[b-hebrew] Is the Massoretic text reliable?

K Randolph kwrandolph at gmail.com
Thu Nov 19 10:12:59 EST 2009


My understanding of the first century Christian attitude is taken from the
New Testament, where the question was not which was superior, rather which
was more accessible? The fact that some of the passages quoted in the New
Testament were translated from the Hebrew into Greek, rather than quoting
the LXX, shows that at least for the authors of the New Testament, the
Hebrew text of their time was considered superior to the Greek. Greek was
used merely because only a small minority of even Jewish Christians knew
Hebrew, therefore a Greek text was better than none. In this way, Jerome
followed New Testament precedent as well.

Now our reference is today, and while we recognize that in places the MT may
have been corrupted by copyist errors, and possibly a few deliberate
changes, that on the whole it is the best complete text that we have.

Karl W. Randolph.

On Thu, Nov 19, 2009 at 2:18 AM, James Christian
<jc.bhebrew at googlemail.com>wrote:

> 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.

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