BR 16:04, Aug 2000
The Most Original Bible Text: How to Get There
By comparing the different versions of the biblical passages analyzed by Ronald Hendel, we can follow his argument more closely. Shown here (below) is a fragment from the Dead Sea Scroll known as 4QGenk, which contains a portion of Genesis 1:9 in Hebrew. Beneath it is part of the first chapter of Genesis as it appears in the Septuagint (LXX in scholarly shorthand), an ancient Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible. The page shown here comes from the Codex Alexandrinus, a fifth-century C.E. edition of the Septuagint. At far right, we again see a section of Genesis 1, this time in Hebrew, as recorded in the Leningrad Codex, a Masoretic manuscript that dates to the 11th century C.E. (MT stands for Masoretic Text).
Scholars have long recognized that readings in the LXX often differ from those found in Masoretic manuscripts. Genesis 1:9 (outlined in blue in both the LXX and the MT manuscripts) provides a good example. By comparing the English translations given beneath the respective Greek and Hebrew versions, readers can see that the LXX reading of Genesis 1:9 contains a sentence about the creation of dry land that is lacking in the MT.