Paul the Paraphraser or Paul the Septuagint-Quoter?

(This post was originally written in 2013 and published at my previous blog, Old School Script.)

Imagine you are listening to a sermon during which the preacher says in passing, “Here, Paul quotes the Old Testament.” There is nothing out of the ordinary here. Paul quotes the OT all the time.

Imagine again that you are listening to a sermon. This time, however, the preacher says, “Here, Paul paraphrases the Old Testament” and then continues in his exposition.

Did your ears perk up the second time? They should have. The choice to use the word “paraphrase” is a motivated one.  No one says, in passing, “NT Author X paraphrases the Old Testament here” without specific reason. There are two possible motivations for such wording:

  1. The NT author actually paraphrased the OT
  2. The NT author quoted a text that differs from the Masoretic Text (MT) (the Hebrew textual tradition underlying most English translations)

Guess which one we’ll be talking about today? 🙂

I recently heard a sermon (not from my pastor, he would know better) on 1 Cor. 1:18-31 in which the preacher stated in passing that Paul paraphrases Isaiah 29:14 in 1 Cor. 1:19. Now, I don’t want to come across as nit-picky or as an ungracious congregant — I respect the preacher, it was a good sermon, and I was spiritually challenged and edified. However, I do want to take the opportunity to discuss what is happening in 1 Corinthians and how we can more responsibly engage with the use of the Old Testament in the New in this instance.

So, let’s take a look at the text:

Isaiah 29:14 (MT)

לָכֵן הִנְנִי יוֹסִף לְהַפְלִיא אֶת־הָעָם־הַזֶּה הַפְלֵא וָפֶלֶא וְאָבְדָה חָכְמַת חֲכָמָיו וּבִינַת נְבֹנָיו תִּסְתַּתָּר

Therefore, watch me again do an incredibly wonderful thing with this people. The wisdom of their wise will perish, and the discernment of their discerners will hide.


1 Cor. 1:19

γέγραπται γάρ·
ἀπολῶ τὴν σοφίαν τῶν σοφῶν
καὶ τὴν σύνεσιν τῶν συνετῶν ἀθετήσω.

For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and I will nullify the intelligence of the intelligent.”

The differences may not be massive, but they are there nonetheless.  Let’s look at each one in turn:

  1. “their wise” (MT) vs. “the wise” (NT)
    In the Hebrew, there is a third person pronoun modifying “the wise.” There is no such pronoun in 1 Corinthians.
    Not a big difference, but still, it ought to be noted.
  2. “wisdom … will perish” (MT) vs. “I will destroy wisdom” (NT)
    This is a slightly bigger difference than the loss of a personal pronoun. The verb in the MT is 3rd person, taking “wisdom” as its subject. The Hebrew simply states that the wisdom of the wise will perish, it does not say how or by what or whom. The verb in 1 Corinthians, however, is 1st person, indicating the Lord (“I”) as its subject. The Lord is portrayed as the one who will actively destroy the wisdom of the wise. This grammatical change should not be overlooked. Granted, the Greek reading is a natural deduction of the Hebrew, but it is not exactly what the Hebrew says nor is it the only deduction that can be made. (The Hebrew could be expressing that the Lord will do a wonderful thing with his people, full stop. A result of that wonderful thing will be the destruction of the wisdom of the wise. Thus, the destruction would not be something the Lord actively does but would rather be a consequence of his other actions. This may be a minor difference in meaning, but it is present.)
  3. “Their discerners” (MT) vs “the intelligent” (NT)
    Two issues to note here: First, just like “their wise,” the Hebrew contains a personal pronoun whereas the NT does not. Second, in the Hebrew, “discerners” is a participle. In the NT, a noun is used. The same effect is achieved, but this is yet another grammatical difference between the two. A participle could have easily been used in the Greek (συνετίζω or συνίημι would have been good choices).
  4. “the discernment … will hide” (MT) vs. “I will nullify the intelligence” (NT)
    Here, we observe the biggest differences between the Hebrew Bible and the NT. The verb “will hide” in the Hebrew is not related in any way to “I will nullify.” As with the last finite verb, we have the issue of a 3rd person form in the Hebrew but a 1st person form in the Greek. Moreover, the verb in the Hebrew is a hitpael, a middle-voice form that often expresses reflexivity. That is, the subject of the verb performs the action of the verb on itself. Thus, “discernment … will hide (itself).” The middle voice in Greek can achieve the exact same effect, but in 1 Cor. 1:19, it uses the active voice — the subject, God, performs the action on the object, intelligence. In addition, an entirely different verb is used in the Greek. Hiding and nullifying are not the same thing.

