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The Jewish Study Bible Contextualizes the Hebrew Bible with accompanying scholarly text on Jewish traditions and history.

The Ancient Versions

The ancient versions are used in several ways by biblical scholars. Particularly in cases where these versions are not translating literally, they provide important evidence for the early interpretation of biblical texts. In addition, because these versions predate the creation of the Masoretic Text, they are suggestive about the earlier state of the Hebrew text, and even choices of wording at the time of their translation. Of course, these ancient translations are themselves preserved only in copies, so that all of the considerations that apply to the original language texts of the Bible also apply to them: it is necessary to establish a critical text for them by comparing variant readings, and they must therefore be used with caution. This is, of course, a standard of comparison at one remove from the text itself: scholars must look at the Greek, for instance, in the Septuagint, and conjecture or assume what the Hebrew text before the translator (the Vorlage) would have been (“retrovert”) in order to result in a particular rendition into Greek. Nevertheless, it is a valuable source of clues.

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