Christian 'corruption' of Psalms 14/53 to match Romans 3:10-18

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Stephen Nelson
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Christian 'corruption' of Psalms 14/53 to match Romans 3:10-18

Post by Stephen Nelson » November 4th, 2019, 11:34 am

Does anyone have any recommendations for research material that elucidate the LXX text of Psalms 14 (LXX 13) and 53 (LXX 52)?

In particular, I’m interested in the addition to the end of Psalm 14:3 (LXX 13:3) -

πάντες ἐξέκλιναν ἅμα ἠχρεώθησαν οὐκ ἔστιν ποιῶν χρηστότητα οὐκ ἔστιν ἕως ἑνός τάφος ἀνεῳγμένος ὁ λάρυγξ αὐτῶν, ταῖς γλώσσαις αὐτῶν ἐδολιοῦσαν, ἰὸς ἀσπίδων ὑπὸ τὰ χείλη αὐτῶν, ὧν τὸ στόμα ἀρᾶς καὶ πικρίας γέμει· ὀξεῖς οἱ πόδες αὐτῶν ἐκχέαι αἷμα, σύντριμμα καὶ ταλαιπωρία ἐν ταῖς ὁδοῖς αὐτῶν, καὶ ὁδὸν εἰρήνης οὐκ ἔγνωσαν. οὐκ ἔστιν φόβος θεοῦ ἀπέναντι τῶν ὀφθαλμῶν αὐτῶν

Here you find a match in Romans 3:10-18 -

Οὐκ ἔστιν δίκαιος οὐδὲ εἷς, οὐκ ἔστιν ὁ συνίων, οὐκ ἔστιν ὁ ἐκζητῶν τὸν θεόν· πάντες ἐξέκλιναν, ἅμα ἠχρεώθησαν· οὐκ ἔστιν ποιῶν χρηστότητα, οὐκ ἔστιν ἕως ἑνός. τάφος ἀνεῳγμένος ὁ λάρυγξ αὐτῶν, ταῖς γλώσσαις αὐτῶν ἐδολιοῦσαν, ἰὸς ἀσπίδων ὑπὸ τὰ χείλη αὐτῶν, ὧν τὸ στόμα ἀρᾶς καὶ πικρίας γέμει· ὀξεῖς οἱ πόδες αὐτῶν ἐκχέαι αἷμα, σύντριμμα καὶ ταλαιπωρία ἐν ταῖς ὁδοῖς αὐτῶν, καὶ ὁδὸν εἰρήνης οὐκ ἔγνωσαν. οὐκ ἔστιν φόβος θεοῦ ἀπέναντι τῶν ὀφθαλμῶν αὐτῶν.

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?s ... BLGNT;NASB

A YouTube video came out yesterday analyzing the differences between Psalms 14 and 53, in light of Romans 3:10-18 -

https://youtu.be/7bhApFWC7HM

The creator (Brak Bnei) is attempting to use this single example to ‘prove’ a rather extreme conclusion - that Christians conspired on a wide scale to ᾽corrupt᾽ the Septuagint to conform with the New Testament. He further concludes that the assertion that the NT 'quotes from the Septuagint' is 'fallacious', and that, in reality, the Septuagint is actually 'quoting' the NT, by virtue of this conspiracy theory.

I find it ironic that he opens the video by citing Emmanuel Tov’s definition of “The Septuagint,” yet his conclusion basically contradicts Tov’s scholarship vis-à-vis the Septuagint.

There seems to be a hidden premise - that the original, pre-Christian Septuagint must have conformed exactly to the Proto-Masoretic text, prior to its corruption by Christians. The other hidden premise would be that the 'corruptions' originated with the NT authors (such as Paul in Romans 3:10-18), even without a clear motive. Thus any departure from the Masoretic Text by the LXX must be a result of Christian corruption. It’s essentially a conspiracy theory. And this reportedly is the first of a series of videos that will attempt to demonstrate this.

