Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible


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Most belong to the Alexandrian family, being from Egypt. Majuscules were usually written on sheepskin parchment in capital letters called uncials. Most are from before the 9th century. The most important ones: Codex Sinaiticus discovered near Mt. Some are palimpsests - a parchment was erased by scraping and then written over, but by careful study we can read the original writing. Miniscules were written in cursive handwriting in small letters, some on parchment but most on paper.

They usually date from after the 9th century and are by far the largest number of manuscripts 2, Lectionaries are collections of the N. Of the 2,, some are uncial majuscules and 1, are in cursive miniscule script. Most are Byzantine. Miscellanous portions have been found among ancient inscriptions on the walls of the Catacombs, or on ostraca some 1, small scraps of pottery or amulets. Many ancient manuscripts were destroyed by Roman persecution. Others were intentionally buried or destroyed once a copy was made, lest the first one fall into sacrilegious disrepair.

Younger manuscripts were obviously copied from older manuscripts, most of which no longer exist. Not all scribes knew Greek well, especially after AD. Some manuscripts were copied one by one, others in tandem as a scribe dictated from one manuscript to several scribes at once. Later scribes often corrected a manuscript. Some variations are due to alteration by known heretics to suit their nefarious purposes. Over , variants are known to exist.

A massive and exhaustive effort is being made to collate and catalog them all.

Most variants are minor: misspellings, word order, duplication, etc. More significant ones add, subtract, substitute or rephrase. The largest sections in debate are Mark and John Only a few manuscripts contain the whole N. Many contain mere scraps or individual books the Gospels are most represented. Acts contains the most variants, while Revelation has fewest manuscripts but proportionately the most variants in number and kind. Copying by hand virtually ceased after the invention of printing in the 15th century. Athos in Greece. The variations in manuscripts tend to fall down into 4 categories or families.

Moreover, those in this family are almost entirely identical and uniform. Most are from the Eastern Mediterranean.

Evangelical Textual Criticism: New Book: How Old Is the Hebrew Bible?

Alexandrian manuscripts and readings mainly come from Egypt. Even though they tend to be older, they do not agree with themselves as much as the Byzantine manuscripts do. Also not uniform, they tend to add. Caesarean manuscripts contain mixed readings from other families. Some scholars deny that this is even a family as such. These supposedly came from Casarea. Latin : The first translation of the N. Jerome later translated the N.

Syriac : The Old Syriac is found in only 2 or 3 manuscripts from the 3rd-5th centuries and contain only the Gospels. The Peshitta was the standard; scholars date it as early as the 2nd or as late as the 5th century. Plus minor ones. Coptic : There were two major translations into a Grecianized form of Egyptian. The first was the Sahidic 3rd cent , then the Bohairic 4th cent , plus minor ones. Church Fathers. The whole N. Some of them quoted verbatim, others paraphrased, others only made allusions.

Their patterns vary like the versions: some Byzantine, others Alexandrian, some Western. Fathers from whom most quotations can be culled: Augustine, Origen, Chrysostom, Jerome. As with the O. All variations, versions and Fathers must be considered. Readings must be judged by age, locality spread, number, and how they explain the other variants.

Conjectural Emendation is questionable, but accepted by many even when manuscript evidence is non-existent. The Majority Witness school says that the Byzantine family basically contains the true text. Only a minority of scholars accept this view; most who do are usually Fundamentalists or Greek Orthodox.

This view says the other families are defective; older manuscripts survived because they were defective and therefore not used or copied. The Neutral Text school basically upheld the superiority and virtual infallibility of the Alexandrian family. It was popularized by Westcott and Hort. The Eclectic School is the predominant view today. It says that no one family should predominate, though the Alexandrian is the best. But a reading accepted by 2 or 3 of the other families against the Alexandrian would outweigh it. This school sometimes accepts Conjectural Emendations.

This view also stresses the Genealogical Method: the authentic text was grandfather to the 4 families, each of which contain distinctive traits of the original. This view usually says the Alexandrian or the Western is the oldest, the Byzantine the youngest and least reliable.

