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Old and New Testaments. Septuagint in the Epistle to the Hebrews

Introduction

Evidence abounds to testify to the surmised and indeed existent relationship between the Old Testament and the New Testament. The author of Hebrews manipulates allusions to the Old Testament scripture to reinforce his message and authorial persuasions. In Hebrews the author makes constant reference to the new covenant. The author quotes Jeremiah prophecy in the Old Testament in Hebrews (: 6-9) notes that when our new author quotes Jeremiah prophecy on the new covenant, this implies the supersession of the old one adding that that which is turning old will soon vanish and dissipate” (Jerome F. 1991). This is largely thought to have characterised Biblical standpoint at the point around A.D 70 while the reference to Old Testament New covenant is a stating of a general truth being applied to the message articulated in the Pauline epistle (Jerome F. 1991). This would suggest that Jeremiah relevance to the themes presented in the epistle of the Hebrews reinforces the thrust on the looming dissolution of the old covenant and everything that goes with it.

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Analysing

There is also a striking recurring use of the quotation in Hebrews 3:7-11 of psalms 95 (LXX94): 7b-11 which dwells much on the thane of forty years of probation as well as provocation in the wilderness. Although the period of forty years has no direct links with contemporary scenario notes that here too the language more referred to is “…in reality the fortieth year from the crucial events of A.D. 30 were approaching.” (Rick Grant Jones 2006).

Frederick Fyvie Bruce (2007) notes that the manner in which the Old Testament quotations used though out Paul’s epistle are regularly and particularly that of the Septuagint form. This scholar says that this foregoing can be well deciphered in as far as the distinctions are made between the two Codices A (Alexandrines) and B (Vaticanus). Researchers have unveiled that there is an overwhelming proportion of quotations in the epistle of Hebrews which can be related to text A and text B. The scholars have also argued that is may be entirely accurate to explore and classify the “Septuagint quotations in the work of the first century A.D on the foundation of manuscripts of the fourth as well as fifth centuries. Paul used a form of text used quiet earlier than either the A-text or the B-text.”

The dominant argument on this dimension is that Paul could have selected his variants in cases where he was familiar with more than one reading to model his work for the merits of interpretational suitability. It may be argued that the variants that Paul used may have been taken from the other sections of the Greek Bible or from Philo. Scholars have presented varying forms of exhibit to attest to the position and notion that Paul’s use of certain Old Testament quotations were derived from his familiarisations with interpretations of Philo and used some quotations in a way to counter these interpretations.

Psalms is one of the crucial constituents of the Biblical prophetic thrust which is largely used to succor and reinforce the message on the Messiah as well the understanding of God in relation to His (God) relationship with the human family. The text is also used to underscore the relationship between the divine hosts and their relation and connection to the Messiah and human kind. “The word “aggelos” is a Greek version for the English “angel’ and is used to refer or the children of God or the Elohim in the Hebrew language and translations. The text of Psalms 8 is one of the few containing extracts of words take from the Septuagint”. (Frederick Fyvie Bruce 2007).

The themes on heavily hosts, God and the relations of these with the human race are reinforced in Psalm 8. This concept of human race being made a little lower than angels was adopted and embedded in the New Testament in the message of Paul.

“To the chief Musician upon Gittith, A Psalm of David. O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens. 2 Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger. 3 When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; 4 What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? 5 For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. 6 Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet: 7 All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field; 8 The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas. 9 O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth” (Psalm 8:1-9 1) [KJV] The themes in the foregoing can be traced in New Testament text of Hebrews 2 vs. 7.

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“Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands”. {NKJ}. Below is transliterated version of the Greek (Septuagint) version capturing the gist of Psalms 8.

“You deprived him of little of God” (Psalm 8:6) (John, F: 2003). L. lane (2005) observes that the author of Hebrews ah adopted a qualitative denotation of the description “Little lower than…” from the Greek version to reinforce his themes. The scholar notes that the Old Greek Translation was interpreted in the Christ event as seen in the reconstruction in Hebrews 2. “The phrase ‘a little lower than’ is used qualitatively to denote a sense of transience. The scholar further observes that qualitative denotation of the text have influenced largely the translation of the New International Version (NIV). Paul the author of Hebrews takes up a part (O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth” Psalms 9vs.2) of the quotation. Frederick Fyvie Bruce (2007) concurs that by doing this Paul achieves the sense of reinforcing that that for a while Christ was in a state lower than that of the angles.

Paul has adopted the Old Testament themes to explicate the nature of God’s Love who has made men little lower than levels. The significance of this theme is well illumined by the theological significance of the taking up of human form by the Son of God, Jesus in the process of incarnation. In this, the love of God is well illuminated by the relinquishing of heavily glory and position by his son to adopt a form of those who are little lower angels whom He created himself.

The Psalm 110 of the Old Testament text is referred to in the New Testament no less than 22 times. (Ernst Würthwei 1995) The text runs with salient themes bordering on the acute Messianic significance tied to it and even so by the New Testament writers.

“A psalm of David. The LORD says to you, my lord: “Take your throne at my righthand, while I make your enemies your footstool.” The scepter of your sovereign might the LORD will extend from Zion. The LORD says: “Rule over your enemies! Yours is princely power from the day of your birth. In holy splendor before the daystar, like the dew I begot you.” The LORD has sworn and will not waver: “Like Melchizedek you are a priest forever.” At your right hand is the Lord, who crushes kings on the day of wrath, who, robed in splendor, judges nations, crushes heads across the wide earth, who, drinks from the brook by the wayside and thus holds high the head.” (NKJ).

