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Dead Sea Scrolls: Orthography and Scribal Practices

(2,207 words)

Author(s): Tov, Emanuel
The more than 210 biblical texts found in Qumran do not share any major textual, linguistic, or scribal characteristics; they were written in different periods and at different places, and are textually and linguistically heterogeneous. This entry refers only to one group of Qumran texts, with features that are unique among the biblical texts found at Qumran. The texts belonging to this group probably were copied by the Qumran covenanters themselves, in accordance with what has come to be known as the Qumran Scribal Practice (QSP). The special characteristics recognizable in the …

3–5.1.1 Septuagint

(496 words)

Author(s): Tov, Emanuel
Part of 3–5 Former Prophets - 3–5.1 Primary TranslationsThe Former Prophets (the historical books Joshua to 2 Kings) and the Latter Prophets (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the twelve Minor Prophets) together form the second subdivision of the Hebrew Canon (1.1.2.1), after the Torah and before the Writings (Ketuvim). The contents and names of the second and third divisions are somewhat problematic: not all the books included in the “Prophets” pertain to prophets and the relation between the two division…
Date: 2020-03-17

6–9.1.1 Septuagint

(335 words)

Author(s): Tov, Emanuel
Part of 6–9 Latter Prophets - 6–9.1 Primary TranslationsThe Former Prophets (the historical books Joshua to 2 Kings) and the Latter Prophets (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the twelve Minor Prophets) form together the second subdivision of the Hebrew canon, after the Torah and before the Writings (Ketuvim). The contents and names of the second and third divisions are somewhat problematic (3–5.1.1).The organizing principle of Jewish Greek Scripture (not necessarily Alexandrian) differs from that of the Hebrew canon (1.1.2.1). It may be considered an impr…
Date: 2020-03-17

1.3 Primary Translations

(10,018 words)

Author(s): Tov, Emanuel
Part of 1 Overview ArticlesA comparative analysis of the primary translations of Hebrew Scripture has not been embarked upon in the past.1 Such a comparative analysis deals with: 1) the background and origin of the ancient translations; 2) the necessity to translate Hebrew Scripture; 3) the different translation styles; 4) the nature of the translation enterprises; 5) relations between translations; 6) internal revision; 7) scope; 8) original form of the translations; 9) the sequence of the books; 10) date; 11) use;…
Date: 2020-03-17

1.4 Secondary Translations

(1,694 words)

Author(s): Tov, Emanuel
Part of 1 Overview ArticlesIn ancient times, the Bible was translated from its source languages into the different languages listed in 1.3. Some of these translations were translated into additional languages because the primary translations were no longer understood in the countries in which Christianity had been accepted. Most secondary translations were made from lxx: Latin (Old Latin [1.4.1]), Coptic (1.4.2), Ethiopic (1.4.3), Syriac (Syro-Lucianic [1.4.4], Syro-Hexapla [1.4.5]), Jacob of Edessa’s Syriac translation (1.4.6), Armenian (1.4.7), G…
Date: 2020-03-17

2.1 Textual History of the Pentateuch

(12,842 words)

Author(s): Tov, Emanuel
Part of 2 Pentateuch 2.1.1 Torah as a UnitThe description of the textual history of the five books of the Torah as one unit is justified because they were joined together and considered a single unit by the biblical authors and subsequent generations.As a result, the phrases סֵפֶר הַתּוֹרָה “book of the Law,” סֵפֶר תּוֹרַת מֹשֶׁה “book of the Law of Moses,” and תּוֹרַת מֹשֶׁה “Law of Moses” are used frequently in Scripture, both in Deuteronomy and in the later books. The fact that most Torah scrolls found in the Judean Desert contain single books and not the comp…
Date: 2020-03-17

1.1.1.5 Scribal Transmission of the Biblical Text

(4,445 words)

Author(s): Tov, Emanuel
Part of 1 Overview Articles - 1.1 Introduction - 1.1.1 Textual History of the Hebrew Bible 1.1.1.5.1 Background and Chronological FrameworkThe biblical text developed and changed much from the compositional stages until the Middle Ages, as can be seen from the many differences among the textual witnesses and the changes of script, layout, and content.With the help of the Dead Sea Scrolls, we now understand many aspects of the copying and transmission that were not known previously. The following aspects of the copying and transmitting of the biblic…
Date: 2020-03-17

1.3.1.1 Septuagint

(12,226 words)

