The Septuagint (LXX) was used by our Lord and His Apostles, from: The Circulation of Roman Catholic Versions of the Bible by the British and Foreign Bible Society - The Defence of the Practice Examined by a Clergyman of the Church of England 1868
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“The conduct of our Lord and His Apostles in using the current version of their times, the LXX., to the evident passing by, in some instances, of the Hebrew Text, is entitled to notice. It is well known that there are citations from the Old Testament in the New, which are not found in the Hebrew, but are extant in the Greek. Our Lord, by His divine wisdom, might have instantaneously produced a new and perfect translation, or have commissioned His Apostles to do the same; yet for many years no such work was executed: they continued to use the old version. This practice, it is conceived, will go far to justify the adoption of current or universally received versions, when they are the only ones that exist; and even to give countenance to the persuasion, that there may be good practical reasons for not attempting to force the circulation of versions which we may yet regard as more perfect.” (Conclusion of the Report for 1839, p. 7.)
“When the Apostles reasoned at Thessalonica three Sabbath days out of the Scriptures, it must have been in the Scriptures out of this version (LXX), for no other language than the Greek would have been understood . . . . . . Yet further, when he speaks of the Holy Scriptures able to make wise unto salvation, in which Timothy, a native of Asia Minor, had been so well instructed from his very childhood, it is diflicult to believe that he had ever read them in any other form than in the Greek version of the Septuagint. These remarks apply with tenfold force to the Vulgate and its versions, whose occasionally imperfect or incorrect renderings are not to be compared with the corrupt state of the Septuagint (at least as it has come down to us).” (Radley’s Defence, p. 20.)
“The Apostles quoted freely from the LXX., and spoke of it as the Word of God; though, in some places, it is doctrinally doubtful, and, in many, the Greek rendering has little or no resemblance to the original Hebrew.” (Lord Shaftesbury, in a Letter to Rev. S. B. Bergne, dated June 23, 1856.)
“I believe that the example of the great Author of Christianity warrants us in so proceeding, for He quoted continually in the Septuagint version, because it was the received and authorized version of the Bible: and I contend that, so far as I have examined the Lxx., there are to be found in it imperfections and blemishes, scarcely less than are to be found in the most excepted versions of the ‘British and Foreign Bible Society.”’ (Canon Stowell, Speech at Annual Meeting of the Society, 1862.)
1. If the supposed parallel exists, it must be shown that the quotations imply an approval of the whole volume; including its interpolations, its omissions, and its erroneous translations (Dan. iv. 24; Lev. xxiv. 16; Isa. xliii. 1; etc.). If the Hebrew be the standard of appeal, then the LXX. cannot be; and hence the fact, that the quotation of a part is no proof of an approval of the whole. We are not to suppose that, when St. Paul quoted Aratus (Acts xvii. 23), Epimenides the Cretan (Titus i. 12), or Menander (1 Cor. xv. 33), he approved the whole of their works. The approval must be restricted to the passages quoted.
2. If the supposed parallel exists it must be shown, that doctrinal errors were disseminated, side by side with truth. In none of the passages quoted from the LXX., can we find anything which contradicts the teaching of the Hebrew. We cannot therefore adduce the apostolic custom in support of the present practice. Because our Lord and His apostles quote passages agreeing generally with the Hebrew, are we to circulate versions which differ materially even in doctrine from that, and the Hebrew?
3. With regard to the quotations themselves. In quoting the Hebrew Old Testament into the Greek New Testament, they must translate. Should they adopt the best and only extant version, or make a new translation for themselves? They generally chose the former course. Very many of the quotations agree word for word with the Hebrew and the LXX. Others agree in sense, yet differ verbally from both; the differences are therefore only to be regarded partly as a new translation and partly as Divine comments by the Holy Spirit.
(a.) In a few cases the LXX is adhered to, because of some Greek word which brings out the meaning of the writer who is quoting it, and which at first sight the Hebrew failed to support; eg, Matt. xxi. 16 (from Ps. viii. 2), Heb.= “strength;” Ln.= “praise,” both are right, but the latter was best suited for the occasion on which it was quoted. Heb. i. 6 (from Ps. xcvii. 7). Heb.: “ gods,” LXX.: “angels.”
(b.) In a few cases the Hebrew is adhered to, in preference to the LXX, for the same reason; eg., Matt. ii. 15 (from Hos. xi. 1), LXX.= “children,” Heb.: “son;” Matt. viii. 17 (from Isa. liii. 4), LXX.: “sin,” Heb.:“sicknesses,” Matt. xxvi. 31 (from Zech. xiii. 7), LXX:= “shepherds,” Heb.= “shepherd,” Matt. xxvii. 9, 10 (from Zech. xi. 13), LXX.: “smelting pot,” Heb.: “potter’s field;” John xix. 37 (from Zech. xii. 10), LXX.:=“they insulted,” Heb.:=“they have pierced."
From these examples we learn that translations are only valuable, in so far as they support truth; and that in all questions of disagreement between the orginal and a translation, the original alone is to be accepted as the standard of reference.
4. Our Lord Jesus never countenanced any departure from truth, in statements professing to represent the sayings or the words of God. Even the example of our blessed Lord, “who did no sin, neither was GUILE found in his mouth,” is quoted in justification of error. They would rather show that He and His apostles approved the errors of the Lxx., than confess themselves wrong in circulating the errors of the Vulgate!
5. It has yet to be proved that our Lord used the Greek language; and if the apostle in preaching in the synagogue at Thessalonica. used the Lxx., and Timothy was instructed in that version, the question still remains, how far the LXX of Apostolic days agreed with the copies now extant.
6. If the LXX. is a satisfactory version of the Word of God, then why did they refuse to circulate the Russian Old Testament because it was made from the Lxx.; and why did they cease to circulate the Apocryphal books which are now intermingled with the LXX? By refusing the one and discarding the other, they show rightly that they do not believe in the validity of this defence.
7. The position of the British and Foreign Bible Society is essentially and totally diiferent from that of the apostles. The apostles quoted from the LXX. in support of their teaching. The Bible Society give the versions from the Vulgate, involving an entire approval of the whole volume, as the Word of God. Our Lord and His apostles never reproduce error, and the Bible Society would do well to follow the example.
8. This defence is a very old one, it was used by Gregory Martin, one of the translators of the Douai Bible (against which Mr. Radley speaks in such strong terms), when inveighing against the English translations of our Reformers; to whom Fulke replies (p. 50), “We must tell you whether we will discredit the New Testament because of the Septuagint! No, not for a thousand million of Septuagints, nor for all the world will we credit the Septuagint against the truth of the Old Testament.”
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