There are valuable insights that can be drawn from Vs 9 in chapter of Psalms chapter 8. The writer should have interpreted lines of Ps 8.6 having not made allusion to the identical parallelism of the Hebrew writ. Ernst Würthwei (1995) asserts that assessing the view points of the Psalmist; to be created a “little lower” than celestial beings is to be “crowned with glory and honor”. The scholar further observes that to Paul the old testament is a divine oracle form the first to last citing that not only passage which are in their native setting are the direct utterance of God such as (Psalms. 110: 4 ” Thou art a priest forever…”). The author also further notes that other utterances in the writ are treated as if they are spoken directly by God like the utterances of Moses in Deuteronomy 32.43 (Hebrews 1.6) as well as the words of the Psalmist referring to the messengers of the Holy one. ( Psalms 104.4 quoted in Hebrews 1.7).

It is clear that variations made by Paul on the Septuagint versions of his adaptations and references to the Old Testament have influenced significantly the way Septuagint is quoted by early Christian authors evident in some scripts and manuscripts. He notes, “Over time particularly in the details on sacrificial ritual and actuary installations , the epistle of Paul ( Hebrews) provides some exhibit for stringent use of an oral madras on the Pentateuch” (Frederick Fyvie Bruce 2007).

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Kings James Version of Psalms Chapter 110

“The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.”

Greek Transliteration

“Of David a psalm. The word of the L-rd [Y-H-V-H] to my master [ladoni]: “Sit at/[Wait for] My right hand, until I make your enemies a footstool at your feet.” (Jennifer M. Dines 2004).

Rick Grant Jones (2006) states, “This Christological interpretation of writ In the New Testament points to omission of the initial elements of the given textual parallelism (Ps 8:7a). The author of Hebrews has reused three lines of the text alluded to in way that integrates a way of confessions of faith which embraces the three consecutive instances in the scheme of salvation namely, the incarnation, the exaltation, and the ultimate triumph of Jesus, the first relating to the past, the second to the current, and the third to the future yet to come”. The exit from the initial Semitic relation generates a uniquely and yet distinctly confessional perception of the quotation.

Rick Grant Jones (2006) goes on to note; As can be noted in the New Testament Ps is largely alluded to in association with Ps 110 (1 Cor 15:25–27; Eph 1:20–22; cf. Phil 3:21; 1 Pet 3:22). There is a striking concurrence in the flow of the two Old Testament texts that present a subjecting of all things under the feet. He further notes that (Ps 110:1 and Ps 8:7) presents exhibit for a pervading exegetical convention on which Christian authors drew. “In Hebrews the extract of Ps 8:5–7 comes after the reference of Ps 110:1 (1:13), with no superseding citation The citation adheres to the Old Greek version, but the clause “you made him ruler over the works of your hands” (Ps 8:7a[MT ]) has been omitted”, notes Rick Grant Jones (2006).

Conclusion

The author has drawn various allusions to the Old Testament text. To achieve desired meaning propagation and authorial persuasions. Particularly in the allusion to the text of Psalms Chapter 8, 110 and Jeremiah 31 there are deliberate omissions and verse conflations employed by the author to lay emphasis on certain themes and achieve his desired persuasions.

References

Jennifer M. Dines. 2004. The Septuagint, Michael A. Knibb, Ed., London: T&T Clark.

Ernst Würthwei. 1995. The Text of the Old Testament, trans. Errol F. Rhodes, Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans.

Josephus, Flavius. 1987. Antiquities of the Jews, 12.2.11-15; Whiston, William; The Complete Works of Josephus; Hendrickson Publishers.Nashville.

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Sir Godfrey Driver. 1970.Introduction to the Old Testament of the New English Bible Oak Books,. NC.

Rick Grant Jones. 2006. Various Religious Topics, “Books of the Septuagint,” 2008. Web.

Jerome F. 1991. Letter LXXI (404 AD), NPNF1-01. The Confessions and Letters of St. Augustin. with a Sketch of his Life and Work, Phillip Schaff, Ed.

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StudyCorgi. (2021, October 25). Old and New Testaments. Septuagint in the Epistle to the Hebrews. Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/old-and-new-testaments-septuagint-in-the-epistle-to-the-hebrews/

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StudyCorgi. (2021, October 25). Old and New Testaments. Septuagint in the Epistle to the Hebrews. https://studycorgi.com/old-and-new-testaments-septuagint-in-the-epistle-to-the-hebrews/

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"Old and New Testaments. Septuagint in the Epistle to the Hebrews." StudyCorgi, 25 Oct. 2021, studycorgi.com/old-and-new-testaments-septuagint-in-the-epistle-to-the-hebrews/.

1. StudyCorgi. "Old and New Testaments. Septuagint in the Epistle to the Hebrews." October 25, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/old-and-new-testaments-septuagint-in-the-epistle-to-the-hebrews/.


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StudyCorgi. "Old and New Testaments. Septuagint in the Epistle to the Hebrews." October 25, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/old-and-new-testaments-septuagint-in-the-epistle-to-the-hebrews/.

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StudyCorgi. 2021. "Old and New Testaments. Septuagint in the Epistle to the Hebrews." October 25, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/old-and-new-testaments-septuagint-in-the-epistle-to-the-hebrews/.

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StudyCorgi. (2021) 'Old and New Testaments. Septuagint in the Epistle to the Hebrews'. 25 October.

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