Debtor (Ron) Old Testament Textual History, Masorah

peter_kirk at peter_kirk at
Thu Nov 4 00:38:20 EST 1999

Dear "Debtor",

Thank you for sharing with us this interesting summary of the "Jewish 
Encyclopedia" article. I agree with you (in a separate E-mail) that 
books are not invalid just because they are old. If this "Jewish 
Encyclopedia" was a good book when it was published, it is in many 
ways a good one still, but if it was flawed then it has not got any 
better. I cannot judge it except to say that the extracts given here 
seem sound and uncontroversial for its time.

But any old book has the possibility of becoming out of date. What it 
states as being true at the time of writing may no longer be true now. 
Most obviously, in your point (5) "recently" is no longer true! There 
have been many further discoveries since this encyclopedia was 
published, such as the Dead Sea Scrolls, and these may have affected 
the arguments here.

Unfortunately, your key point here is one which is not true now. I now 
understand your key point that "the Old Testament Text is an eclectic 
text" in the light of your numbered points (38) and (39). The printed 
texts available at the time of the "Jewish Encyclopedia" were indeed 
eclectic texts. But modern printed Hebrew texts such as BHS are not 
eclectic texts but are reproductions of a single manuscript, commonly 
the Leningrad Codex, which is not an eclectic text but a direct 
product of the Ben Asher school. I don't know if the writers of the 
"Jewish Encyclopedia" knew of the Leningrad Codex, if they did they 
were probably wrong to classify it as an eclectic text.

Conclusion: the Hebrew texts available at the time of writing of the 
"Jewish Encyclopedia" were eclectic texts. But the Hebrew text now 
available, and used as the basis for modern Bible translations, is not 
an eclectic text.

So please be careful before calling others "greatly uniformed" or even 
"uninformed". It may be the one who has not read modern books who is 
uninformed about recent developments. While I respect your years of 
learning, the truly wise man keeps his wisdom up to date and does not 
rely on the wisdom of his youth.

Peter Kirk

______________________________ Reply Separator 
Subject: Debtor (Ron) Old Testament Textual History, Masorah
Author:  <shella at> at Internet
Date:    03/11/1999 01:10

Dear Brothers and Sisters and friends, please note, this article deals with the 
development of the Hebrew Old Testament basically since the beginning of the 
Christian era.  In it you will see the suggestion that the Old Testament Text is
eclectic text, not a copy. ...


Gleanings from the Jewish Encyclopedia


Article MASORAH.

5) Recently Dr. P. Kahle discovered a fragment of the Babylonian Masorah which 
differs considerable from the Received Text in its terminology;
38) But for reasons unknown neither the printed text nor any manuscripts which 
been preserved are based entirely on Ben Asher's p. 370;
39) Their printed texts and their manuscripts are all eclectic; p. 

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