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Diplomatic or Ecclectic: How Do You Like Your Hebrew Bible?

6th March 2007

Mississippi Fred MacDowell (I love that name) over at On the Main Line has a good post on why he favours a diplomatic Hebrew Bible based on the Masoretic Text. His post, “Why should we prefer the Masoretic text? Should we? An ahalakhic defense…kind of,” is well worth a read. In short, he argues that “an eclectic text… is compiling a Bible which never existed” and therefore it is better to stick with the MT, which is “simply the text with the best integrity.”

On the whole, I tend to agree with him, though for some different reasons. While I would consider myself a modified Lagardian (i.e., I think there was an original text), I am highly skeptical about our ability to reconstruct it (or at least my ability!). I also don’t think that the tendenz of many of the Dead Sea Scrolls has been determined enough to use them in textual construction with a high degree of certainty. Anyhow, the post is well worth a read.

If you want to read more about the textual criticism of the Old Testament, check out my nine-part series on Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible.


2 Responses to “Diplomatic or Ecclectic: How Do You Like Your Hebrew Bible?”

  1. S. Says:

    Thank you for the link.

    Your series on textual criticism was a pleasure and simply brimming with clarity and useful resources. Keep up the great work.

    (Yes, I am Mississippi Fred…but usually S. in comments :) )

  2. » Diplomatic or Ecclectic: How Do You Like Your Hebrew Bible? Says:

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