Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Bulletin for Biblical Research
Volume: BBR 24:1 (NA 2014)
Article: Book Reviews
Author: Anonymous

Book Reviews

Dominique Barthélemy. Studies in the Text of the Old Testament: An Introduction to the Hebrew Old Testament Text Project. Textual Criticism and the Translator 3. Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 2012. Pp. xxxii + 688. ISBN 978–1-57506–235–8. $79.50 cloth.

Jean-Dominique Barthélemy was Professor of OT at the University of Fribourg in Switzerland as well as a member of the Pontifical Biblical Commission until his death on February 10, 2002. He was one of the world’s foremost scholars in the field of textual criticism of the Hebrew Bible. In particular, he earned international recognition for his thought-provoking study, Les devanciers d’Aquila, in which he proposed a revolutionary hypothesis about the transmission history of the Hebrew text based on his study on the Greek Minor Prophets Scroll found in Naḥal Hever.

The current volume is an English translation of the combined version of the introductions in the first three volumes of Critique Textuelle de l’Ancien Testament (hereafter CTAT), the final report of the Hebrew Old Testament Text Project (hereafter HOTTP). In 1969, the United Bible Societies embarked on the HOTTP in order to “address the issue of the most critically responsible text to offer translators” (p. xxiii). In this project, six internationally renowned OT textual critics (Alexander R. Hulst, Hans-Peter Rüger, William D. McHardy, Dominique Barthélemy, Norbert Lohfink, and James Sanders) were invited to participate during the last few decades. Emmanuel Tov highly praised these introductions, commenting that they are “an almost complete introduction” to the textual criticism of the Hebrew Bible (p. xv).

This volume consists of three major parts: the introduction from each of the three volumes of CTAT. The first half of part 1 is a historical survey of OT textual criticism from the Jewish emendation during the Early Middle Ages to J. D. Michaelis in the 18th century in light of the following issues: (1) the establishment of the Masoretic vowel points, (2) Hebrew textual variants, and (3) primacy of the autographs of Moses and the Prophets. In the second half of part 1, Barthélemy offers a general overview of the HOTTP and its goal. Adopting Barthélemy’s hypothesis, the HOTTP committee divided the historical development of the Hebrew text into four phases: (1) the oral or written literary products as close as possible to the originals (what Barthélemy designated the “extra-Masoretic” text); (2) the rather fluid “pre-Masoretic” or “earliest attested” texts in the Qumran biblical scrolls and in the LXX; (3) the “proto-Masoretic” text in the Hebrew texts from Murabba’at, Masada, and elsewhere (other than Qumran) and from Greek translations (Aquila and Theodotion) in the 2nd century after th...

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