Books omitted from LXX

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Stephen Nelson
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Books omitted from LXX

Post by Stephen Nelson » August 28th, 2019, 1:36 pm

Does anyone know (or have a theory for) why certain books are missing from certain editions (ancient & modern) of the Septuagint? I would expect for at least all canonical books to be included.

For example this website: https://www.septuagint.bible/home#

It appears to be missing Lamentation, Baruch, Ezekiel and Daniel. I get that the Th and OG versions of Daniel diverge greatly, so maybe they omitted Daniel for simplicity (just speculating). But why not include the other 3 books?

Also, Codex Sinaiticus seems to be missing several books. The Wikipedia entry states the following:
While large portions of the Old Testament are missing, it is assumed that the codex originally contained the whole of both Testaments.[6]
6 - "Sacred Texts: Codex Sinaiticus". www.bl.uk. Retrieved 27 January 2017.

What's that assumption based on? I assume that what constitutes "the whole of both Testaments" are the universally-canonical books (however one sets parameters).

It looks like Sinaiticus is missing Baruch, Ezekiel, Hosea, Amos, Micah and Daniel (unless I'm missing something). Why those books in particular?
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Jason Hare
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Re: Books omitted from LXX

Post by Jason Hare » August 28th, 2019, 2:04 pm

They're all present in my copies of the Septuagint.

Here, for example, is the text of Baruch. The whole of the Septuagint is on that site.
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Stephen Nelson
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Re: Books omitted from LXX

Post by Stephen Nelson » August 28th, 2019, 2:40 pm

Jason Hare wrote:
August 28th, 2019, 2:04 pm
They're all present in my copies of the Septuagint.

Here, for example, is the text of Baruch. The whole of the Septuagint is on that site.
Thanks. Yes, I do know that these books exist in most editions of the Septuagint. That requires no explanation.

My question pertains to why they are absent from some editions (such as the online one I cited and Codex Sinaiticus).

Sorry, maybe my question in the OOP was poorly phrased.
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Stirling Bartholomew
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Re: Books omitted from LXX

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » August 28th, 2019, 2:46 pm

Stephen Nelson wrote:
August 28th, 2019, 2:40 pm
Jason Hare wrote:
August 28th, 2019, 2:04 pm
They're all present in my copies of the Septuagint.

Here, for example, is the text of Baruch. The whole of the Septuagint is on that site.
Thanks. Yes, I do know that these books exist in most editions of the Septuagint. That requires no explanation.

My question pertains to why they are absent from some editions (such as the online one I cited and Codex Sinaiticus).

Sorry, maybe my question in the OOP was poorly phrased.
It didn't survive in Codex Sinaiticus.
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Daniel Semler
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Re: Books omitted from LXX

Post by Daniel Semler » August 29th, 2019, 11:52 am

Stephen Nelson wrote:
August 28th, 2019, 2:40 pm
Jason Hare wrote:
August 28th, 2019, 2:04 pm
They're all present in my copies of the Septuagint.

Here, for example, is the text of Baruch. The whole of the Septuagint is on that site.
Thanks. Yes, I do know that these books exist in most editions of the Septuagint. That requires no explanation.

My question pertains to why they are absent from some editions (such as the online one I cited and Codex Sinaiticus).

Sorry, maybe my question in the OOP was poorly phrased.
Check out http://www.codexsinaiticus.org/en/codex/content.aspx. It's pretty thin but gives you an idea of the incompleteness of the Sinaiticus MS. Given the story of its acquisition it's perhaps surprising it's not worse off. I've not studied Vaticanus though it would be interesting to compare. I had a quick look in Jobes/Silva and their book is too summary a treatment of the MSS to say much here, but they accord a high rank to the Vaticanus MS.

As to the septuagint.bible site, I hadn't seen it. I want to look further at it but it does not note what it's source text/s is/are as far as I can tell from a quick squiz. I find that a little odd given part of the stated mission of the site but thems the breaks I guess. I've had some trouble precisely tracking down texts on the Greek Orthodox side. The NT is easier.

Thx
D
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Stirling Bartholomew
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Re: Books omitted from LXX

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » August 29th, 2019, 2:53 pm

The notion that "The Septuagint" is fixed entity with a certain content is called into question by the "Warden[1]" of Tyndale House Cambridge, Peter J. Williams, PhD.

Why I Don't Believe In The Septuagint - Dr. Peter J. Williams, PhD
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RmpnJ1cgh58


This has consequences for Greek research. We should stop referring to our digital LXX as a search corpus. It is sloppy scholarship.


[1] or director, president, dean, CEO.
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Stephen Nelson
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Re: Books omitted from LXX

Post by Stephen Nelson » August 31st, 2019, 1:27 pm

Stirling Bartholomew wrote:
August 29th, 2019, 2:53 pm
The notion that "The Septuagint" is fixed entity with a certain content is called into question by the "Warden[1]" of Tyndale House Cambridge, Peter J. Williams, PhD.

Why I Don't Believe In The Septuagint - Dr. Peter J. Williams, PhD
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RmpnJ1cgh58

This has consequences for Greek research. We should stop referring to our digital LXX as a search corpus. It is sloppy scholarship.
What does it mean to "stop referring to our digital LXX as a search corpus" and how exactly is this "sloppy scholarship"? I assume the "digital corpus" you're referring to is the same collection of books we have in printed editions?

In terms of nomenclature, I completely understand Dr. Williams' argument from anachronism. But, unless leading scholars who specialize in the Septuagint, like Emmanuel Tov, jettison terms like "Septuagint", or abbreviations like "LXX" or "𝕲" in favor of some other universally preferred terms; I don't personally see any reason to stop using these terms (in the absence of a good alternative), as long as scholarly works on the topic properly define terms. In the same sense, just because some people dislike the term "Old Testament" and prefer "Hebrew Bible", I don't think "Old Testament" ("OT") should be abandoned as a term. It certainly has enough tradition and traction behind it to make it viable.

