I was just reading an article that Tov posted online regarding to the specifics of his statistics. If you have the time to look at the article right now or tomorrow I would greatly appreciate it. Here’s the url and the article I’m reading is under "collected papers 2008-Hebrew Bible, greek bible and qumran" and the title of the article is 10.bibletexts.2008.pdf


This is a long article. I have read all the way through it and the author has literally not given a single actual textual variation.

Notice his thesis: It has been suggested, especially by the present author, that a large group of Qumran texts stand apart from the other ones because of their common use of a distinctive orthography, morphology, and a set of scribal practices.54 It was recognized that a whole series of scribal features occurs almost exclusively in texts that display a certain system of orthography and morphology. The fact that virtually all the sectarian texts from Qumran reflect this combined set of features has led to the suggestion that these texts had been copied by the group of people who left the texts behind in the Qumran caves, possibly written at Qumran itself, although this is not a necessary part of the hypothesis.

What I read from this is that the distinction of the non-Masoretic, non-Septuagint, non-Samaritan text is not actual textual variations. It is scribal features, orthograph (handwriting) and morphology (???). Therefore, it seems that little if any doubt about the reliability of the Hebrew text is raised by this distinction. In any case, according to this author, these "other" text types generally represent copies made with less care and with a freer copying style. Therefore, most or all of the textual variations introduced from these texts will be rejected by textual critics as reflecting the original.

Another quote from the article: The exclusive closeness of fifty-seven Qumran texts to the medieval texts (see above) is remarkable, while textual identity is spotted only for the texts from the other sites in the Judaean Desert

Another relevant quote: Usually the employment of the term “non-aligned” merely implies that the texts under consideration follow an inconsistent pattern of agreements and disagreements with the MT, LXX, and SP. In other words, these designations are not indicative of a different text type, but are simply hard to classify.

Also making the % of the independent texts significantly biased to be too high is that many are ligurgical (ie excepted readings used for other purposes). These generally very short readings should probably be excluded from the total if one is counting text types.

The article does not contain any actual information on textual variants, which was the question I asked you about. So, until I have actual textual information, rather than merely an attempt to classify texts, it will be really hard to comment on what these discoveries tell us about the relaibility of our Hebrew text. In summary, I believe that you should not be disturbed at all about the reliability of the Hebrew text from this information. The best I can tell, the DSS evidence does more to support than to deny the reliability of our received Hebrew text and the new information coming from this author, thus far, has not changed this conclusion.

John Oakes

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