Masoretic Text



When comparing the Masoretic Text with other manuscripts that serve as the basis for Bible translations today, they are virtually identical!



Hebrew Manuscripts of the Masoretic Text:

The Old Testament was written primarily in the Hebrew language as well as in Aramaic. Coming into the 20th Century, the oldest Hebrew copies (of the Old Testament) possessed by scholars were from a collection of manuscripts called the Masoretic Text.

Some time after the Romans destroyed Jerusalem in 70AD and the Jews were carried off in the Diaspora, a Jewish scribal tradition arose. These scholars, who sought to preserve Jewish Holy Writ by transcribing it, were known as the Masoretes (meaning the “transmitters” or could also possibly come from the Hebrew word meaning “wall” or “fence”). It should be noted that this scribal tradition goes much further back than 70AD to the Levites – and seems to have been passed down through the Levitical priest Ezra.

To date we have discovered approximately a thousand copies of different Masoretic manuscripts all over the Mediterranean as well as the Eastern European world. These copies date back to between 850AD and 1100AD.



The Leningrad Codex is an example of one of these ancient copies of the Old Testament (or at least a portion of it). Note the Leningrad Codex from 1010AD.