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July 12, 2008 / vivator

The Orthodox Study Bible

I bought my copy of Orthodox Study Bible (OSB for short) recently. The main reason why I bought it is because its text of Old Testament is based on Septuagint or LXX.  All (English) Bibles I know have their Old Testaments translated from Hebrews text, known as Masoretic text.  Masoretic text is traditional Hebrew text of the Jewish Bible, meticulously assembled and codified, and supplied with diacritical marks to enable correct pronunciation. This monumental work was begun around the 6th century AD and completed in the 10th by scholars at Talmudic academies in Babylonia and Palestine, in an effort to reproduce, as far as possible, the original text of the Hebrew Old Testament (source: Encyclopaedia Britannica 2000).  While all Catholic and Protestant’s Old Testaments are translated from this Masoretic text, most Old Testament quotation in New Testament are taken from Septuagint. For example if we compare Hebrews 10:5-7 that quotes Psalms 40:6-7, Masoretic text has “thou hast given me an open ear” (RSV) while Hebrews 5:6 reads (RSV) “a body hast thou prepared for me”. Luke relied on LXX when he mentioned Cainan in Christ’ genealogy (Luke 3:36, compared with Genesis 11:12).  While it has been known to me for quite some time that Eastern Orthodox Church always uses LXX as its source of Old Testament, there is no English translation (to the best of my knowledge) until the publication of Orthodox Study Bible in June 2008.

The Old Testament of OSB has 49 books in four divisions: (1) five books of the Law, (2) eighteen books of history, (3) seven books of Wisdom and (4) nineteen books of prophecy.  Catholic and Protestant’s Old Testaments follow the same divisions (LXX groupings) with slightly different orders of books.  OSB has Job before Psalms and ends with Daniel, not Malachi. It has all Catholic’s deuterocanonical books (known as apocryphal books to Protestants) plus two more books from LXX: 1 Ezra (or 1 Esdras) and 3 Maccabees – both are apocryphal books to Catholics.  OSB Psalms has 151 chapters compared to 150 chapters of Catholic and Protestant’s Old Testament. Epistle of Jeremiah is separated from Baruch (it is Baruch 6 in Catholic Bible).  Books with the name Ezra (or Esdras, in Greek) may confuse some.  1 Ezra or 1 Esdras in OSB is not in Catholic and Protestant’s Old Testament.  2 Ezra or 2 Esdras in OSB is equal to Ezra in Catholic and Protestant’s Old Testament.  In Catholic Vulgate Ezra is referred as 1 Esdras while 2 Esdras in Vulgate is Nehemiah in OSB, Catholic and Protestant’s Old Testament. To make thing even more complicated there is also apocryphal 2 Esdras, which is not part of OSB, Catholic and Protestant’s Old Testament.





2 Esdras Ch. 1 – 10

1 Esdras


2 Esdras

2 Esdras Ch. 11-23

2 Esdras



1 Esdras

3 Esdras (apocrypha)

1 Esdras (apocrypha)

1 Esdras


4 Esdras (apocrypha)

2 Esdras (apocrypha)


OSB has short introduction to the (Eastern) Orthodox Church, who claims to have the fullness of New Testament faith.  The Catholic Church, of course, makes the same claim.  Only the Catholic and Orthodox Churches can claim apostolicity – they were founded by the apostles. According to the (Eastern) Orthodox Church it was the (Western) Catholic Church who broke away from orthodoxy (true faith) in 1054 AD. While there are numerous doctrinal, political, economic and cultural factors that contribute to separation, the two main factors are (1) primacy of bishop of Rome (or the Pope) and (2) the issue of “filioque” (Latin for “and the Son”) that the Catholic Church added to Nicene Creed (the Creed was formulated in ecumenical councils of Nicea in 325 AD and of Constantinople in 381 AD).



Leave a Comment
  1. Owen / Jul 12 2008 6:15 pm

    First let me say I am happy to meet another Canadian Catholic blogging.

    The Douay-Rheims (OT pub. 1609 NT. pub 1582) uses the Septuagint as its base for the OT and is published today with increasing interest. The 1966 Jerusalem Bible is the English translation of La Bible de Jerusalem published originally in French and is heavily influenced by the Septuagint.

    The OSB, appears from Amazon to be the NKJV a revision of the KJV a, at least from this former Protestant minister’s perspective, to be a decidedly Protestant translation but I am certainly open to correction. Finally, as a relatively new convert I have enough fun and challenge just knowing my Catholic faith without adding to it study notes focusing on a tradition that says we are the break-a-way group 🙂 Peace.

    There are a number of English translations that add “all” of the books including those recognized by Orthodox Christians though these bibles often group the books differently and not according to an Orthodox tradition.

  2. Chris / Mar 26 2009 8:21 am

    Just stumbled across this post. Thanks for the in-depth description of the OSB! I’m working on trying to sort out the layout of the various Ezras and your post is very helpful.

    @Owen the NT in the OSB is the NKJV. The OT is based on the St. Anthanasius Academy Septuagint.

  3. Akira / Dec 29 2009 11:29 am

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