Armin Lange

What is a Biblical Text?

Volume 9 () / Issue 3, pp. 270-295 (26)
Published 18.02.2021

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Despite occasional uses in medieval texts, it was only the invention of the printing press and the resulting widespread dispersion of Latin and vernacular Bibles which turned the word »Bible« into a common designation of the Christian Scriptures in Western Europe. However, the concept of Bible and thus the concept of a biblical text is much more ancient in Judaism and Christianity. Among the earliest linguistic expressions of the concept of Bible are the uses of γραφή as a designation of a collection of scriptures in the works Philo of Alexandria and Paul's Letter to the Romans. These early conceptualizations of Bible date only a short time after the creation of the Jewish canon and its Hebrew standard text during the reign of Herod the Great. The compilation of the biblical canon and its textual standardization are the delimiters that determine the beginning of the textual history of the various texts and versions of the Bible. Before the biblical canon was closed, each biblical book had a textual history of its own and the individual texts of each biblical book existed disconnected from the texts of all the other biblical books.

Armin Lange Geboren 1961; 1982–90 Studium der Evangelischen Theologie; 1995 Promotion; 2001 Habilitation; 2002–2004 Associate Professor for Hebrew Bible and Dead Sea Scrolls an der University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; seit 2005 Professor für das Judentum in der Zeit des Zweiten Tempels an der Universität Wien.