Breaking News – Sister of the Earliest Complete Old Testament Found

TYndale House Newsletter Header June 2017

TYNDALE HOUSE PRESS RELEASE

Tyndale House, Cambridge, England

Discovery published in the Tyndale Bulletin 68.1 (2017) 1-29

Tyndale House, Cambridge, announces a new discovery made by young researcher Dr Kim Phillips published in its latest Tyndale Bulletin 68.1.

Tyndale House Research Associate Dr Kim Phillips identifies the writing style of Samuel ben Jacob in newly published digitised photographs of a manuscript from the Firkowich collection in the depths of the National Library of Russia archives of St Petersburg. Locked away from the eyes of interested researchers for a number of years these microfilms have recently been posted online by the National Library of Israel. Due to painstaking work in the unusual practices of this
scribe Dr Phillips has been able to identify that this is Samuel ben Jacob’s work despite there not being any identifying colophon, or signed publication note, on the text. The mystery of who wrote these texts has been decoded.

Samuel ben Jacob is the scribe who wrote The Leningrad Codex, the earliest complete copy of the Old Testament we have reproduced in Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia. This manuscript is behind most modern translations. Identifying this piece of work to be by the same scribe will allow scholars to check the accuracy of tiny details in the manuscript behind most modern Bible translations. This will then contribute to future scholarly Bibles.

“For the first time (for scholars outside Israel and Russia) it is possible to contextualise the readings of the Leningrad Codex against the background of equivalent readings in other manuscripts known to have been written by Samuel B. Jacob”

Dr Kim Phillips Tyndale Bulletin 68.1 p. 20

The Article is available online at www.tyndale.cam.ac.uk/tyndale-bulletin

For further information, please contact:

Alice Jackson, Communications Officer at Tyndale House, Cambridge.

communications@tyndalehouse.com | 01223 566 624 | www.tyndalehouse.com

Tyndale House is a registered charity no. 1161396 Limited company registration no. 9437542
Registered Office: Tyndale House, 36 Selwyn Gardens, Cambridge, CB3 9BA UK

NOTES TO EDITORS

Tyndale Bulletin 67.2 (2016) 287-307 Phillips has previously published work demonstrating single folios found in the Cairo Genizah to be by Samuel ben Jacob, using a set of identifying features, or fingerprints, that collectively point to this particular scribe’s handiwork.

For further details of the Cairo Genizah and its significance visit newly opened exhibition Discarded History: The Genizah of Mediaeval Cairo providing “a window on the life of a community a thousand years ago – a Jewish community in the centre of a thriving Islamic empire, international in outlook, multicultural in make up, devout to its core.” Cambridge University Library www.lib.cam.ac.uk

Tyndale House is an independent evangelical charity founded in 1944 to advance biblical research. It possesses one of the finest libraries for biblical research in the world, packed with specialist material on the language, culture, history, and meaning of the Bible and enjoys close links with the University of Cambridge. Tyndale Bulletin is a peer review journal of Biblical and Theological research. Published twice a year our next Tyndale Bulletin 68.2 is due out later this year.

Research Fellows working at Tyndale House are involved in various personal and collaborative projects.

Forthcoming Publications at Tyndale House

The Greek New Testament, Produced At Tyndale House, Cambridge. Expected Publication Date November 15th, 2017. Published by Crossway and Cambridge University Press

The Greek New Testament, Produced at Tyndale House, Cambridge has been created under the oversight of editors Dr. Dirk Jongkind (St Edmund’s College, University of Cambridge) and Dr. Peter Williams (Tyndale House, Cambridge). While a few trusted Greek texts are in print, significant advances have been made in Greek translation studies of the New Testament since a standard text was adopted by academics in 1975. Together with their team, they have taken a rigorously philological approach to reevaluating the standard text – reexamining spelling and paragraph decisions as well as allowing more recent discoveries related to  scribal habits to inform editorial decisions. Ideal for students, scholars and pastors alike, and published to coincide with the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, The Greek New Testament, Produced at Tyndale House, Cambridge is a groundbreaking contribution to biblical scholarship.

