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.