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The Oxford Illustrated History of the Bible A richly illustrated account of the story of the Bible written by leading scholars.

Tobit

Before the discoveries at Qumran, opinion was divided on the original language of Tobit. The problem remains partly unresolved, since while the scrolls fairly clearly indicate a Semitic rather than a Greek original, their one Hebrew and four Aramaic manuscripts do not determine the issue any more precisely.

But there remain problems over the Greek version, of which there are two forms: a shorter, as preserved in Codex Vaticanus and Codex Alexandrinus, and a longer version, with some 1,700 words more, as in Codex Sinaiticus. (There is, in fact, a third form, known as Recension C, only partial but preserving a text that mixes the other two.) Modern English Bibles remain divided in their choice between the texts of Sinaiticus and the other two ancient Greek codices.

In general, textual criticism tends to favour a shorter rather than a longer text, since expansion is more common in transmission than compression. But this is only a general principle, and, while it was once applied to Tobit, recent opinion has moved in favour of the longer text as the more original. That judgement is apparently supported by the Qumran manuscripts, and certainly the longer recension underlies the Old Latin translation. Jerome, however, as he did in the case of Judith, adapted the Old Latin with reference to an Aramaic version which is no longer extant.

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