Tov touches on these Psalms in ‘Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible’ (pg. 12-15 of the 3rd edition and pg. 188 of the 2nd Revised Edition). He makes a brief note on the LXX version(s) in the 2nd edition. But this seems to have been removed from the 3rd edition, for some reason (or I simply can’t find it). Nor can I find any reference to it in his book ‘The Text-Critical Use of the Septuagint in Biblical Research’.

Here’s what he says in the 2nd edition of his ‘Textual Criticism’ book (pg. 188) - emphasis added:
“A comparison of Chronicles with its sources and, likewise, a comparison of the pairs of parallel psalms 2 Samuel 22 / / Psalm 18, Psalm 14 / / Psalm 53, and, like them, other parallel texts (cf. p. 12), points to many scribal differences (for examples see chapter 4C) which were perhaps created at a very early stage, before these units were integrated into the complete compositions now found in 𝕸.

At some stage, the literary growth was necessarily completed. It is possible that at an early stage there existed different early compositions that were parallel or overlapping, but none of these have been preserved (cf., however, p. 178). At a certain point in time the last formulations were accepted as final from the point of view of their content and were transmitted and circulated as such. But sometimes this process recurred. Occasionally a book reached what appeared at the time to be its final form, and as such was circulated. However, at a later stage another, revised, edition was prepared, which was intended to take the place of the preceding one. This new edition was also accepted as authoritative, but the evidence shows that it did not always succeed in completely eradicating the texts of the earlier edition which survived in places which were geographically or socially remote. So it came about that these earlier editions reached the hands of the Greek translators in Egypt and remained among the scrolls at Qumran. This pertains to many of the examples analyzed in chapter 7, especially the shorter text forms described there (pp. 319-336).
Can anyone recommend any further reading on this topic? Much obliged.
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Re: Christian 'corruption' of Psalms 14/53 to match Romans 3:10-18

Post by Ken M. Penner » November 4th, 2019, 1:18 pm

Just a quick bibliographic response:
Flint, Peter W. 2000. “Variant Readings of the Dead Sea Psalms Scrolls against the Massoretic Text and the Septuagint Psalter.” In Der Septuaginta-Psalter Und Seine Tochterübersetzungen, edited by Anneli; Quast Aejmelaeus, 337–65. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht.
Hiebert, Robert J. V, Claude E Cox, Peter John Gentry, and Albert Pietersma. 2001. The Old Greek Psalter: Studies in Honour of Albert Pietersma. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press. http://public.eblib.com/choice/publicfu ... x?p=435952.
Mozley, Francis Woodgate. 1905. The Psalter of the Church the Septuagint Psalms Compared with the Hebrew, with Various Notes. ATLA Monograph Preservation Program. Cambridge, New York: University Press. Macmillan distributor. http://www.letsreadgreek.com/psalms/res ... church.pdf.
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Re: Christian 'corruption' of Psalms 14/53 to match Romans 3:10-18

Post by Ken M. Penner » November 5th, 2019, 9:49 am

The LXX manuscripts of Psalm 13[14]:3 do contain text taken from Romans 3:12-18. This does not demonstrate a widespread conspiracy to harmonize the Septuagint to the New Testament.
Lucian's recension of the Psalms does not include the addition from Romans.
Some German resources:
Karrer, Martin, Siegfried Kreuzer, and Marcus Sigismund. Von der Septuaginta zum Neuen Testament: Textgeschichtliche Erörterungen. De Gruyter, 2010.
Rahlfs, Alfred. Psalmi cum odis. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1967.
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Stephen Nelson
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Re: Christian 'corruption' of Psalms 14/53 to match Romans 3:10-18

Post by Stephen Nelson » November 5th, 2019, 12:32 pm

Thank you! This will sure keep me busy for a while!

I do see that my Rahlfs-Hanhard edition of the Septuagint has that bold section of Psalm 13 ["τάφος ἀνεῳγμένος... τῶν ὀφθαλμῶν αὐτῶν.] in brackets. And the NETS doesn't even include it.

Obviously, it's in Swete's Septuagint. Does anyone know if it's in the 1906 Brook-McLean Major "diplomatic" edition (based on Vaticanus)? Or is it in the critical Göttingen Septuagint?

