In fact, the bulk of the content of the Divine Office (those prayers chanted by monks and nuns, and recited, under pain of sin, by priests) is the sacred psalmody of the Old Testament. For, with the single exception of Mem, the so-called final forms are those of the old characters as exhibited partly at least even in the oldest inscriptions, or at any rate in use in the Aramaic papyri of the fifth century B.C. Nevertheless, the opinion that in the fourth century the pronunciation was still fluctuating, would be erroneous. Another help are the “Targums”, or free Aramaic versions of the Sacred Books, composed from the last centuries B.C. For the saint knew how, in a definite case, an ambiguous word was to be vocalized; he appealed to the custom of the Jews standing in opposition to the interpretation of the Septuagint. The same applies to the use of Waw and Yodh. I hope to follow up with one or two pieces on the right way and the wrong way to read the Old Testament. Extra ecclesiam nulla salus (outside the Church there is no salvation). The Sept. may on the whole differ considerably from the M. T., and yet often clear up an obscure passage in the Hebrew, while the reverse happens just as frequently. The consonant-text was written in a more ancient form of the square characters; the so-called final letters presumably came into use then. From the Nabataean and Palmyrian inscriptions we learn that at the time of Christ the distinction already existed, but it does not follow that the same usage prevailed in the land west of the Jordan and, in particular, in the Sacred Books. Regarding shorter passages, the parallel texts allow of comparison. Additions to the M. T. are inconsiderable. In this meaning as signifying the Canonical Scriptures of the Old Testament, the expression “Old Testament” will be used in what follows. The Prophets had knowledge of a new covenant to which the one concluded on Mount Sinai should give way. Apart from the Sept. there is but little to assist us. Considering the reading of the Bible in the synagogue and the statements of Josephus (Contra Apionem, I, viii) and of Philo (Eusebius, “Praep. And of course, the Old Testament teaches us to pray. Thus the reading is necessarily often ambiguous, as the saint expressly states. Some Catholics presume that the four Gospels form the heart of the Catholic Bible, but the Old Testament holds an important place as well, especially in the Mass. are—the earliest are of the ninth century A.D.—from the time when the books were composed, there is a uniform and homogeneous tradition concerning the text. The Miraculous Medal (1830), Alms Even From a Lapsed Catholic Can Free a Soul in Purgatory, Tell Your Bishops ‘Never Again’ to Church Closures: Fr. The Samaritan Text throws light on the Pentateuch, at least up to the fourth century, perhaps up to the time before Esdras. evang.”, VIII, vi) on the treatment of the Scriptures, we may rightly suppose that greater changes of the text did not occur at that time. A letter or a word in the text had, according to the note on the margin, either to be changed, or inserted, or omitted by the reader. Some of the Old-Testament Scriptures had, at the time of the translation, existed for about a thousand years, whilst others had just been composed. The Hebrew fragments make no exception, and the Syriac writing applies the word-division in the earliest MSS. [Our Quest for Happiness, vol. The fact is all the more striking, as the history of the New Testament is quite different. 3). Just look at this paragraph from the religion text I am using this year at our IHM School: Take the following prophecies together and see how many persons there are in whom they are verified. Well known is the ever-recurring “Qere” Adonai instead of Jahve; it seems to date back to the time before Christ, and probably even the first Greek interpreters were acquainted with it. But the complete agreement was certainly brought about gradually. (“Vetus Testamentum Hraicum cum variis lectionibus”, Oxford, 1776, 1780). The Apostle St. Paul declares himself (II Cor., iii` 6) a minister “of the new testament”, and calls (iii, 14) the covenant entered into on Mount Sinai “the old testament”. But it must be remembered that translators, sometimes, may have treated the text more freely, and that even our Greek Version has not come down to us in its original form. Thanks to Genesis, we know our place in the universe, even if we have horribly violated the duties arising from that dignity. Did it pass through the Samaritan alphabet, which clearly betrays its connection with the Phoenician? Being a disciple of Rabbi Aqiba he presumably maintains the views and principles of the Jewish scribes in the beginning of the second century. The question cannot be decided, as our knowledge of Hebrew writing from the first to the third century is quite imperfect. Incorrect separation and connection of syllables and words was henceforth all but excluded. Yet in the case of the majority of the books the work was probably completed about the middle of the second century B.C. The word “testament”, Hebrew berith, Greek diath?k?, primarily signifies the covenant which God entered into first with Abraham, then with the people of Israel. ; Hebrew Bible; Massorah; Manuscripts of the Bible; Versions of the Bible. The Exodus generation, for instance, provides us with some powerful lessons on morals. Because the New Testament is hidden in the Old, and the Old is made manifest in the New. There might be doubt in particular cases, but, on the whole, even the vowel-text was secured. Thus it came about that the translators and the M. T. diverge, according as they suppose the Aleph or not. The sure starting-point for a correct estimation of the text of the Old Testament is the evidence obtained from the MSS. The loss of Origen’s hexapla is very much to be regretted. The second group of corrections consisted in changing an ambiguous word,—of such eighteen are recorded in the Massorah. Of the three versions only very small fragments have come down to us. If a reading proved untenable, they did not correct the text itself, but were satisfied with noting the proper reading on the margin as “Qere” (read), in opposition to “Kethibh” (written). A group of letters repeatedly read erroneously is a clue as to the form of the alphabet of the original. The liberty prevailing in this regard is expressly testified even for a much later period. The consequences do not everywhere manifest themselves as much as in the books of Samuel and Jeremias, for instance, but often enough are such that the application of all critical means is needed to come to a readable text. ; I Machabees) call for no special treatment. In the Greek Version not less than 2700 words of the M. T., about an eighth part of the whole, are missing. And how could this copy, the defective peculiarities of which could not have been overlooked, attain to such undisputed authority? Extra ecclesiam nulla salus (outside the Church there is no salvation). For even if during the insurrection of Bar-Cocheba a great number of Scripture rolls perished, there nevertheless existed enough of them in Egypt and Persia, so that there was no need to rely on one damaged copy. Nor is there any reason for supposing, with some early Christian writers, conscious changes or falsifications of the text. Of primary importance for us is the question of the state of the text at the time of the translation. A Waw is interrupted or letters are made bigger, whilst others are placed higher up—the so-called suspended letters. The interchanging of He and Meth, of Yodh and Waw, so easy with the new characters, is scarcely conceivable with the old ones; and the mistaking of Beth for Caph is altogether excluded. But this writing is undoubtedly decorative, displaying care and art, and offers, therefore, no sure basis for a decision. These three points are essential to a basic understanding of the bible: 1 God is indeed the principal author of Sacred Scripture. Enter your email address to receive notifications by email every time we post something to the site. With the Western writers this use of the term in the most ancient period cannot yet be proved. So, the Scriptures are called “books of the Old Testament” by Melito of Sardis and Clement of Alexandria (ta palaia biblia; ta t?s palaias diath?k?s biblia). When later the Massoretes speak only of four or five instances, we must say with Ginsburg that these cases are merely recorded as typical. The answer, of course, is Yes. It is hard to determine how far we may recognize the official text of the period in the present form of the Greek text. The form of the text which we gather from them is almost the one transmitted by the Massoretes; the differences naturally became more numerous, but it remains the one recension we know of from our MSS. Relationship between the Christian and Israelite faiths the only value of the.! This practical device was known of one man with one woman tribe of Juda ( Gen. 49, 10 and... When St. Jerome ’ s worship and prayer life for only if an older form of the T.. 256: Roman Empire, Roman Church ( part I ) Holy Scripture the complete agreement was brought! 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