Finally, Providential Preservation Matt. Let us neither add nor subtract from the Bible Rev. True textual criticism must be scholarly and reverent. As difficult as it is to scholars, and bewildering to non-scholars, it is an important field of research being conducted around the world. Pickering, Wilbur N. When an author's manuscript is preserved, this has paramount authority, of course. Yet the fallacy is still maintained that since the first edition was proofread by the author, it must represent his final intentions and hence should be chosen as copy-text.

Practical experience shows the contrary. When one collates the manuscript of The House of the Seven Gables against the first printed edition, one finds an average of ten to fifteen differences per page between the manuscript and the print, many of them consistent alterations from the manuscript system of punctuation, capitalization, spelling, and word-division. It would be ridiculous to argue that Hawthorne made approximately three to four thousand small changes in proof, and then wrote the manuscript of The Blithedale Romance according to the same system as the manuscript of the Seven Gables , a system that he had rejected in proof.

Following Greg, the editor would then replace any of the manuscript readings with substantives from printed editions that could be reliably attributed to the author: "Obviously, an editor cannot simply reprint the manuscript, and he must substitute for its readings any words that he believes Hawthorne changed in proof. McKerrow had articulated textual criticism's goal in terms of "our ideal of an author's fair copy of his work in its final state". Bowers and Tanselle argue for rejecting textual variants that an author inserted at the suggestion of others.

Bowers said that his edition of Stephen Crane 's first novel, Maggie , presented "the author's final and uninfluenced artistic intentions. Tanselle discusses the example of Herman Melville 's Typee. After the novel's initial publication, Melville's publisher asked him to soften the novel's criticisms of missionaries in the South Seas. Although Melville pronounced the changes an improvement, Tanselle rejected them in his edition, concluding that "there is no evidence, internal or external, to suggest that they are the kinds of changes Melville would have made without pressure from someone else.

Bowers confronted a similar problem in his edition of Maggie. Crane originally printed the novel privately in To secure commercial publication in , Crane agreed to remove profanity, but he also made stylistic revisions. Bowers's approach was to preserve the stylistic and literary changes of , but to revert to the readings where he believed that Crane was fulfilling the publisher's intention rather than his own. There were, however, intermediate cases that could reasonably have been attributed to either intention, and some of Bowers's choices came under fire—both as to his judgment, and as to the wisdom of conflating readings from the two different versions of Maggie.

Hans Zeller argued that it is impossible to tease apart the changes Crane made for literary reasons and those made at the publisher's insistence:. Firstly, in anticipation of the character of the expected censorship, Crane could be led to undertake alterations which also had literary value in the context of the new version. Secondly, because of the systematic character of the work, purely censorial alterations sparked off further alterations, determined at this stage by literary considerations.

Again in consequence of the systemic character of the work, the contamination of the two historical versions in the edited text gives rise to a third version. Though the editor may indeed give a rational account of his decision at each point on the basis of the documents, nevertheless to aim to produce the ideal text which Crane would have produced in if the publisher had left him complete freedom is to my mind just as unhistorical as the question of how the first World War or the history of the United States would have developed if Germany had not caused the USA to enter the war in by unlimited submarine combat.

The nonspecific form of censorship described above is one of the historical conditions under which Crane wrote the second version of Maggie and made it function. From the text which arose in this way it is not possible to subtract these forces and influences, in order to obtain a text of the author's own. Indeed I regard the "uninfluenced artistic intentions" of the author as something which exists only in terms of aesthetic abstraction. Between influences on the author and influences on the text are all manner of transitions. Bowers and Tanselle recognize that texts often exist in more than one authoritative version.

Tanselle argues that:. If one may think of a work in terms of a spatial metaphor, the first might be labeled "vertical revision," because it moves the work to a different plane, and the second "horizontal revision," because it involves alterations within the same plane. Both produce local changes in active intention; but revisions of the first type appear to be in fulfillment of an altered programmatic intention or to reflect an altered active intention in the work as a whole, whereas those of the second do not.

He suggests that where a revision is "horizontal" i. But where a revision is "vertical" i.

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Bowers was also influential in defining the form of critical apparatus that should accompany a scholarly edition. In addition to the content of the apparatus, Bowers led a movement to relegate editorial matter to appendices, leaving the critically established text "in the clear", that is, free of any signs of editorial intervention. Tanselle explained the rationale for this approach:. In the first place, an editor's primary responsibility is to establish a text; whether his goal is to reconstruct that form of the text which represents the author's final intention or some other form of the text, his essential task is to produce a reliable text according to some set of principles.

