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Studies in the Text of the Old Testament
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Studies in the Text of the Old Testament

An Introduction to the Hebrew Old Testament Text Project

by Dominique Barthelemy

English translation of the introductions to volumes 1, 2, and 3 of Critique Textuelle de l'Ancien Testament

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Studies in the Text of the Old Testament offers to the English-speaking world the combined introductions to the first three volumes of Dominique Barthélemy's Critique Textuelle de l'Ancien Testament. CTAT was the culmination of the Hebrew Old Testament Text Project, launched by the United Bible Societies in 1969 and carried out by an international team of Old Testament textual critics under the leadership of Eugene Nida. As Emanuel Tov has stated, these introductions form "an almost complete introduction" to the textual criticism of the Hebrew Bible. They hold an important place in Old Testament textual criticism and can stand alone, apart from the detailed discussions of the textual problems found in the volumes. Part one surveys the history of OT textual criticism "from its origins to J. D. Michaelis" and presents the Hebrew Old Testament Text Project and its goals. Part two describes in detail the background of the modern versions that the HOTTP took into account in its work. Part three, the most extensive section, discusses the textual witnesses—the different forms of the Hebrew text and the contribution of the ancient versions. As his concluding program for a critical edition makes clear, the groundbreaking work of Barthélemy and the HOTTP served as the basis for the new Biblia Hebraica Quinta, which began publication in 2004.

UBS undertook the HOTTP to offer Bible translators help in applying the results of textual criticism to their work, but there is no doubt that many others will benefit from this work, as well as the other volumes in the series Textual Criticism and the Translator.

Product Details

Publisher: Eisenbrauns
Publication date: 2012
Bibliographic info: xxxii + 688 pages
Language(s): English


Cover: Cloth
Trim Size: 6 x 9 inches



It is beyond doubt that Barthélemy's current work is indeed the most extensive treatment of OT textual criticism. In particular, his discussion of the historical development of Masoretic Hebrew text in part 3 is superb. His arguments and presentations are precise, clear, and erudite, with ample persuasive textual evidence. . . . it is a joy to read this virtuoso's masterful treatment of OT textual criticism. Many will greatly benefit from this opus magnum. — Sung Jin Park, Bulletin of Biblical Research 24.1 (2014)

. . . the present reviewer commends this tome for Bible translators, textual critics, advanced exegetes, graduate-level researchers, and religious academic libraries. The book provides a wealth of material to interact with, regardless of whether practitioners adopt every nuance of Barthélemy's methdologies and trajectories. — Mark A. Hassler, Master's Seminary Journal 25.1 (2014)

Dominique Barthélemy’s helpful and informative introductions to his multivolume work on the text of the Hebrew Bible are here translated from French into English and brought into one large volume of over six hundred pages. Supplementary material has also been added, such as additional sections by Barthélemy himself as well as editorial footnotes, which elucidate points or bring dated information up to date. . . . The book proper opens with a review of the history of textual criticism. This section is so well-written and translated that readers of all levels will find it highly entertaining and informative, which is no easy feat for scholarly writing. . . . The discussion . . . about euphemisms, canonizations, and other topics, will be of great interest to readers. . . . Readers will find weeks’ worth of data and stimulating ideas to work through. -- John Engle, Review of Biblical Ltierature 2013.

Barthelemy's work, represented here in synthesis, has had a vast and lasting impact on the field. Scholars and students of the Hebrew Scriptures are indebted to Eisenbrauns for making [Barthelemy's introductions] available, at long last, to English readers. — William Tooman, Religious Studies Review 39 (2013)

This . . . volume is a regular gold mine for anyone who wants to penetrate a little deeper in the textual criticism of the Old Testament. . . . Overall, [this book] in the series Textual Criticism and the Translator is an extraordinarily useful and usable work. Even Emanuel Tov, today's foremost expert on the Hebrew text of the Old Testament and its history, says of Barthélemy's work that it is "an almost complete introduction" to the textual criticism of the Hebrew Bible. — LarsOlov Eriksson, Svensk Exegetisk Årsbok 80 (2015) [translated from the Swedish]

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