[b-hebrew] Is the Massoretic text reliable?

James Christian jc.bhebrew at googlemail.com
Thu Nov 19 05:18:01 EST 2009

Perhaps one thing we often overlook is that for at least 4 centuries it was
the Greek text that was considered superior by practically all of the
Christian world (with the exception of the Patriarchate of Antioch who
supported Aramaic primacy with versions of the gospels in Syriac). In fact,
to this day most Orthodox patriarchates view the Greek text as superior. In
fact, it was only the Roman patriarchate which later broke union from the
Orthodox churches to become the Catholic church that, under the influence of
Jerome who was in turn was influenced by a Jewish Christian who believed the
Hebrew text to be superior, that the revolution began of viewing the Hebrew
text as superior.

Perhaps the Hebrew text of that day was superior in many respects but how
close that text was to the MT is a different question entirely. The DSS
scrolls give us reason to believe that in parts it was slightly different.

James Christian

2009/11/19 K Randolph <kwrandolph at gmail.com>

> Randall has a point here: that despite all its warts and a few places where
> we have evidence where it is wrong (e.g. Nahal Heber scrap of Psalm 22
> backed up by context and grammar), it is still the best witness to the text
> that we have. Of course, some of us want better, but … hey! … let’s be
> thankful for what we have, and on the whole it’s pretty good.
> Karl W. Randolph.
> On Wed, Nov 18, 2009 at 8:11 AM, Randall Buth <randallbuth at gmail.com>
> wrote:
> > If a witness records testimony against themselves where they
> > are embarrassed, then qal vaHomer they are reliable where
> > they are not embarrassed.
> > …
> > Basically, the MT takes one back to the Second Temple in terms of
> > reliability and tradition…
> > We can't really penetrate the second century BCE on a textual basis for
> > the Hebrew Bible. Overall, the MT is our most conservative witness.…
> > So is it reliable? Remarkably. that's a yes, even if not absolutely
> > absolute.
> >
> > --
> > Randall Buth, PhD
> > www.biblicalulpan.org
> > randallbuth at gmail.com
> > Biblical Language Center
> > Learn Easily - Progress Further - Remember for Life
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