Monday, May 25, 2015

Articles on Five New Editions of the Hebrew Bible

I recently learned two things I didn’t know: there are five editions of the Hebrew Bible in various stages of production and there is a new Hebrew Bible journal with a number of good articles on these editions.

The journal is called Hebrew Bible and Ancient Israel (HeBAI), published by Mohr Siebeck apparently as a counterpart to Early Christianity. The 2nd and 3rd volumes have issues dedicated to these new editions. I was only aware of two of these, so I was glad to have essays gathered together on all five.

I’ll share the table of contents for the two volumes along with a short description of the five editions I culled from the introductory essay. I should also point out that Ron Hendel’s essay is especially good and is available free online.

The Five Editions

  1. Biblia Hebraica Quinta (BHQ) directed by A. Schenker. The successor to Biblia Hebraica series. Now with a half dozen fascicles available. The fascicles have lots of text critical comments and I understand the hope is to publish these separately once the OT is complete.
  2. Biblia Qumranica (BQ) directed by A. Lange. This is essentially an edition of all the Biblical material from Qumran. So far there is one volume available on the Minor Prophets (Brill, 2005). 
  3. Hebrew University Bible Project (HUB) directed by M. Segal. So far three volumes have been published with extensive introductions according to E. Tov. These cover Isaiah (1965), Jeremiah (1995), and Ezekiel (2004), all published by Magnes. I understand this is a diplomatic edition like BHQ.
  4. Hebrew Bible: Critical Edition (HBCE) directed by Ron Hendel. Formerly the Oxford Hebrew Bible (OHB), this edition is now to be published by SBL. Samples, introductory material, and a list of participants are online here. Randall Buth has questioned the need for such an edition on the blog in the past.
  5. Der Samaritanische Pentateuch (SP) directed by S. Schorch. An introduction to this edition from Schorch is available here.

Essays on the Five Editions

HeBAI, vol. 2, no. 1 (2013)
  • Evaluating New Editions of the Hebrew Scriptures (pp. 1-5)
    Knoppers, Gary N.
  • The Edition Biblia Hebraica Quinta (BHQ) (pp. 6-16)
    Schenker, Adrian
  • The Biblia Qumranica as a Synoptic Edition of the Biblical Dead Sea Scrolls (pp. 17-37)
    Lange, Armin
  • The Hebrew University Bible Project (pp. 38-62)
    Segal, Michael
  • The Oxford Hebrew Bible: Its Aims and a Response to Criticisms (pp. 63-99)
    Hendel, Ronald
  • A Critical editio maior of the Samaritan Pentateuch: State of Research, Principles, and Problems (pp. 100-120)
    Schorch, Stefan
HeBAI, vol. 3, no. 4 (2014)
  • The Theory and Practice of Textual Criticism (pp. 355-362)
    Knoppers, Gary N.
  • Scribal Practices and Approaches Revisited (pp. 363-374)
    Tov, Emanuel
  • New Editions of the Hebrew Scriptures: A Response (pp. 375-383) [This a response to the essays in volume 2]
    Tov, Emanuel
  • Comments on New Editions of the Hebrew Scriptures (pp. 384-391) [This a response to the essays in volume 2]
    Williamson, H.G.M.
  • The Idea of a Critical Edition of the Hebrew Bible: A Genealogy (pp. 392-423) [online here]
    Hendel, Ronald
  • The Question of the So-Called Qumran Orthography, the Severus Scroll, and the Masoretic Text (pp. 424-475)
    Lange, Armin
  • The Rationale for the Society of Biblical Literature Commentary on the Septuagint (pp. 476-490)
    Hiebert, Robert J.V.

Concept Video of HBCE/OHB Electronic Edition


  1. I really liked this sentence: "The intellectual space within which this idea became thinkable is a result of historical permutations in the practices of critica sacra from the seven-teenth through the nineteenth centuries, which have been refined by schol-arly debate and research over the last century."

  2. "Now with a half dozen fascicles available"...what's a fascicle? A quick google search brings up Wikipedia "A fascicle is a bundle or a cluster." But that's clearly not a helpful definition in this context so far as I can tell.

    1. A section of a book or set of books being published in installments as separate pamphlets or volumes. (