Text-critical Bible commentaries

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Kenneth Greifer
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Text-critical Bible commentaries

Post by Kenneth Greifer »

I am just curious about text-critical Bible commentaries. Do they usually give the full verse in Hebrew and then analyze them or do they just discuss words in each verse that are important in some way without writing out the full verse? If they have both kinds, which would you prefer or what do you look for in a text critical Bible commentary? I was looking at an old version of the Biblia Hebraica whatever it is called free on the internet, and it gave the full Hebrew, but the explanations look very complicated and did not have a lot of actual words, but just symbols.
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Jason Hare
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Re: Text-critical Bible commentaries

Post by Jason Hare »

I’m not sure about text-critical commentaries. I don’t really know of any specifically. I’ve got BHS, BHQ, and Shem Tov’s textbook on the subject, but I don’t know of any specific commentaries with this objective.
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יוֹדֵ֣עַ צַ֭דִּיק נֶ֣פֶשׁ בְּהֶמְתּ֑וֹ וְֽרַחֲמֵ֥י רְ֝שָׁעִ֗ים אַכְזָרִֽי׃
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Kirk Lowery
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Re: Text-critical Bible commentaries

Post by Kirk Lowery »

Jason and Kenneth,

My memory says that there are no specifically text-critical commentaries for the HB. There are commentaries that are known for including a lot of TC, e.g., the Hermenaia series. But I'm not a text critic, nor the son of one. There are Facebook Text Criticism groups, although a question at NLM would be a good place to start for recommendations.

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Jason Hare
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Re: Text-critical Bible commentaries

Post by Jason Hare »

The problem with Biblia Hebraica traditionally is that the notes are given in Latin. This was to make it accessible to everyone, given that not everyone is an English speaker. It has had the opposite effect for most people in America who study Hebrew, since Latin is generally inaccessible to us.

The new Biblia Hebraica Quinta (BHQ) has two improvements over the older versions, especially in the electronic versions. I have all of the currently available volumes of BHQ on Logos, and I love them. So, the advantages are that they provide English translations of the Latin notes when you mouse over the term, and there now a textual commentary that comes with the text. That commentary might be the best that you'll find.

I just pulled up Genesis 1:1, and the following is a textual note from the BHQ. Note that this type of textual commentary is all over the BHQ.
1:1 בְּרֵאשִׁ֖ית The syntax of Gen 1:1–3 has been a matter of dispute from time immemorial, giving rise to much theological debate (see Skinner, Genesis, 13–14). The apparatus entry for בראשית in BHK³ and BHS (with slight variations) is as follows: “Orig βρησιθ vel βαρησηθ (-σεθ); Samar bā̊rā̊šẹt.” This may give a misleading impression that there is reliable text-critical support for a vocalization with the definite article. In the case of Origen, the textual evidence is very slender indeed, as indicated in Wevers’ critical apparatus (Genesis, 75). The Samaritan bā̊rā̊šẹt is in fact unarticulated, since, according to Samaritan Hebrew grammar, in which ר is geminated as any other consonant, it would have had a doubled ר: bā̊rā̊šẹt (see Ben-Ḥayyim, Grammar, 90; see also Rüterswörden/Warmuth, “בראשית mit Artikel,” 175). Thus Smr does not provide firm testimony for the determinative state.

The medieval commentators held varying positions. Rashi understood the finite verb בָּרָא as analogous to the infinitive בְּרֹא and arrived at a temporal clause subordinated to v. 3, so that the sequence of the verses does not follow the order of the creation. Ibn Ezra agreed with Rashi but considered v. 2 as the principal clause. This view was recently reinforced with syntactic arguments by Holmstedt, “Restrictive Syntax,” 56–57. Qimḥi, on the other hand, claimed that the word is in the absolute state, with an adverbial sense. This is attested by all ancient versions, which attribute to בראשית the function of a temporal complement of the following ברא. Thus, they establish the independent status of v. 1, attributing to the word the meaning of “the beginning,” i.e., the first point in time. See Orlinsky, Notes, 49–52; Westermann, Genesis, 1:78; Jenni, “Erwägungen,” 121–27.
Jason Hare
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יוֹדֵ֣עַ צַ֭דִּיק נֶ֣פֶשׁ בְּהֶמְתּ֑וֹ וְֽרַחֲמֵ֥י רְ֝שָׁעִ֗ים אַכְזָרִֽי׃
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Kenneth Greifer
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Re: Text-critical Bible commentaries

Post by Kenneth Greifer »

Jason Hare wrote: Fri Jan 15, 2021 10:02 pm The problem with Biblia Hebraica traditionally is that the notes are given in Latin. This was to make it accessible to everyone, given that not everyone is an English speaker. It has had the opposite effect for most people in America who study Hebrew, since Latin is generally inaccessible to us.