So, how do we account for these differences? It may be the case that Paul is paraphrasing the Old Testament. Such does happen from time to time, and we can certainly understand how these changes could happen in a paraphrase. If Paul is paraphrasing, there is really nothing more to be said.

… but what if there is a better explanation?  What if there is textual evidence that suggests the source or sources from which Paul got his not-quite-the-same-as-the-MT quotation?

This is where the Greek translations of the Old Testament come in (commonly, and a bit problematically, referred to as “The Septuagint” or “LXX”). The Greek Old Testament, various books of which were translated more-or-less between the 3rd century BC and the 1st century AD, was circulating before and during the 1st century AD. Since, at that time, the common language of the Roman Empire was Greek and since Paul was writing in Greek, it stands to reason that his OT quotes may have often been dependent on a Greek version of an Old Testament text.

So, if we were to look at Isaiah 29:14 in the Old Greek translation (i.e., the earliest form of Greek Isaiah), what would we find? If I were a betting man, I’d say we would find the text from which Paul was pulling.

Isaiah 29:14 (LXX)

διὰ τοῦτο ἰδοὺ προσθήσω τοῦ μεταθεῖναι τὸν λαὸν τοῦτον καὶ μεταθήσω αὐτούς καὶ ἀπολῶ τὴν σοφίαν τῶν σοφῶν καὶ τὴν σύνεσιν τῶν συνετῶν κρύψω.

Therefore, pay attention! I will again change this people, and I will change them and I will destroy the wisdom of the wise and I will hide the intelligence of the intelligent.

Crazy random happenstance? I think not.

Aside from the last verb, the text of 1 Cor. 1:19 matches the Greek text of Isaiah 29:14 exactly. No 3rd person pronouns, a noun for “intelligent” rather than a participle, and God (“I”) destroying wisdom. Even though the last verb “hide” doesn’t match in meaning to the NT’s “nullify,” it does match in person and voice, in that God (“I”) is the subject of both verbs, rather than discernment as in the Hebrew, and he is actively hiding or nullifying intelligence, rather than discernment hiding itself as in the Hebrew.

The Old Greek translation of Isaiah 29:14 covers every single difference between the Hebrew OT and the Greek NT but one. This is substantial and compelling evidence. It indicates that Paul is indeed quoting, not paraphrasing, the Old Testament in 1 Cor. 1:19. Confusion arises when one assumes Paul was using the Hebrew Old Testament and does not question whether he had a different source. As the evidence demonstrates, in 1 Cor. 1:19, Paul was pulling from the Old Greek translation of Isaiah for his quotation.

(Brief detour: Some may want to play around with the idea that Paul was quoting from the Vorlage that the translator of Greek Isaiah was using. Possible? Sure. Probable? Not really.  First, the translator of Old Greek Isaiah is known for his free translation technique — interpretative moves in the Greek text are nothing new. Second, we have no textual evidence for a different Hebrew text here.)

