Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. III:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
Life and Works of Rufinus with Jerome's Apology Against Rufinus.: A vindication of the importance of the Hebrew Text of Scripture.
34. I beg you, my most sweet friend, who are so curious that you even know my dreams, and that you scrutinize for purposes of accusations all that I have written during these many years without fear of future calumny; answer me, how is it you do not know the prefaces of the very books on which you ground your charges against me? These prefaces, as if by some prophetic foresight, gave the answer to the calumnies that were coming, thus fulfilling the proverb, “The antidote before the poison.” What harm has been done to the churches by my translation? You bought up, as I knew, at great cost the versions of Aquila, Symmachus, and Theodotion, and the Jewish authors of the fifth and sixth translations. Your Origen, or, that I may not seem to be wounding you with fictitious praises, our Origen, (for I may call him ours for his genius and learning, though not for the truth of his doctrines) in all his books explains and expounds not only the Septuagint but the Jewish versions. Eusebius and Didymus do the same. I do not mention Apollinarius, who, with a laudable zeal though not according to knowledge, attempted to patch up into one garment the rags of all the translations, and to weave a consistent text of Scripture at his own discretion, not according to any sound rule of criticism. The Hebrew Scriptures are used by apostolic men; they are used, as is evident, by the apostles and evangelists. Our Lord and Saviour himself whenever he refers to the Scriptures, takes his quotations from the Hebrew; as in the instance of the words 3145 “He that believeth on me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water,” and in the words used on the cross itself, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani,” which is by interpretation “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” not, as it is given by the Septuagint, “My God, my God, look upon me, why hast thou forsaken me?” and many similar cases. I do not say this in order to aim a blow at the seventy translators; but I assert that the Apostles of Christ have an authority superior to theirs. Wherever the Seventy agree with the Hebrew, the apostles took their quotations from that translation; but, where they disagree, they set down in Greek what they had found in the Hebrew. And further, I give a challenge to my accuser. I have shown that many things are set down in the New Testament as coming from the older books, which are not to be found in the Septuagint; and I have pointed out that these exist in the Hebrew. Now let him show that there is anything in the New Testament which comes from the Septuagint but which is not found in the Hebrew, and our controversy is at an end.
John vii. 38, supposed to be taken from Prov. 18:4, Isa. 58:11Prov. xviii. 4, or Is. lviii. 11
Next: Though the LXX has been of great value, we should be grateful for fresh translations from the original.
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