Thread Rating:
  • 0 Vote(s) - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Old Tesament Sources
September 8, 2014

I need some help in understanding the "original" source documents
for the Jewish Old Testament.

There is the Greek Septuagint translation of about 250 BC.

There is also the Aramaic version but I don't know it's history.

The Roman destruction of Jerusalem in 60 AD involved
the destruction of all written documents.

There is a Hebrew version that was constructed many years
after the destruction of Jerusalem that is currently used
by the Jews.

Did Jesus read from an Aramaic version or a Hebrew version?

Do Amercian Jews use a Hebrew Version or an Aramaic
version. They seem to use Aramaic terminology, such as

I would appreciate clarification about these issues.


From what I can tell, pretty much everyone in the West uses a Hebrew-based Tanakh (OT).

Every major English Bible that I am aware of is based on the Hebrew Masoretic Text, which I do believe is what you refer to as the "Hebrew version that was constructed many years after the destruction of Jerusalem."

As for the terminology, modern-day Jews have borrowed many terms from Aramaic, such as, as you mentioned, "bar Mitsvah." They have also borrow many words from Yiddish (a sort of German/Hebrew hybrid that is typically spoken by European Jews, though seldom written). But it's like that in any language. We all have "loan words" and etymological roots we get from other languages. English especially. Most of our words are "borrowed" from other languages.

As for the destruction of the Temple, it was 70CE, not 60 (just being technical). And yes, it has been said that all the writings in the Temple were destroyed, though that's not to say that all the documents of that time were in the Temple.

You're going to get different answers here regarding what language Yeshua read from. Being a Jew during that time, He most likely read both Hebrew and Aramaic. I believe the general consensus is that Hebrew was more spoken as the "Temple language" and Aramaic was the common-people's every day language. Like in most Catholic churches, they all speak English most days, but during specific parts of mass they speak only in Latin. So His primary language would have been Aramaic, while in the Temple (and when we find Him reading from Isaiah in Luke's gospel) it was probably a Hebrew scroll.

Hope this helps somewhat.

Shalom b'Mashaich
To Malachi:

Your comments are very helpful.


Though it is a translation, you will find that the Aramaic OT, which was translated from a Hebrew text around 1000 years earlier than the present Masoretic Hebrew text form of the 1000 A.D. we can look at today, is more accurate in a number of places such as where the Masoretic scribes changed some words out, like the tetragramaton.

I haven't done any close looking at the quotations in the New Testament books, to see if they might line up more with how it is worded in the Aramaic, Greek, or Hebrew OT, or neither, as they sometimes give a paraphrase, or their translation, rather than a straight quote direct from any source text.

If anyone knows of a comparative work showing the agreements, I would love to know about it.
The Septuagint Greek translation of the Hebrew text dated as from the 3rd century BCE is supported (for the Torah translation) by a number of factors, including the Greek being representative of early Koine, citations beginning as early as the 2nd century BCE, and early manuscripts datable to the 2nd century. Hence, the oldest available text is the Septuagint.

Dead Sea Scrolls- These are the oldest manuscripts/fragments of the Tanach and they are written in Hebrew. They have every book except for Esther and several apocryphal books (including I Enoch). Esther was very controversial among the various Jewish sects. Some scholars have speculated that it was rejected because it tells of a Jewish woman marrying a Gentile king, it was uninteresting because it had a female protagonist, and/or that because of it's small size, it was lost to the ages or simply hasn't been discovered. So the oldest text of Ezra might be the Septuagint. According to Wikipedia, these date from 408 BC-318 AD.

Septuagint- The Greek translation of the Old Testament and Apocrypha made in Alexandria by seventy or seventy-two Jewish scholars for the use of Hellenistic Jews from as early as 200 BC.

Targumim: These are ancient Aramaic paraphrases of the Tanach which were passed down orally until they were finally written down. These paraphrases were probably being spoken in synagogues before and during the time that our Lord walked the earth. These reveal a lot about how the Jewish people interpreted the Tanach in antiquity. A targum of Job was found among the Dead Sea Scrolls. The most important of these are Targum Onkelos (the Torah) and Targum Jonathan ben Uzziel (Nevi'im, or the Prophets). There are some targums of some of the Ketuvim (Writings), but they were not official like the ones mentioned previously and were deemed unnecessary since they were had no strict liturgical role.

Peshitta: Some believe this translation of the Tanach into Aramaic was done in Edessa by Jewish scholars around the time of the commencement of Christianity, but some also believe that it was translated in the late 1st century or early 2nd century by Messianic Jews. It's older than the standard Masoretic text.

Masoretic Text- The standard text of the Hebrew Tanach for both Christians and Jew from at least the 9th century. I don't konw what sources they used to "reconstruct" the Old Covenant writings.
Thanks to ScorpioSniper2 for more useful information putting
things into perspective!

Anytime, Brother!

I'd like to start studying Old Testament textual criticism more. I have several translations of the Masoretic text (both Jewish and Christian, some including the Hebrew text), George Lamsa's translation of the Peshitta Bible, a Septuagint translation with the Greek text by Lancelot Charles Lee Brenton, and The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible. It'd be nice if more translations of the Dead Sea Scrolls were available that were actually translations of the Biblical Books and not of the Apocryphal and cultural books found among these manuscripts and fragments. An interlinear of the Dead Sea Scrolls would be awesome. I know they actually have one translation that actually has the Hebrew and the English translation in a parallel form.
The Septuagint (LXX) is, arguably, the oldest complete text available, but this does not make it the most accurate. Which is why I personally accept the LXX reading over the Masoretic (when they differ) only when the LXX is supported by something else, such as the Dead Sea Scrolls (DSS). After all, a matter is only established with 2 or 3 witnesses, right?

There is a list someone put together (I'll try to find it again) showing places where the LXX and DSS agree, but the Masoretic differs. It is believed by some that the Hebrew text that the LXX was copied from, is the same source that many of the DSS were also copied from.

The Masoretic has still been a very thorough, careful copy, though. I am thankful for the diligence of the Masoretes.

Forum Jump:

Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)