Of course, there is still the issue of that final verb.  The Septuagint and the MT match each other semantically (“hide”), so why does Paul use “nullify”? I think there are three possible avenues of explanation:

  1. Paul was quoting from a Greek text that has not survived or that we have not found.
    This is possible but unlikely. As Orr and Walther note in the Anchor Bible commentary to 1 Corinthians (p. 155), as far as we know, Origen had no knowledge of such a text and, more importantly, ἀθετέω is never used to render the Hebrew verb סתר (“he hid”) in the Greek OT. (Later edit: See what Ken Penner has to say in the comments below, though. ἀθετήσω does appear in manuscripts 564 (10th century) and 301 (9th century), though these later manuscripts were likely harmonized to the quote in 1 Corinthians. It is also the text Eusebius assumes.)
  2. Paul was quoting the Greek from memory
    There are two ways to argue this:
    2a. The word for “nullify,” ἀθετήσω (lexical form: ἀθετέω), is likely derived from the root of one of the words that make up the compound verb that is translated “change” in LXX Isaiah 29:14 (μετατίθημι – Preposition μετά + τίθημι. Root of τίθημι is θε. The pathway is probably τίθημι > θετός > ἄθετος > ἀθετέω). If Paul was quoting the text from memory, it is at least possible that the presence of μετατίθημι in the verse influenced his memory to think that an etymologically related verb, ἀθετήσω, was present also. Also, poetically, given that the first verb in the quotation is destroy, nullify is at least just as good of a fit in the B-line than “hide,” if not a tad nicer.
    2b. Paul’s memory was influenced by another verse, Psalm 32:10 [33:10 in the Hebrew]. Paul loved the Psalms. He quotes from them and alludes to them all.the.time. That Paul would be influenced by the wording of a Psalm is not all that surprising. In LXX Psalm 32:10-11, we find:

Psalm 32:10-11 (LXX)

κύριος διασκεδάζει βουλὰς ἐθνῶν,
ἀθετεῖ δὲ λογισμοὺς λαῶν
καὶ ἀθετεῖ βουλὰς ἀρχόντων·
ἡ δὲ βουλὴ τοῦ κυρίου εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα μένει,
λογισμοὶ τῆς καρδίας αὐτοῦ εἰς γενεὰν καὶ γενεάν.

The Lord scatters the plans of the nations,
He nullifies [ἀθετεῖ, from ἀθετέω] the thoughts of peoples
and he nullifies [ἀθετεῖ] the plans of rulers.
But the plan of the Lord stands forever,
the thoughts of his heart to generation and generation.

There are points of connection between this psalm and Isaiah 29:14-15. First, nullifying the “thoughts of peoples … plans of rulers” is at least in the same thematic ballpark as destroying and hiding “the wisdom of the wise” and “the intelligence of the intelligent,” respectively. Though not fully coextensive in meaning, the Lord is declaring the thoughts of humankind invalid in both. Second, consider LXX Isaiah 29:15a-b:

Isaiah 29:15a-b (LXX)

οὐαὶ οἱ βαθέως βουλὴν ποιοῦντες καὶ οὐ διὰ κυρίου· οὐαὶ οἱ ἐν κρυφῇ βουλὴν ποιοῦντες.

Woe to those who make a plan (βουλὴν) deeply but not through the Lord! Woe to those who make a plan (βουλὴν) in secret!

In 29:15, plan (βουλήν, from βουλή) is used twice. In Ps. 32:10-11, βουλή is used three times, “plans of the nations … plans of rulers … plan of the Lord.”

So, let’s bring this together: We know Paul read the Psalms and liked them quite a bit, Psalm 32:10-11 is similar(ish) thematically to Isaiah 29:14-15 — God is not impressed by the plans/intelligence/wisdom of man and acts in such a way as to show them to be nothing —, and the two contain some overlapping language (βουλή). Considering this as well as the likely etymological relation between μετατίθημι and ἀθετέω and the appropriateness of ἀθετέω to the context, it is not unreasonable to suggest that Paul’s memory may have been influenced by Psalm 32, resulting in the changed verb at the end of the quotation.

3. Paul intentionally altered the text.
This explanation immediately causes us to ask “Why?” My current thinking is that the apostle may have done so in order to explicitly call Psalm 32 [Psalm 33] to mind.

