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The Septuagint and the ALT2
By Gary F. Zeolla
In working on the second edition of the Analytical-Literal Translation of the New Testament (ALT2), I double-checked the verse references for Old Testament quotes that are indicated in the ALT text. I wanted to make sure they were all accurate.
And as I was checking the references, I also began studying whether the New Testament writer was quoting from the Hebrew text of the OT or from the Septuagint. The Septuagint is a Greek translation of the Hebrew OT from the third century B.C. It is abbreviated as “LXX.” The name and abbreviation are based on the tradition that 70 or 72 Jewish scholars worked on the translation, six from each of the twelve tribes of Israel.
In the first edition of the ALT, I had indicated with the notation “LXX” a few times when the OT quote was clearly taken from the LXX. But as I studied the issue, I began to find many more such instances. So checked every OT reference and added the “LXX” notation as needed.
This delayed the publication of the ALT2 some, but I thought it was important. When studying the NT and looking up the quotes in the OT, very often the quotes as they appear in the NT are worded quite different compared to the OT source. In some cases it can even be difficult to determine exactly which OT verse the NT writer is referring to. Sometimes this is due to the writer paraphrasing or quoting from memory, and sometimes two or more verses are merged together. In such cases, I indicated the various possible sources.
But more often, the difference is due to the writer quoting from the Septuagint instead of the Hebrew. So I added the notation LXX when the wording of the quote in the NT differs from the wording of the source verse in the Hebrew but is similar to the LXX. Sometimes the Hebrew is somewhat similar to the quote in the NT, but the LXX is word for word identical. In these cases, I also added the LXX. These notations will enable readers to know when the use of the Septuagint is the reason for the difference between the quote as it appears in the NT and the OT source. And the ALT2 indicates the use of the LXX far more than any other version does.
It should also be noted that there are also many times when the wording of the NT quotation is basically identical to that of the Hebrew text but differs from the LXX. So the NT writer was obviously quoting from the Hebrew. And there are times when the quote in the NT, the Hebrew, and the LXX are all basically the same. So the NT writer could have been quoting from either the Hebrew or the LXX.
So having studied the issue, it is apparent that the NT writers were familiar with both the Hebrew text of the OT and with the LXX, and they freely quoted from either of these. And including the LXX notation whenever the NT writers are clearly quoting from the LXX will enable readers of the ALT2 to see this for themselves.
The Septuagint and the ALT2. Copyright (c) 2005 by Gary F. Zeolla.
The above article was posted on this Web site January 6, 2005.
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