THE MASORETES AND THE MASORETIC TEXT—A Basic Overview

The Masoretes were groups of Jewish scribe-scholars who worked between the 6th and 10th centuries CE, based primarily in early medieval Palestine in the cities of Tiberias and Jerusalem, as well as in Iraq.

The Masoretic Text[a] (MT or 𝕸) is the authoritative Hebrew and Aramaic text of the 24 books of Tanakh for Rabbinic Judaism.

It was primarily copied, edited and distributed by a group of Jews known as the Masoretes between the 7th and 10th centuries of the Common Era (CE). It is the text behind all of our Bible translations.

HEBREW TEXT: Who Were the Masoretes?

Who were the Masoretes, and what valuable comments have they made on the Hebrew text? What do we know about the Masoretes? What did their work involve? What did the Masoretes do regarding the Hebrew text? What is the Masoretic text, and how do we know that it is reliable? How dependable, how accurate is this Masoretic text? Can we find a “pure” Masoretic text? Why did the Masoretes take such extreme care not to alter the text when previous copyists had altered it? Was their form of Jewish belief different from that of their predecessors?