On Judgment in 2 Peter at the Septuagint Conference in Wuppertal 2018


By Koot van Wyk (DLitt et Phil; ThD)


Some notes about this 2018 Septuagint Conference should suffice here:



Anna Mambelli, "The Use of ὁµίχλη in the Septuagint and in the Second Epistle of Peter in the Context of Divine Judgment" - Die Septuaginta. Themen – Manuskripte – Wirkungen. 7. Internationale Fachtagung Wuppertal, 19.-22. Juli 2018


“Abstract: The rare word ὁµίχλη is found in Greek texts as early as in Homer (Il. 1.359; 3.10) and in Aristophanes (Nub. 330), with the meaning of “mist”, “fog”. It occurs ten times in the Septuagint, but only once in the New Testament. More specifically, in 2 Peter 2:17 the false teachers are compared to “mists [ὁµίχλαι] driven by a tempest, for whom is reserved the gloom of black darkness”. Some manuscripts imported the lectio facilior νεφέλαι (“clouds”) from Jude 12. A question then arises: Why does 2 Peter 2:17 prefer to use the uncommon noun ὁµίχλη in reworking Jude 12-13? Can the usage of this word in the LXX explain this choice?”


Van Wyk Notes:

First we need to ask ourselves how early is the earliest Homer manuscript? How early is the earliest Aristophanes manuscript. How early is the earliest 2 Peter manuscript? How early is the earliest LXX manuscript?

This is the taxonomy of the question. That affects the methodology and eventually the result analysis. But they are fundamental issues. Why must one believe that Homer wrote in the 8th century BCE and his word dates from there and the Septuagint is a mirror of 285 BCE and that these sources can determine aspects in the New Testament like 2 Peter?

These are questions that Mambelli did not consider.

“There are more than 2000 manuscripts of Homer.[84][85] Some of the most notable manuscripts include:

Rom. Bibl. Nat. gr. 6 + Matriti. Bibl. Nat. 4626 from 870–890 AD

Venetus A = Venetus Marc. 822 from the 10th century

Venetus B = Venetus Marc. 821 from the 11th century

Ambrosian Iliad

Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 20

Papyrus Oxyrhynchus 21

Codex Nitriensis (palimpsest)”



 [84]OCLC 722287142

 [85]Bird, Graeme D. (2010). Multitextuality in the Homeric Iliad: The Witness of the Ptolemaic Papyr. Washington, D.C.: Center for Hellenic Studies.


The earliest Iliad available is from the year 870-890 A.D. that is one millennium after Homer lived! Then we did not even started with the discussion of the preservation of the original Iliad transmission history. Consulting the book by M. Fraser, Ptolemaic Alexandria especially his Volume II, Notes, he mentioned on someone who travelled at Pella in the days of Antiochus Epiphanes and asked the question where he can get a good copy of the Iliad of Homer? The answer was: “as long as it is not one of these recent copies”. It was the time of condensation, omissions, additions, remodeling of texts. A sloppy and degenerative scholarship time period.

Immediately the “early” in Mambelli is under severe scrutiny here.

The faith in the reliability of transmission of Homer outshines the faith in the transmission history of the biblical text here. It is too good to be true.

Aristophanes earliest manuscript is from the 6th century A. D. (John Williams White (1906, January). The Manuscripts of Aristophanes. Classical Philology. Vol. 1, No. 1 (Jan., 1906), pp. 1-20, page 5. Downloaded on the 9th of December 2018 from https://www.jstor.org/stable/261346

Again, the main problem is the finding of a manuscript close to the original date of composition. Centuries lies between the original composition and the earliest extant manuscript. This is a serious problem.

The words then that exists in these late manuscript texts should rightfully be asked if they are really used earlier than the earliest manuscript?

The Septuagint is the same problem. None of the earliest manuscripts of the Byzantine text of the Septuagint predates the Byzantine times.

Any linguistic study is handicapped with this chain that limits the extend of the investigation or its conclusions. 

Another article at the Conference in 2018 in Wuppertal on the Septuagint:

Knut Usener, (2018, July). “Griechisches im Griechisch der LXX.” Die Septuaginta. Themen – Manuskripte – Wirkungen. 7. Internationale Fachtagung Wuppertal, 19.-22. Juli 2018.


In this article Usener tries to argue that the Old Testament in Greek is using Greek classics to substitute meanings of words like in Ezechiel 25:4 where “milk” in Hebrew is substituted for “fat” in Greek of the Septuagint.

„Sie werden deine Früchte verzehren, und sie werden dein Fett trinken“ (25:4) ist die für uns hier relevante Passage. In EzekLXX heißt sie: fagontai tou karpou sou kai autoi piontai thn piothta sou.

In BDB of the Hebrew Lexicon page 316 lies the answer: there are two meanings for halab: milk or fat. Milk is the Akkadian word alab and fat is the Akkadian word ḫalab. Fat was also used in Aramaic. Thus, the author did not know that. This is the case with many hapax legomena or strange translations in the so-called LXX of the Byzantine period and later. Byzantine since we do not have the original Septuagint and no editor ever claimed that they successfully reconstructed the original Septuagint.

