Scribes of the Bible

Reference in early OT times to those employed for their ability to transcribe information. After the exile, scribes are a class of scholars who teach, copy, and interpret the Jewish Law for the people. They appear in the Gospels primarily as opponents of Jesus.

Who Were the Bible Scribes?

Although scribes continue to perform such roles in the postexilic period (cf. Neh. 13:13, where a scribe named Zadok is appointed as a treasurer over the storehouses where tithes are kept), the term begins to be more specifically associated with the transmission and interpretation of Torah.

Professional Scribes and Secretaries

Scribes were employed as secretaries in Palestine, Egypt, Mesopotamia, and the Greco-Roman Empire. Court scribes would sometimes rise to positions of social prestige and considerable political influence, much as a Secretary of State today.

The Hebrew Old Testament Texts and Versions

Texts and versions provide the raw materials for the discipline known as textual criticism. The ultimate aim is to provide a text in the form intended by its author. Generally speaking, the greater the age of a document, the greater is its authority.

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