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.

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 minute papyrus, we know, from citations, translations, etc., that the consonantal text of the Old Testament was... 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.

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