Given the context of 1 Cor. 1:18-31, this is certainly possible. Psalm 32:10 states that the Lord nullifies the thoughts of peoples and the plans of rulers. Psalm 32:11 goes on to declare, in contrast to man, the plan of the Lord stands forever, to generation and generation. 1 Cor. 1:18-31 concerns itself with the wisdom of God vs. the “wisdom” of man, how God has made the wisdom of the world foolish, that Christ is the wisdom of God, and how the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom. All of this culminates in the last few verses wherein Paul states that the Christian was not chosen for his or her wisdom, power, or privilege; that God is the reason the Christian is in Christ, who is the wisdom of God; and thus the Christian should boast only in the Lord! (These last verses (vv. 26-31) all also call to mind Jeremiah 9:23.) To echo Psalm 32:10-11 — that the Lord nullifies the thoughts of peoples and the plans of rulers (those in power) and that his plan stands forever — in 1 Cor. 1:18-31 would be a brilliant move that would serve as another strong, scriptural underpinning to Paul’s argument here. Moreover, not only would it echo verses 10-11, but it would likely bring to mind other parts of the Psalm as well, such as 32:13-15, which speak of God’s sovereignty over and knowledge of humans. These verses focus on the Lord who looks on from heaven and can see all people, people whom he created and whose deeds he alone understands:

Psalm 32:13-15 (LXX)

ἐξ οὐρανοῦ ἐπέβλεψεν ὁ κύριος,
εἶδεν πάντας τοὺς υἱοὺς τῶν ἀνθρώπων·
ἐξ ἑτοίμου κατοικητηρίου αὐτοῦ
ἐπέβλεψεν ἐπὶ πάντας τοὺς κατοικοῦντας τὴν γῆν,
ὁ πλάσας κατὰ μόνας τὰς καρδίας αὐτῶν,
ὁ συνιεὶς εἰς πάντα τὰ ἔργα αὐτῶν.

From heaven the Lord looked on;
he saw all the sons of men.
From his prepared dwelling-place,
he looked on all those who dwell on the earth —
the one who alone formed their hearts,
the one who understands all their deeds.

Given the argument he is building, one could certainly understand why Paul would want to echo this psalm in 1 Cor. 1:18-31.



So, did Paul intentionally alter the last verb of the quotation to echo LXX Psalm 32:10-11 (or even 10-15)?  I am leaning this way, though I cannot prove it. I certainly would not put it past him. Would such a small alteration really create such an echo effect, though? Given the similar contexts between the passages involved, I think it’s plausible, but I’ll let you decide.

(I readily admit it is possible that I am still under the effect of having attended two lectures by Richard Hays this past week and am seeing “echoes” everywhere. On that note, if you haven’t read his book Echoes of Scripture in the Letters of Paul, go do so now. You’ll thank me later.)


TL;DR – Let’s bring it all together, sum up, and end on a couple thoughts:

  1. Paul is not paraphrasing the OT in 1 Cor. 1:19; he is quoting from the Old Greek translation of Isaiah.
  2. This is very important to note for three reasons: First, it’s in Scripture, therefore it is important to understand it in and of itself, to understand how the apostle is using the Old Testament, and to acknowledge from what source he is pulling. Second, it allows us to examine Paul’s argument more closely and describe it with more accuracy. Third, Paul was using the Greek Old Testament as Scripture.
  3. The last verb in the quotation is changed.  It could be that Paul’s memory was the cause of this, but I think it is more likely that he intentionally changed the last verb to echo Psalm 32(33):10-11 (or 10-15), which then serves as an additional strong, Scriptural underpinning for his argument in 1 Cor. 1:18-31.
  4. If I want to catch all of Paul’s echoes in his letters, thereby gaining a fuller sense of what he is communicating, I need to know my Old Testament backwards and forwards (in Hebrew and Greek!).
  5. I end with a question that necessarily arises from this and from many other OT echoes and quotations in the New Testament. What does it mean for us when we read the Old Testament that Paul can 1) alter a text to call to mind another OT text and 2) quote the Greek Old Testament as Scripture?

