Hebrew text criticism requires working with texts in multiple languages. Fortunately, Accordance Bible Software and its extensive original language resources makes that task easier. Join Dr. J in this episode as he tackles the age-old problem of Deut 32:34-45. Does it prophesy a Day of Judgment, as the Samaritans argue? Or is it a more general promise that God will avenge his people, as found in the Massoretic text? The textual variants in these verses make all the difference.
Check out more episodes of the Lighting the Lamp podcast!
Walther Eichrodt (1890-1978) taught at University of Basel (Switzerland) from 1921-1966 where Karl Barth also taught. Previously, he had received his education at Griefswald, Heidelberg and Erlangen where, like Gerhard von Rad, he studied under Otto Procksch. He was a close colleague to Adolf Schlatter with whom he often led Bible conferences.
In 1933, Eichrodt broke with many of his recent teachers and peers by publishing Theology of the Old Testament (now in its 5th edition, 1960), affirming that the Hebrew Scriptures were not a substandard religious document, an idea that was in conflict with the prevailing German cultural mindset of the time. Throughout his life, although he remained a proponent of his contemporary understanding of an evolutionary origin to the Pentateuch as presented in the Documentary Hypothesis, nevertheless, he retained a very reverent view of the biblical text.
For Eichrodt, covenant (Hebrew: בְּרִית/bᵉriyṯ; German: bund) is the central theme of the OT. He defined covenant as God’s self-revelation in choosing people and how they should live (see ch. 2, "The Covenant Relationship" in vol. 1 for much greater detail than my summary here). Eichrodt suggests that covenant involves personal obligation of two parties, but the peculiar thing about biblical covenants was that God obligated himself. God’s covenant was mediated to Israel through charismatic leaders of their religious system. Covenant was so central to later events, that Eichrodt believed Moses and the events at Sinai to be historical, unlike some of his contemporaries at the time. According to him, Israel existed for the covenant, not the reverse. However, Eichrodt never quite reveals his view of exactly what happened at Sinai.
In choosing covenant as a central theme, Gerald Bray has suggested that Eichrodt was able “to uphold the doctrine of divine revelation, and to explain how God had been at work in the history of Israel” (Biblical Interpretation Past & Present, 1996, p. 386). Elaborating on the meaning of covenant, Eichrodt's first explanation focuses on how the covenant delivered through Moses “emphasizes one basic element in the whole Israelite experience of God, namely the factual nature of divine revelation.” Eichrodt explains that “God’s disclosure of himself…[is understood]…as he breaks in on the life of his people in his dealings with them and molds them according to his will that he grants them knowledge of his being.”
For Eichrodt, textual development began with oral tradition. Behind these oral traditions were specific historical events. Then there was a pre-textual reflection on the events which led to the production of the written sources of the Documentary Hypothesis: JEPD. Eichrodt points out that words held more power in ancient times than in contemporary times. He writes of “the cosmic power of God.” For him, the word of God is linked to the Spirit of God.
As stated earlier, Eichrodt held to the central theme of covenant in his theology. Rather than using a book-by-book approach, Eichrodt uses systematic categories to discuss the theology of the OT. Having a central theme gives him a number of benefits. First, it offers an organizing structure to Theology of the Old Testament since everything in the OT must therefore—somehow—be related to covenant. This also allows him to relate very divergent texts to each other because they had the single common element of the covenant connecting them. Second, it stresses the unity of the OT, which could be seen as a work containing multiple sources focused upon the same theme rather than a work of divergent literature that only had nationality as a common element.
Of course, one could ask how to fit the ever-present issue of Wisdom literature to the central-theme approach. How does the Song of Solomon relate specifically to covenant? If Eichrodt focuses on one major theme, how well can he treat divergent themes in Scripture? To be fair, E. A. Martens writes that “Eichrodt did not ignore the diversity others saw in the Old Testament. However, he started with the notion of theological unity. Other scholars since Eichrodt’s time have been more enamored with theological diversity in the Old Testament.”
Regardless of the one's opinion of a one-theme approach for the Old Testament, Eichrodt brought fresh understanding and insight into OT scholarship that arguably can still be wrestled with today. His two volumes on OT theology display not only his ability to communicate well, sometimes even poetically, but also they display his sincere devotion to God.
[Note: this blog post has been adapted from a review of Eichrodt's Old Testament Theology that I wrote a few years ago.]
Dr. Roy E. Gane is Professor of Hebrew Bible and Ancient Near Eastern Languages in the Old Testament Department and Director of the Ph.D./Th.D. and M.Th. Programs at the Theological Seminary of Andrews University. Hear Dr. Gane describe his use of Accordance Bible Software for both classroom and personal use. He calls Accordance "the most indispensable tool for everything I do." Regarding other Bible software platforms, Dr. Gane says, "There is no comparison for how intuitive Accordance Bible Software is." Also, don't miss Dr. Gane's praise of the new ETCBC Syntax for the Hebrew Bible in Accordance. You can't miss Dr. Gane's excitement about Accordance. He says that he would never consider doing any serious Bible study without it, and he says that "Every serious student of the Bible--and even the non-serious ones--should get Accordance!"
