Hebrew Masoretic Text (MT)
Most translations of the Old Testament into English, even as early as the KJV, have relied on the MT (Masoretic Text) Hebrew manuscripts to produce their English Old Testaments. The mere fact that the MT was completed 900 years after Christ undermines its credibility. Additionally, the motivations of the project included the following, publicly declared:
- Restore the oral tradition to the written tradition (translate this as meaning that they wanted to alter the text to fit what they tell each other should really be there)
- Change the prophecies being used by Christians to prove Jesus is the Messiah
Even Bible translations today that claim to rely on the Septuagint (LXX) admit that they incorporate parts of the MT or may even validate the LXX by ultimately referring to the MT.
These are excellent reasons not to read the Old Testament in modern English translations.
Greek Septuagint (LXX)
The Rooted Word Old Testament is translated from the LXX (Septuagint) Greek manuscripts. The LXX was the Jewish translation of the Hebrew Old Testament into Greek about 230 years before Christ. It is believed that it was commissioned that 70 translators be locked into separate cells and produce an entire translation of the Hebrew Scriptures. When they had finished and the translations were compared they were all identical and it was considered a miracle. The reason for the translation being commissioned was that many Jews were being born around the Mediterranean world and Greek was their primary language.
The reasons for our decision to use the LXX are as follows:
- anti-christian motivations of the Jews behind the MT
- LXX was made 1130 years prior to the MT
- Quotes of the Old Testament in the New Testament by Jesus, the Apostles, and writers of the New Testament most often align with the passage in the LXX rather than the MT
Since we have very different resources for translating the LXX than we do for translating the NT, our translation work on the Old Testament is slower than the New Testament.
Significance of the Septuagint
Here is what the German Bible Society has to say about the Septuagint (LXX):
For the New Testament, the Septuagint – as the collection of Holy Scriptures – holds at least as much significance as the Hebrew text: For the first Greek-speaking Christians, the Septuagint was the Holy Scripture. The authors of the New Testament founded their citations from the Old Testament more on the Septuagint than on the Hebrew (and the Aramaic) text, even when they – for example Paul or John – were presumably familiar with the Hebrew text. The Greek Old Testament text thus plays a crucial role in the interpretation of passages from the New Testament.
In the course of the parting of the ways of Christianity and Jewry, the Septuagint became more and more established as the Holy Scripture of the church. In fact some translators (Aquila, Theodotion) endeavored once more to create a Greek translation for Jewry in the second century. However, in the course of time, the Jewish rabbis fundamentally rejected to an increasing extent a Greek translation of the Torah. In the church, on the other hand, only a small number of scholars (Origenes, Hieronymus) were still familiar with the Hebrew text from their own reading; it no longer played a role in the practice of the (Western) churches. It was only the humanists of the early 16th century who rediscovered it for Western Christianity – above all for the churches of the Reformation. For Oriental and Byzantine Christianity, the Septuagint remains the definitive text of the Old Testament. (original here)
What Version Should I Read?
You should always check to see if TRW version of your passage has been translated. If not, then you should use Brenton’s English translation of the Codex Vaticanus manuscript of the LXX (PDF copy here). or if you prefer to read it online you can find it here.