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Old Testament Textual Criticism: A Practical Introduction [Paperback]

By Ellis R. Brotzman & Bruce Waltke (Foreward By)
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Item Specifications...

Pages   208
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.43" Width: 5.46" Height: 0.58"
Weight:   0.65 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Nov 1, 1993
Publisher   Baker Academic
ISBN  0801010659  
EAN  9780801010651  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
A basic guide to textual criticism and critical apparatus. Students learn to evaluate variant readings and understand transmission and manuscript history.

Publishers Description
An introduction to the Hebrew texts and versions, the theory of textual criticism, and the technical notes in Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia.

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More About Ellis R. Brotzman & Bruce Waltke

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Ellis R. Brotzman (PhD, New York University), now retired, was senior professor of Old Testament at Tyndale Theological Seminary in the Netherlands for more than twenty years. He lives in Houghton, New York.

Eric J. Tully (PhD, University of Wisconsin-Madison) is assistant professor of Old Testament and Semitic languages at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Practical introduction indeed  Apr 4, 2007
Brotzman does a good job of introducing one to the field of textual criticism (TC) and covering the essential issues and topics. It isn't an all-exhaustive work, but it is not intended to be one.

It's a good introduction and preparation for Tov's book, which should be the next logical step for someone seriously interested in the field of TC of the Hebrew Bible. However, a beginner would probably be overwhelmed by the host of technical terms and jargon used in Tov's book, unless he/she has some foundation to understand the basics, etc. I wouldn't recommend anyone to dive into Tov's book without the understanding of what TC is all about. Brotzman does a good job of that. He not only covers the basics of TC, but he also shows how to apply the principles in practice by providing a TC of the book of Ruth with a helpful commentary.

After reading his book, one can decide whether TC is something they are really interested in after all. If so, Tov is the next logical step. For the people new to the field, Brotzman's book is an inexpensive way to find out what it's all about.
How did the Old Testament get to us in such good shape and what are the apologetics for such a claim? Can someone who is not a student of Hebrew get some basic information on this subject? The answer is `Yes', with some effort, since the book is geared to an intermediate student of Hebrew, as stated near the end of the book.

Author Ellis Brotzman says that it is a "miracle" that Old Testament even exists, and a "double miracle" that it is highly accurate after its transmission from ancient times! I am very impressed with the care of the Old Testament by the Jewish custodians of the scriptures for such a long period of time. We have them to thank (through God's Providence) for what we have today. To explain how, Brotzman stayed fairly high-level, taking us from the creation of the original manuscripts to the present day, through different text styles, different language translations, and through the different gyrations of textual criticisms. Textual criticism, I found out, is a very organized, scholarly methodology of condensing the various texts into one that is as accurate as possible for our use today. To this end, Brotzman patiently goes through enough of the Hebrew language characteristics to allow us to understand what textual criticism is about. For example, I found that for hundreds of years early on, the Hebrew text was originally entirely consonantal, with the vowels being transmitted only through oral tradition. Later, the oral tradition was changed to written, and the vowels were indicated by adding the appropriate number of dots below the appropriate consonants. He lets us know in a general way how that works and the affect it has on the transmission accuracy of the text. He also gives examples of standard BHS texts with the margin notes on the sides and bottoms and what they mean, and the references they point to (other manuscripts, frequency of different types of errors, etc.). He also talks about the Dead Sea Scrolls and the great roll they play in validating the accuracy of the textual transmission. He then gives us some actual case studies from the book of Ruth and how the scholars settled the variant readings through textual criticism, applying the methodologies he describes earlier in the book.

The book took some work for me to understand, but it was worth it.

brotzman's writing  Jan 17, 2003
is concise enough to be understood and does lend something to the neat field of OT Text Criticism. it isnt exactly written for the expert in the field of hebrew knowledge (this is only my 4th semester of it), but the title says it all, "a practical introduction".
Not Enough Information  Feb 19, 2001
This book is well organized and speaks in a language that the novice can understand. Unfortunately, I have often been left with the impression that more information could have been added to the book so as to spare me a few trips to the library. I bought Brotzman's book when I was living in Germany at the same time I also bought "Textkritik der Hebräischen Bibel", the German translation of a Hebrew work by Emmanual Tov, also, I believe, translated into English as "Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible". I have to say that I prefer Tov's work. Tov provides more information on the various non-Hebrew versions, with Saadia ben Yusuf's Arabic translation being completely absent from Brotzman's book. Also, Tov's book has much more material on the Dead Dea Scrolls. Actually, Tov's book, being considerably larger, has more material on just about everything. Also, Tov's bibliographic information is more extensive and accessible, being listed with every chapter.

Brotzman's book is easier to understand (at least for me, as I was working with Tov in German), and perhaps this is why it is more commonly found in seminary bookstores than Tov's book. I would have to recommend Tov's book on account of the content, however. If you think you are too stupid to handle Tov's book, then this one is for you, but if that is the case, you'd best not meddle in Old Testament textual criticism.

I gave this book three stars because it is a complete introduction and provides all the basic information that a beginner needs to know. Beyond this, however, the book is really disappointing. I already knew pretty much everything in Brotzman's book before I read it and have never found any reason to refer back to it. Tov's book, on the other hand, though also an introduction, was a valuable reference to me long after I bought it and read it for the first time. Unfortunately, I lost that book during my move from Germany and have occasionally picked up Brotzman's book in hopes that it might answer some question that I had, only to be disappointed every time. Three stars is a generous award for this work.


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