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That the Septuagint Version was not, in the
Days of Jesus and the Apostles, agreeable to
the Hebrew Text. M R . Whiston (b) asserts that the Sepa 1 1 tuagint Verhon was, in the Days of Christ and his Apostles, agreeable to the genuine Hebrew Text of that Age.
But for Proof of this Assertion he produces nothing but mere Suppositions, all chimerical or improbable, ridiculous Commendations of partial and ignorant Jews, and forged Tales.
He argues such Agreement (i) to be a natural Consequence from the common State of Books translated out of one Language into ano ther, and especially in the Case of sacred Books, own’d for such both by Translators and Copyers. Whereas it is as probable, that Books should be ill as well translated ; and it is more probable, that Books deem'd sacred should be ill than well translated; for the Directors in such Translations, tho' real Believers of the Sacredness of the Books, are very capable of sinister Views and being govern'd by them, as having ụsually departed in many Respects from the original Sense of their sacred Books, and having divers ill-grounded Things received among them to support and maintain; to say Nothing of their Ignorance. And accordingly, if we
(b) Whiston's Elig. p. 317.
li) Ib. p. 4, 5
may be govern’d in this Case by seeming Fact, the Septuagint seems the Work both of ignorant and unfaithful Translators, as will particularly appear in the Sequel of this Article.
He argues that Agreement from the Septuagint's Reception (k) among Jews and Christians, as a faithful Version; insomuch, that it was made Use of in their publick Wora ship, where it would be impossible to introduce a Version, unless it were known to be a just and accurate Version; and he argues, from its Reception among the former as an (1) inspired Verhon. In which last he might also have join'd the (m) Christians, who, for many Ages after the Rise of Christianity, received the Septuagint, as an inspired Verhon; but that such Junction would have spoild his Argument; for Mr. W. dates the Corruption of the Septuagint in the Hands of Christians long before the Christians quitted their original Notion and constant Tradition of the divine Inspiration of the Septuagint Verfon; and consequently must have supposed them to have look'd on what he deems a greatly corrupted Book, as divinely inspired. But nothing seems more easy than to get ill Versions of Books to be received as faithful or divine, and to be read as such in Places of publick Worship, where (if we will reflect on the Practice of the Popish Church, to say nothing of other
(k) Whiston's Essay. p. 5.
(1) Ib. p. 9. (m) Simon Hist. Crit" du V.T. I. 1. C. 18 & 19. 1. 2. c. 2. Feuardentii Annot. in Irenæum. p. 137. Edit. Majjuet.
Churches, where people seem little to underftand what is read and sung ) we may judge, that nothing is too absurd and too grofs to be in Use. And I am surprised that Mr. W. who charges both Jews and Christians with receive ing into their Canon of Scripture a moft (n) obscene Song, which they both fo grolly mistake aš to take not only for a moral but divinely inspired Song; who charges the Tews with wilful and great Corruption of the Old Testament, . Part of which is read in Synagogues, and almost all read in Christian Churches; who has fo abject an Opinion of the primitive Christians, as to think them capable of having their Bible taken from them and of receiving a false Bible in its Stead; who takes all the antient Christians to be (0) deceived in believing. Matthew's Gospel to be written originally, and extant among them, in Hebrew; who thinks the Christians reject the most facred Book of the New Testament, viz. the Apostolical Constitutions, from their Canon, as well as other canonical Books; who thinks the primitive Christians, for many Centuries. almost wholly (p) ignorant of the Hebrew Tongue, from which Language the Septuagint was translated, and in which only the Grounds of Christianity could be authentickly contain'd; who is so deeply sensible of the Antichristianism of Popery, and of the numerous and grofs Impositions in most Churches; and
who thinks the Athanahan Creed, not only to be a modern, forged Work, but to be contrary to the most express and plain Meaning of the Gospel, to all primitive Antiquity, and to the clearest Dictates of Reason, tho it be received by almost all Christians as the Faith once de liver'd to the Saints, and repeated in Churches with the utmoft Devotion by the People, and contended for with the greatest Zeaf by the Clergy ; I am surprised, I fay, Mr. W. fhould not think the Jews and antient Christians capable of receiving the Septuagint and reading it in their religious Affemblies, on Supposition that the Septuagint was not an accurate Version of the Hebrew, and that there was so great a Discordance then between the Septuagint and Hebrew as now appears to be! This will yet seem more surprizing, when it is consider'd ; that the Copies (9) of the Septuagint in the Apostles Times differ'd greatly from one another; that LUKE himself cited fr) a false Copy of the Septuagint; that the whole Christian World. fought (s) one against another about three different Editions of the Septuagint, as says JEROM; that the Septuagint (†) had been corrupted by the Jews and by them deliver'd to ORIGEN, upon whose Credit their corrupt Copy became in Time to be generally received ; and yet, that during these first Ages the Christians look'd on the
te) Simon H. C. du V. T. p. 235. Montfaucon Prelim. ad Origenis Hex. c. 4.
irj Whiston's Elay. p. 119. 18). Ib. p. 115, 116. ; (1) Whiton, as cited above by me.
Septuagint as divinely inspired, and as such read it in their Churches." · He (u) argues the fame Agreement from the extravagant Applauses given to the Sepe tuagint Translation by the antient Jews. But these Applauses plainly proceeding from their Ignorance and Partiality are of no more Weight, than the Excess of Disparagement they after wards run into; for, notwithstanding these excessive Applauses, when they found the Christians used the Septuagint in their Controversies with them, they readily took Hold of all Advantages they could; and not contenting themselves with showing, that the Chriftians did not argue literally and logically from the Old Testament, they charged them with arguing from Passages of the Old Testament falsely translated in the Septuagint; about which Passages they were little or not at all concern'd, till the Christians, by citing and applying them, made them review the Şeptuagint Translation, and gave them this Advantage over them.
He argues (70) it from the miraculous Story of the several Interpreters being put up in Cells apart'; each whereof translated the whole by Inspiration, and concurred Word for Word with one another. Which Story he himself allows cannot be justify’d; and tho' it fhows a great Approbation of the Work, yet it shows the Approvers. to be weak Men and
(2) Whiston's Essay. p. 6, 7, 8.,
(20) Ib. p. 10.