Thursday, October 20, 2005
I mentioned three characteristics of evangelical textual criticism: (1) belief in verbal inspiration; (2) caution; (3) confidence - leaving the latter two undefined enough to hope that people will want to discuss them. I said that none of these were characteristics that an evangelical could not share with a non-evangelical. A fourth characteristic could also be seen as entailed in the first. Evangelicals have historically argued that what was verbally inspired was a Hebrew (and partly Aramaic) text for the OT and a Greek text for the NT. Thus, while the RC position has (at least in the past) emphasised the Vulgate, and the Greek Orthodox position would emphasise a version of the Greek OT, evangelicals have generally not ascribed verbal inspiration to a Greek version of the OT. Now of course some people called evangelicals are wanting to talk of the LXX having equal authority to the Hebrew, but as far as I can tell they are not talking about verbal inspiration of the LXX such that it is entirely true. Rather they are talking about verbal inspiration of neither the Hebrew nor the Greek, but rather of some vaguer 'authority'. The only evangelical I know to ascribe verbal inspiration to both the MT and the LXX was A.W. Pink (sorry no reference to hand), but I rather doubt that he had ever read the LXX or MT. Evangelicals have therefore historically emphasised the original languages and the 'original' text. This is what makes the NT use of translations we now ascribe to the Septuagint so fascinating.
Posted by P.J. Williams at 10:17 am