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Bible In Translation Outline

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1. Ancient versions of the Old Testament:

a. The Septuagint

i. Greek for "70"

ii. Often abbreviated LXX

iii. Refers to the 72(?) translators which are reported to have translated the original Hebrew manuscripts into Greek independently but miraculously all arrived at exactly the same translation.

iv. Third century BC (~250BC) under the direction of Ptolemy Philadelphus.

v. The 72 men were 6 men from each tribe of Israel and sent to the island of Pharos off of Egypt. By happy coincidence the task was finished in 72 days.

vi. It was approved as an accurate translation and a curse was put upon it for anyone who would change any of the text.

vii. This account comes from a letter by Aristas who claims in the letter to be an official in the court of Ptolemy but later scholars have determined he was actually a Jew who lived a 100 some years later and had no direct knowledge of the actual events.

viii. What we have been able to determine from going back to the Hebrew texts are this: the Pentateuch (first five books of the OT) were done first and by the same person or persons; Job, Proverbs, Isaiah, Daniel and Ester were translated in a free manner (vice-literal manner); Judges, Psalms, Ecclesiastes, Lamentations, Ezra-Nehemiah and Chronicles were translated in a literal manner.

ix. The Septuagint is arranged according to the type of writing: (1) Pentateuch and historical books (2) Poetic/wisdom books (3) prophetical.

x. Septuagint has several books in it that were not found in the original OT such as Tobit, Maccabees, The wisdom of Jesus the son of Sirach, Wisdom of Solomon,2,3, & 4.

b. Origen in the third century made an heroic attempt to purify the OT scriptures down to the correct text.

i. His work, the Hexapla, consists of a scroll handwritten which contained 6 different versions in narrow columns. They were:

1. The Hebrew text

2. Hebrew test transliterated into Greek characters (to help find unvocalized parts of the first column)

3. A severely literalistic Greek rendering made by a proselyte named Aquila who attempted to reproduce the Hebrew words exactly

4. A readable Greek translation by Symmachus

5. The Septuagint with Origien's comments on why there existed differences between the Hebrew and Greek versions

6. Another version of the Septuagint ascribed to Theodotion that was a very free, readable version of the Septuagint.

c. Eventually Jewish scholars abandoned the Septuagint and declared the day the Greek translation was made was a calamity second only to the day the golden calf was made and they made the day a fast date to stress the point.

2. Targums

a. These scriptures are Aramaic translations of the Hebrew text. These were paraphrased versions of the Hebrew and although they generally became more accurate over time, they were never intended as source documents. They however point out the continuing need for scripture to be written in both a language the people understand and in manner the people can relate to.

3. Latin Versions of the Bible (OT&NT)

a. It would be difficult to understate the importance of the Latin versions of the Bible especially Jerome's Latin Vulgate

b. From an entirely secular point of view, the creation of the Romance languages, from Latin, was driven from the Vulgate edition. Remember the Bible was even then the most common and widely held book in the world.

c. Jerome coined words in his translation that have made it to today. These are not just small words but some of the most theologically important words for describing concepts that we have. Examples are

i. Salvation

ii. Regeneration

iii. Justification

iv. Sanctification

v. Propitiation

vi. Reconciliation

vii. Inspiration

viii. Scripture

ix. Sacrament

d. Where was the Bible at this time? In 382 AD Pope Damasus commissioned Jerome, the leading Bible scholar of the day, to produce an acceptable Latin translation of the Bible using several divergent sources. Jerome was the son of well-to-do parents who gave him a formal education in grammar and rhetoric in Rome under the noted educator Aelius Donatus.

e. He completed the Gospels in 384. There is argument over whether he translated the rest of the NT. (The version of Hebrews used today is not his and thus accounts for some of the difficulties people have with establishing the author of Hebrews) He completely retranslated the OT from the original Hebrew and finished that in 405. This edition came to be known as the Vulgate (vulgata=current from the term editione vulgata or current edition). The Roman Catholic Church used this version of the Bible for over 1000 years.

f. Previous to this Rome had not authorized a version of the NT even though many versions were already published in the vernacular.

g. The split was now complete. East used Greek. West used Latin

4. Wycliffe Bible

a. Believed to be the first complete English Bible (1382; 1388)

b. John Wycliffe, Oxford theologian: "The morning star of the reformation"

c. Most historians believe it was actually Nicholas of Hereford that did the actually translations though.

d. The Bible was the sole criterion of doctrine to which no ecclesiastical authority might lawfully add and that the authority of the pope was not founded in scripture.

e. A strong believer that the Word of God was addressed to everyone so everyone needed a version they could read.

f. Of course he was tried for heresy. 1415 Bible was condemned and burned; his body was exhumed (He had died in 1384), burned and ashes cast into the river but just as his ashes spread so did his Bible. Despite the zeal to burn copies of his Bible over 180 copies still

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