman Catholics. I’ve never received a good answer as to why the Roman Catholics pulled some of the books out, but other Rites within the Catholic Church do use the entire Sacred Scriptures.
You may want to take a look at: www.melkite.org for additional details on the differences between Roman Catholic and Melkite Greek Catholics. You’ll see the difference in Doctrine/Beliefs under the “Role of Eastern Catholics” tab, then scroll down to the “Roman or Melkite - What’s the Difference!” tab. You may find this information helpful in your decision as to which Church: Orthodox or Catholic & if Catholic which Catholic Rite to select when converting. In Orthodoxy, the different Churches: Russian, Greek, Serbian, OCA, etc. all teach the same Doctrine, etc. In the Catholic Church Rites: Roman, Melkite, Maronite, etc. teach different things, but remain in communion with each other anyway.
I’m contemplating reverting back to the Catholic Church under the Melkite Greek Catholic Rite myself. This way I do not have to reject or compromise any of the Orthodox Christian beliefs, but will be in full union with Rome. I will be speaking with the Archimandrite about it all in a couple of weeks if not sooner.
Perhaps the unity without compromising dogma is what Christ would want?
Catholics have unity with Orthodox, Oriental, etc.
Orthodox who don’t believe in Infalibility of the Pope, don’t believe the same thing re: Original Sin, don’t believe in the Filioque, etc.
Oriental (Coptics, etc.) who don’t believe Christ Jesus has two Natures - they believe and teach that Christ Jesus only has one Nature.
These are big differences, but the Church Patriarchs/leaders are not allowing those differences to interfer with the unity of Christ’s Church - all are still part of the “Family”. Some left the “Family” at certain various points in history and have come back to the “Family” at other points in history. The Maronite Church came back around the time of the Crusades and the Melkite Greek Catholics around the 1700’s, etc. It’s interesting.
Thank you so much for this post! However, I wanted to comment on this part:
Huh? Which books do the Melkites use that the Roman Catholics do not? Psalm 151? 3rd or 4th Maccabees? I’m curious… My guess is they are not using IV Ezra (called 2nd Esdras in the King James Apocrypha), as it never appeared in any edition of the Septuagint (but I do know it appeared in the Old Slavonic Bible employed by Russian Orthodox).
Whatever the case, thank you so much for the information. If the Melkites do employ the Septuagint, perhaps that is where I will go. It seems to solve so many problems (and, by the way, if Eastern Catholics demonstrate that it is possible for someone to not adhere to those things which separate Rome from the Orthodox, yet nonetheless remain in communion with Rome, I am left wondering why the schism was necessary).
The official Scripture that the Melkite Church recommends to her members in English is: New Oxford Bible with Apocrypha. This is put out I believe by Protestants who call some of the Sacred Scriptures Apocrypha, but the Church simply refers to these books as Sacred Scripture.
My Bible is at home, so I can’t open it up to give you a list of the table of contents.
Another Bible version which actually lists in the beginning of it the various Christian Traditions and what is and isn’t considered Scripture and that has all the books in it is the Harper Collins Study Bible.
Hold on, hold on… There is a difference between the official text they use and a text they recommend. For example, Catholic Bibles lack IV Ezra (AKA 2 Esdras), but I have seen at least one Catholic Church (Holy Family Church near the UN headquaters in Manhattan) which has a certain English translation (I think Good News with ‘Apocrypha’) available in the pews which includes IV Ezra.
Beyond that, I am familiar with the Orthodox Annotated Bible with Apocrypha (big red hardcover, right?). You can get it in RSV and NRSV versions. The problem I have (in terms of this translations relevance to this thread) is that, first, the RSV and NRSV are NOT translated from the Septuagint, rather they are translated from the Masoretic text (though I think they, perhaps, occasionally have footnotes noting some instances where the Septuagint diverges from the Masoretic text). Second, it has books, like IV Ezra, which were never part of the Septuagint. So if the Melkite Church is using the Oxford Bible, I see no difference between going there or any other Catholic Church (as far as this thread is concerned).
So in what capacity does the Melkite church employ the Septuagint?
Until then, I agree with Lak in that I am going to look forward to this Orthodox Bible which has an OT translated from the Septuagint…
The Preface to the Apocrypha in my New Oxford Annotated Bible says:
The basic Greek text of the books of the Apocrypha from which the present translation was made is the edition of the Septuagint prepared by Alfred Rahlfs, published by the Wurttemberg Bible Society, Stuttgart, 1935.
Yes, but that is the “Apocrypha”. Note that it does not state such for the rest of the OT. That is because the RSV and the NRSV translate their OTs (not including the “Apocrypha”) from the Masoretic Text (which is PRECISELY why they separate the “Apocrypha” out into a separate section). Of course several (though surely not all, as 2 Esdras is not part of the Septuagint) of their texts in the Apocrypha section were translated from the Septuagint - those texts are not part of the Masoretic Text!
I had an actual Septiugent Bible - only the Old Testament - which was Greek with English translation of each word - didn’t read very easy, but it was authentic. I bought it from a Catholic Bookstore which has since gone out of business and I lost it in a move across country. It was great to reference especially since the Hebrew Translations come from less ancient documents which were translated from Greek into Hebrew after the Resurrection of Christ. There will be soon a first ever translation of the original Septiugent into English by some Orthodox Scholars.
Up to now, I believe/think the reason no Orthodox have taken this undertaking is because there are already so many other versions/translations of the Old Testament already in English plus up until recently with all the conversions to Eastern Christianity most of the Eastern Christians in the U.S. still could read and understand either the original or the translations of the Septiugent in other languages: Russian, Serbian, etc.?
Being that the Oxford Bible with “Apocrypha” is employs either the RSV or the NRSV (depending on the edition), it seems better to me to employ the RSV-CE instead. Some differences are very minor, e.g. Luke 1:28 has “full of grace”, but I consider it worth while.
Relevant to this conversation, however, the Oxford Bible with “Apocrypha” rips out the portions of Esther not found in the Masoretic Text and puts them in the “Apocrypha” section. The RSV-CE, however, keeps the structure of Esther that the Church used in the earliest times. In other words, it follows the order of the Septuagint. Those portions that are found in the Masoretic Text are translated from that source, but interspersed therein are the portions found in Septuagint but not in the Masoretic Text.