Gary A. Rendsburg
This article presents sample results of my ongoing research project on the book of Samuel in the Cairo Genizah. Each of the 650+ manuscripts of Samuel found amongst the documents forthcoming from the Cairo Genizah has been read and analyzed, with the goal of identifying textual variants. Special attention is paid to those variant readings which find parallels in the earlier witnesses (Qumran, Septuagint, Peshitta, Targum, Vulgate).
In BHS, Ps 24:4 has a reading of נַפְשִׁי “my soul” in a context that logically demands a reading of נַפְשׁוֹ “his soul.” In several manuscripts and in the Rabbinic Bible, there is a kəṯîḇ נפשו “his soul” and a qərê נַפְשִׁי “my soul.” However, some prominent Masoretic scholars, Elias Levita, Solomon Norzi and Solomon Frensdorff, have rejected this qərê reading by suggesting that the yod of נַפְשִׁי is the result of a scribal error, and that it represents a so-called minuscule waw. This article surveys the history of this debate, examines the nature of the minuscule letters, and shows that new evidence in a Genizah fragment and in the Masoretic appendices to the Leningrad Codex offers support for this dissenting opinion. As a result, the best reading in the context would probably be נַפְשׁוֹ.
Jordan S. Penkower
This study analyzes BB (Bloomsbury Bible), an eleventh- or twelfth-century Eastern Masoretic Bible codex of Jeremiah, Zechariah, Proverbs, and Chronicles (all incomplete). Comparing BB in Jeremiah and Chronicles with other early Eastern Masoretic codices, we arrive at the following characteristics: (1) Text—BB is far from A (Aleppo Codex) (mostly plene-defective spelling), but not very far like the Ashkenazi based Soncino 1488 edition; other Eastern codices are closer to A; (2) Sections—BB is far from A; so, too, other Eastern codices; (3) Sedarim—BB, as well as other Eastern codices, reflect one tradition, with only minor variants; (4) Poetic texts—two layouts, depending on column width: (a) each line represents a verse, with a space before the second hemistich; (b) each line does not represent a verse; there is a space before each hemistich (wherever it occurs on the line). BB follows the second layout.
John Screnock and Jan Joosten
The creation of an eclectic edition of the Hebrew Bible is complicated by the hypothetical nature of reconstructing its textual evolution, and the uncertainty involved in retroversion from Greek to Hebrew. These issues are especially apparent in the case of the so-called “poem of Solomon” (1 Kgs 8:12–13 MT // 8:53a LXX), which I examine here as a case study to demonstrate that even such a difficult text can be dealt with responsibly in a critical, eclectic edition. Specifically, I show how such an edition can adequately address the retroversion of the Greek text, the existence of two versions of the poem, and the location of this poem in the chapter.
Emanuel Tov’s published methodology for using the Old Greek in textual criticism of the Hebrew Bible has been the gold standard for all such methods. I present a new approach by building on Tov’s methodology. Although Tov accounts for the reality of Hebrew variants within the mind of the translator, he explores the idea only with regards to scribal errors, leaving most changes stemming from “contextual exegesis” to be categorized as inner-translational and inadmissible in the text critical endeavor. I argue for an extension of Tov’s method by considering other ways in which a scribe working in Hebrew could have made the changes commonly attributed to the translator. In contrast to Tov’s method, I suggest we center our use of the Old Greek in textual criticism around one main criterion: if Hebrew can be reconstructed on the basis of clear translation patterns, the evidence should be used in textual criticism.
Yardeni dated the charred En-Gedi Leviticus scroll (EGLev) to the second half of the first or early second century CE. Paleographic evidence is often ambiguous and can provide only an imprecise basis for dating EGLev. Nevertheless, a series of important typological developments evident in the hand of EGLev suggests a date somewhat later than the Dead Sea Scrolls of the first–second centuries, but clearly earlier than comparanda from the sixth–eighth centuries. The cumulative supporting evidence from the archeological context, bibliographic/voluminological details (wooden roller and metallic ink), format and layout (tall, narrow columns)—each individually indeterminative—also suggests dating EGLev to the period from the third–sixth centuries CE. I argue that EGLev should be dated to the third–fourth centuries CE, with only a small possibility that it could have been written in the second or fifth centuries, which is possibly supported by radiocarbon dating.
This article aims to confront and question the theoretical distinction between textual criticism and redaction criticism from a pragmatic perspective. In order to accomplish this goal, we will examine the Hebrew manuscripts of Ben Sira as a test case and a paradigmatic example. The following situations will be examined: cases of irreducible divergences between the Hebrew witnesses, scribal “mistakes,” doublets in MSS A and B, and the so-called Hebrew II.