I always like Dr. Williams' presentations. He's an eloquent orator and full of insight. I've re-watched this presentation on the Septuagint several times. But I can't help feeling like this is more of a polemic than the kind of neutral approach to the subject I'd prefer to see. He seems very biased to me, like he has an axe to grind, for some reason. It's a common Protestant sentiment - rejection of the LXX in favor of the MT. The inverse is also true among Orthodox Christians - rejection of the MT in favor of the LXX. I totally appreciate the controversy.

For me personally, the work of Emmanuel Tov (Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible, The Greek and Hebrew Bible, The Text Critical Use of the Septuagint in Biblical Research) significantly eclipses some of Dr. Williams' theses. Perhaps I'm a bit biased in favor of Tov, since I've learned so much of what I know from these particular books. Tov explains his use of the term "Septuagint(a)" as follows:
The collective name Septuagint(a) now denotes both the original translation of Hebrew-Aramaic Scripture into Greek and the collection of sacred Greek writings in their present, canonical, form. Neither use is precise, since the name Septuaginta is not suitable for a collection that contains in addition to the original translation of some books, late revisions of original translations, as well as compositions written in Greek. Accordingly, scholars usually distinguish between the collection of sacred Greek writings named the "Septuagint" and the reconstructed original translation, called the Old Greek (OG) translation. When it is necessary to stress the diverse nature of the collection of books included in 𝕲, its name is often placed in quoations marks ("𝕲").
-Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible, pg. 129
Emmanuel Tov certainly does not characterize the Septuagint as a "fixed entity". He elaborates on several different versions - The OG > Kaige Th > Aquila / Theodotian > Symmachus > Hexapla > Hesychius > Lucian. A lot of text-critical work has gone into identifying these various streams of revision. And equal weight is not given to every single book in the corpus. For example, the OG text of Daniel (not including Greek additions to Daniel), is argued to contain some readings more primitive than those in the MT. But this thesis is not without detractors.

If anyone has gone to the effort of painstakingly comparing NT references to OT passages with our Greek editions, they probably realize that, in some instances, they match verbatim. In other instances there are subtle variations, and in other instances they drastically diverge. Dr. Williams asserts that "we don't have what they (1st century Christians) had" (if I recall the quote correctly). But in my own personal observation, the evidence does not always bear out this conclusion. So I think the Greek texts have tremendous value for OT and NT studies. I do have some reservations when approaching these texts. But I personally don't discount them to the extent that Dr. Williams thinks we should.
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Barry Hofstetter
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Re: Books omitted from LXX

Post by Barry Hofstetter » September 2nd, 2019, 6:27 am

Stephen Nelson wrote:
August 31st, 2019, 1:27 pm
Stirling Bartholomew wrote:
August 29th, 2019, 2:53 pm
The notion that "The Septuagint" is fixed entity with a certain content is called into question by the "Warden[1]" of Tyndale House Cambridge, Peter J. Williams, PhD.

Why I Don't Believe In The Septuagint - Dr. Peter J. Williams, PhD
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RmpnJ1cgh58

This has consequences for Greek research. We should stop referring to our digital LXX as a search corpus. It is sloppy scholarship.
What does it mean to "stop referring to our digital LXX as a search corpus" and how exactly is this "sloppy scholarship"? I assume the "digital corpus" you're referring to is the same collection of books we have in printed editions?

In terms of nomenclature, I completely understand Dr. Williams' argument from anachronism. But, unless leading scholars who specialize in the Septuagint, like Emmanuel Tov, jettison terms like "Septuagint", or abbreviations like "LXX" or "𝕲" in favor of some other universally preferred terms; I don't personally see any reason to stop using these terms (in the absence of a good alternative), as long as scholarly works on the topic properly define terms. In the same sense, just because some people dislike the term "Old Testament" and prefer "Hebrew Bible", I don't think "Old Testament" ("OT") should be abandoned as a term. It certainly has enough tradition and traction behind it to make it viable.
In other words, we know what we mean and we can explain the limits of the terminology. I'm reminded of the wonk who always brings up "You know, we don't really have such a thing as NT Greek, we have Koine Greek of which the NT writings are a part." Of course, that's absolutely true, but just as we have a corpus of writings attributed to Plato which share a lot in common, and manage generate their own special sub-field of study, so the NT documents and other early Christian literature. Hey, The New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature -- it sounds like it could be the title or part of the title of something.
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Stirling Bartholomew
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Re: Books omitted from LXX

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » September 2nd, 2019, 1:29 pm

Occasionally while working in Athanasius I have searched for samples of some unfamiliar syntax pattern. After numerous searches I noted something peculiar. I would search both the GNT (NA27) and Rahlfs LXX. The pattern would show up nowhere except Maccabees[1]. This happened often enough that it caught my attention. Apparently there is something special about Maccabees. Perhaps it has something to do with "register" but I am not competent to address that question. Athanasius while generally very readable, occasionally does something with syntax that isn't found in the Greek Bible.

Statements like "this pattern is found X number of times in the LXX" are meaningless. We don't know what your are talking about. It's like searching the the contents of the library in your office.

[1] I think it was always 4 Maccabees. This has been a while so I'm not sure. I stop searching after running into numerous samples of exotic syntax.
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Devenios Doulenios
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Re: Books omitted from LXX

Post by Devenios Doulenios » September 3rd, 2019, 9:19 am

I agree with Barry. In a similar vein, we correctly speak of "Jerome's Vulgate" even though we're aware (or become aware) that he is not responsible for all of the final product. But he is responsible for most of it, so it fits to attribute the Vulgate to him.
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