Evaluate external evidence
Begin with Biblia Hebraica apparatus
Critical Hebrew texts with apparatuses are a good place to
start. Since Biblia Hebraica (BHS,
BHQ) and The Hebrew Bible: A Critical Edition (HBCE) have
different philosophies and approaches each can help in different ways. While
the primary outcome of working with an apparatus is evaluating witnesses and
establishing the text, the process offers some exegetical benefits as well. Since
the agenda of BHS editors includes suggesting emendations the apparatus
helps students identify difficult contexts for interpretations irrespective of
text critical outcome. Since BHQ offers literary and text critical
discussion together in the commentary on its apparatus students can begin to identify
potential interpretive issues even while determining provisional text critical
decisions. Stated simply: Textual difficulties are also exegetical
opportunities, ancient and modern. Both BHS and BHQ have problems
and limitations, but both, used well, can offer helpful advantages.
The student should translate the apparatus into clear,
straightforward English. This requires using apparatus glossaries in the front
of volumes and/or other helps. Although this takes much effort at first, like
anything else, regular decoding and evaluating makes it easier. BHS apparatus
involves the additional challenge of using Latin and BHQ apparatus,
while in English, does not back-translate ancient witnesses to Hebrew, in order
to avoid creating additional conjecture, thus leaving the task to users. The provided
illustrations are to get one started, but understanding comes through hands on practice.
Biblia Hebraica apparatus (BHK,
BHS, BHQ) (Deut 32:8)
For further reading
Hebraica, ed. Rudolf Kittel, 7th ed. (Stuttgart: Württ. Bibelanstalt, 1937,
1951), BHK Gen-Kgs, BHK Isa-Chron, BHK apparatus abbreviations
Hebraica Quinta: Genesis, ed. Abraham Tal (Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 2015); Biblia Hebraica Quinta: Deuteronomy, ed. Carmel McCarthy (Deutsche
Bibelgesellschaft, 2007); Biblia Hebraica
Quinta: Judges, ed. Natalio Fernández Marcos (Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 2012); Biblia Hebraica Quinta: Minor Prophets, ed. Anthony Gelston (Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 2010); Biblia Hebraica Quinta: Proverbs
(Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 2008); Biblia
Hebraica Quinta: General Introduction and Megilloth, ed. J. de Waard, et al
(Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 2004); Biblia
Hebraica Quinta: Ezra and Nehemiah, ed. David Marcus (Deutsche
Hebraica Stuttgartensia, 5th ed. (Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 1997). BHS text
Freedman, David Noel, ed. The Leningrad Codex: A Facsimile Edition
Leningrad Codex (facsimile); L in high-def; about L
Scott, William R.
A Simplified Guide to BHS (D. &
F. Scott Publishing, 1987).
Reinhard. Understanding BHS: A Manual for
the Users of Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia, 3rd ed. (Roma: Pontificio
Istituto Biblico, 2001).
Also see "Textual Criticism" section of Biblical Hebrew bibliography.