Comparing and contrasting different Biblical Hebrew versions

Comparing and contrasting different Biblical Hebrew versions

Comparing and Contrasting Biblical Hebrew Versions

  • Understand how different versions of the Hebrew Bible, such as the Masoretic Text and the Dead Sea Scrolls, can vary in content and language.

  • Recognise that the Masoretic Text (MT), which is based on the Leningrad Codex and has been faithfully preserved by trained scribes, is considered the most authoritative and reliable source for studying Biblical Hebrew.

  • Be familiar with the Samaritan Pentateuch’s differences from the MT, particularly in the areas of spelling, pronunciation, and grammatical forms.

  • Know that the Dead Sea Scrolls contain textual variants and provide important insights into Jewish thought and culture during the Second Temple period.

  • Gain knowledge of the Septuagint (LXX), an ancient Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible. Understand its significance in preserving earlier Hebrew readings and its impact on the development of the New Testament in Greek.

  • Be aware of the Peshitta, an ancient translation of the Bible into Syriac, which can help illuminate nuances in the Hebrew text that can get lost in Greek or Latin translations.

  • Understand the importance of comparing different versions to detect transcription errors and gain a more comprehensive understanding of the text.

  • Realise that an examination of paratextual features, like prefaces, footnotes, and interlineal gloss, can help interpret the significance of textual variants.

Analysing Textual Variants

  • Know how to use a critical apparatus to recognise and understand textual variants in different versions of the Bible.

  • Understand the concept of conjectural emendation where scholars, in the absence of conclusive evidence, propose changes to the text to make a variant reading more coherent or meaningful.

  • Be capable of discerning a haplography (an error that arises from a scribe inadvertently omitting a letter or word that occurs twice in close proximity) and its potential impact on the text.

  • Distinguish dittography (a copying mistake where a letter or a series of letters is duplicated) and understand how it can alter the meaning of a text.

  • Grasp the principles of textual criticism to discern the most likely original reading of a text based on contextual clues, linguistic characteristics, and comparison with other similar texts.

  • Know how to interpret the ratings (A, B, C, or D) given to variants in Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia (BHS) critical apparatus to understand the level of confidence scholars have in the originality of certain readings.

Influence of Hebrew Versions on Later Translations

  • Understand the value and challenges of translation: maintaining accuracy, eloquence, cultural and idiomatic equivalent, while still being faithful to the source text.

  • Examine the King James Version (KJV) and how it leans heavily on the Masoretic Text, occasionally supplemented by the Septuagint and Vulgate.

  • Recognise that the New International Version (NIV) uses a balance of form-based and meaning-based translations, leading to more innovations in terms of syntax and semantics.

  • Realise that the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) takes gender inclusivity into account, which affects the translation of certain Hebrew words and phrases.

  • Know the pros and cons of literal, dynamic, and paraphrase translations, and understand their impact on the interpretation of the text.

  • Grasp the challenges that idioms, metaphors, and cultural references in Biblical Hebrew pose to translating the text across cultures and eras.

  • Realise how synoptic parallels reveal variants in the Gospel translations, potentially reflecting different source texts or translation philosophies.