It's remarkable how much academia has engaged in textual criticism of the New Testament, questioning every jot and tittle of the Greek manuscripts, yet comparatively barely any attention has been directed by them towards the Old Testament. Not that we should wish those atheistic scandalizers should desecrate the text, but I wanted to bring this subject to attention of the board for some opinions on it: what is the authentic text of the Old Testament? The vast majority of modern Bible translations use the Jewish Masoretic Text, which was composed by Pharasaic Jews in the 10th century, some 2000 years after the events described in it took place. It makes no sense that Christendom should be using an adulterated text from a sect that by its very nature is anti-Christian. But then what remains? From what I can tell, there are the following sources:
- Jerome's Latin Vulgate (from circa 400 AD), which he translated out of the original Hebrew from the ancient manuscripts available to him
- The Syriac Peshitta (100 - 200 AD), while the New Testament appears to derive from the Greek manuscripts, the Old Testament seems to be of a parallel tradition to the Septuagint. Syriac is a language that is related to Aramaic and Hebrew, so it's less likely to have misrenderings as a result of having to translate from a Semitic to an Indo-European language, and it uniquely contains some elements that provide additional context for events.
- The Targums (200 BC - 200 AD), informal spoken translations of the Old Testament. They are extremely paraphrastic.
- The Dead Sea Scrolls (300 BC - 100 AD), hidden by an esoteric Jewish sect, the Essenes, in caves during the Roman-Jewish Wars. Technically, the oldest copies of the Hebrew scriptures. However, as they were produced by a sect that was outside the mainstream of contemporary Jewish society, it should raise questions about whether they maintained the integrity of the scriptures.
- The Septuagint (300 BC - 100 BC), the Greek translation of the Old Testament. It was used by the early church. There are various issues with the Septuagint manuscripts available to us today however; the extant copies date to the fourth century. In ancient sources, the Septuagint was described only to be a translation of the books of Moses, whose origin and quality were remarkable, but the Septuagint as we have it today contains the prophets and the writings. If you look up any Septuagint based translation, you will find portions missing verses (e.g. 1 Samuel 17:12-31) because they're not in the manuscripts we have. Lastly, the insufficiency of the Septuagint was part of what prompted Jerome to begin his project of re-translating the Old Testament from Hebrew to Latin for the church to have a better text for its understanding.
- Samaritan Torah (>300 BC??), the Samaritans, who were rejected by the Jews upon their return from Babylon, have a unique version of the books of Moses (and of them only). It includes such deviations from the usual Jewish text as commandments to worship on Mount Gerizim instead of the Temple Mount of Jerusalem. Some of these are supported by witnesses in the Dea Sea Scrolls. However, as it is a sectarian work, the same question about whether they would have maintained the integrity of the scriptures hangs over it.
So, before we even tackle the issue of translating into English, what is the source text we ought to be translating from? Frankly, the institutions of learning seem to have been quite useless in giving an answer, because so far they either uncritically accept the Masoretic Text and the apparent impeccability of its authors, or say that it's literally anything but what the church historically believed (because Christians are retards and us enlightened secularists are obviously right!!!), or put forward that the original text never existed at all.