Dr. Daniel Kim is Assistant Professor of Old Testament and Semitics at Talbot School of Theology. Dr. Kim describes his own use of Accordance for personal study and research as well as his use in the classroom. Hear how he stuns students with Accordance's speed, ease of use, and power for studying and learning Hebrew. This video was filmed in November, 2016, in San Antonio, Texas, at the annual meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society.
Have you discovered the ETCBC Hebrew Syntax in Accordance? The ETCBC Advanced database of the Hebrew Bible (formerly known as WIVU database), contains the scholarly text of the Hebrew Bible with linguistic markup developed by the Werkgroep Informatica at the Free University (WIVU) of Amsterdam and edited by Eep Talstra of the Eep Talstra Centre for Bible and Computer (ETCBC).
Check out this short video for an overview (we recommend viewing at full screen in HD).
If you’ve invested the time to learn Hebrew, Accordance is the Bible Software for you! We have a host of Hebrew texts and resources -- and an amazing set of search tools. In this podcast Dr. J covers the five basic kinds of Hebrew searches, modifying those searches with search commands and symbols, and how to type in Hebrew.
Join Abram Kielsmeir-Jones in this webinar recorded on March 2, 2016, as he discusses basic Hebrew resources available for Accordance. This webinar will show the user how to get started with studies in Accordance using the Hebrew Bible, how to do basic Hebrew word studies, how to go deeper with Hebrew word studies and how to save your Workspace for repeated use.
If textual studies are your area of interest, your Accordance Library will not be complete without Emanuel Tov’s Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible and The Text-Critical Use of the Septuagint in Biblical Research. Together, these volumes leave no stone unturned in looking at manuscript evidence and development of the Hebrew Bible and its first translation, the Septuagint.
What is Textual Criticism? Tov defines it this way:
Textual criticism deals with the nature and origin of all the witnesses of a composition or text, in our case the biblical books. This analysis often involves an attempt to discover the original form of details in a composition, or even of large stretches of text, although what exactly constitutes (an) “original text(s)” is subject to much debate. In the course of this inquiry, attempts are made to describe how the texts were written, changed, and transmitted from one generation to the next [Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible, p. 1].
In the image at the left, Tim Jenney ("Dr. J") demonstrates for Emanuel Tov how his books on textual criticism integrate with the Accordance Library.
In the third revised and expanded edition of Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible, Tov emphasizes the significance of the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls and the impact this had on textual criticism of the Hebrew Bible. And if anyone wants to dismiss textual criticism as a practical exercise, Tov gives significant attention to the impact upon biblical exegesis as well as literary criticism.
Click on the image above for a closer look at Tov's Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible
As the history of the Hebrew Bible and Septuagint are so historically and textually intertwined, The Text-Critical Use of the Septuagint in Biblical Research (also in its third revised and expanded edition) is invaluable for understanding the development of these two corollary texts. As with his volume on the Hebrew Bible, Tov emphasizes the importance of textual criticism upon exposition and literary analysis. However, for the individual who has not yet discovered how to integrate the Septuagint into biblical research, this volume serves as an excellent introduction for determining how the Hebrew and Greek biblical texts work together.
Click on the image above for a closer look at Tov's The Text-Critical Use of the Septuagint in Biblical Research
The Accordance Team has analyzed both of Tov’s works on textual criticism with meticulous precision. All content has been tagged according to the following fields for Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible: English Content, Hebrew/Aramaic Content, Greek Content, Transliteration, Manuscripts, Scripture, Bibliography, Table Titles, Captions, Image Credits, and Page Numbers. The Text-Critical Use of the Septuagint in Biblical Research receives the same kind of careful attention with content assigned these fields: English Content, Scripture, Greek Content, Hebrew Content, Transliteration, Manuscripts, Bibliography and Page Numbers. Such careful tagging of Tov’s works allows the Accordance user to find the exact content needed quickly and efficiently.
Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible (3rd Edition) (Tov)
Regular Price $89.90
The Text-Critical Use of the Septuagint in Biblical Research (3rd Edition) (Tov)
Regular Price $42.90
When I took a masters-level textual criticism class under Dr. John Polhill in the early nineties, everything we studied was in books about the subject. We read about various textual traditions, but we weren't really able to look at them side-by-side. We learned about important manuscripts and codexes, but there was simply no easy way for us to examine these documents for ourselves. We were at the mercy of trusting those who had written about them.
