[b-hebrew] Is the Massoretic text reliable?

K Randolph kwrandolph at gmail.com
Sun Nov 22 20:34:03 EST 2009


2009/11/22 James Christian <jc.bhebrew at googlemail.com>

> Hi,
> This is a modern tradition, similar to the Eastern Orthodox tradition that
>> puts the LXX as primary over the original Hebrew.
> I don't know what you mean by modern tradition. Do you mean recently
> introduced to the English speaking world? The Orthodox patriarchate have
> maintained this tradition since time immemorial.

“Modern” in this context refers to beliefs, traditions, etc. that postdate
the texts they talk about by centuries. History does not back up this

>> > You've lost me here. The sinaiticus and the vaticanus are the major
>> basis
>> > of the Byzantine tradition. What do you mean by 'Byzantine tradition'?
>> >
>> Sinaiticus and Vaticanus are of the “Alexandrian text type”, not
>> Byzantine.
>> They are the basis of modern “critical” editions of the New Testament.
> Ok. I'm now clear on what you mean. The later Byzantine traditions are
> characterised by their use of minuscule script and punctuation not present
> in the older traditions.

No, not at all. The Alexandrian and Byzantine traditions are based on the
words used, not the use of miniscule and punctuation. You should have known

>> James Christian

When looking at textual criticism, this applies to Hebrew as well as Greek,
what is important is not necessarily the script used (the Jehoash forgery
used paleo-Hebrew script), rather the words. The scripts can often give us a
ballpark figure as to when a particular document was written, however, it is
the words that tell us whether or not it is a good manuscript, important for
textual critical uses.

Some of those who favor the Byzantine tradition of New Testament manuscripts
make the argument that the good copies wore out faster, because they were
more often read and copied. The bad copies ended up tucked away in a back
shelf, hence survived. How many texts of the DSS ended up the same way?

Karl W. Randolph.

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