17 thoughts on “Paul the Paraphraser or Paul the Septuagint-Quoter?

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  1. This reminds me of source theory in the Gospels. Some people say, with a straight face, that The Gospel writers just happened to say the exact same thing, in the exact same way, IN GREEK, but there’s no literary dependence. Come on. That’s ridiculous. If it looks like a duck, it’s not a unicorn.

  2. When you say, “Paul was quoting from a Greek text that has not survived or that we have not found. This is possible but unlikely,” it may be helpful to note that according to Ziegler, αθετησω appears in manuscripts 564 and 301, and it’s the text Eusebius assumes.

  3. Ken – do you think these mss were influenced by 1 Cor.? It seems that way to me. It is true that we presently have no Hexaplaric fragments for this reading, and it does appear that LXX, Th, Aq, or Sym never used αθετειν for סתר.
    Chris – I loved this analysis. Good detailed work. Your last two questions are thought provoking. It seems to me that in this situation it is not that big of a deal that Paul cites the LXX as Scripture in contradistinction to the HT, since the first two differences are not super crucial (translational, as you point out) and the third difference is introduced by Paul himself not LXX-Isa or HT. Paul’s recourse to Ps 32 seems likely, but can we be at all certain given we have one word? Could Paul perhaps be in line with LXX-Isa by interpreting “hide” with “nullify” simply from the context of Isaiah? I don’t know. Just adding to the questions…:).

    1. Thanks, John, glad you enjoyed it.
      You are probably right that the quotation-as-Scripture here is not that big of a deal, but still, I think it is worth noting, even if the divergences are rather small and insignificant in the larger scope.
      Regarding your question whether we can be at all certain that Paul is echoing Psalm 32: No, we can never be certain. However, I would like to emphasize that it is not just “one word” here. It is one word in a specific context. If Paul was as immersed in the OT as we are, say, in some television shows, books, movies, whatever we spend hours and hours of our lives on, then I think “one word” could be enough to recall a Psalm, and one word in a specific context would certainly be more than enough.

  4. I agree, John, that the first explanation to explore is that later copyists of Isaiah harmonized their text to the more familiar New Testament. I suspect that’s exactly what happened in the late manuscripts 564 and 301. Possibly Eusebius was influenced by 1 Cor as well; but I’m hesitant to make this claim.What caught my attention here is that αθετειν is one of a collection of words the Greek translator of Isaiah pulls out of his grab-bag when he’s at a loss as to how to render the Hebrew. Seeligmann and Ottley both noticed this tendency (I. Seeligmann, The Septuagint Version of Isaiah: A Discussion of Its Problems, Leiden: Brill, 1948, 57; R. Ottley, The Book of Isaiah According to the Septuagint, 1906, 36). We see it happening in Isa 1:2 with this very verb. We have to ask which is more likely: that Paul would change Isaiah’s κρύψω to ἀθετήσω (as you propose above, Chris, possibly based on the Psalm), or the reverse, that Paul preserves Isaiah’s original ἀθετήσω, and most of the surviving manuscripts reflect a later correction κρύψω toward the Hebrew.
    Eusebius did write about this verse before the great uncials were produced, but so did Justin Martyr, Origen, and Tertullian. I’ll have to check what they have.

  5. I appreciate your comments here, Ken, and of course I agree with how you lay out the problem. I looked at 1:2 and it seems that αθετειν for פשע in the LXX is not altogether uncommon (cf. several places in III-IV Reigns; II Chron. 10:19; Ezekiel 2:3). LSJ lists a meaning “to deal treacherously with” or “to break faith with.” The examples from Polybius and Mark are interesting and appear to establish this meaning outside of the LXX. Thus that equivalent in LXX-Isa 1:2 is not that surprising, is it?
    I would be interested in what the earliest fathers have. My guess is that they support the lemma in Ziegler since he did not list them as variants, but we need to double check this of course.

