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List of Hebrew Bible manuscripts

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Title: List of Hebrew Bible manuscripts  
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Subject: 6Q6, 4Q240, The Bible and history, Biblia Hebraica (Kittel), Nash Papyrus
Collection: Hebrew Bible Manuscripts, Old Testament-Related Lists
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List of Hebrew Bible manuscripts

Leningrad Codex text sample

A Hebrew Bible manuscript is a handwritten copy of a portion of the text of the Hebrew Bible (Tanakh) made on papyrus, parchment, or paper, and written in the Hebrew language. The oldest manuscripts were written in a form of scroll, the medieval manuscripts usually were written in a form of codex. The late manuscripts written after the 9th century use the Masoretic Text. The important manuscripts are associated with Aaron ben Asher (especially Codex Leningradensis).[1]

The original manuscripts and early copies of the Old Testament disappeared over time, because of wars, (especially the destruction of the First and Second Temples), and other intentional destructions.[2] As a result, the lapse of time between the original manuscripts and their surviving copies is much longer than in the case of the New Testament manuscripts.

The first list of the Old Testament manuscripts in Hebrew, made by Benjamin Kennicott (1776–1780) and published by Oxford, listed 615 manuscripts from libraries in England and on the Continent.[3] Giovanni de Rossi (1784–1788) published a list of 731 manuscripts.[4] The main manuscript discoveries in modern times are those of the Cairo Geniza (c. 1890) and the Dead Sea Scrolls (1947). In the old synagogue in Cairo were discovered 260,000 Hebrew manuscripts, 10,000 of which are biblical manuscripts.[5][6] There are more than 200 biblical manuscripts among the Dead Sea Scrolls, some of them were written in the Paleo-Hebrew alphabet. They were written before the year 70 AD. 14 scroll manuscripts were discovered in Masada in 1963–1965.[7]

The largest organized collection of Hebrew Old Testament manuscripts in the world is housed in the Russian National Library ("Second Firkovitch Collection") in Saint Petersburg.[4]

Codex Leningradensis is the oldest complete manuscript of the Hebrew Bible in Hebrew. Manuscripts earlier than the 13th century are very rare. The majority of the manuscripts have survived in a fragmentary condition.


  • Masorah manuscripts 1
  • Modern discoveries 2
    • Dead Sea Scrolls 2.1
      • Qumran Cave 1 2.1.1
      • Qumran Cave 2 2.1.2
      • Qumran Cave 3 2.1.3
      • Qumran Cave 4 2.1.4
      • Qumran Cave 5 2.1.5
      • Qumran Cave 6 2.1.6
      • Qumran Cave 11 2.1.7
  • See also 3
  • References 4
  • Further reading 5
  • External links 6

Masorah manuscripts

  • Severus Scroll (named for the Roman Emperor who restored this scroll, reportedly seized from the Temple in Jerusalem, to the Jewish community in 220), a lost manuscript of early 1st century AD, only a few sentences are preserved by Rabbinic literature
  • Codex Hilleli, a lost manuscript of circa 600 AD, destroyed in 1197 in Spain, only a few sentences are preserved by Rabbinic literature[8]
  • Codex Muggeh (or Muga)(="corrected"), lost, cited as a source in Massoretic notations.
  • Codex Orientales 4445, dated 820-850 AD; the manuscript contains Genesis-Deuteronomy 1:33 (less Numbers 7:47–73 and Numbers 9:12–10:18).
  • Codex Cairensis, (Prophets) pointed by Moses Ben Asher, dated by a colophon 895 AD (the oldest manuscript bearing the date of its writing), (was in Cairo, now in Jerusalem)
  • Codex Babylonicus Petropolitanus, (Latter Prophets) dated 916 AD, Russian National Library
  • Aleppo Codex, 930 AD, Israel Museum, (was complete, supposedly pointed by Aaron Ben Asher, partly destroyed in 1947); this manuscript is the basis of the Jerusalem Crown bible.
  • Codex Leningradensis, (complete) copied from a Ben Asher manuscript, dated 1008 AD, Russian National Library; this manuscript is the basis of the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia and other editions.
  • Michigan Codex, (Torah) 10th century[9]
  • Damascus Keter (Damascus Pentateuch), 10th century[10]
  • Codex Reuchlinanus (Prophets), dated 1105 AD.
  • Codex Yerushalmi, lost, reportedly used in Spain (circa 1010) by Jonah ibn Janah.
  • Erfurt Codices (complete, Berlin), E1 circa 14th century, E2 possibly 13th century, E3 possibly 11th century
  • Scroll 2, dated AD 1155-1255, University of Bologna Library
  • Codex Jericho, (Pentateuch) lost, cited in the notes to a Massoretic manuscript written circa 1310.
  • Codex Ezra, lost, C.D. Ginsburg owned a manuscript written in 1474 which purported to have been copied from this.
  • Codex Sinai, mentioned in Massoretic notes and reportedly used by Elia Levita (circa 1540).
  • Codex Sanbuki (named for Zambuqi, on the Tigris River), lost, frequently quoted in Massoretic annotations and apparently seen (circa 1600) by Menahem Lonzano.
  • Codex Great Mahzor, lost, mentioned in Massoretic notes (the title suggests that this codex contained only the Pentateuch and those selections from the Prophets that were read during the liturgical year)
  • Ben Asher Manuscripts.