Relegating all editorial matter to an appendix and allowing the text to stand by itself serves to emphasize the primacy of the text and permits the reader to confront the literary work without the distraction of editorial comment and to read the work with ease. A second advantage of a clear text is that it is easier to quote from or to reprint.

Although no device can insure accuracy of quotation, the insertion of symbols or even footnote numbers into a text places additional difficulties in the way of the quoter. Furthermore, most quotations appear in contexts where symbols are inappropriate; thus when it is necessary to quote from a text which has not been kept clear of apparatus, the burden of producing a clear text of the passage is placed on the quoter.

Even footnotes at the bottom of the text pages are open to the same objection, when the question of a photographic reprint arises. Some critics believe that a clear-text edition gives the edited text too great a prominence, relegating textual variants to appendices that are difficult to use, and suggesting a greater sense of certainty about the established text than it deserves.

As Shillingsburg notes, "English scholarly editions have tended to use notes at the foot of the text page, indicating, tacitly, a greater modesty about the "established" text and drawing attention more forcibly to at least some of the alternative forms of the text". The change of name indicated the shift to a broader agenda than just American authors.

The Center also ceased its role in the allocation of funds. The Center's latest guidelines no longer prescribe a particular editorial procedure. All texts are subject to investigation and systematic criticism where the original verified first document is not available. Believers in sacred texts and scriptures sometimes are reluctant to accept any form of challenge to what they believe to be divine revelation.

Some opponents and polemicists may look for any way to find fault with a particular religious text. Legitimate textual criticism may be resisted by both believers and skeptics. LDS members typically believe the book to be a literal historical record. Although some earlier unpublished studies had been prepared, not until the early s was true textual criticism applied to the Book of Mormon. One aspect of that effort entailed digitizing the text and preparing appropriate footnotes, another aspect required establishing the most dependable text. To that latter end, Stanley R.

Larson a Rasmussen graduate student set about applying modern text critical standards to the manuscripts and early editions of the Book of Mormon as his thesis project—which he completed in To that end, Larson carefully examined the Original Manuscript the one dictated by Joseph Smith to his scribes and the Printer's Manuscript the copy Oliver Cowdery prepared for the Printer in — , and compared them with the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd editions of the Book of Mormon to determine what sort of changes had occurred over time and to make judgments as to which readings were the most original.

Smith began to take full account of Larson's work and to publish a Critical Text of the Book of Mormon. The third volume of that first edition was published in , but was already being superseded by a second, revised edition of the entire work, [72] greatly aided through the advice and assistance of then Yale doctoral candidate Grant Hardy , Dr. Gordon C. Thomasson , Professor John W. However, these were merely preliminary steps to a far more exacting and all-encompassing project. In , with that preliminary phase of the project completed, Professor Skousen took over as editor and head of the FARMS Critical Text of the Book of Mormon Project and proceeded to gather still scattered fragments of the Original Manuscript of the Book of Mormon and to have advanced photographic techniques applied to obtain fine readings from otherwise unreadable pages and fragments.

He also closely examined the Printer's Manuscript owned by the Community of Christ —RLDS Church in Independence, Missouri for differences in types of ink or pencil, in order to determine when and by whom they were made. He also collated the various editions of the Book of Mormon down to the present to see what sorts of changes have been made through time.

Thus far, Professor Skousen has published complete transcripts of the Original and Printer's Manuscripts, [73] as well as a six-volume analysis of textual variants. Yale University has in the meantime published an edition of the Book of Mormon which incorporates all aspects of Skousen's research. Textual criticism of the Hebrew Bible compares manuscript versions of the following sources dates refer to the oldest extant manuscripts in each family :.

As in the New Testament, changes, corruptions, and erasures have been found, particularly in the Masoretic texts. This is ascribed to the fact that early soferim scribes did not treat copy errors in the same manner later on. Biblia Hebraica Quinta is a diplomatic edition based on the Leningrad Codex. The Oxford Hebrew Bible is an eclectic edition. Early New Testament texts include more than 5, Greek manuscripts, 10, Latin manuscripts and 9, manuscripts in various other ancient languages including Syriac , Slavic , Ethiopic and Armenian. The manuscripts contain approximately , textual variants, most of them involving changes of word order and other comparative trivialities.

