AwakeI explains differences in Scripture quotations

by Doug Mason 7 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • Doug Mason
    Doug Mason

    This Article in the Awake! of November 22, 1968 discusses reasons for differences between quotations in the New Testament (“Christian Scriptures”) and their Hebrew or Septuagint sources.


  • doubtfull1799

    So basically they're claiming the Septuagint was an inspired translation?

    And laying the scriptural foundation for misquoting, their favourite hobby?

  • Phizzy

    " the expression found in the Septuagint became a part of the Bible under the direction of God's spirit.-2 Tim. 3:16, 17."

    I think the claim is that as the WT/JW Org consider the writings of Paul to be inspired, (something he never claimed for himself) [ 2 Tim was not written by Paul] the the bits he quoted from the Sept. must have been acceptable in that form to the Holy Spirit, so those bits alone are inspired.

    This theory gets embarrassing to them if you point out the sources less venerable in a JW's mind than the Septuagint, the N.T writers reference "worldly" philosophers, and worse ! the Book of Enoch and so on.

    Using the WT argument, the bits quoted are "inspired", the rest of the books etc are not.

    JW/WT and Logic do not belong in the same sentence !

  • Vidiot
    doubtfull1977 - "...laying the scriptural foundation for misquoting, their favourite hobby?"

    The irony! It burns!!!

  • OnTheWayOut

    It does seem that they were laying a foundation for the finding of errors in the NWT.

    The errors are not ours, but rather in the thing we copied from. But God allowed it so it's all still inspired.

  • Vidiot
    "The errors are not ours, but rather in the thing we copied from. But God allowed it, so it's all still inspired."

    It's amazing just how fucking crazy-sounding certain ideas really are when you strip out the extra padding and distill them down to their basic premise, isn't it?

  • Doug Mason
    Doug Mason

    Employing elements of Higher Criticism and Textual (Lower) Criticism, the Awake! article correctly identifies:

    • 1. New Testament writers preferred the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures;
    • 2. There are differences between the Hebrew text and the Greek text of the “Hebrew Scriptures”;
    • 3. The NT writers had access to earlier versions of the Greek Septuagint.

    The available Greek Septuagint texts are about 1000 years older than the Hebrew manuscripts. All material has several times been deliberately and accidentally amended. Over the years and centuries, deliberate changes continued to be made to the Scriptures as ideas and teachings changed.

    The Awake! article does not acknowledge that it relies on the Bible provided to it by the Protestant Church. Other Christians, such as the Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Russian Orthodox, and Coptic Churches use Bibles with different lists of books (canon). The canon of the Codex Sinaiticus is also not the same as the canon of the Protestant Bible. The Jews’ Tanakh is also different. Martin Luther wanted to get rid of four NT books.

    After all this, quite illogically, the Awake! article concludes that the Bible it uses is “Jehovah’s Word”.

    The following is from pages ix-xi of Crucible of Faith: The Ancient Revolution That Made Our Modern Religious World, by Philip Jenkins.



    The Jewish Bible—the “Hebrew Bible”—has three sections, the Torah (Law), Nevi’im (Prophets), and Ketuvim (Writings), which gives us the acronym Tanakh. In the books that it treats as approved or canonical, that collection corresponds exactly to the Protestant Old Testament. However, the precise number of books differs somewhat in each version, because works that are treated as a unity in the Hebrew (such as Ezra and Nehemiah) are distinguished in the Protestant text.

    In its attitude to the canon—that is, in its choice of approved works—the “Hebrew Bible” represents one approach, but it is not necessarily the only one. During the third century BCE, Jewish scholars translated biblical texts into the Greek version known as the Septuagint. Because it is a translation, one would assume that its readings are inferior to those of the Hebrew or Aramaic, but that is not always so. In many cases, the Septuagint preserved readings that are older and arguably more authentic. Also, the Septuagint reflects the choice of books prevailing in the ancient era and is thus considerably wider in scope than what is found in the Tanakh. The fact that certain books were accepted within the canon while others were rejected was based on critical and historical assumptions that were not always sound—for instance, deciding which books might be genuinely ancient.

    In creating their own canon, most Christian churches from early times through the Reformation relied on the Septuagint and thus included in their Old Testaments several works absent from the Hebrew Bible. This meant 1 and 2 Maccabees, Sirach (Ecclesiasticus), Tobit, Baruch, Judith, and the Wisdom of Solomon; in addition, they knew more extended versions of books like Daniel and Esther. During the sixteenth-century Reformation, Protestants demoted these books to the inferior level of Apocrypha, “hidden things,” but that division was not observed by Roman Catholic or Orthodox Christians or by many other smaller churches around the world. For non-Protestants these Deuterocanonical books (literally, the “Second Canon”) are canonical rather than merely apocryphal, and they are unequivocally part of the Old Testament. Orthodox churches use the category anagignoskomena, “those which are to be read,” which includes the Deuterocanonicals, but also 1 Esdras, 3 Maccabees, and Psalm 151.

    It is therefore difficult to know how to refer to texts that are canon for some but not for others. To illustrate the problem, how should I refer to the influential book of Sirach, which was originally written in Hebrew around 190 BCE, although historically it was mainly known in Greek? Portions of the Hebrew original survive among the Dead Sea Scrolls (together with the Book of Tobit), although that does not necessarily say anything about the canonical status of either work. In later times, Sirach did not form part of either the Hebrew Bible or the Protestant Old Testament, but it is canonical for Catholics, Orthodox, and other groups. It thus forms part of (some) Old Testaments, but not the Hebrew Bible.

    Complicating the matter further, some sizable churches have long operated in isolation from other Christian communities and they are still more expansive in their definitions. The most significant is the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, which counts an impressive forty million members. Besides the familiar books of the Protestant Bible plus the Deuterocanonical works, they also use and canonize other significant writings that once circulated widely but have since been forgotten in most of the Christian world. These include 1 Enoch and the book of Jubilees. Various churches worldwide also accept additional books under the general name of “Maccabees.”

  • Doug Mason
    Doug Mason

    A relevant factor not revealed by the Awake! article is the wide use of Hebrew Apocrypha by NT writers.


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