Is there Evidence that First Century Jews Altered the Masoretic Text to Edit out Jesus Prophecies? No.

 

Jewish scribe, Shlomo Washadi, writing the Torah on parchment. c. 1934 Library of Congress

Excerpt from theTorah.com:  An important criterion that can be examined for the MT (Masoretic text) group and not for most non-MT texts is to what extent the scribes changed the texts from which they were copied. This cannot be examined for most texts since we do not know their Vorlagen (i.e., the texts that preceded them from which the scribes were copying), but for the proto-MT texts we think that we know a little more. After all, since these texts display the same text as the medieval MT, by implication they copied their Vorlagen precisely –Emanuel Tov, professor emeritus of the Bible, Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel

[emphasis, Gary’s]

 Professor Emanuel Tov
Gary The claim made by some Christians, including Church Father Justin Martyr in the early to mid second century, that Jews deliberately deleted Jesus out of their Bibles, is false!  It is true that some Jews (the Greek speaking, “Hellenized Jews”, living in the diaspora) stopped using the Greek Septuagint in the last half of the first century, but we do not know why they chose to do this.  Was Christianity so large and such a threat to Jews in the first century that they would abandon their choice of preferred scriptural text?  I cannot answer that, but to me, it is dubious.  To me it is much more likely that Jews in the diaspora (Jews living outside of Palestine) fell in line with the textual choice of Jews in the homeland (what was left of Judea and Galilee).  And the Jews in the homeland had selected the proto-Masoretic text, not because they had abandoned the Septuagint, but because the proto-Masoretic text had always been the text of the sole surviving religious leadership group in Palestine:  the Pharisees, later called, rabbis.
So the question remains:  Which text more accurately reflects the original manuscripts, manuscripts which are no longer accessible to us today?  If the Pharisees had been using the proto-Masoretic text for centuries before Jesus, who had been using the Hebrew ancestor text of the Greek translation, the Septuagint, other than Greek speaking Jews in the diaspora, such as in Egypt, where the Septuagint had been translated?  Were the priests of the Temple using this Septuagint ancestor text or were they using the proto-Masoretic text?  Does anyone know???

7 thoughts on “Is there Evidence that First Century Jews Altered the Masoretic Text to Edit out Jesus Prophecies? No.

  1. Gary –

    re: “Were the priests of the Temple using this Septuagint ancestor text or were they using the proto-Masoretic text? Does anyone know???”

    “Hebrew was certainly the language of instruction in schools, as well as the language of prayer and Torah reading. The language of instruction in the house of study also most certainly was Hebrew, and this was likely the case regarding instruction in the synagogue.” [ Shmuel Safrai, Prof, Hebrew Univ, Jerusalem ]

    I’d tell you that I am about 110% certain that Hebrew was the language of the Temple, but, I’m not prepared to provide refrences. I’m just too lazy to go dig up all my old stuff. But, Safrai’s statement (above), while not specifically referencing the Temple itself, would be pretty supportive of my position: if they were using Hebrew as the language of instruction, prayer, Torah, and in synagogue, then, I think it’s a pretty safe guess to say “yeh, it was the language of the Temple”.

    Truth is, when I was back actually *studying* all this stuff, I could have pointed you to all my reference materials. But, nowdays, I just sort of presume (wrongly, of course) that “everybody knows this”.. hehehe.. And, of course, I myself didn’t know it until I studied such stuff at the university. But, just saying – I’m pretty sure it’s safe to say Hebrew was indeed the language of the Temple.

    Heck, even Philo (first century) talks about Torah, and the theological significance of Hebrew. So, the importance of Hebrew, in terms of Jewish study, prayer and worship, was an established thing…

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    1. I agree but my question is: Were the Temple priests of Jesus’ day using the Hebrew ancestor of the (Greek) Septuagint or the Hebrew ancestor of the Hebrew proto-Masoretic text? I highly doubt they would have used a Greek version of the Bible (the Septuagint) after the brutal treatment of the Jews and the defilement of the Temple by the Greek ruler, Antiochus Epiphanes, but that wouldn’t preclude them from using the Hebrew parent text of the Septuagint.

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    2. Bond, the Hebrew parent text of the LXX is in Hebrew that’s why it’s called “Hebrew” parent, It is much older than the MT. Neverthelss Gary i did not advocate repatriating,
      \why can;t you argue fairly?: this is a straw man argument you are atticking stuff i did not advocate,

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      1. How do you know that the parent text of the LXX is older than the parent text of the proto-Masoretic which was the text of the Pharisees in Jesus’ time?

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      2. Joe –

        I left an answer to you on this down below. (I really don’t get how this blog works… sometimes, it let’s me post replies, sometimes not, and sometimes, my “replies” end up at the bottom)

        Anyway, my Intended Answer begins as follows (and you can look for this further below in this thread):

        “re: “Bond, the Hebrew parent text of the LXX is in Hebrew that’s why it’s called “Hebrew” parent, It is much older than the MT.”

        The general contention is that the Hebrew parent(s) of both the LXX and the MT are basically each as old as the other.

        We don’t *know* what exact set of texts were used for the LXX, nor do we know which ones were used for the MT. So, we don’t *know* which versions parent is
        older. ”

        The official “Masoritic Text” was indeed compiled later than the LXX was translated.

        However, that does not at all mean that the PARENT texts of the LXX were, by any necessity, older.

        As Gary points out, and as I pointed out when this issue first came up, the scrolls at Qumran are 98% the same as the MT.

        For all we know, the actual, physical scrolls used by the scribes, when they compiled the MT, could have pre-dated those found at Qumran. But in any case, whatever the “parent” of MT was, it looked a whole lot like what was found at Qumran.

        So, it’s totally impossible to say “the LXX parent is older than the MT parent”

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  2. Joe –

    re: “Bond, the Hebrew parent text of the LXX is in Hebrew that’s why it’s called “Hebrew” parent, It is much older than the MT.”

    The general contention is that the Hebrew parent(s) of both the LXX and the MT are basically each as old as the other.

    We don’t *know* what exact set of texts were used for the LXX, nor do we know which ones were used for the MT. So, we don’t *know* which versions parent is older. It doesn’t *matter* when the specific translation (LXX) or compilation (MT) was done. What matters is which had the earliest parent texts. And we’ve got no idea whatsoever which actual texts were used in either case. For all we know, the MT texts were handwritten by Moses and the Prophets. But nobody kept a list, with dates, of which texts were used or not. And, Qumran tells us that there were plenty to choose from.

    I haven’t been reading all your entries in the various threads, but if you’re trying to argue the LXX is somehow more accurate or something, then I’d give kudos to the seminary for teaching that, but, I’m not sure there’s any kind of consensus agreement on that at all…

    BTW – I went to your website. Really good stuff on there. Thanks for pointing me to it.

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