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The Oxford Hebrew Bible: Its Aims and a Response to Criticisms

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The Oxford Hebrew Bible (OHB) will produce critical (eclectic) texts for the biblical books and their ancient editions, accompanied by extensive text-critical commentary and an introduction addressing issues of textual history, translation techniques, and special problems for that book and its textual witnesses. The OHB editions will seek to represent the text in all of its historical dimensions, from the corrected archetype to later editions to the details of scribal exegesis, and in so doing to expand the potential of a critical edition. While this aim conforms to the traditional goals of textual criticism in most academic fields, including classical literature and the New Testament, it is a relative novelty in the field of Hebrew Bible scholarship. The reasons for this situation are varied, including the complexity of the evidence and the intellectual history of the discipline. In this article I sketch the aims of the OHB and respond to criticisms that some scholars have expressed about it, which often express differences about the epistemology of textual criticism and critical biblical scholarship.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2013-03-01

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  • Hebrew Bible and Ancient Israel is a new, peer-reviewed, quarterly journal focusing primarily on the biblical texts in their ancient historical contexts, but also on the history of Israel in its own right. Each issue has a topical focus. The primary language is English, but articles may also be published in German and French. A specific goal of the new journal is to foster discussion among different academic cultures within a larger international context pertaining to the study of the Hebrew Bible and ancient Israel in the first millennium B. C. E.
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