  6. Here’s the Church Fathers’ evidence. It looks like some of the earliest sources could use some text criticism themselves.
    For reference: Our OG editions and most manuscripts have καὶ ἀπολῶ τὴν σοφίαν τῶν σοφῶν καὶ τὴν σύνεσιν τῶν συνετῶν κρύψω.
    1 Cor 1.19 has γέγραπται γάρ, Ἀπολῶ τὴν σοφίαν τῶν σοφῶν, καὶ τὴν σύνεσιν τῶν συνετῶν ἀθετήσω.
    Since Paul’s quote does not begin with καὶ, the presence of καὶ can serve as an indicator that the quote is from Isaiah rather than 1 Corinthians.
    We get mixed evidence from Justin Martyr. Dial. 32.5 καὶ ἀφελῶ τὴν σοφίαν τῶν σοφῶν καὶ τὴν σύνεσιν τῶν συνετῶν αὐτῶν κρύψω, (except Codd. Reg. Clar. in marg. ἀθετήσω). Dial. 78.11 καὶ ἀφελῶ τὴν σοφίαν τῶν σοφῶν αὐτῶν, τὴν δὲ σύνεσιν τῶν συνετῶν ἀθετήσω. Dial. 123.4 καὶ ἀπολῶ τὴν σοφίαν τῶν σοφῶν καὶ τὴν σύνεσιν τῶν συνετῶν κρύψω.
    Given the absence of καὶ, Clement of Alexandria seems to be quoting Paul, not Isaiah ἡ θεία γραφὴ παγκάλως λέγει• «ἀπολῶ τὴν σοφίαν τῶν σοφῶν, καὶ τὴν σύνεσιν τῶν συνετῶν ἀθετήσω.» (Strom.; Καὶ τούτων, φησίν, «ἀπολῶ τὴν σοφίαν τῶν σοφῶν, καὶ τὴν σύνεσιν τῶν συνετῶν ἀθετήσω.» (Strom.; καὶ πάλιν• «ἀπολῶ τὴν σοφίαν τῶν σοφῶν καὶ τὴν σύνεσιν τῶν συνετῶν ἀθετήσω» (Strom.
    I can’t tell which Origen is quoting in Comm. Matt. 11.11, but he seems to know there’s some hiding involved, (I suppose it’s possible this is from reading the Hebrew). ἀλλὰ καὶ «τὴν σύνεσιν τῶν συνετῶν» τοῦ λαοῦ κατορώρυχέ που καὶ ἔκρυψεν ὁ θεός, καὶ οὐκέτι ἐστὶ λαμπρὰ καὶ ἐπιφανής. In his commentary on 1 Cor, (7-8) of course he’s quoting Paul.
    Eusebius, Praep. Ev. 12.30.1 is clearly from Paul, since not only does he omit the initial καὶ, he also continues after ἀθετήσω with ποῦ σοφός;
    Eusebius, Comm. Isa 1.75 is of course a commentary on Isaiah, but it is suspicious because it lacks the initial καὶ. μηκέτ’ ἔχοντες ἐργασίαν διὰ τὸν ἐπιδημήσαντα αὐτοῖς κύριον καὶ τὴν πᾶσαν αὐτῶν σοφίαν ἀπολέσαντα κατὰ τό• «ἀπολῶ τὴν σοφίαν τῶν σοφῶν, καὶ τὴν σύνεσιν τῶν συνετῶν ἀθετήσω».
    Epiphanius, Adv. Haer. probably is quoting 1 Cor (3 times; once explicitly).The uncertain cases are «Γέγραπται γάρ• ἀπολῶ τὴν σοφίαν τῶν σοφῶν καὶ τὴν σύνεσιν τῶν συνετῶν ἀθετήσω» and ὥς φησιν ὁ θεῖος λόγος περὶ τῶν τοιούτων λέγων ὅτι «τὴν σύνεσιν τῶν συνετῶν ἀθετήσω»
    The same goes for Athanasius, Exp. Ps. Τίνες δὲ ἀποθνήσκοντες σοφοὶ ἢ περὶ ὧν λέλεκται•Ἀπολῶ τὴν σοφίαν τῶν σοφῶν καὶ τὴν σύνεσιν τῶν συνετῶν ἀθετήσω;
    Basil of Caesarea, however, is commenting on Isaiah, when he paraphrases in Enarratio in prophetam Isaiam Διότι ἀπολεῖ τὴν σοφίαν τῶν σοφῶν καὶ τὴν σύνεσιν τῶν συνετῶν ἀθετήσει. And again Ἀλλαχοῦ μὲν γὰρ λέγεται•Ἀπολῶ τὴν σοφίαν τῶν σοφῶν καὶ τὴν σύνεσιν τῶν συνετῶν ἀθετήσω. And another paraphrase, Καὶ διὰ τὸ εἶναι μωροποιὸν τὴν σοφίαν ταύτην, ἀπολέσειν φησὶν ὁ Θεὸς τὴν σοφίαν τῶν σοφῶν, καὶ τὴν σύνεσιν τῶν συνετῶν ἀθετήσειν.
    Didymus Caecus paraphrases ἀφανιζόμενοι καὶ τὸ μηδὲν εἶναι ἀποδεικνύμενοι τῇ παρουσίᾳ Χριστοῦ ἀπολλύντος τὴν σοφίαν τῶν σοφῶν καὶ τὴν σύνεσιν τῶν συνετῶν ἀθετοῦντος, τῶν δὲ αἰσθητῶν σπερμάτων χρῃζόντων εἰς ἀροτριαθεῖσαν καὶ σχισθεῖαν γῆν καταβληθῆναι ἐπὶ τῷ εἰς τὴν γῆν κρυβέντα τὰς ῥίζας εἰς βάθος βαλεῖν.
    Chrysostom of course quotes 1 Cor 1:19 twice in his homilies on 1 Corinthians, but I think it’s also from Paul in De mutatione nominum Γέγραπται, Ἀπολῶ τὴν σοφίαν τῶν σοφῶν, καὶ τὴν σύνεσιν τῶν συνετῶν ἀθετήσω
    Theodoret’s commentary on Isaiah 8 has Καὶ ἀπολῶ τὴν σοφίαν τῶν σοφῶν αὐτοῦ καὶ τὴν σύνεσιν τῶν αὐτοῦ κρύψω. But in his commentary on Paul’s letters he has the expected Γέγραπται γάρ• Ἀπολῶ τὴν σοφίαν τῶν σοφῶν, καὶ τὴν σύνεσιν τῶν συνετῶν ἀθετήσω.»
    Cyril of Alexandria’s commentary on Isaiah twice has the familiar καὶ ἀπολῶ τὴν σοφίαν τῶν σοφῶν, καὶ τὴν σύνεσιν τῶν συνετῶν κρύψω.
    Justin Martyr has mixed evidence; one or the other readings was harmonized, either to 1 Cor. or to the later manuscripts of Isaiah. After him, the next appearance of κρύψω is Theodoret in 420.
    Still to check (including Latin): Origen Fr. Ps.; Fr. Prov. 9; . Tertullian, Marc. 3.6.5-6; 3.16.1; 4.25.4; 5.11.9; Eus. Comm. Is. 1.96; Hilary of Poitiers, Trin. 3.8; Ambrosiaster Comm. Paul. 2; Quest. 109; Jerome Ep. 133; Epiphanius of Salamis, Pan. 42.12.3; 76.33.4; Ambrose Exam. 6.9.67.

