question about the septuagint manuscripts found in the dead sea scrolls

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question about the septuagint manuscripts found in the dead sea scrolls

Post by ralph »

I have read "Manuscripts of the Septuagint have been found among the Qumran Scrolls in the Dead Sea"
(no doubt it means near the dead sea, as no scrolls exist in the sea, but in caves near the dead sea)

I have also heard that in the dead sea scrolls there is (perhaps what emmanuel tov calls), a proto-septuagint.

Now I am puzzled, is the septuagint found in the dead sea scrolls, in hebrew, or in greek? or both

And when the term proto-septuagint is used, is that for the hebrew text that the septuagint was based on, or is that for the greek text?


Ralph Zak
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Re: question about the septuagint manuscripts found in the dead sea scrolls

Post by Kirk Lowery »


As for the technical jargon, the LXX is by definition a Greek translation of the Hebrew. Typically, in the technical literature when one wants to refer to the Hebrew text used by the LXX translators, they normally use the German term Vorlage. Apparently, the Hebrew text(s) used by the LXX translators has significant variantion from the Masoretic Text. Determining what those differences are can be problematic, since we must "backwards" translate from the Greek to a reconstructed Hebrew text.

"Proto-septuagint" refers to a reconstructed Greek text(s) based upon the writer's views of how the LXX came to be: was it written all at once, or did it coalesce from various translations of individual books or groups of books. In the context of the DSS, usually scholars using that term are suggesting the the Greek biblical texts represent an early stage of the LXX's development.

I'll let someone else address the question of the actual Greek texts found at Qumran and vicinity. My study of the DSS has been mostly the sectarian documents, e.g., the Temple Scroll, the Damascus Document, some of the peshers.
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Re: question about the septuagint manuscripts found in the dead sea scrolls

Post by S_Walch »

Hello Ralph,

There were quite a few small Greek manuscripts of Biblical books found among the Qumran Caves (7QLXX Exodus, 4Q119LXX Leviticus, 4Q120LXX Leviticus, 4Q121LXX Numbers, 4Q122LXX Deuteronomy), with the more extensive 8HevXIIgr Greek Minor prophets scroll found further along in Nahal Hever, which contains text from Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, and Zechariah. There were also a few Greek manuscripts of the non-Biblical writings, of which I don't know the numbers.

As can be seen from the list, several were found in what's labelled "Cave 4" (4Q), one in "Cave 7" (7Q), and the more extensive in Nahal Hever.

What can be said about these manuscripts would take quite a while, but some of the main characteristics are:

1. YHWH in paleo-Hebrew letters, where we would now find in Swete or Rahlfs LXX the Greek κυριος (this applies to just 8HevXIIgr, IIRC).
2. YHWH transliterated as ΙΑΩ (4Q119LXX Lev + 4Q122LXX Deut, IIRC?).
3. A text that doesn't conform exactly to the critical editions of the LXX as based on our current manuscript evidence.
4. A text that appears either to have been a slightly different translation of a Hebrew Vorlage that matched later Masoretic Hebrew manuscripts, or the earlier form of the "proto-LXX" as mentioned by E. Tov.

If you want further information on the Greek manuscripts of the DSS, I'm afraid I don't know of any book that concentrates just on them. However there's more than enough said about them in E. Tov, The Greek and Hebrew Bible: Collected Essays on the Septuagint, and K. H. Jobes and M. Silva Invitation to the Septuagint.
Ste Walch
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