For further details visit https://www.crossway.org/bibles/the-greek-new-testament-produced-at-tyndal-hconly/

Codex Climaci Rescriptus

Codex Climaci Rescriptus is an important and complex palimpsest containing much biblical text and many mysteries. Dr Kim Phillips is working alongside the Tyndale House Student Scholars Program to describe and publish this extraordinarily complex and intriguing manuscript. Research carried out on the codex is supported by the Museum of the Bible. For further details visit www.museumofthebible.org

www.stepbible.org

The STEP Bible is a free online resource providing translation overlays, which show the underlying biblical Hebrew and Greek, and explain how particular words were used in the ancient world. Tyndale House is currently working with the United Bible Society to create a Swahili version of STEP and our next project will be to create a Spanish version, as we seek to make this a multi-lingual resource.

What is the background to this discovery?

Codex Firkowich B19a (more commonly known as The Leningrad Codex, or L for short) was completed in around 1008. It is the earliest complete codex of the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament).

  • L is the main manuscript behind the Hebrew Bibles used by scholars called the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia and the Biblia Hebraica Quinta (more recent, but not yet complete). See https://www.academic-bible.com/en/home/current-projects/biblia-hebraica-quinta-bhq/.
  • The textual traditions found in L and other manuscripts from the same period are referred to as The Masoretic Text (i.e. the text of the Hebrew Bible produced by a group of scholars called the Masoretes, between the 7th and 10th centuries).
  • Thousands of tiny details in L differ from the other high-quality Hebrew Bible codices written in the same period. Scholars have debated these differences: do they reflect an intentionally different Masoretic tradition, or are they simply errors?
  • The new manuscript, L17, will allow scholars to check whether those differences in the Leningrad Codex are deliberate. This will alter future scholarly Bibles, and will contribute to our understanding of how The Masoretic Text developed.

Both manuscripts were written by a scribe called Samuel ben Jacob (Samuel son of Jacob) Phillips has previously published demonstrating single folios found in the Cairo Genizah to be by Samuel ben Jacob, using a set of identifying features, or fingerprints, that collectively point to this particular scribe’s handiwork.

See http://www.lib.cam.ac.uk/collections/departments/taylor-schechter-genizah-research-unit for details of the Cairo Genizah and its significance.

What is its significance?

This discovery is significant because it will allow scholars to check the accuracy of tiny details in the manuscript behind most modern Bible translations. Scholars have not previously been able to agree about the accuracy of the scribe behind the earliest complete manuscript of the Hebrew Bible.

• The Leningrad Codex is the main basis for the Old Testament in most Bible translations in the world

o Including most English translations
o And most scholarly editions of the Hebrew Bible

• Scholars will be able to use this newly identified manuscript to check the accuracy of the most widely used manuscript of the Old Testament.

Who discovered it?

Research by Dr Kim Phillips, Research Associate at Tyndale House, Cambridge, and Research Associate at the Taylor-Schechter Genizah Research Unit, University of Cambridge, aged 35.

About Dr Phillips

Photo of Kim Phillips available for use by media

Qualifications: MA, MPhil, PhD from University of Cambridge; PGDip from University of Wales Research Associate at Tyndale House [www.tyndalehouse.com] carrying out research on the Codex Climaci Rescriptus and on early Masoretic Manuscripts, research supported by the Museum of the Bible [https://www.museumofthebible.org]

Tyndale House is an independent evangelical charity founded in 1944 to advance biblical research, which is also producing its own edition of the Greek New Testament to be published by Crossway and Cambridge University Press this November. See www.tyndale.cam.ac.uk/thgnt_blog 

Research Associate at the Taylor-Schechter Genizah Research Unit, University of Cambridge [http://www.lib.cam.ac.uk/collections/departments/taylor-schechter-genizah-research-unit/unit-staff/dr-kimphillips]
Taylor-Schechter Genizah Research Unit, University of Cambridge, is a collection of around 193,000 manuscript fragments making up the world’s greatest repository of information about Judaism for the mediaeval period and much of the early modern period.

See http://www.lib.cam.ac.uk/collections/departments/taylor-schechter-genizah-research-unit

How was it discovered?

