[b-hebrew] A question on the Hebrew text

Peter Kirk peterkirk at qaya.org
Mon Oct 25 05:27:15 EDT 2004

On 25/10/2004 08:51, Yigal Levin wrote:

>Hi Raymond,
>The first thing you must realize, is that most Jews and Israelis, just like
>most Christians who are not professional Bible scholars, are not really
>aware that there are differences between different versions of the MT, and
>so to most, a Bible is a Bible, and if they even notice slight variations in
>spelling or in cantilation marks between different prints, they don't give
>them much thought. However unlike Christians, for whom Bible translaions
>from the Greek onward are part of tradition, for Jews, the ONLY text that
>"counts" is the MT.

Not too much of the "unlike Christians", please. For most Protestant 
Christians who know anything about such matters, the only authoritative 
text of the Hebrew Bible is the "original Hebrew", not any translation. 
And although they recognise that the precise "original Hebrew" is not 
available, in practice most would consider the MT to be the closest that 
we can get to it, although they might allow emendation where ancient 
translations show a clear error in the MT.

Of course in practice nearly all Christians use translations because 
they don't know Hebrew well enough. But all Protestant translations from 
the 16th century onwards (and the more recent Catholic translations) are 
based on the MT, with more or less emendation of apparent errors based 
on LXX and other ancient translations.

Peter Kirk
peter at qaya.org (personal)
peterkirk at qaya.org (work)

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