Two weeks ago, Archbishop Brennan and myself attended the Schmemann Memorial Lecture at St. Vladimir’s Seminary. The speaker was the very famous British Biblical scholar, Dr. Margaret Barker (pictured left). Her special field is the Old Testament, the Jewish Tanak.
I had come across her viewpoint many years ago in a book, “Jews, Christians and Moslems.” It was a true joy to hear it again from her at this bastion of Orthodox Theology: the current Hebrew Masoretic text is not as ancient as both the Vulgate and the Septuagint! Marvelous. The Jews concocted the Masoretic text some 300 years after the death and resurrection of our Lord in order to omit from the prophetic texts any references that Christian apologists were allegorically using to prove the Messiahship of Jesus of Nazareth. The dead sea scrolls contaim .MSS of both the book of Enoch and Jubilees. I am now reading her book, “Creation”, which has the endorsement of Bartholomew the Ecumenical Patriarch.
In 1996, I attended a Continuing Anglican conference in Atlantic City, presided over by the late Presiding Bishop, Frank Benning. At the Conference, I expressed my opinion the the reason the Protestant Bible differs from the Catholic and Orthodox one was that Luther erroneously used the Hebrew masoretic text for his High German translation rather than the Vulgate or septuagint. He wrongly thought that it was older, but the Jewish Rabbis in Germany misled him in that belief. Erasmus proved a better scholar when he edited an authoritative Greek NT text by searching out first the oldest MSS. The King James translators just followed Luther in his mistake. Needless to say my commentary didn’t go over well at the Atlanta Conference. But now we have this world famous scriptural scholar voicing the very same idea. Mirabile visu!
+Francis C. Spataro