Re: LXX and MT (was Geezer Patriarchs)

Dick Fischer (
Thu, 13 Nov 1997 01:34:55 -0600

Brian wrote:

>This brings up some very important hermeneutical issues. IMO, we, in
>our science oriented, exactingly literate culture seem to have a MUCH
>more rigid methodology for reading, quoting, and understanding scripture
>(and most every other text) than did the NT participants and authors.
>Jude 9, 14, and 15 are more examples. Jude quotes from what most of us
>would consider non-canonical texts with the same authority (apparently)
>that most NT authors quote from recognized canon.
>I don't think our approach is bad. But we ought to look carefully at
>some limitations it may have which perhaps NT authors/participants did
>not feel bound by.
>To some, a "looser" hermeneutic would seem very dangerous. And I can
>be! Perhaps leading to all sorts of heterodoxy. But on the face of it,
>a looser hermeneutic seems used in the NT itself!
>Is there any final clarity on this issue?
>Is our bent toward exactness more "correct" even though awkward with the
>text at times?
>In the name of preserving the text have we "bowed" to the text, and not
>to the content? (Or as another person put it "The bible is not the
>fourth person of the Trinity").

As in science, there are camps or schools of thought within the
theological community. From the right wing "inerrancy is everything"
camp there are some who try to extend the mantle of inerrancy to embrace
even the KJV translation. The argument is that God protected the
translators themselves from error in their work. This theory has a
basic limitation - there are obvious errors in the KJV. Like the 6,000
year old earth theory, it would be easier to prove if the earth would
cooperate a little.

The Masoretic versus Septuagint arguments also come out of this same
school of thought. Since the KJV translators "made no errors" and they
used the Masoretic text, therefore the Masoretic is the preferred text.
So they reason, Cainan (named in Luke 3:36) could have been an addition
to the Septuagint. What they fail to see is that a deletion in the
Masoretic text could have been simple scribal error. An addition is
something else. What could justify inserting a strange name in a body
of text, falsifying fathers and sons, years lived before the birth of the
next generation, length of life, etc.? It would be pure sabotage.

Now skipping over to the more "liberal" camp we have another school of
thought that tries to put a little distance between the believer and
the Bible. That's where arguments like, "The Bible is not the fourth
person of the Trinity," come from. It is a correction applied in an
opposite direction, but too far in my estimation. This trend toward
relativization encourages bolder speculation. Will there be a second
coming? Was there really a bodily resurrection? Where we personally
feel most comfortable in this conservative-liberal continuum is not the
issue. Right or wrong, truth or error is.

Dick Fischer