Manuscripts and Editions of the Tanakh
Torah scrolls are (usually) based on
The Rabbinic Bible, Mikraot Gedolot.
There have been many printed biblical texts, based on a variety of manuscripts. For example
the Hertz Chumash is based on the Letteris Bible published by
the British and Foreign Bible Society in 1866 and this edition is based to a large extent on a manuscript
of the Tanakh in a library in Erfurt, Germany. In 1933 the British and Foreign Bible Society
decided to replace the Letteris Bible by a new edition. The result was the Snaith Tanakh
published in 1958 (this is available in an
inexpensive edition ) based on some excellent Spanish manuscripts from around 1480.
For modern printed versions of the Tanakh the interest is in
Masoretic texts produced mainly in the period before the year 1000 CE by the
One of the Masoretic texts is the
Aleppo Codex and some scholars consider this to be the best text.
Unfortunately, most of the first five books are missing and their whereabouts, if they still exist,
is a mystery.
You can see pages of the manuscript and read more about its history at
Hebrew University has a
bible project based the Aleppo manuscript and other texts.
The other main masoretic text is the
Leningrad Codex (LC)
dating from 1008 and which fortunately is complete.
An edition of the Tanakh based on LC is the
Hebrew Old Testament Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia (BHS). This is meant for scholarly purposes
and contains many references to variations in other manuscripts
LC is the basis for the various printed editions of the Tanakh issued by the
Publication Society, the Dotan edition used by the Israeli Defense Forces, etc.
Starting in 1983 electronic versions of LC
have been produced by various universities and organizations. These versions were, and still are, constantly
corrected for new readings of the not always clear LC, as well as for coding mistakes.
The earlier electronic versions are the basis of the electronic text of the
J. Alan Groves Center for Advanced Biblical Research whose use is described on the
Hebrew Texts page. This version is unicode and XML based, resulting in
a text which can be viewed and printed in a variety of formats and sizes.