Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Masoretic Text of the Old Testament

Another fine lecture from Pastor V.S. Herrell of the Christian Separatist Church Society. Since we have been reading both The History of the Bible and The Sixth Law of God, I thought we might let Pastor give us some background on the Masoretic Text, which the KJV bible is translated from. While the KJV is still a useful translation, the corruption from the texts it is based on simply compounds the errors contained within, and gives our enemies the opportunity to attack Christianity because of it.

In the Greek, the word for virgin is parthenos, and it literally means a virgin. In the Masoretic Text, however, the word is almah which means a young girl. The usual Hebrew word for virgin, and the word in every case translated virgin in the Revised Version, is bethuwlah. This verse is quoted from Isaiah in the Christian Scriptures in Matthew 1:23. The Jews attacked the Septuagint from the beginning because they claimed that it had been corrupted by the Christians and that the Christians changed the word in the Septuagint to read virgin instead of young woman so that it would support the reading in Matthew. Of course, the Edomite Jews did not believe that Jesus was the true Messiah; this was why they were attacking the Septuagint. The Jews are the ones who changed the Hebrew, replacing the word virgin with young woman. The early motive of the Edomite Jews was to destroy Christianity, not just the Septuagint. But the Christians did not give in, so the Jews changed their strategy. They instead decided to corrupt the Old Testament and gain control of the Christians by giving them a corrupted Old Testament. By the 3rd century they began collecting every Hebrew manuscript they could, and this was easy to do because the Christians used the Greek Septuagint and cared little for the Hebrew. They then began revising the Hebrew documents to support their Jewish contentions. By the time of Jerome, they began taking the soft approach and gave Jerome their new Hebrew for him to use in his translation. But, as we said before, the Christians at first rejected the Vulgate. So the Jews continued working on their text. From the 1st century to the middle of the 5th century, they called themselves Talmudists; from the 5th century to the completion of their text in the 10th-11th centuries, they called themselves Masoretes.

You can find the rest of the essay here.

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