The SBL has a section called the "Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible"
section. Emanuel Tov's book has a similar title. On the other hand,
Wuerthwein's book is _The Text of the Old Testament_, and many seminaries
offer a course called Old Testament Textual Criticism. What are the
pros and cons of these terms, and are there better alternatives?
First, though Old Testament is obviously a term derived from the Christian
canon, even many Christian scholars favor the term "Hebrew Bible," in part
because it is less sectarian. However, when referring to textual
criticism, does this phrase not prejudice the discussion in favor of the
Hebrew _language_ witnesses, especially the MT? Especially when
dealing with books that apparently existed in different literary forms
(e.g., Jeremiah, Samuel, Ezekiel, Job), doesn't "textual criticism of the
Hebrew Bible" suggest that the form found in the MT be accorded some sort
of preference (cf. Tov, p. 317)? And what would textual criticism of the
book of Tobit be called?
What are the alternatives? "Textual criticism of the Tanakh" avoids the
term "Hebrew," and so could presumably refer indifferently to MT or LXX,
for example, but it stumbles over the differences between the
Jewish/Protestant and Catholic/Orthodox canons in regard to these books.
James Sanders and others use the term "First Testament," and "First
Testament textual criticism" does seem to avoid the problems of Old
Testament on the one hand and Hebrew Bible or Tanakh on the other. But
then aren't we forced to speak of "textual criticism of the Second
Testament" as well?
I would be interested to see what thoughts others might have on these
matters of terminology.
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