Saturday, June 23, 2012

"How We Got Our Bible"

The audio for the seminar I gave on "How We Got Our Bible" at Calvary Chapel Birmingham (UK) recently is now online at It is a very brief two-hour lay introduction to issues of canon, textual criticism, and translation.


  1. Would you have a sense of where the te'amim of the Letteris edition came from - i.e. which manuscripts? I am comparing these with other editions like Snaith and the online edition at Mechon-Mamre (here) with a view to writing a musical psalter for use in English but based on the Hebrew melodies as reconstructed by Suzanne Haik-Vantoura. You can contact me directly at stenagmois (a gmail address). Thank you

  2. I'm not sure how much help I can be with that, Bob. Emanuel Tov, “Hebrew Scripture Editions: Philosophy and Praxis,” in From 4QMMT to Resurrection–Mélanges qumraniens en hommage à Émile Puech, ed. F. García Martínez et al., 281–312.
    STDJ 61 (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 2006), states that Letteris is based off of the second Rabbinic Bible (RB2), whereas Snaith modifies RB2 based on other manuscripts. Because many editions are based off of RB2, it is often impossible to know which manuscripts they are based on (since the manuscripts behind RB2 are unknown). I can only assume that Tov's statement is based primarily on text and vocalization, but it is possible it applies to te'amim as well. It might be worth taking a look at the introductions for the editions you are working with. I hope that is at least some help.

  3. Thanks Drew - a follow-up - have you seen any evidence of te-amim in manuscripts - e.g. DSS - ?

    1. I have not. I perused Tov's "Scribal Practices" book, and I didn't see any mention of the te-amim either. I suspect with the DSS we are significantly earlier than the te-amim being marked in manuscripts.

  4. Thank-you - one example would prove Mme Haik-Vantourna's theory. None leaves it a conjecture - a beautiful one, but nonetheless conjecture.