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The Oxford Handbook of Biblical Studies Provides a comprehensive survey of Biblical scholarship in a variety of disciplines.

Differences between MT and non-Masoretic Traditions

MT itself will occasionally incorporate what might be an ancient textual variant (not merely a re-pointing) that has been rejected by the Masoretes. For example, at Gen. 38: 14 the Masoretes reject the reading whw' lwntnh (‘and he did not give her’), followed by LXX and Theodotion (mid-second-century CE translator into Greek) and impose whylwntnh (‘and she was not given’), followed by Aquila (early second-century CE translator into Greek), Symmachus (see above), the Samaritan Pentateuch, and Targum Onqelos (an Aramaic explanatory translation undertaken between the first and fifth centuries CE). At Judg. 18: 30, the earliest form of the Hebrew text probably read ‘Moses’, but to this name an extra, raised, consonant has been added (and different vowels overlaid) so as to give ‘Manasseh’, a more appropriate candidate for the ancestor of a priest of a non-Jerusalemite cult! (Manuscripts of LXX vary between the two readings; the Vulgate (Latin translation or revision completed in the fifth century CE) has ‘Moses’.)

Other substantive variations between MT precursor and different ancient Hebrew text traditions include the following features. A significantly different word may be used at a given place, for example ‘the sixth day’ as the one on which God finished the work of creation (Gen. 2: 2) in the Samaritan Pentateuch and the Vorlage of LXX and Peshitta (Syriac translation perhaps dating mainly from the first and second centuries CE) instead of ‘the seventh day’ of MT (and Vulgate), or Mt Gerizim as the mountain on which the tablets of the law were to be placed, according to the Samaritan Pentateuch, as against Mt Ebal in MT (Deut. 27: 4). Additional words may be found—for example, those that Cain said to Abel before they went out into the field (Gen. 4: 8), which are supplied in the Samaritan Pentateuch (‘let us go out into the field’), LXX, Vulgate, and Peshitta, but which are not found in MT, the Dead Sea Scrolls, or in Targum Onqelos. Another example is the word ‘light’ as the object of the ‘suffering servant's’ sight at Isa. 53: 11, in both Isaiah scrolls from Qumran.

A much larger-scale addition to MT is represented by, for example, 1 Sam. 11: 1. Here LXX includes the words ‘And it happened after about a month’ not found in MT. Much more dramatically, 4QSama has not only these words (in Hebrew) but also, before them, a quite lengthy description of the conflict between Nahash and the people of Gad and Reuben, an account that tallies with the one transmitted by Josephus. NRSV adds the text from 4QSama.

Other major differences include the significantly shorter versions of Job and Jeremiah found in LXX. In the case of Jeremiah (where LXX and MT also have substantially different orderings of the text), the Qumran biblical manuscripts represent both longer and shorter versions. The Dead Sea Scrolls (as, to a certain extent, the LXX) display differences, with respect to MT, in the order and content of the Psalms. The LXX has longer versions of (or additional material in), for example, Esther and Daniel, as well as entire books that have no counterpart in MT, even though some of these, such as Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) and Tobit, have been found in their original Hebrew (or Aramaic) versions at Qumran and elsewhere.

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