The Relationship Between The Septuagint Translation And The Massoretic Text In Jeremiah -- By: Gleason L. Archer, Jr.
TrinJ 12:2 (Fall 1991) p. 139
The Relationship Between The Septuagint Translation
And The Massoretic Text In Jeremiah1
TRINITY EVANGELICAL DIVINITY SCHOOL
I. Preliminary Considerations
In many respects the Septuagint (LXX) of Jeremiah presents problems hardly comparable to any other book in the entire Greek Version, with the possible exception of Daniel (which the ancient church abandoned in favor of Theodotion). It has been estimated that about one-eighth of the Hebrew text is missing in the LXX. The arrangement of the chapters containing oracles against apostate Judah and the Gentile nations of the Fertile Crescent and the Near East differs from their placement in the larger compilation in the Hebrew Bible itself. This gives rise to the question of whether the Jeremiah of the LXX is to be regarded as an authoritative translation of the Hebrew original as are the other canonical books in the OT. The answer to this query requires careful and diligent research in the entire corpus of fifty-two chapters. Every single verse needs meticulous scrutiny if sound conclusions are to be drawn, and all the standard techniques of textual criticism must be put to use in order to establish deviations or differences on the basis of defective textual transmission from the same original Vorlage, and those which seem to stem from a different recension.
After three years of study I have come to the conclusion that the Vorlage of the LXX was responsible for a significant percentage of these deviations, and, in all probability, the omissions of passages preserved only in the MT. It is, of course, theoretically possible that the LXX text represents a later recension in which sections were deliberately omitted by the translator on the supposition that a somewhat briefer form of the book would commend itself more readily to a Greek-speaking readership. But this presents an immediate problem as to why this same process of excision was not followed in the case of the other prophets, or
TrinJ 12:2 (Fall 1991) p. 140
indeed of the books belonging to the Law and the Hagiographa. It is not easy to come up with a plausible explanation for this pruning process to have been applied to Jeremiah alone.
If then we are to accept the probability of a different Vorlage underlying the LXX version of Jeremiah, we must ask ourselves whether this lost Hebrew Vorlage was composed or copied earlier than the canonical Hebrew text, or whether it arose subsequent to it.
What might have been the reason for the shorter text-form and where was it used? In the case of Jeremiah (in distinc...
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