How Meticulous were the First Century Jewish Scribes in Copying the Proto-Masorectic Text of the Hebrew Bible? Very!

The Great Isaiah scroll found at Qumran

Excerpt from

The forerunners of the proto-MT [Masoretic text]  scribes used several marks to communicate scribal information to later scribes. These practices were not invented by them for the copying of specifically biblical texts, but were used also in many of the biblical and non-biblical texts found in the Judean Desert, including texts that did not have a Masoretic character.  Despite the intention of the original scribes who made these marks, the scribes of MT sanctified the totality of the written surface of the texts they copied, and thus included these scribal marks.

MT includes scribal dots under or above letters serving to denote letters that had been deleted by the scribes, as often occurring in the Dead Sea Scrolls. These dots were meant to delete details in the text because it was technically difficult to erase letters from a leather scroll, and these dots were not meant to be copied to the next scroll.  Because of the extreme care taken in copying MT, the dots that appeared in the text from which the proto-MT text was copied were now included in the new copies through the medieval texts and our printed editions.

–Emanuel Tov, professor emeritus of the Bible, Hebrew University, Jerusalem

Gary:  Wow!  The Jewish scribes were so meticulous about maintaining the consistency and accuracy of the proto-Masoretic and Masoretic texts that they copied and recopied scribal “dots” in the text!

And some Christians claim that these scribes altered entire passages of the Hebrew Scripture to “erase” any suggestion that Jesus was the Messiah???  I don’t think so!

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