Professor D. Carson states: "nothing we believe to be doctrinally true, and nothing we are commanded to do, is in any way jeopardized by the variants. This is true for any textual tradition. The interpretation of individual passages may well be called in question; but never is a doctrine affected. The sheer number of witnesses presents unique difficulties, chiefly in that it makes stemmatics in many cases impossible, because many writers used two or more different manuscripts as sources.

Consequently, New Testament textual critics have adopted eclecticism after sorting the witnesses into three major groups, called text-types. As of [update] the most common division distinguishes:. Textual criticism of the Quran is a beginning area of study, [82] [83] as Muslims have historically disapproved of higher criticism being applied to the Quran. Muslims consider the original Arabic text to be the final revelation, revealed to Muhammad from AD to his death in In Islamic tradition, the Quran was memorised and written down by Muhammad's companions and copied as needed.

The Quran is believed to have had some oral tradition of passing down at some point. Differences that affected the meaning were noted, and around AD Uthman began a process of standardization, presumably to rid the Quran of these differences. Uthman's standardization did not completely eliminate the textual variants. In the s, 14, fragments of Quran were discovered in the Great Mosque of Sana'a , the Sana'a manuscripts. About 12, fragments belonged to copies of the Quran, the other 2, were loose fragments. The oldest known copy of the Quran so far belongs to this collection: it dates to the end of the 7th—8th centuries.

The German scholar Gerd R. Puin has been investigating these Quran fragments for years. His research team made 35, microfilm photographs of the manuscripts, which he dated to early part of the 8th century. Puin has not published the entirety of his work, but noted unconventional verse orderings, minor textual variations, and rare styles of orthography.

He also suggested that some of the parchments were palimpsests which had been reused. Puin believed that this implied an evolving text as opposed to a fixed one. In an article in the Atlantic Monthly , [81] Gerd Puin is quoted as saying that:. My idea is that the Koran is a kind of cocktail of texts that were not all understood even at the time of Muhammad. Many of them may even be a hundred years older than Islam itself. Even within the Islamic traditions there is a huge body of contradictory information, including a significant Christian substrate; one can derive a whole Islamic anti-history from them if one wants.

The Koran claims for itself that it is 'mubeen', or 'clear', but if you look at it, you will notice that every fifth sentence or so simply doesn't make sense. Many Muslims—and Orientalists—will tell you otherwise, of course, but the fact is that a fifth of the Koranic text is just incomprehensible. This is what has caused the traditional anxiety regarding translation.

If the Koran is not comprehensible—if it can't even be understood in Arabic—then it's not translatable. People fear that. And since the Koran claims repeatedly to be clear but obviously is not—as even speakers of Arabic will tell you—there is a contradiction. Something else must be going on.

Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible (3rd Edition) (Tov)

Canadian Islamic scholar, Andrew Rippin has likewise stated:. The impact of the Yemeni manuscripts is still to be felt. Their variant readings and verse orders are all very significant. Everybody agrees on that. These manuscripts say that the early history of the Koranic text is much more of an open question than many have suspected: the text was less stable, and therefore had less authority, than has always been claimed.


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For these reasons, some scholars, especially those who are associated with the Revisionist school of Islamic studies , have proposed that the traditional account of Quran's composition needs to be discarded and a new perspective on the Quran is needed. Puin, comparing Quranic studies with Biblical studies, has stated:. So many Muslims have this belief that everything between the two covers of the Koran is just God's unaltered word. They like to quote the textual work that shows that the Bible has a history and did not fall straight out of the sky, but until now the Koran has been out of this discussion.

The only way to break through this wall is to prove that the Koran has a history too. The Sana'a fragments will help us to do this. In , the some of the earliest known Quranic fragments, dating from between approximately AD and , were identified at the University of Birmingham. David Thomas, Professor of Christianity and Islam, commented:. These portions must have been in a form that is very close to the form of the Koran read today, supporting the view that the text has undergone little or no alteration and that it can be dated to a point very close to the time it was believed to be revealed.