The new Biblia Hebraica Quinta (BHQ) has two improvements over the older versions, especially in the electronic versions. I have all of the currently available volumes of BHQ on Logos, and I love them. So, the advantages are that they provide English translations of the Latin notes when you mouse over the term, and there now a textual commentary that comes with the text. That commentary might be the best that you'll find.

I just pulled up Genesis 1:1, and the following is a textual note from the BHQ. Note that this type of textual commentary is all over the BHQ.
1:1 בְּרֵאשִׁ֖ית The syntax of Gen 1:1–3 has been a matter of dispute from time immemorial, giving rise to much theological debate (see Skinner, Genesis, 13–14). The apparatus entry for בראשית in BHK³ and BHS (with slight variations) is as follows: “Orig βρησιθ vel βαρησηθ (-σεθ); Samar bā̊rā̊šẹt.” This may give a misleading impression that there is reliable text-critical support for a vocalization with the definite article. In the case of Origen, the textual evidence is very slender indeed, as indicated in Wevers’ critical apparatus (Genesis, 75). The Samaritan bā̊rā̊šẹt is in fact unarticulated, since, according to Samaritan Hebrew grammar, in which ר is geminated as any other consonant, it would have had a doubled ר: bā̊rā̊šẹt (see Ben-Ḥayyim, Grammar, 90; see also Rüterswörden/Warmuth, “בראשית mit Artikel,” 175). Thus Smr does not provide firm testimony for the determinative state.

The medieval commentators held varying positions. Rashi understood the finite verb בָּרָא as analogous to the infinitive בְּרֹא and arrived at a temporal clause subordinated to v. 3, so that the sequence of the verses does not follow the order of the creation. Ibn Ezra agreed with Rashi but considered v. 2 as the principal clause. This view was recently reinforced with syntactic arguments by Holmstedt, “Restrictive Syntax,” 56–57. Qimḥi, on the other hand, claimed that the word is in the absolute state, with an adverbial sense. This is attested by all ancient versions, which attribute to בראשית the function of a temporal complement of the following ברא. Thus, they establish the independent status of v. 1, attributing to the word the meaning of “the beginning,” i.e., the first point in time. See Orlinsky, Notes, 49–52; Westermann, Genesis, 1:78; Jenni, “Erwägungen,” 121–27.
Jason,
That is a pretty tough explanation for me to understand.
Thanks for showing it.
Kenneth Greifer
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Re: Text-critical Bible commentaries

Post by Kenneth Greifer »

Kirk Lowery wrote: Fri Jan 15, 2021 7:06 pm Jason and Kenneth,

My memory says that there are no specifically text-critical commentaries for the HB. There are commentaries that are known for including a lot of TC, e.g., the Hermenaia series. But I'm not a text critic, nor the son of one. There are Facebook Text Criticism groups, although a question at NLM would be a good place to start for recommendations.

Kirk
Kirk,
I go on Google books, and I look up "text critical commentary Isaiah" or whichever book, and they have many that seem to discuss the Hebrew words a lot. Usually, I have noticed they are books on small sections like Isaiah 1-6, and they give English translations, and then they go line by line discussing Hebrew words in those verses, but they don't seem to write out the full Hebrew verse anywhere. I guess they expect you to look at the Hebrew in another book.

Maybe I am misunderstanding the words text critical. I have seen that phrase used about some Hebrew Bible commentaries.
Kenneth Greifer
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Jason Hare
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Re: Text-critical Bible commentaries

Post by Jason Hare »

Text critical means "having to do with textual criticism." It means that you look at the sources for the readings and try to understand what caused the variants and what is more likely representative of the earliest text form. It's a debate of what the text should say, as far as we can determine it. This is what BHS and (even more so) BHQ are good for.
Jason Hare
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יוֹדֵ֣עַ צַ֭דִּיק נֶ֣פֶשׁ בְּהֶמְתּ֑וֹ וְֽרַחֲמֵ֥י רְ֝שָׁעִ֗ים אַכְזָרִֽי׃
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Re: Text-critical Bible commentaries

Post by Jason Hare »

Folks on NLM are telling me that Baylor's handbooks are a good guide in this area.
Jason Hare
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יוֹדֵ֣עַ צַ֭דִּיק נֶ֣פֶשׁ בְּהֶמְתּ֑וֹ וְֽרַחֲמֵ֥י רְ֝שָׁעִ֗ים אַכְזָרִֽי׃
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Kenneth Greifer
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Re: Text-critical Bible commentaries

Post by Kenneth Greifer »

Jason Hare wrote: Mon Jan 18, 2021 4:52 am Folks on NLM are telling me that Baylor's handbooks are a good guide in this area.
What is NLM?
Kenneth Greifer
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Re: Text-critical Bible commentaries

Post by Kenneth Greifer »

Jason,

I think NLM means Nerdy Language Majors. I looked up NLM and bible discussion forum and it showed up.
I was really interested in what people like in text critical Bible commentaries. Do they prefer the Hebrew verse being written out totally or just the Hebrew words that are important in each verse?
Kenneth Greifer
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