Original Research - Special Collection: James Alfred Loader Dedication

Trajectories of scripture transmission: The case of Amos 5:25–27 in Acts 7:42–43

Gert J. Steyn
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 69, No 1 | a2006 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v69i1.2006 | © 2013 Gert J. Steyn | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 13 May 2013 | Published: 04 October 2013

About the author(s)

Gert J. Steyn, Department of New Testament Studies, University of Pretoria, South Africa


It is the intention of this study to explore the trajectory of the transmission and reception of three elements from Amos 5:25–27 through the stages of its history in ancient religious literature. Four stages in its trajectory are explored, namely in the Amos Masoretic Text (MT), the quotations from the Jewish Damascus Scroll sect, the Jewish-Hellenistic context of the Septuagint (LXX) Amos, and the Early Christian context of Stephen’s speech by Luke in Acts 7:42–43. The astral Mesopotamian deities of Amos MT changed to symbols which now stood for the law, the congregation, the prophets and the interpreter of the law in the sectarian context of the Damascus scroll. The LXX, in turn, understood these to be ‘the tent of Moloch’ and the ‘star of your god Raiphan’. This version is used in Acts 7, but whereas the LXX shows traces of a connection with the Heaven-and-Sun god, particularly with the planet Saturn, Luke now places the same elements within the context of the exodus narrative in Stephen’s speech. The investigation shows how the mutation of scripture becomes clear in the trajectory of its transmission and how it is constantly being reinterpreted to be relevant within the context of its time.


Mesopotamian context of Amos Masoretic Text; Jewish Damascus Scroll sect; Jewish-Hellenistic context of Amos Septuagint; Early Christian context of Stephen’s speech by Luke; quotations in the acts of the Apostles


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