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Old Testament Textual Criticism: A Practical Introduction Paperback – November 1, 1993


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Old Testament Textual Criticism: A Practical Introduction + From Exegesis to Exposition: A Practical Guide to Using Biblical Hebrew + A Guide to Biblical Hebrew Syntax
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Baker Academic; 10.2.1993 edition (November 1, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801010659
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801010651
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.5 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #99,442 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Reading Fan on October 14, 2005
Format: Paperback
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.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By "preacher-saldi" on January 17, 2003
Format: Paperback
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".
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Paul Rules on January 8, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a great introduction. The terms are clearly defined, and important topics are introduced and discussed. It is not completely comprehensive, as the forward identifies. It is meant to be an introduction. It is also helpful in giving a good introduction into reading the BHS notes. It is well written, and easy to read. The footnotes are very helpful for further study.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jason Armold on June 5, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book will serve as an excellent, though brief, introduction to the field of Old Testament Textual Criticism. Required reading at most seminaries, Brotzman's work provides the reader with the foundational knowledge necessary to understand both the historical transmission as well as the modern discipline of interpreting the text of the Hebrew Scriptures.

Brotzman opens his work with a brief, but thorough history of the transmission of the text of the Hebrew Scriptures up to the present, with particular emphasis on the derivation of the Masoretic Text as found in "Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia" (from the Leningrad Codex). Brotzman then provides the reader with a concise overview of the process of evaluating textual variants as found in the apparatus of BHS. Also in this section is a helpful introduction to BHS and its manifold notational idiosyncrasies. A helpful appendix will serve as a welcome reference to the beginning user of BHS.

In the last chapter of the work, Brotzman provides and example of the task of textual criticism through via a walk-through of the textual variants found in the Book of Ruth. Though not meant to be an exhaustive commentary on Ruth, Brotzman interacts with various notable commentators (Hubbard, Sasson, etc) on the book and with the ancient Versions as well (LXX, Peshitta, Vulgate and Medieval MSS).

I personally have given the book four stars out of five as I feel that while an adequate introduction to the discipline of Hebrew Textual criticism, as an introductory text, it assumes some knowledge many readers (particularly at an undergraduate level) may not yet have.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Richard M. Wright on October 26, 2011
Format: Paperback
I am teaching 2nd year Biblical Hebrew at a state university and wanted to review some materials in order to give students a basic introduction to textual-criticism. A colleague recommended this and lent me a copy.

This is an excellent introduction. Well written, clear and simple English, in a way it digests and presents in simpler form information one finds in Tov, Wurthwein, to a lesser extent McCarter, and others. Perhaps one of the strongest features of the book is the final chapter which addresses text-critical issues in Ruth. "Now that I've explained all this history, background, and theory - this is how you do textual criticism".

Let me preface my mild critique of the book by stating Brotzman is clearly an excellent and vastly better scholar than I. I am not a textual critic by training, so my review is like a general practitioner commenting on a book by a neurosurgeon. Brotzman's book has a mild "bias" and refers often to the work of scholars from the more "conservative/evangelical" end of the spectrum. In and of itself, so what? At times Brotzman might overstate the case for the reliability of the Masoretic Text in comparison to other text types/traditions. (For the record that has been my bias until recently.

But that is a very mild critique. Still much worth owning and reading. Be sure to read other works with different viewpoints. Other books on textual criticism help show the broader range of scholarly opinion on some issues.
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