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When I was looking in the store to buy a bible, I noticed that the different bible translations not only differ in their style of translation, but also in the sources they use.

  • What are the sources used in common bible translations?
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Wikipedia has a good list of the various sources used:

  • Septuagint
  • Masoretic
  • Syriac
  • Dead Sea Scrolls
  • Vulgate
  • Samaritan Pentateuch
  • Textus Receptus
  • Codex Bezae
  • Codex Sinaiticus
  • Codex Vaticanus
  • other fragments and partial texts
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Newer Bible translations are moving to the Masoretic text more and more for the Old Testament translation, especially since the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls (the Dead Sea Scrolls validate the authenticity of the Masoretic text). Septuagint is a very good translation of the Hebrew original when it comes to the Torah, but the rest of the books are known to be poorly translated.

The translators, of course, make use of the Septuagint and other translations wherever the Masoretic text is not very clear.

As for the New Testament, most translators make use of the Novum Testamentum Graece, Nestle-Aland text, among others.

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This blog on NT Translations & Sources seems like a good summary, and pertinent to your question, at least in part. Even though the author doesn't look at the OT sources, it does seem well-researched for NT translation sources. It also has ample citations to its claims, including internet links, and books by well-known scholars in the field of textual criticism and history of Biblical sources. The bias of the blog's author is noted (he is an ex-Christian), but I don't think this takes away from the literary content of this blog article.

New Testament Sources & Translations

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