or temper the notion that Christ was the messiah predicted in their books of old. Notice that the Jews never accepted the New Testament. In 135 A.D. after the total destruction of Jerusalem, the Jews were scattered to the four corners of the earth and their ancient Hebrew language was
no longer in use, either by the spoken or written word. Most importantly a complete compilation of Holy Scripture for the Jew at the death of Christ had no official name.
In fact both Jew and gentile used the Septuagint at the death of Christ. Septuagint is derived from the Latin word meaning 70. The Roman numeral is LXX. Some argue that the later editions of the Septuagint included 70 books. A possible list is as follows: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings, 1 and 2 Chronicles, Prayer of
Manasseh, Ezra(1 Ezra), Nehemiah(2 Ezra), 1 Esdras(3 Ezra), 2 Esdras 3–14(4 Ezra), 2 Esdras 1–2; 15–16(5 and 6 Ezra), Esther, Additions to Esther, Tobit, Judith, 1 Maccabees, 2 Maccabees, 3 Maccabees,
4 Maccabees, Jubilees, Enoch, 1 Meqabyan, 2 and 3 Meqabyan, Ethiopic Pseudo-Josephus,Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs, Book of Job, Psalms 1–150, Psalm 151, Psalms 152–155, Psalms of Solomon, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, Book of Wisdom, Sirach, Prayer of Solomon(Sirach 52), Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations (1-5), Ethiopic Lamentations (7:1-11,63), Baruch, Letter of Jeremiah, Syriac Apocalypse of Baruch(2 Baruch 1–77), Letter of Baruch(2 Baruch 78–87), Greek Apocalypse of Baruch(3 Baruch), 4 Baruch, Ezekiel, Daniel, Additions to
Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi.
Most everyone who believed in one true God at the death of Christ, including many of the Jews, used some form of the Septuagint as their official compilation of Holy Scripture. The Septuagint was
quoted by the apostles as their source of Old Testament scripture as they composed the New Testament. Even though copies of the Old Testament written in Paleo-Hebrew still existed at the death of Christ, as evidenced by the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, they were not in general use.
Everyone claims that the Dead Sea scrolls were hidden in the caves of Qumran around 70 A.D. in order to avoid detection and destruction by the Romans. But these scrolls could have very well been hidden there during the period of the Maccabees, which ruled Judea from 164 B.C. to 63 B.C. or after 63 B.C., when Pompey invaded Judah and made it a client state of Rome. These Paleo-Hebrew scrolls may not have existed in the public arena at the death of Christ or thereafter.
Jewish scholars allege that their rabbis officially adopted the list of books that compose their old testament at the Council of Jamnia about 100 A.D. However this view has been recently questioned. The eventual name of the Jew’s old testament became the Tanakh, an acronym of the first Hebrew
letter of each of the three traditional subdivisions: the Torah ("Teaching", also known as the Five Books of Moses), the Prophets which include the eight books of the major and minor prophets, which cover the time from the entrance of the Israelites into the Land of Israel until the Babylonian
captivity of Judah and the Writings which include the 11 books of truth, wisdom and prayer—hence TaNaKh. But remember, in the first century the word Tanakh did not exist as a name for the Jewish bible. The 1st-century Jewish historian Josephus described 22 sacred books of the Jews, not the 24 that eventually became the Tanakh.
In time, the Tanakh, which became known as the Jewish Bible, was probably composed between 800 A.D. and 1000 A.D. by the Masoretes. The Masoretes were groups of Jewish scribe-scholars who worked between the 7th and 10th centuries A.D. based primarily in present-day Israel in the cities of Tiberias and Jerusalem, as well as in Iraq (Babylonia). Their Jewish bible included the 24 listed books. The Torah has always included first five books: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. The eight books of Prophets include Joshua, Judges, 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings,
Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the Twelve Minor Prophets( Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi). The 11 books of the Writings include Job , Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, Ruth, Lamentations, Esther, Daniel, Chronicles, Ezra- Nehemiah. These are the 24 books of the Jewish Bible. Until the invention of the
printing press in 1450 A.D., these books were copied by scribes by hand for hundreds of years. It is important to note that the Jews probably used a form of the Septuagint during their 700- 900 years of Diaspora after 70 A.D. until the Masoretes compiled the Tanakh.
The Masoretic Text (MT) defined the books of the Jewish bible and it is the current Hebrew text of the Jewish Bible. The MT was primarily copied, edited and distributed by these Jewish Masoretes.
The Masoretic text (MT) established by the rabbis between the 7th and 10th centuries A.D. has until
recently been accepted as an official reproduction of the Hebrew Bible of the 1st century A. D. Yet, this proposition is now being challenged in light of the Dead Sea Scrolls. The oldest extant manuscripts of the Masoretic Text date from approximately the 9th century A.D. The MT of the
Aleppo Codex dates from the 10th century. Recent inquiry has found that copies of some of the Biblical books found at Qumran reveal sharp divergences from the MT. As an example, scholars have discovered that the Paleo- Hebrew copies of 1 and 2 Samuel found at Qumran agree more with the Septuagint than the MT. One of these fragments is dated from the third century B. C. and is
believed to be the very oldest copy of a biblical text found to date. Therefore scholars allege that the Masoretic version of 1–2 Samuel is significantly inferior to the Septuagint.
The Masoretic text of the Jewish Old Testament Bible differs from the Septuagint in hundreds of places. There are glaring differences between the Septuagint and MT of 1 and 2 Samuel,
Jeremiah, Esther, Daniel, Proverbs and Ezekiel, 40-48, and to a lesser degree important differences in the books of Isaiah and Job. Why is that? Scribe error or intentional deceit? And the fact remains that the oldest copies of the Septuagint are still 400 – 500 years older than the Masoretic text. Most importantly the Dead Sea Scrolls, which are older than any surviving copy of the Septuagint, tend to agree more with the Septuagint than with the Masoretic text. Therefore, it seems that the best translation we have of the Old Testament from the original Paleo-Hebrew Bible is the Septuagint. The only existing Old Testament at the time the Septuagint was translated was the Paleo-Hebrew text.