Test question: what is the oldest complete manuscript of the Hebrew Bible?

Very likely you thought it was the Dead Sea Scrolls. But you would be dead wrong.

The oldest complete manuscript of the Hebrew Bible that we have is called the Codex Leningradensis (because it was located in Leningrad, Russia). It dates to about the year 1000 AD. We do not have any complete manuscripts of the Bible before this.

You never hear about this from Christians. I wonder why?


Codex Leningradensis


Categories: Bible

8 replies

  1. The earliest NT manuscripts are in Greek right ?

    • @ qaqawani

      Dead Sea Scrolls are (potentially) the oldest manuscripts not a complete text like Paul is saying in the post.

      Samaritan is not a different dialect it is a different version of the Pentateuch. My personal favorite variation:

      Lxx and Masoretic: Ishmael(as) will be a wild ass of a man and every hand will be against him

      Samaritan: Ishmael will be a fruitful man every and every hand will be with him

    • https://www.ancient-hebrew.org/dss/great-isaiah-scroll-and-the-masoretic-text.htm Comparing Isaiah 53:11
      Of the 166 words in Isaiah 53, there are only 17 letters in question. Ten of these letters are simply a matter of spelling, which does not affect the sense. Four more letters are minor stylistic changes, such as conjunctions. The three remaining letters comprise the word LIGHT, which is added in verse 11 and which does not affect the meaning greatly. Furthermore, this word is supported by the Septuagint (LXX). Thus, in one chapter of 166 words, there is only one word (three letters) in question after a thousand years of transmission – and this word does not significantly change the meaning of the passage. (Norman Geisler & William Nix, A General Introduction to the Bible, Moody Press, Page 263).
      I have read the above quote recently and have also heard very similar statements in chat rooms, forums, bulletin boards, web sites and other publications in the past. While I have reviewed several passages of the book of Isaiah to compare the text of the Great Isaiah scroll found in the Dead Sea Caves with the Masoretic text, I decided to put the above quotation to the test. I began with verse 1 of chapter 53 and found that it did not take long to find 17 letters that varied from the Isaiah scroll and the Masoretic text. In just the first 3 verses of chapter 53, a total of 23 words in the Masoretic text and 24 words in the Great Isaiah scroll, I found 19 letters that were different between the two texts. Below is a picture of verses 1 through 3 in the Great Isaiah scroll. Each red dot above a letter represents an additional letter or changed letter in the Isaiah scroll that is not present or is different in the Masoretic text. The number next to each dot represent a corresponding number below the image describing the differences.

      • Nice propaganda on his part. Actually, the DSS hurts ALL the previous versions, (Masoretic, LXX and Samaritan) because it has variants from all 3 in it (and basically made the LXX relevant again)

      • that is lead tham to invent bible code/

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