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ANAHITA  August 1997

ANAHITA August 1997

Subject:

Re: Hebrew Bible & OT are terms for same text - ???

From:

Tilde Binger <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Women and Gender in the Ancient World <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 11 Aug 1997 05:24:15 -0400

Content-Type:

Text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

Text/plain (100 lines)

Dear Sheila, you write:

> Maccabees would never be included in discussions of the Hebrew Bible, or
> "OT".
With regard to the latter, ask any Roman Catholic you know.

> Although there is a Jewish holiday which celebrates that victory,
> Maccabees is not Jewish holy writ.  It is part of the Christian Bible.
Part of my point.

> Hebrew Bible and OT refer to the same writings,
No. My point is, that they do not.

> and they do not include the apocrypha.
Some of the books you call apocrypha are canonical to some.

> It should not be confusing: people define their own sacred texts.
>  We study them, we interpret, we don't assign them.
Sorry to contradict you, but you do. When calling e.g Maccabees
apocryphal or pseudo- or deutero-canonical, you are assigning them.
By calling any part of a text-complex canonical or pseud-epigraphic
or apocryphal, you are valuating them.

To all who have responded on this line:
My point, which has perhaps not been sufficiently elaborated, is as
follows:
When it comes to physical data, the evidence for a complete
Hebrew Bible are the Aleppo and the Leningrad manuscript. Both of
these are what we would call complete Hebrew Bible manuscripts and
both are from ca. 1000 CE.
The evidence for a complete Septuagint (including Maccabees and
Sirach), are the Alexandrinus, the Sinaiticus, the Vaticanus and the
Ephraemi Syri rescriptus manuscripts, dating from the 4th and 5th
century CE.
When we talk about bits and pieces, the eldest manuscripts (!) we
have containing parts (!) of the Hebrew Bible, are the Dead Sea
Scrolls. These manuscripts show - very clearly indeed - that very
few, if any, of the books I call the OT had found their final form in
the 2 c. BCE. The eldest papyri-bits of the Septuagint we have are
also from the 2 c. BCE (according to Emanuel Tov, see below).
This indicates, that somewhere, in the 5 centuries, from the 2nd BCE
to the 4th CE, the texts found what we consider to be their final
form. It also shows, that the eldest Greek versions we have are
contemporary with the eldest Hebrew versions we have.

Finally, it is well known, that the Septuagint, before the advent of
Christianity was considered to be "Jewish Scripture", quite on par
with the Hebrew version. It was not until the 2nd or 3rd c. CE, that
the Septuagint was superseeded by new Jewish translations of the
Hebrew into Greek. Until then both Jews and Christians used what we
call the Septuagint as a valid canon.

AFTER the Hebrew books found their final written form, as late as the
6th c. CE, the masoretes started working on the Hebrew texts,
pointing them and thus codifying them in the form they have now. Up
until then, only the consonant-text was known, and a number of
rivalling readings were evident (variant readings and interpretations
of the text, which the Talmud abound with stories and discussions
of).
There is no need to continue ad nauseam. All these issues are
discussed at length and with enormous competence by Emanuel Tov in
his "Textual Criticism and the Text of the Hebrew Bible".

So. Let me repeat. If anyone can think of a good, neutral term, which
covers both the ancient Greek, the ancient Latin and the ancient
Hebrew versions of the text-collection, please come forward. I will
be happy to use the term. Until then, I will continue to use the term
"OT". If anyone wants to interpret it otherwise than "Old Testament",
e.g original text, obviously tendentious (-: sorry :-) or the like,
feel free.
To me the issue is not solved by calling the Septuagint "Hebrew
Bible" or "Jewish Scirpture" neither is the issue as straightforward
as some might think it.

Best wishes

Tilde Binger
University of Copenhagen
Dptm.of Biblical Studies
Kcbmagergade 44-46
DK-1150 Copenhagen K
Denmark
Phone +45 35 32 36 58
Fax   +45 35 32 36 52
e-mail [log in to unmask]

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Diotima's address: http://www.uky.edu/ArtsSciences/Classics/gender.html

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