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GUIDE TO THE USE OF BIBLIA HEBRAICA STUTTGARTENSIA



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GUIDE TO THE USE OF BIBLIA HEBRAICA STUTTGARTENSIA BETHEL SEMINARY C EN TER 1 FO R B IBLICA L AN D T H EO LO G ICA L F O U N D ATIO N S P AU L W F ERRIS J R PH D Background 1 1 The M asoretic Text abbrev M T is the Hebrew Bible equivalent of the textus receptus The consonantal text had been carefully standardized by the Sopherim between 400 B C and 200 A D Referring to Jewish veneration of their Scriptures Josephus Flavius wrote for although such long ages have now passed no one has ventured to either add or to remove or to alter a syllable and it is an instinct with every Jew from the day of his birth to regard them as the decrees of God to abide by them and if need be cheerfully to die for them Contra Apionem I 42 The Sopherim were ordained theologians and Bible scholars who served as early Judaism s United Bible Society the custodians of the text of Scripture 1 2 The M asoretes hfr Osfm ah y l a ab lords of the oral tradition preserved in writing the traditional way of pronouncing and reading the text during the period c 500 A D and 1000 A D They devised a system of marking vocalization accentuation cantilation and punctuation thereby also standardizing grammatical forms The resulting masoretic text serves as the basis for all modern critical editions of the Hebrew Bible W F Albright concluded we may rest assured that the consonantal text of the Hebrew Bible though not infallible has been preserved with an accuracy perhaps unparalleled in any other Near Eastern literature 1 3 The modern critical edition of the Hebrew Bible was first published in 1906 by Rudolph Kittel BHK and was based on the second Bomberg Edition 1525 6 of the 98 the Jacob ben Chayim text with NOTES M asora and rabbinical notations Kittel published a second edition in 1913 Kittel s first two editions did not include M asoretic notes Kittel completed his third edition in 1937 this one based on the oldest complete manuscript of the Hebrew Bible 1 4 In 1977 the German Bible Society unveiled the



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