Thursday, November 26, 2015

A Major New Resource on the Text of the Old Testament: Brill's Textual History of the Bible

Textual History of the Bible PreviewWhile at SBL this last week I noticed that Brill has a major new resource in development called the Textual History of the Bible which is being published both in print and online. The preview describes the new series as follows:
As a new type of reference work, the Textual History of the Bible (THB) aims to bring together all available information regarding the textual history, textual character, translation techniques, manuscripts, and the importance of each textual witness for each book of the Hebrew Bible, including its deutero-canonical scriptures. In addition, it includes entries on the history of research, the editorial histories of the Hebrew Bible, as well as other aspects of text-critical research and its auxiliary fields, or Hilfswissenschaften, such as papyrology, codicology, and linguistics. 
The THB will be the first reference work of its kind.It brings information to the attention of textual critics in particular, and biblical scholars in general, which was previously only known to highly specialized experts. At the same time, it invites its readers to participate in the scholarly debate by giving voice to dissenting opinions in its entries. The treatment of each version could be considered a small monograph in its own right. The THB is groundbreaking in several respects. It pays special attention to the secondary readings in MT and is first to offer a systematic study of the textual character of the non-aligned Hebrew texts. The THB pioneers the study of many primary translations, for instance it features an analysis of the translation technique of the Vulgate. It is furthermore, the very first tool that devotes significant attention to the secondary translations. While the study of the Hebrew sources and the primary translations are usually based on editions, the secondary translations are usually studied from manuscripts. THB is a good starting point for text-critical analysis of all biblical versions and books because it offers the reader information about all the textual evidence for a specific biblical book and all the evidence for a specific textual source in one reference work. 
The four expected print volumes are:
  1. The Hebrew Bible, editors Armin Lange and Emanuel Tov.
  2. Deutero-Canonical Scriptures, editor: Matthias Henze
  3. A Companion to Textual Criticism, editor Russell E. Fuller
  4. Indices and Manuscript Catalogues
Also announced is a new supplement series: 
For many biblical versions and/or biblical books, the THB has sparked new research. With the publication of THB 1, Brill publishers will therefore launch a peer reviewed supplement series which will include monographic studies, scholarly tools, and collective volumes on the Textual History of the Hebrew Bible. All THB authors and readers are invited to contribute. 
As expected from Brill, the price is steep. Online access is  €2.700 / $3,250 with print pricing yet to be announced. You can get more detail on the four volumes and read several entries in the free online preview [PDF]. 


  1. Nothing says "bargain" like online access for €2.700 / $3,250. I plan to get it as soon as Bernie Sanders persuades Warren Buffet to redistribute the wealth to my account....or I might just buy a lot of pizza instead.

  2. The people at Brill must be out of their minds if they expect people to pay this much.

  3. I wouldn't worry too much about Brill. In 2014 they made over €20 Million (Gross Profit). They are not selling to "people" but librarians. If 100 librarians around the world buy this product that is €270,000.

    Check the annual report for 2014 here:

  4. One thing is clear: they have an specific audience in mind for whom they publish this type of resources.