Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Hebrew Bible: A Critical Edition (HBCE)

The Society of Biblical Literature announced today their intent to publish a new critical edition of the Hebrew Bible. This new edition will be called The Hebrew Bible: A Critical Edition (HBCE). It is the same project as the Oxford Hebrew Bible project, still edited by Ron Hendel, but will now be published by SBL instead of Oxford. The first volume on Proverbs is due to be out by the end of the year. Here is the SBL announcement:

The Society of Biblical Literature is pleased to announce its publishing commitment to a major text-critical project: The Hebrew Bible: A Critical Edition (HBCE), under the general editorship of Ronald Hendel.

The HBCE will be an eclectic edition of the Hebrew Bible, featuring a critical text with extensive text-critical introductions and commentaries. The project anticipates twenty-one volumes, with an international team of volume authors.

The first volume—Michael V. Fox, Proverbs: An Eclectic Edition with Introduction and Textual Commentary—will publish in the second half of 2014.

The most distinctive feature of the HBCE project is its method of producing critical texts. HBCE constructs an eclectic text, drawing together readings from many manuscripts and, where warranted, conjectural readings. In other cases, such as Jeremiah, entirely variant texts of books are set side by side. While a common approach for critical editions of other ancient books, such as the New Testament and the Greek and Latin classics, this is not the norm for textual criticism of the Hebrew Bible.

In this respect, the approach and scope of this project is a first of its kind for the Hebrew Bible, since our other modern text-critical editions are diplomatic, representing a primary manuscript, in each case, the Masoretic tradition.

The project is bold and innovative. It will stimulate vigorous conversation and critique. It will enliven the guild’s attention to text-critical methods, history of transmission, and translation. It is an exercise that will broaden discussion and open up new insights into the history of the Hebrew Bible.

SBL is delighted to publish the HBCE, to work with Ron and the team of outstanding scholars, and to foster biblical scholarship through discovery and debate.