  7. Chris, how is it you “know” that “Paul was pulling from the Greek translation of Isaiah for his quotation” when the so-called LXX (which doesn’t exist anywhere in a complete ancient form) is simply a copy of the fifth column of the Hexapla written in the 3rd century AD?
    When you make the claim that Paul copied from the LXX, rather than the Origen copying from Paul/Luke/Matthew/John/James/Mark/Jude and company, you are the one saying that he copied an ancient Greek text that didn’t survive – because today there is no LXX, and most of the time scholars talk about “the LXX” they really mean a 3rd century work that was largely based on it, and on the Theodotion translation, that was done in the mid 3rd century. Claiming when something in the LXX was written is hearsay – there’s no compelling evidence (aside from NT citations) that shows that the textual lineage of the LXX extended back 200 years before the arrival of Jesus.
    In the second century AD there were at least three other complete translations of the Hebrew Scriptures made, and this was in a time when no one made translations simply to “do a better job”, especially when it comes to translating the whole of the Hebrew canon. And they weren’t necessarily any better anyway, Origen gave the LXX special attention, and it’s the one that was used by Jerome (the fifth column that is NOT the LXX) for the Vulgate. Anyone can confirm this easily – the entire book of Daniel is the Theodotion translation and not the LXX version, even though Jerome had access to both versions.
    I would like to point out to you that most of the NT comes from the third century or later as well, but that there is much better representation of the originals; whereas we know that Origen intentionally and systematically edited the LXX. So we can’t be certain at all about the representation of the “originals” of the LXX books – correct?
    The truth of the matter as I see it is that there is no LXX today. There used to be, and there’s a work that’s largely based on it, but it’s also based on the Theodotion version, and the proto-MT, and probably the NT citations as well. What I don’t understand is why scholars refer to the fifth column of the Hexapla as “the LXX” when we know it isn’t – it’s based on the LXX, but it isn’t the LXX.
    So my question again Chris, is how do you know that the fifth column isn’t the one that’s copied word-for-word from NT citations? And also, please tell me, why do scholars continue to call the Hexapla’s fifth column “the LXX” AND still claim the text was written between around 200BC-100AD when the fifth column was written c. 240AD?