Peter Flint's paper is an excellent resource. It doesn't address these Psalms in detail. But it does list some examples from Qumran in its Collation of Variants from Psalm 14:1, 14:5 and 53:4, 53:5, 53:7 (screenshots attached).

It's all Greek to me... I mean it's all Hebrew... which is Greek to me... But I would understand it if it were Greek...

So I'm not sure what to make of the Hebrew variants vis-à-vis the LXX and the MT. If anyone with knowledge of Hebrew can elucidate, that would be awesome.

The references listed to the Dead Sea Scrolls are to 11QPs^c (for Psalm 14) and 4QPs^a (for Psalm 53).

My Florentino Garcia Martinez translation of the DSS lists the identifiers 11QPs^a & 11QPs^b under Apocryphal psalms included in copies of the biblical psalter (pg. 303-310). So these aren't the right Psalms.

I can't for the life of me seem to find these Psalms in this translation. 11QP^c is listed under "CAVE 11 Biblical manuscripts" (pg. 517) under the bullet listing 11Q7, with reference to some other books. It seems like Martinez may have included them in a separate volume 'Texts from Cave 11'. So I guess this collection simply doesn't include translations of those fragments. Or I simply can't seem to find them.
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Last edited by Stephen Nelson on November 5th, 2019, 12:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Christian 'corruption' of Psalms 14/53 to match Romans 3:10-18

Post by Ken M. Penner » November 5th, 2019, 12:42 pm

Stephen Nelson wrote:
November 5th, 2019, 12:32 pm
I can't for the life of me seem to find these Psalms in this translation. 11QP^c is listed under "CAVE 11 Biblical manuscripts" (pg. 517) under the bullet listing 11Q7, with reference to some other books. It seems like Martinez may have included them in a separate volume 'Texts from Cave 11'. So I guess this collection simply doesn't include translations of those fragments. Or I simply can't seem to find them.
FGM doesn't include the biblical scrolls. For that you'll need
Ulrich, Eugene. The Biblical Qumran Scrolls: transcriptions and textual variants. Leiden: Brill, 2010.
and/or
Abegg, Martin G., Peter Flint, and Eugene Ulrich. The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible: The Oldest Known Bible Translated for the First Time into English. HarperOne, 2002.
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Re: Christian 'corruption' of Psalms 14/53 to match Romans 3:10-18

Post by Bruce McKinnon » November 5th, 2019, 8:39 pm

Obviously, it's in Swete's Septuagint. Does anyone know if it's in the 1906 Brook-McLean Major "diplomatic" edition (based on Vaticanus)? Or is it in the critical Göttingen Septuagint?
A few years ago I downloaded (from somewhere) the Brook-McLean edition for the "Octateuch" (994 pages long). I don't now recall where I eventually found it but with a bit of searching you may find an online downloadable copy of the volume which includes the psalms. If you do, please let us know!
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Re: Christian 'corruption' of Psalms 14/53 to match Romans 3:10-18

Post by Stephen Nelson » November 5th, 2019, 9:56 pm

Here are images of Psalm 14:3 (LXX 13:3) from Codex Vaticanus and Codex Sinaiticus.

In Sinaiticus the part matching Romans 3:13-18 has marks all around it, like modern-day brackets [].

It also appears to be set apart in Vaticanus, where "οὐκ ἔστιν ἕως ἑνός" is centered on its own line, so the next line begins left-adjusted with "τάφος..."

I believe these mss represent the Kaige-Theodotian recension. Does anyone have a recommendation for finding online versions of mss that represent the Lucianic recension (b, o, c2, e2)?
Psalm 14 Vaticanus.jpg
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Psalm 14 Sinaiticus.jpg
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Re: Christian 'corruption' of Psalms 14/53 to match Romans 3:10-18

Post by Stephen Nelson » November 6th, 2019, 2:07 am

Correction - I should have said, "It also appears to be set apart in Vaticanus and Sinaiticus..." since the layout of Psalm 14:3 is IDENTICAL between those 2 mss, with the same words filling the same lines. It seems rather remarkable...

