Resources for Biblical, Theological, and Religious Studies maintained by Tyler F. Williams

Hebrew Bibles

There are a number of Hebrew Bibles available for students and scholars in a wide variety of formats. While the standard Hebrew Bible has been and continues to be Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia (BHS), there are a number of exciting new critical editions of the Hebrew Bible currently under development, such as the Biblia Hebraica Quinta and the Oxford Hebrew Bible.

While some volumes of the former are available (see below), the latter is still in pre-production. There are also other handy and more popular editions of the Hebrew Bible available that are more accessible for beginning students (see below).

Virtually all modern versions of the Hebrew Bible are based on what is know as the Leningrad Codex. It is available in a beautiful facsimile edition:

  • BHSDavid Noel Freedman, Astrid B. Beck, James A. Sanders (Eds.), Leningrad Codex: A Facsimile Edition (Eerdmans , 1998). If you want to impress your professor (or students), then this is the Hebrew Bible for you! This is a facsimile version of the Leningrad Codex, the oldest complete copy of the Hebrew Bible (the name is due to the fact that it was in a museum in Leningrad, when it was still called Leningrad). This photo-plate edition of the entire text (black-and-white high resolution plates, with additional full-colour plates of carpet pages and sample text pages) is beautifully produced and bound. Buy from | Buy from

Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia BHS

The standard critical edition of the Hebrew Bible is still Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia (BHS). This is a diplomatic edition of the Hebrew Bible, meaning that the main text reproduced is that of the Leningrad Codex. The critical apparatus brings together textual variants from other Hebrew manuscripts and ancient versions, such as the Greek Septuagint (LXX), as well as proposed reconstructions and emendations where necessary. BHS is available in a variety of formats. I would recommend a hardbound copy if you will be making much use of your Hebrew Bible, though the softbound edition is less expensive and easier to carry around.

  • BHSBiblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia - Paperback (ed. K. Elliger and W. Rudolph; 5th edition; American Bible Society, 1997). This is a paperback version. It is small and less expensive than the hardbound editions. Buy from | Buy from
  • Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia - Desktop Version (ed. K. Elliger and W. Rudolph; Deutsche Bibelstiftung, 1967, 1990). This is the large hardbound version. While it has a larger typeface, it is quite bulky. Buy from | Buy from
  • Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia - Wide Margin Edition (ed. K. Elliger and W. Rudolph; Deutsche Bibelstiftung, 1967, 1990). This is a large hardbound version with extra wide margins for notes. Buy from | Buy from
  • Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia - Small Hardcover (ed. K. Elliger and W. Rudolph; Deutsche Bibelstiftung, 1967, 1990). This is a 5" x 7.5" hardbound version. It has the benefit of being hardbound, while being a bit smaller than the desk version. Buy from | Buy from
  • BHSBiblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia with Greek New Testament (American Bible Society, 1996). Ideal for those who want a complete Christian Bible with both the Hebrew Old Testament and the Greek New Testament. Buy from | Buy from

There are two guides to help you get the most out of the critical apparatus and other features of BHS:

  • William R. Scott, A Simplified Guide to BHS: Critical Apparatus, Masora, Accents, Unusual Letters & Other Markings (3rd ed.; Bibal Press, 1995). Buy from | Buy from
  • Reinhard Wonneberger, Understanding BHS: A Manual for the Users of Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia (2nd. rev. ed.; trans. D. R. Daniels; Pontifical Institute, 1990). Buy from | Buy from

BHSBoth of these works are valuable but for different reasons. Wonneberger focuses on explaining and evaluating the apparatus in BHS and the theory that underlies it, while Scott is more of a guide to have on hand when using BHS. The latter also includes under the same cover H. P. Rüger's An English Key to the Latin Words and Symbols of BHS (American Bible Society, 1990) and is less expensive.

For those interested in learning the basics of the Masorah of BHS (i.e., the Masoretic scribal notes in the margins of the Hebrew Bible), the following work is quite helpful:

  • Page H. Kelley, Daniel S. Mynatt, and Timothy G. Crawford, The Masorah of Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia: Introduction and Annotated Glossary (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1998). Buy from | Buy from


Biblia Hebraica Quinta (BHQ)

BHSA new critical edition of the Hebrew Bible -- Biblia Hebraica Quinta -- is being produced by the United Bible Societies and is being released in fascicles as individual biblical books are ready. This, like BHS, is a diplomatic edition of the Hebrew Bible based on the Leningrad Codex, though the critical apparatus (now in English instead of Latin) tends to be more conservative in that it does not include any conjectural emendations.

While the whole project is scheduled to be completed by 2010, thus far only three fascicles are available:

  • Biblia Hebraica Quinta, fasc. 18 - General Introduction and Megilloth (gen. ed. Adrian Schenker et al.; Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 2004). This was the first fascicle of BHQ available. The editors of the individual biblical books are Jan de Waard (Ruth), Piet B. Dirksen (Song of Songs/Canticles), Yohanan A. P. Goldman (Ecclesiastes/Qoheleth), Rolf Schäfer (Lamentations), and Magne Sæbø (Esther). Buy from | Buy from
  • Biblia Hebraica Quinta, fasc. 20 - Ezra-Nehemiah (ed. David Marcus; gen. ed. Adrian Schenker et al.; Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 2006). Buy from | Buy from
  • Biblia Hebraica Quinta, fasc. 5 - Deuteronomy (ed. Carmel McCarthy; gen. ed. Adrian Schenker et al.; Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 2007). Buy from | Buy from

Other Hebrew Bibles

  • Biblia Hebraica Leningradensia (ed. Aron Dotan; Hendrickson Publishers, 2001). This is a thoroughly revised, reset, and redesigned -- and the most accurate -- edition of the Leningrad Codex in print. It includes no critical apparatus. Buy from | Buy from
  • Hebrew-English Tanakh (Student edition; Jewish Publication Society of America, 2000). While this is not an edition of BHS (and therefore has no critical apparatus), I note it because it may be useful for beginning students. It has the Hebrew text on one side of the page and the Jewish Publication Society's English translation on the other. Buy from | Buy from
  • A Reader's Hebrew Bible (ed. A. Philip Brown II and Bryan W. Smith; Zondervan, 2008). This is a nice leather-bound version of the Hebrew Bible (based on Leningrad, minus the critical apparatus) with a variety of additional helps, including form-specific glosses of all Hebrew words occurring 100 times or less (twenty-five or less for Aramaic words). It also helpfully shades proper names that occur less than 100 times. Great for the beginning student. Buy from | Buy from


Last Updated on Wednesday, 13 May 2009 17:05