Theology

Lawrence H. Schiffman

What is a Jewish Biblical Text?

Volume 9 () / Issue 3, pp. 296-305 (10)
Published 18.02.2021

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The Jewish Bible should be defined as a collection of books believed to be divinely inspired, fixed by consensus and tradition, in which the various books have attained sufficient textual stability as to be able to stimulate the creation of a wide literary and exegetical tradition. While the Jewish canon was not fully closed in Second Temple times, it is mistaken to say that there was no canon. Rather, there was a not-yet-completed canon. This is true despite the fact that the textual character of the authoritative books had not yet been totally stabilized. While the consonantal text of these books was almost entirely fixed by the end of the first century C.E., vowels, cantillation marks, and other textual accoutrements do not appear until the onset of the early Middle Ages. From that point on, despite some small numbers of textual variants, we have the completed Jewish Bible.
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Lawrence H. Schiffman No current data available.