    1. Hi Aractus,
      Thank you for taking the time read and comment.
      I think there is some confusion here over the nature of the LXX. You wrote “The so-called LXX (which doesn’t exist anywhere in a complete ancient form) is simply a copy of the fifth column of the Hexapla written in the 3rd century AD?” and “Most of the time scholars talk about “the LXX” they really mean a 3rd century work that was largely based on it, and on the Theodotion translation, that was done in the mid 3rd century.” This is simply not true. The hexaplaric recension is just that, a recension. When Septuagint scholars say “The Septuagint,” we are typically referring to what can be regarded as the Old Greek text of the books of the Old Testament, as translated between the 3rd century BCE and 1st century CE (depending on which book we are talking about). So, for example, if you were to look at the Göttingen Septuagint, you would see the reconstructed OG text and the textual apparatuses to back it up. No LXX scholar ever says “The Septuagint” and is referring to Origen’s 5th column.
      You also wrote, “There’s no compelling evidence (aside from NT citations) that shows that the textual lineage of the LXX extended back 200 years before the arrival of Jesus.” There is plenty of compelling evidence. We have many textual witnesses that provide evidence of the OG text (e.g., the majors, Sinaiticus, Vaticanus, and Alexandrinus). Granted, these are dated to the fourth and fifth centuries CE, but they contain Old Testament books in Greek that are untouched by Origen, that often witness to a tradition that is older than the Hebrew MT, and that do not always match the NT citations. Moreover, we have the Dead Sea Scrolls. There are Hebrew witnesses that match the textual tradition witnessed by Old Greek texts and there are Greek witnesses that match the texts that we have in the later witnesses (such as the major codices). There is no doubt that we can, with relative confidence, examine the pre-recension Old Greek texts of the Old Testament.
      I think realizing the above will answer most of your questions. The issues that you stated are really not problems at all once you understand that we do have access to the Septuagintal text and that we are not referring to the Hexapla.
      So, how can I know that Paul was pulling from LXX Isaiah? Well, for the reasons explained above, I can be pretty certain. Given that the LXX Isaiah to which I am referring is the eclectic text of the Göttingen edition, we can be relatively sure that we are looking at the Old Greek text. Is it possible that later copyists harmonized Isaiah with Paul? Sure (see Ken’s and John’s comments above), but then why is κρύψω used in LXX Isaiah instead of ἀθετήσω?

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