Prolegomena To Tischenborf’s New Edition Of The Septuagint. -- By: Charles Short
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Prolegomena To Tischenborf’s New Edition Of The Septuagint.1
§ 1. Among the literary remains of sacred antiquity, the Septuagint Version, so called, of the books of the Old Testament, holds a distinguished place. The whole of it, or rather a part,2 was believed to have originated in an extraordinary manner before the Christian era,3
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which was the opinion of Josephus and Philo;4 and being often adduced by the apostles with marked deliberation, even when it did not coincide with the Hebrew text, it thus acquired a new authority which was supported by the belief and the use both of very many of the most eminent of the Fathers 5 and of the Church itself. And though St. Jerome set aside,6 and with reason, the miracle recorded in the letter of Aristeas, and produced a new Latin version from the Hebrew sources, his influence was not sufficient to despoil the Greek text of its ancient rank,7 or to drive it from general use.
§ 2. At the earliest dawn of letters, therefore, after the long night of the Middle Ages, learned and pious men strenuously exerted themselves in preparing editions of the LXX, and even the Roman Pontiffs undertook this work for the benefit of the Christian world. In the year 1587 appeared the edition of Sixtus V, who before his as-
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cension to the Apostolic See, had been the adviser and supporter of Gregory XIII. in attempting the same object.8 This edition soon attained such a reputation, that it was everywhere preferred to the Venice and the Complutensian, which had preceded it by sixty years; nor was it afterward deprived of its preëminence by the Alexandrine codex, published under the supervision of Ernest Grabe. It is easy to state how it gained this distinction. It was from the circumstance that the Roman editors professed to have used, and almost in fact did use, as the basis of their edition, the very ancient Vatican MS., while each of the previous editions had been made to follow rather arbitrarily the authority of the later MSS.,9 and Grabe too highly valued
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