At the end of the second century, there were (at least) four competing Greek versions of the OT. Origen, one of the most important theologians in the Eastern church, was born in Alexandria, Egypt, and was active in the middle of the third century CE. Aware of differences between the Greek and Hebrew texts, he set out to bring order and understanding to the confusing array of competing textual witnesses and to produce an edition that would account for those variations.
The earliest MS evidence available for the OT text is also the most recently discovered. Since 1947 thousands of fragments of MSS, both biblical and nonbiblical, have come to light in the Dead Sea region.
BEFORE the discovery of the cache of Hebrew scrolls in the Dead Sea caves in 1947, aside from a few fragments, our Hebrew Old Testament manuscripts were from the late 9th to the 11th century C.E. That is but a mere thousand years ago when the original thirty-nine Hebrew Old Testament Bible books date from 2,500 to 3,500 years ago. Does this mean that prior to 1947, textual scholars and translators were uncertain about the Hebrew Bible that lies behind our English Old Testament? No, there was the most important Hebrew manuscript, which is called the Keter, the “Crown,” that originally contained all the Hebrew Scriptures, or the “Old Testament.”
The first list of the Old Testament manuscripts in Hebrew, made by Benjamin Kennicott (1776–1780) and published by Oxford, listed 615 manuscripts from libraries in
Benjamin Kennicott (4 April 1718 – 18 September 1783) was an English churchman and Hebrew scholar. Kennicott was born at Totnes, Devon. He succeeded his father as master of a charity school, but the
Most of the MT has the reading “Dodanim” in verse 4 of chapter 10. On the other hand, the Greek Septuagint (LXX) and the Samaritan Pentateuch (SP) and some Hebrew manuscripts have “Rodanim” in verse 4 of chapter 10. “Rodanim” is also found in the Masoretic Text (MT) at 1 Chronicles 1:7. However, many of the Hebrew manuscripts, as well as the Syriac Peshitta and the Latin Vulgate read “Dodanim.” …