The substitution is not necessarily a Classical Greek mental lexicon overspilling into the Greek LXX situation. Since the words and their meaning were well known in Akkadian, Hebrew and Aramaic, a Greek borrowing of the meaning is probably not a good choice here. 

Another paper delivered at the Conference was that of Emanuel Tov.

 Tov, Emanuel The Palestinian Source of the Greek Translation of the Torah. Die Septuaginta. Themen – Manuskripte – Wirkungen. 7. Internationale Fachtagung Wuppertal, 19.-22. Juli 2018

This is really a mirror of what he has presented before in 2015.

Tov, Emanuel, (2015, August 24th). The Septuagint Translation of the Torah as a Source and Resource for the Post-Pentateuchal Translators. pp. 293-305. Downloaded on the 9th of December 2018 at https://bda.hypotheses.org/files/2016/09/281.LXX-Translation-of-the-Torah.pdf


Tov wrote on page , 305

“4. Influence on the Exegetical Level

The contents of the Greek Torah often influenced the wording of later translations on an exegetical level.24 1. In Jer 1:6; 4:10; 14:13 and 32 (39):17 (אהה)יהוה אדני has been represented by ὁ ὢν (δέσποτα κύριε).25 אהה”) alas”) in this verse has been derived from היה in Exod 3:14 (a central verse for biblical theology) and rendered in accordance with the Septuagint translation of that verse: אהיה אשר אהיה – ἐγώ εἰμι ὁ ὤν. אל תהי עד חנם ברעך 28:24 Prov. 2 μὴ ἴσθι ψευδὴς μάρτυς ἐπὶ σὸν πολίτην” (Tov 305).


Here is the problem with Tov’s reasoning. Phonetically the pronunciation of the Hebrew words are very similar to some people’s ears so that it is really just a case of a slip of the ear in dictation.

This has nothing to do with exegesis. The translator was trying to render it correct but the kakophonia made it difficult to hear properly or whatever other reasons like physical defects.

In this article, Tov tried to list the words shared by the Pentateuch and Prophets and other books of the Old Testament and then claimed that this proved that they used the Pentateuch as a lexicon or dictionary to the translation of the other parts of the Old Testament.

There are problems with this view. Firstly, what Pentateuch? The Greek Pentateuch of the Byzantine period? The earliest manuscripts are the big Uncials and we do not have other. They differ sometimes from each other so that the theory is better to say that what survived in the Uncials was not an accurate careful copy of the original Septuagint, but the degenerative copies that originated during the time of Antiochus Ephiphanes because the same complaint that I am raising here is also present in the Iliad of Homer at Ptolemaic Alexandria, see P. M. Fraser 1971. That is the Vorlage problem. But then there is also another problem that added to the errors. Constantine ordered 50 copies of the Old Testament in Greek to be made in haste and speed. Indeed speed with degenerative sloppiness: Uncials that is considered today our Byzantine Septuagint. 

Contrary to Tov’s and my teacher J. Cook’s view that Genesis was a very literal translation, I tend to disagree and point out that it was literal but not without sloppiness. It is a degenerative translation that could not have originated by the original translators of the Old Testament.

How do we know that?

Case in point: In Genesis 1 the word בָּרָא is translated as epoihsen. But contrary to this translation, in Deuteronomy the word is correctly translated as ktisen. There are two different Hebrew words for these two Greek words. They mean differently since the one is a making with material already existing and the other one is ex nihilo out of nothing existing before. Genesis meant the ex nihilo but in the Greek translated it as making with what is already there. Deuteronomy talking about the same event used the correct rendering as pointed out above. What happened here? Genesis translator was sloppy and too Hellenistic. He translated not with a Hebrew audience in mind but a Greek one and was scared that a precedent might be created if they say God is able to create ex nihilo?

It was not a Hebrew Vorlage that used this word.

The Masoretic consonantal form of the Hebrew text in Codex Aleppo of 1008 A. D. is the very word of God and the very original of Moses. The five slips did enter in the copying of it but consensus ironed them out so that the correct core remained unblemished. The scholarship is of the highest quality that any other manuscript in any culture can boast of.

The other problem with Tov’s idea is his axiom of the multiplicity of texts floating around in the Second Temple Period that had equal value. This is not correct. There was a canonical form of one particular kind and that kind was the same one that is in the consonantal form of the Masoretic Tradition.

For the past 78 years scholars have been misled by Tov and his predecessors like F. M. Cross on this very point. The day F. M. Cross published the article on the Qumran fragment on Samuel in 1953, he made errorful conclusions that placed all scholarship on a sidetrack. Ever since all were leaning on these conclusions of Cross, Tov et al of his students of Cross, to all concock the theory of the multiplicity of texts in the Second Temple Period. What is the correct answer? The multiplicity of texts at Qumran is evidence of the degenerative character of scholarship during the days of Antiochus Ephiphanes in 150 BCE.

Tov has never investigated the scholarly work of P. M. Fraser on Ptolemaic Alexandria Volumes I and II. It provides the key to what I am saying here since the same problems of textual omissions, like in Jeremiah of the Septuagint, additions, substitutions, abbreviating tendencies, paraphrasing, were also found in the Iliad of Homer. There were complaints about these phenomena and scholars on the Septuagint today do not mention anything about this.


To be continued