[b-hebrew] Number of Hebrew MSS

Jimmy Doyle jimmy at liquidthinking.org
Sun Apr 1 12:23:13 EDT 2007

In Dr. Tov's work *Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible* he makes the
statement, "More than six thousand manuscripts belonging to the group of
[MT] are known; in addition, all printed versions of the Hebrew Bible are
based upon [MT]." (Tov, p. 23)  He then quotes Beit-Arie from "Some
Technical Practices Employed in Hebrew Dated Medieval Manuscripts," Litterae

". . . of some 2700 extant *dated* Hebrew manuscripts prior to 1540, six
dated codices from the tenth century, eight from the eleventh century, and
22 form the twelfth century are known to us, most of them Oriental.  In
addition, there are about sixty small fragments of Oriental codices dated
before 1200 among the geniza fragments" (Beit-Arie, 72).

When I asked Dr. Tov why there was such a descrepancy between these two
numbers (6000 MSS vs. 2796 MSS), he points out that Beit-Erie is referencing
dated MSS and that his number of 6000 is "mere guess" based upon undated MSS
and geniza texts.  He advises that if it came down to it, it would be safer
going with Beit-Arie's quote.

Jimmy Doyle

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