History of the Bible

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The Bible we have in our hands have come a long ways through history. The Bible used by the Protestant church is composed of the Old and New Testaments, and has 66 books. The original copy of the Bible no longer exists, and the current Bible is a result of copies that continued to be made.

The Bible contains the Torah, history of the Kings, prophecies, songs, and also letters from the Apostles. The original works were written in different periods of history, and were also written in different languages such as Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. Copies upon copies were made of these manuscripts until we get to the current copies we have now.


Did you know that there are different versions of the Bible? The Bible used by the Catholic church, Bible used by Protestant church, and the Bibles used by the Ethiopian and Greek churches are all different. How did this happen? And which is the correct one?


Masoretic text and Septuagint

Septuagint - Wikipedia

The Old Testament had been copied repeatedly, and there are 2 copies in existence which are the oldest available: The Masoretic Text and the Septuagint. The Masoretic Text was made about 100 years after the birth of Jesus. It is written by Jews in Hebrew, and is said to be copied based on very strict rules. The Bible used by the Protestant church is based on the Masoretic Text.


The Septuagint was made by the order of the Pharaoh of the time. It was written around 300 BC, and was written in Greek, which was the most popular language of the time. It is said that 6 people from each of the tribes of Israel came together, and the 70(or 72) people each translated the Old Testament separately over a course of 70 days. Each person translated separately, but in the end it is said that everyone made the exact same translations. It is also called LXX(Roman numeral for 70). The Septuagint also includes books that are not in the current Old Testament.


Manipulated genealogy

During the time of Jesus, Greek was the most popular language, so most likely many of the Jews used the Greek version of the Bible. Therefore, the quotes made by Jesus and his disciples match the Septuagint more than the Masoretic Text.

There are various differences between the Masoretic Text and the Septuagint, but the difference that is of the most concern is the genealogy. The period of the genealogy from Adam to Noah, and from Noah to Abraham is different by about 650 years between the Masoretic Text and the Septuagint! Is this a simple mistake? or an intentional manipulation?


Masoretic geneaology(Blue line indicates timing of the Flood):

According to the Masoretic Text, the Flood occurs around 1,600 years after birth of Adam. There are 2 interesting points about the timeline after the Flood:

  1. Shem outlives his child and his grandchild, and is even alive during the time of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. This is quite unthinkable..
  2. The people after the Flood start building the Tower of Babel, but during the building God confuses their language. Due to that, they are no longer able to continue with the building and go their separate ways. Peleg was born during this time of separation. In the Masoretic genealogy, the tower of Babel was to be built about 100 years after the Flood. Even if the population was growing by 3%, there would only be about 130 people after 100 years(starting from 8 people), so this is also quite too short.

Setpuagint geneaology(Blue line indicates timing of the Flood):

In the Septuagint genealogy, the Flood occurs about 2,200 years after the birth of Adam. Also, according to this genealogy, Shem is not alive during the time of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Also, in this genealogy, there is about 400 years after the Flood for the building of the tower of Babel. If the population was growing at a 3% rate, there would be 1,000,000 people to build the tower, so this is more plausible.

There are theories that perhaps the genealogy of the Masoretic Text had been intentionally modified. In the Old Testament, there is a king named Melchizedek, who is also a priest. He is referred to as a model of Jesus in the New Testament. In Judaism, it is taught that Melchizedek is actually Shem, so in order to prove this it was necessary to manipulate the genealogy.


Summary

The Bible is an important document for Christians. However, it is important to understand how this Bible came to be. Because it was copied over and over over a course of many years, the copy of the Bible that we have today is not the same as the original manuscripts. Let’s keep this in mind as we study these works to see what God is trying to teach us!


#Bible #Masoretic #Setpuagint


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