The Hebrew Scriptures, also known as the Old Testament, is a section of the Holy Bible that is written primarily in Hebrew, with a few chapters and isolated verses written in Aramaic. This collection of texts was completed over 2,400 years ago, and many people question the accuracy of modern copies in comparison to the original texts.
HOW WE GOT THE HEBREW OLD TESTAMENT: From the Days of Ezra to the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia
The Hebrew Old Testament, also known as the Tanakh or Hebrew Bible, is the collection of thirty-nine sacred texts that are central to Judaism and are also accepted by many Christian denominations as part of their canon of scripture. The Hebrew Old Testament includes the Torah (also known as the Pentateuch or the Five Books of Moses), the Prophets, and the Writings. It is the authoritative text of the Old Testament by Jews and many Christian scholars.
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.
How Effectively Did the Copyists of the Hebrew Scriptures Preserve God’s Word?
God is the Author and Originator of the Bible, as well as its Preserver. He is the One who inspired the prophet Isaiah to write:
Isaiah 40:8 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
8 The grass withers, the flower fades,
but the word of our God will stand forever.
Who Were the Masoretes and Why Are They So Important?
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?
How Well Has the Old Testament Text Been Preserved?
Internal Conditions Judaism has always been a book religion: it stands or falls with the Old Testament, especially with the Pentateuch. Although no manuscript of the Hebrew Old Testament is older than the 10th-century B.C.E, save for one papyrus and the Dead Sea Scrolls, we know, from citations, translations, etc., that the consonantal text of... Continue Reading →
HEBREW TEXT: The Hebrew Texts
The Sopherim The Sopherim (scribes) were copyist from the days of Ezra down to the time of Jesus. While they were very serious about their task as a copyist, they did take liberties in making textual changes at times. Whether this was what Jesus had in mind cannot be know for certain, but Jesus condemned... Continue Reading →
How Did We Get the Old Testament Text?
The Old Testament, the inspired Word of God, how was it copied, maintained as to the textual reliability, and handed down throughout the past three thousand years?
It should be appreciated that what we possess today is nothing short of the Word of God that the Old Testament writers penned throughout a 1,600-year period, from the time of Moses to Malachi.