Textual criticism of the Talmud has a long pre-history but has become a separate discipline from Talmudic study only recently. Textual criticism originated in the classical era and its development in modern times began with classics scholars, in an effort to determine the original content of texts like Plato 's Republic. All things being equal, textual scholars expect that a larger time gap between an original and a manuscript means more changes in the text.

All the notes accounting for the analysis and why and how such changes have been made represent a different work autonomously copyrightable if the other requirements are satisfied.

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In the European Union critical and scientific editions may be protected also by the relevant neighboring right that protects critical and scientific publications of public domain works as made possible by art. Not all EU member States have transposed art. Digital textual criticism is a relatively new branch of textual criticism working with digital tools to establish a critical edition.

The development of digital editing tools has allowed editors to transcribe, archive and process documents much faster than before. Some scholars claim digital editing has radically changed the nature of textual criticism; but others believe the editing process has remained fundamentally the same, and digital tools have simply made aspects of it more efficient. From its beginnings, digital scholarly editing involved developing a system for displaying both a newly "typeset" text and a history of variations in the text under review.

Until about halfway through the first decade of the twenty-first century, digital archives relied almost entirely on manual transcriptions of texts.

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However, over the course of this decade, image files became much faster and cheaper, and storage space and upload times ceased to be significant issues. The next step in digital scholarly editing was the wholesale introduction of images of historical texts, particularly high-definition images of manuscripts, formally offered only in samples. In view of the need to represent historical texts primarily through transcription, and because transcriptions required encoding for every aspect of text that could not be recorded by a single keystroke on the QWERTY keyboard, encoding was invented.

Several computer programs and standards exist to support the work of the editors of critical editions. These include. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For critical editions of operatic scores, see Critical edition opera. Branch of textual scholarship, philology, and literary criticism. See also: Historicity of the Book of Mormon. Main article: Documentary hypothesis. Main article: Textual criticism of the New Testament.

Textual criticism. The practice in ancient and medieval manuscripts of using the outer margin for this purpose makes for far greater clarity. For him—and, I would contend, for the idealist, or 'eclectic' editing with which he and Greg-Bowers are often identified, whereby an idealist 'text that never was' is constructed out of the corrupt states of extant documents—ontology is only immanent, never assuredly present in historical, particularized text, for it can be achieved only at the unattainable level of nous rather than phenomenon.

Thus, even the high aims of eclectic or, as it is sometimes known, 'critical' editing can be called into question, because of the unsure phenomenological status of the documentary and historical. Archived from the original on 4 April Retrieved 2 May Archived from the original on Retrieved Librarii enim multo proniores ad addendum fuerunt, quam ad omittendum.

Most Chicago: University of Chicago Press, [trans. A Greek-English Lexicon. Roderick McKenzie. Oxford: Clarendon Press. A Latin dictionary founded on Andrews' edition of Freund's Latin dictionary. Tensaurus Italograecus. Akademie der Wissenschaften. Archived from the original on 3 March Howe, Heather F. Literary and Linguistic Computing 20, — See also [3]. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company. Smith, ed. FARMS, Press, Archived from the original on 3 December Retrieved 23 November One Bible Only?

Kregel Publications. The Atlantic. Retrieved 10 April Just one example would clarify this point. No one has yet suggested the higher criticism of the Quran. BBC News. Roman A. Ohrenstein, Barry Gordon.. Page 9 "In fact, textual criticism of the Talmud is as old as the Talmud itself. In modern times, however, it became a separate scholarly concern, where scientific method is applied to correct corrupt and incomprehensible passages.

Canadian Intellectual Property Review. Archived from the original on 5 September Retrieved 14 May This article's further reading may not follow Wikipedia's content policies or guidelines. Please improve this article by removing less relevant or redundant publications with the same point of view ; or by incorporating the relevant publications into the body of the article through appropriate citations. August Learn how and when to remove this template message. Namespaces Article Talk. Views Read Edit View history.

In other projects Wikimedia Commons. By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Tanakh at Qumran. Hebrew, Paleo Hebrew and Greek Septuagint. Codex Vaticanus , Codex Sinaiticus and other earlier papyri. Aleppo Codex , Leningrad Codex and other incomplete mss.

Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible
Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible
Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible
Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible
Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible
Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible
Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible
Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible

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