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In the Year of our LORD Jesus Christ
2017
-- As of January 20, 2017
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Monday, September 14, 2009

How many went down to Egypt? 75, 71, 70, or 66?

In the New Testament, there has been a complaint raised about Jacob coming to Egypt with 75 people, while in the Hebrew Torah, the number listed is 70.

In the New Testament, Acts 7:14 states 75. The LXX states 75 in Exodus 1:5 and previously in Genesis 46:27.

Genesis 46:26 states the number at 66 in the Masoretic text. In verse 27, the number of those coming into Egypt were 70. In Exodus 1:5 of the Masoretic the number is 70. See also Deuteronomy 10:22 in the Hebrew.

That is a jump of 4 in the Hebrew or O (zero) in the Greek. What might be missed is a doubling of the two souls of the sons of Joseph from Genesis 46:26-27, plus their prior count in Genesis 46:20. Were Manassah and Ephraim now counted thrice (3 times)?

The discrepancy between the LXX and the Masoretic, and the Masoretic from itself appears to be a a matter of reckoning. It may be that in the third century BC, and certainly before Herod I came to power when all the LXX was finalized by, the scribes may or may not have altered this number after other information, such as counting children over age two, instead of just those over age three, for example. That LXX information of 75 was entered and finalized well prior to Hillel restoring the lost Hebraic Torah to Israel some 30 years after Herod I came to power. Because the anti-Christian Sanhedrin of Jerusalem sought to catch Christians in every word, it is very unlikely that Stephen, attempting to convince a Sanhedrin Katan wishing to destroy him, would have made the number 75 up. That mistake would have been pounded against Christianity to successfully disperse it if it were so. Hence, we ned to look further, and elsewhere.

When the Hillel Torah was translated in the then modern Hebrew script, it likely did so first using vastly differing letter forms just 400-500 years earlier (several letters even trading with one another), so that number was also entered in the Hebraic Script; but , we just don’t "absolutely" know. But it is possible that the Hillel Copy had 70, because Josephus (who took his reckoning in Antiquities 2.7.4,) reckoned 70 without Jacob, and 71 with him. This disagrees then with the Massorete Exodus 1:5 and Deuteronmy 10:22. What happened?

There is some unaccountability in Torah manuscript transmission. That lacking finds litle solace in being dependant on sparse Mishna to Talmudic quotations, compared to the NT manuscript fragments dating well back to within a couple generations of the disciples themselves, and having a completeness by the age of Jerome, some 50 years prior to the Leningrad Codex.

We do know that in the Second Century, about 250 years before Jerome, a war of words went up when Jewish zealots redacted out this or that word or phrase in order to deny Yeshua, and the Christians chewed them up for it. Perhaps this happened also with the text, using a new counting of souls after thus an age rather than the prior thus an age. If the family of Hebraic manuscripts became small, it made small changes more possible.

Jerome in ca. 392 A.D. probably held copies of the New Testament that were almost exclusively from the first century A.D. sources as well, being only 350 or less years removed from the 47 -57 A.D. compositions of those works (an NT author dating I can reasonably prove).

It is known (Jerome, Against Rufinius, 2.34) that where the Apostolic texts differ from the much later Masoretes in quoting the Hebraic Old Testament texts, the Apostles appear to have followed a manuscript tree that was more closer to Aramaic (if we follow the second century quotations in translation to Latin and Greek by Irenaeus) and first sources, such as the Ezra era translation of Hebrew Scriptures scribed by Hillel -- if I understand correctly -- that was brought to Rome, and cited by Josephus.

Those same copies of that master copy of the Temple, which would have included the Psalms and the prophets like Isaiah and Jeremiah (etc.), made available to all Israel by 6 A.D. to 66/67 A.D. in copy form from that master copy.

Jerome, himself, handled some of these same pre-LXX manuscripts, pre-dating the LXX's completion prior to the ascension of Herod the Great.

By his own testimony, Jerome says that his Hebrew copies that he was handling, were those that pre-dated even our extant Dead Sea Isaiah Scroll now on display in Israel, dating to at least 150 B.C. and possibly as old as 250 B.C.

For him to say this there would have been a clear distinction in the difference of the Hebrew epigraphy. For which aid, he sought out the best Hebrew expert of his day to learn more than just an expanded version of what he would have called "modern Hebrew" in the 4th century A.D....but an "ancient Hebrew" of the 4th to 5th century B.C. as well. The only Ante-Nicene (pre-Nicene) mention of the relevant texts I have found is from about 190-200 A.D., in which Clement repeats the number of 75, citing Genesis 46:27 (Clement of Alexandria, Stromata 1.21) and comparing Euphorus and the 75 nations he mentions (having 72 languages and 3 dialects blending two or three of the 72 together).

So we arrive back at the Massoretes, and find that 134 texts have been tampered with by the Massoretes, who changed the name YHVH into ADNY…4 letters for 4 letters. Therefore, I presume, based on the preponderance of my research that the redaction of the original 75 to 70 was made sometime in the Second Century and retained that way in the Hebrew, and based most likely on whether or not to reckon newborns or one year or two year or three years olds...something along those lines.

I have found no Dead Sea Scroll Texts or anything of an antiquity prior to the ascension of Judah ha-nasi (ca. 190 A.D.) to demonstrate otherwise.

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