The advent of Bible software has taken personal textual criticism to an entirely new level. For instance, Accordance allows me to place a modern eclectic Greek New Testament text and a Greek text from the Byzantine tradition side by side to discover the differences myself. I can go even further by examining high-resolution images of the original manuscripts and codexes and draw my own conclusions. Perhaps it's not quite the same as having direct access to an important textual source, but with the ability to zoom in on a page and examine these early handwritten documents myself, I am able to draw my own text-critical conclusions instead of having to merely depend upon the evaluations of others.
Accordance has had a long tradition of bringing important manuscript traditions and image collections for the use of the individual deeply interested in textual issues. And today, we both update a few of our previous offerings as well as deliver some entirely new titles to our users.
We are pleased to announce two new morphologically tagged Greek New Testaments from the Byzantine family of manuscripts.
The first is the GNT-Family 35, a new scholarly edition of the Greek New Testament from the Center for the Study and Preservation of the Majority Text (CSPMT). Also known as the Byzantine Greek New Testament (not to be confused with the Robinson-Pierpont Byzantine Textform 2005), this text, compiled from a consensus of readings from the Byzantine Kr or Family 35 textform, is the most current Greek text of its kind. The CSPMT plans for an eventual critical apparatus to accompany this Greek text.
In addition, this set comes with the more well-known GNT-Ecumenical Patriarchal Text, also known as the Antoniades Text. This is the official Greek text published by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople in 1904, incorporating corrections in the printed edition of 1912.
The Patriarchal Text was developed by a team led by Basil Antoniades, consulting numerous manuscripts of the Byzantine tradition and following the writings of John Chyrsostom whenever variants among the manuscripts existed.
The Leningrad Codex is the oldest complete manuscript (1008 CE) of the Hebrew Bible and the primary basis of modern editions such as Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia and the Biblia Hebraica Quinta. Working with the West Semitic Research Project, we have now incorporated nearly 1,000 images from the Leningrad Codex to be examined in parallel with any biblical text from within an Accordance workspace.
Few readers of the Hebrew Bible would be able to journey to St. Petersburg, Russia, to examine the pages of the Leningrad Codex for themselves. However, having access to the codex images in Accordance allows the user to examine the pages in high resolution. Moreover, the images are fully exportable from Accordance. In a sample export, the image of one leaf from the codex measured 3673 x 4090 pixels.
Leningrad Codex Images
Regular Price $129; Sale Price $129
Accordance users who are seriously involved in Greek studies and textual criticism have long valued our New Testament MSS Images bundle. Now, in partnership with the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts, we're greatly expanding this set with the introduction of additional texts and a new name: Greek MSS Images. This collection of images includes all previous titles and will now add the Septuagint from Codex Sinaiticus, as well as 1-2 Clement from Codex Alexandrinus. The Septuagint from Codex Alexandrinus will be added later at no additional cost. Several titles in the previous NT MSS Images have also been updated with links to high-resolution online images.
A discounted upgrade price is available for Accordance users who previously purchased NT MSS Images.
Our DSS Index has been updated to include hyperlinks to images housed at the Israel Museum as well as the Accordance Dead Sea Scrolls Images. The Index also includes the latest content updates from Dr. Martin Abegg. This is a free update to the DSS Index; a paid upgrade from the older Qumran Index. No actual images are stored or loaded in this module; links are provided for reference only.
DSS Index upgrade from Qumran Index
Buy Now for $20.00
As the name suggests, the Biblia Hebraica Quinta (BHQ) represents the fifth in a series of texts of the Hebrew Bible that started in 1906. The fourth edition, Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia (BHS) was finished in 1977 and has remained the standard Hebrew text for scholarly research since then. The BHS followed a single manuscript, the Leningrad Codex, but introduced a new apparatus and reproduction of the Masorah. The BHQ follows suit, improving upon the text (still based on the Leningrad Codex) and addresses similar but, in many cases, more exhaustive material. In addition, the Commentary on the critical apparatus brings an extremely valuable angle to the text and decisions that lay behind its reproduction in the edition.
The Accordance edition follows in-line with this century-long tradition in promoting academic inquiry into the text of the Hebrew Bible, but in a new and exciting fashion. We discussed at length how best to weave together the various components of the BHQ in a fashion that, in the end, creates an intuitive and powerful combination not easily attained in the print edition.
This first installment includes three fascicles: Deuteronomy, Megilloth (Ruth, Canticles [Song of Songs], Qoheleth [Ecclesiastes], Lamentations, Esther), and Ezra & Nehemiah, with two more planned in the immediate future: Twelve Prophets, and Proverbs — which will be offered as a free upgrade to all who purchase it now for $149.99. Future installments will be available over time and priced accordingly.
In order to get a first-hand feel for this exciting resource, check out the following screencast.