Phillips identifies Bible manuscript in St Petersburg, Russia, as by the scribe who also wrote the famous Leningrad Codex, the earliest complete copy of the entire Old Testament in Hebrew.

Identification only became possible in 2017 when the National Library of Israel put digital copies of old microfilms of the collection in St Petersburg online.

What was discovered?

The newly identified manuscript

  • is also known to scholars as L17.
  • contains Joshua–2 Kings (i.e. Joshua, Judges, 1–2 Samuel, 1–2 Kings)
  • was dated by Israel Yeivin to around AD 975, earlier than the Leningrad Codex
  • was already known to a few scholars, but they were not aware of its link with the Leningrad Codex
  • was originally around 240 folios (480 sides) long and is now about 180 folios (360 sides) long
  • is in the Russian National Library and is labelled in two parts: EVR I Bibl. 80 and EVR I B 13

The identification by Phillips is based on 11 distinctive traits of the scribe called Samuel ben Jacob (Samuel son of Jacob)

Where can these images be found online?

National Library of Israel
National Library of Russia
Discovery published in the Tyndale Bulletin 68.1 (2017) 1-29
The article is available online at www.tyndale.cam.ac.uk/tyndale-bulletin

For further information, please contact:

Alice Jackson, Communications Officer at Tyndale House, Cambridge.
communications@tyndalehouse.com | 01223 566 624 | www.tyndalehouse.com

Evangelical Quarterly Digitisation Completed

Evangelical Quarterly Digitisation
Over 70 issues of Evangelical Quarterly now in Wycliffe Hall Library

The Evangelical Quarterly (1929-present) represents a tremendous resource for Bible students. It contains contributions from the best of 20th Century Evangelical scholarship, including G.W. Bromiley, I. Howard Marshall and F.F. Bruce. This morning I completed the digitisation of the back-issues, a project that I have been working on for over 10 years. Paternoster Publication’s archive of this journal was destroyed in the 1990s, so a complete set of scans has been sent to the current publisher. I would like to acknowledge the assistance of a number of UK Bible College who provided copies for scanning, including Highland Theological College, Wycliffe Hall and Tyndale House.

You can now access hundreds of Evangelical Quarterly articles by clicking here

Why are not all the articles on-line?

This is an important question. Paternoster Publications had a somewhat unique copyright arrangement. After one year from publication the rights reverted to the author, who could then have his/her work republished elsewhere. So make the run of over 1,500 articles available in any format it is necessary to contact each of the hundreds of authors. As many of these authors are deceased their literary executors have to be tracked down. Whilst I have been able to obtain a large number of permissions, the search continues for many others. If anyone knows an author whose work is not on-line as yet – or his/her executor – do ask them to contact me. More recent issues are less of a problem as the Publisher provides me with PDFs for uploading 5 years after publication – though again, the author’s permission is always required.

Tyndale House News – June 2017

TYndale House Newsletter Header June 2017

Reproduced by permission of Tyndale House Communications Dept.

 

Langham Partnership Welcomed Back

Following the completion of our single rooms renovation we were delighted to welcome Dr Chris Wright, Dr Ian Shaw and some of this year’s Langham scholars to Tyndale House to mark the designation of a Langham room available for the purpose of Langham scholars to use in the months and years to come.

 

Licence signing

Licence signing between Crossway with Cambridge University PresMay marked the licence signing between Crossway with Cambridge University Press for further publication of the new edition of the Greek New Testament, expanding its academic field of distribution.

Interested in finding out more? Visit the Greek New Testament blog

 

Professor Steve Walton’s Inauguration

Congratulations to Steve Walton, former Tyndale House Honorary Research Fellow, who delivered his inaugural professorial lecture at St Mary’s University, Twickenham last month.

Professor Steve Walton's Inauguration

Speaking on how Luke ‘does theology’, both drawing out principles of Luke’s approach, and looking at how particular parts of his Gospel and Acts communicate about God and God’s ways, watch Steve’s lecture here.

Tyndale House Library

John S. Andrews Plaque

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Alison Stacey, Tyndale House archivist talking at the Christians in Library and Information Services' visit to Tyndale House.
Alison Stacey, Tyndale House archivist talking at the Christians in Library and Information Services’ visit to Tyndale House.

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