Hebrew University Tracking The Evolution Of The Bible

08.15.11 |

   Scholars at Hebrew University have been quietly at work for 53 years on one of the most ambitious projects attempted in biblical studies — tracking the Bible's evolution. They are working on publishing an authoritiative edition of the Old Testament, and tracking every single change over centuries and millennia.  This is an endeavor so meticulous, that in more than five decades of work the scholars have published a grand total of three of the Hebrew Bible's 24 books. (Christians count the same books differently, for a total of 39.) A fourth is due out during the upcoming academic year. If the pace is maintained, the final product will be complete a little over 200 years from now.  And here's a heads up-- there will be some changes when they are done, because of what they call "hiccups" in the transcribing. For example, The Book of Jeremiah is now one-seventh longer than the one that appears in some of the 2,000-year-old manuscripts known as the Dead Sea Scrolls.