Author(s): Tov, Emanuel
Part of 1 Overview Articles - 1.3 Primary Translations - 1.3.1 Greek Translations 1.3.1.1.1 NatureThe Septuagint (lxx) is a Jewish translation that was prepared in Alexandria, Palestine, and possibly elsewhere. The Jewish character of the Torah translation is well established, while that of the post-Pentateuchal books is not, although this assumption is almost certainly correct. There probably were no Gentiles in Egypt or elsewhere who would have had the skills to make such a transcultural translation, or would have had an incentive to do so. The Hebrew source of lxx differed much f…
Date: 2020-03-17

4.2.2.3.4 DSS Electronic Library

(769 words)

Author(s): Tov, Emanuel
Part of 4 Science and Technology - 4.2 Electronic Resources - 4.2.2 Transcription, Translation and Study Resources - 4.2.2.3 Commercial Bible Software The Dead Sea Scrolls Electronic Library (DSSEL) is a commercial database covering all the Dead Sea Scrolls subdivided into two major divisions, the non-biblical and the biblical texts. The database contains Hebrew and Aramaic texts, English translations, images, and lemmatization and morphological analyses; DSSEL also enables advanced searches. Additionally, DSSEL contains the Hebrew Scriptures, also with morphologic…
Date: 2022-10-20

1.1.1 Textual History of the Hebrew Bible

(124 words)

Author(s): Tov, Emanuel
Part of 1 Overview Articles - 1.1 IntroductionThis introductory section deals with various general areas that introduce the discipline of textual criticism and that are not treated in the Textual History of the Bible, which focuses on texts: the nature of textual criticism (1.1.1.1), textual theories, among which the search for an original text (1.1.1.2), the nature of the textual evidence (1.1.1.3), the development of the biblical text (1.1.1.4), the scribal transmission of the biblical text (1.1.1.5), and the evaluation of textual evidence (1.1.1.6). 1.1.1.1 Na…
Date: 2020-03-17

1.1.1.1 Nature of Textual Criticism

(3,077 words)

Author(s): Tov, Emanuel
Part of 1 Overview Articles - 1.1 Introduction - 1.1.1 Textual History of the Hebrew BibleThe Textual History of the Bible requires some discussion of the nature of text-critical analysis. Textual criticism of the Hebrew Bible deals with the nature, origin, and development of all the witnesses of a composition or book. This analysis often involves an attempt to discover the original form of details in a composition, or even of large stretches of text, although what exactly constitutes an “original text” is subject …
Date: 2020-03-17

1.1.1.6 Evaluation of Textual Evidence

(2,714 words)

Author(s): Tov, Emanuel
Part of 1 Overview Articles - 1.1 Introduction - 1.1.1 Textual History of the Hebrew BibleThe textual praxis includes the description of the textual witnesses and the collecting of readings included in these witnesses; readings differing from mt are usually named “variants” (1.1.1). Most scholars state that their intention is to choose the one reading from among the variants that was most likely to have been contained in the original text, or the reading from which their existence can be explained. Scholars who, for a variety of reasons,1 are opposed to the search for original rea…
Date: 2020-03-17

1.1.1.2 Textual Theories

(7,871 words)

Author(s): Tov, Emanuel | Ulrich, Eugene
Part of 1 Overview Articles - 1.1 Introduction - 1.1.1 Textual History of the Hebrew BibleIdeally, the textual praxis and the description of the development of the biblical text are based on evidence relating to textual witnesses and their internal relation. However, too often, scholars take abstract assumptions and preconceived ideas unrelated to Scripture texts as their point of departure. This paragraph describes the textual theories that have been launched to describe the development of the biblical text.1 These theories are of interest to the historian, but with the…
Date: 2020-03-17

Scribes

(2,712 words)

Author(s): Tov, Emanuel | Olszowy-Schlanger, Judith | Teplitsky, Joshua | Schrijver, Emile
1. Dead Sea ScrollsThe term "scribes of the Dead Sea Scrolls" is as problematic as the term Dead Sea Scrolls itself because of the diversity of the scrolls and their scribes, but there is no better term. Some 2,000 fragmentary scrolls, mainly in Hebrew but also in Aramaic and Greek, on leather and papyrus, were found not only at the shores of the Dead Sea, but also inlands, in the Judean Desert. The most well-known among them are some 950 texts found in caves at Qumran. The texts were writte…
Date: 2023-11-20