We use cookies to enhance your experience on our website. By continuing to use our website, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Find out more
Select Bible Use this Lookup to open a specific Bible and passage. Start here to select a Bible.
Make selected Bible the default for Lookup tool.
Book: Ch.V. Select book from A-Z list, enter chapter and verse number, and click "Go."
:
OR
  • Previous Result
  • Results
  • Look It Up Highlight any word or phrase, then click the button to begin a new search.
  • Highlight On / Off
  • Next Result

The Oxford Bible Commentary Line-by-line commentary for the New Revised Standard Version Bible.

The Text.

1.

Until the discovery of the Dead Sea scrolls, which include at least portions of every biblical book except Esther, scholars were dependent on Hebrew MSS no earlier than the ninth century CE. The three most important are the Cairo Codex (of the Prophets only), written in 896 CE; the Aleppo Codex (c.930 CE), unfortunately damaged by fire in 1947; and the Leningrad Codex, dated 1009 CE. The latter is a complete text of the whole HB, and has become the standard text which modern printed Bibles take as their basis.

2.

In general terms the Dead Sea discoveries have confirmed the accuracy with which the Leningrad Codex has transmitted the Hebrew text. Although there are innumerable differences in detail, the Dead Sea MSS, though one thousand years older, do not show major deviations from the text as we know it. The HB was transmitted from the beginning of the Common Era by schools of scribes, the most important of whom are the Masoretes, who worked from 500 to 1000 CE; and their claims to have transmitted the Hebrew text with great faithfulness is on the whole confirmed by the evidence from the Dead Sea. One of their tasks was to record the traditional pronunciation of biblical Hebrew, by then a dead language, by adding pointing, that is, signs indicating vowels, to the basic Hebrew text (see D. 2). The Masoretes set themselves the task, almost impossible to imagine in an age before computers, of recording every detail of the text: they compiled lists of unusual spellings, the frequency with which particular words or combinations of words occurred, and even obvious errors in the text. Their work can be seen in the margins and at the top and bottom of the text in a printed HB, in the form of many tiny comments, written in unpointed Aramaic. Their object was not to improve or emend the text they had received, but to preserve it accurately in every detail, and they succeeded to an astonishing extent. The student of the Bible can have confidence that the text translated by modern versions such as the NRSV rests on a faithful tradition going back to NT times.

3.

This of course is not to say that that the text was preserved with equal faithfulness between NT times and the times of the original authors. The work of the Masoretes, together with the evidence of the Dead Sea scrolls, ensures that we can feel confident of knowing in general terms what text of Isaiah was current in the time of Jesus. That does not mean that we can know what version of Isaiah was current in the days of the prophet Isaiah himself. Here we are dependent on conjecture, and the reconstruction of the original text, in the literal sense of ‘original’, is beyond our powers. What we can say is that the HB we possess today is the HB that was known to Jews and Christians in the first centuries of our era, carefully preserved even where it does not make sense (which is occasionally the case)! (See Weingreen 1982; Würthwein 1979; Talmon 1970 .)

  • Previous Result
  • Results
  • Look It Up Highlight any word or phrase, then click the button to begin a new search.
  • Highlight On / Off
  • Next Result
Oxford University Press

© 2019. All Rights Reserved. Cookie Policy | Privacy Policy | Legal Notice