Is the Septuagint older than the Masoretic text

Prof. Dr. Emanuel Tov

Fellow from December 2010 to July 2011
Ph.D, Professor em., Department of Bible, Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel

Born in 1941 in Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Studied the Bible and Classical Philology in Jerusalem, Harvard and Oxford

Research project:
Revision of my manual The Text of the Hebrew Bible: Manual of Textual Criticism

The field of textual criticism of the Hebrew Bible has grown in the last two decades since I published the first edition of my handbook The Text of the Hebrew Bible: Handbook of Textual Criticism (1st edition 1992, 2nd edition 2006; Hebrew edition 1989; German edition 1999; Russian edition 2001) changed a lot. Since the second edition was not very different from the first, I now have to cover 20 years of research and at the same time incorporate my own new findings into the improved edition. The publication of the Dead Sea Scrolls requires an update of the perspective on certain biblical books, on the text variety in the last centuries AD, and on the realia of the scrolls during this period. At the same time, all sub-areas of textual criticism have developed a lot over the past two decades. A better understanding of the main witnesses, the Masoretic Text, the Greek Septuagint, and the Samaritan version of the Hebrew Pentateuch will require changing the main aspects of my manual. There is a growing interest in the early text versions of the Bible among exegetes, theologians, and historians as most scholars recognize that literary Bible study cannot be limited to the central Hebrew (Masoretic) version of the Bible.
During my research stay at the Lichtenberg-Kolleg I plan to work on some fundamental problems associated with the textual criticism of the Hebrew Bible: the original text (or the original texts) of the Hebrew Bible, the possible consolidation of the Hebrew text in the first century AD ., the pre-Samaritan texts, theological elements in the text tradition, the Qumran Bible text, the text-critical value of the Septuagint in the various Old Testament books and a didactic approach to teaching textual criticism. I plan to write essays on some of these areas and incorporate the research into my revised manual. In addition, I intend to use the stored data from the Prof. R. Kratz headed Göttingen research center Qumran dictionary and from the Göttingen Septuagint company.

Selected publications:

Tov, E. 2008. Hebrew Bible, Greek Bible, and Qumran: Collected Essays. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck (Texts and Studies in Ancient Judaism 121).

Tov, E. 2006. The Dead Sea Scrolls Electronic Library. Brigham Young University, Revised Edition, part of the Dead Sea Scrolls Electronic Reference Library of E.J. Brill Publishers. Leiden: Brill.

Tov, E. and D.W. Parry. 2005-2005. The Dead Sea Scrolls Reader vols 1-6. Leiden / Boston: Brill.

Tov, E. 2004. Scribal Practices and Approaches Reflected in the Texts Found in the Judean Desert. Leiden / Boston: Brill (Studies on the Texts of the Desert of Judah, 54).

Tov, E. 2001. Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible, 2d rev. ed. Minneapolis and Assen: Fortress Press / Royal Van Gorcum. Hebrew version, 1989; German version, 1999; Russian version, 2001.

Tov, E. 1999. The Greek and Hebrew Bible: Collected Essays on the Septuagint. Leiden / Boston / Cologne: Brill (Supplements to Vetus Testamentum 72).