Aside from simply finding mss that represent the Lucianic recension, I should have mentioned that, specifically, how can I find Psalm 14 among LXX mss to confirm whether or not Lucian's recension has this bit matching Romans.

In case anyone's interested, here are the excerpts of Romans 3:13-18 from Sinaiticus and Vaticanus.

Note that, despite having the standard reading of "οὐκ ἔστιν ἕως ἑνός" in Psalm 14, Sinaiticus has the variant reading - "οὐκ ἔστιν ἕως αἰνός" for some reason (presumably just a 'typo').

Also, Sinaiticus has "οὐκ ἔστιν [ὁ ἐκ]ζητῶν τὸν θεόν" while Vaticanus has "οὐκ ἔστιν [ ]ζητῶν τὸν θεόν".
Romans 3 Vaticanus.jpg
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Romans 3 Sinaiticus.jpg
Romans 3 Sinaiticus.jpg (167.37 KiB) Viewed 284 times
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Re: Christian 'corruption' of Psalms 14/53 to match Romans 3:10-18

Post by Ken M. Penner » November 6th, 2019, 7:20 am

Stephen Nelson wrote:
November 6th, 2019, 2:07 am
Note that, despite having the standard reading of "οὐκ ἔστιν ἕως ἑνός" in Psalm 14, Sinaiticus has the variant reading - "οὐκ ἔστιν ἕως αἰνός" for some reason (presumably just a 'typo').
We consider αι for ε to be not a variant but an alternate (phonetic) spelling. The two sounded the same. The same goes for ει interchanged with ι.
While we're here: the apparently missing ν at the end of a line ... those ν's are indicated by a high line.
The apparently missing αι on και ... that's the hook on the κ.
Jongkind, Dirk. Scribal Habits of Codex Sinaiticus. Piscataway, NJ: Gorgias, 2007. Abstract

For those looking for the larger Cambridge Septuagint:
McLean, Norman, Henry St. John Thackeray, and A. E Brooke. The Old Testament in Greek According to the Text of Codex Vaticanus, Supplemented from Other Uncial Manuscripts, with a Critical Apparatus Containing the Variants of the Chief Ancient Authorities for the Text of the Septuagint. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1906.

I think the answers to some of your questions about which manuscripts contain what can be found in the apparatus to Psalmi cum Odis mentioned earlier.
The apparatus, as I interpret it, says:
Rahlfs wrote: 3.3–10 Vaticanus Sinaiticus Bohairic; further 2008 2014 2019 2039 2042 2044 2049, also 2037 2051 2019 U Sahidic 1221 R Latin Syriac 1219] marked with ÷ in Gallic Psalter, omitted by Lucianic manuscripts and Theodoret and Alexandrinus: from Rom. 3:13–18, where Paul joins these words (= Ps. 5:10, 139:4, 9:28, Is. 59:7, 8, Ps. 35:2) with Ps. 13:3, compare Preface § 44 & Septuaginta-Studien 2, p. 42 & 229
We don't have high quality images of this part of Alexandrinus available online, but there is a black-and-white facsimile.
Kenyon, Frederic G., ed. The Codex alexandrinus in reduced photographic facsimile. London: British Museum, 1909.
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Re: Christian 'corruption' of Psalms 14/53 to match Romans 3:10-18

Post by mjmselim » November 6th, 2019, 11:28 am

Bruce McKinnon wrote:
November 5th, 2019, 8:39 pm
Obviously, it's in Swete's Septuagint. Does anyone know if it's in the 1906 Brook-McLean Major "diplomatic" edition (based on Vaticanus)? Or is it in the critical Göttingen Septuagint?
A few years ago I downloaded (from somewhere) the Brook-McLean edition for the "Octateuch" (994 pages long). I don't now recall where I eventually found it but with a bit of searching you may find an online downloadable copy of the volume which includes the psalms. If you do, please let us know!
Michael J. Miles: The Public Domain PDF of the work may be found together here:
https://archive.org/details/OldTestamen ... xVaticanus
https://archive.org/details/oldtestamen ... 1906.1935.
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