Modern discoveries

  • Cairo Geniza fragments contains portions of the Old Testament in Hebrew and Aramaic, discovered in Cairo synagogue, which date from about 4th century AD

Dead Sea Scrolls

Dated Between 250 BC and 70 AD.[11]

Fragment or Scroll Identifier Fragment or Scroll Name KJV Bible Association Language Alternative Identifier Description Reference

Qumran Cave 1

1QIsaa Great Isaiah Scroll Large portion of the Book of Isaiah
1QIsab The Book of Isaiah A second copy of portions of the Book of Isaiah
1QGen Genesis 1:18-21; 3:11-14; 22:13-15; 23:17-19; 24:22-24 Hebrew 1Q1
1QExod Exodus 16:12-16; 19:24-20:2, 20:5-6; 20:25-21:1; 21:4-5 1Q2
1QpaleoLev Leviticus 11:10-11; 19:30-34; 20:20-24; 21:24-22:6; 23:4-8 and Numbers 1:48-50 Palaeo-Hebrew 1Q3
1QDeuta Deuteronomy 1Q4
1QDeutb Deuteronomy 1Q5
1QJudg Judges 1Q6
1QSam Samuel 1Q7
1QIsab Parts of the Book of Isaiah Parts of 1QIsab as 1Q8
1QEzek Ezekiel Parts of 1QIsab as 1Q9
1QPsa Psalms Hebrew 1Q10
1QPsb Psalms 1Q11
1QPsc Psalms 1Q12
1QDana Daniel 1Q71
1QDanb Daniel 1Q72

Qumran Cave 2

2QGen The Book of Genesis 2Q1
2QExoda The Book of Exodus 2Q2
2QExodb The Book of Exodus 2Q3
2QExodc The Book of Exodus 2Q4
2QpaleoLev Leviticus 11:22-29 palaeo-Hebrew 2Q5
2QNuma The Book of Numbers 2Q6
2QNumb The Book of Numbers 2Q7
2QNumc The Book of Numbers 2Q8
2QNumd The Book of Numbers 2Q9
2QDeuta The Book of Deuteronomy 2Q10
2QDeutb The Book of Deuteronomy 2Q11
2QDeutc The Book of Deuteronomy 10:8-12 2Q12
2QJer The Book of Jeremiah 2Q13
2QPs The Book of Psalms 2Q14
2QJob The Book of Job 33:28-30 2Q15
2QRutha The Book of Ruth 2Q16
2QRuthb The Book of Ruth 2Q17

Qumran Cave 3

3QEzek Ezekiel 16:31-33 3Q1
3QPs Psalms 2:6-7 3Q2
3QLam Lamentations 3Q3

Qumran Cave 4[12]

4Q Genesis-Exodusa Genesis-Exodus Hebrew 4Q1
4Q Genesisb Hebrew 4Q2
4Q Genesisc Hebrew 4Q3
4Q Genesisd Hebrew 4Q4
4Q Genesise Hebrew 4Q5
4Q Genesisf Hebrew 4Q6
4Q Genesisg Hebrew 4Q7
4Q Genesish-title Hebrew 4Q8 Appears to be the title of a Genesis manuscript.
4Q Genesish1 Hebrew 4Q8
4Q Genesish2 Hebrew 4Q8
4Q Genesish-para Hebrew 4Q8 Appears to have been a paraphrase of Genesis.
4Q Genesisi Hebrew 4Q9
4Q Genesisk Hebrew 4Q10
4Q paleoGenesis-Exodusl Hebrew 4Q11
4Q paleoGenesis-Exodusm Hebrew 4Q12
4Q Exodusb Hebrew 4Q13
4Q Exodusc Hebrew 4Q14
4Q Exodusd Hebrew 4Q15
4Q Exoduse Hebrew 4Q16
4Q Exodus-Leviticusf Hebrew 4Q17
4Q Exodusg Hebrew 4Q18
4Q Exodush Hebrew 4Q19
4Q Exodusi Hebrew 4Q20
4Q Exodusk Hebrew 4Q21
4Q paleoExodusm Hebrew 4Q22 note: [1]
4Q Lev-Numa Hebrew 4Q23
4Q Levb Hebrew 4Q24
4Q Levc Hebrew 4Q25
4Q Levg Hebrew 4Q26
4Q Numb Hebrew 4Q27
4Q Deuta Hebrew 4Q28
4Q Deutb Hebrew 4Q29
4Q Deutc Hebrew 4Q30
4Q Deutd Hebrew 4Q31
4Q Deute Hebrew 4Q32
4Q Deutf Hebrew 4Q33
4Q Deutg Hebrew 4Q34
4Q Deuth Hebrew 4Q35
4Q Deuti Hebrew 4Q36
4Q Deutj Hebrew 4Q37
4Q Deutk Hebrew 4Q38
4Q Deutu Hebrew 4Q38d
4Q Deutl Hebrew 4Q39
4Q Deutm Hebrew 4Q40
4Q Deutn Hebrew 4Q41
4Q Deuto Hebrew 4Q42
4Q Deutp Hebrew 4Q43
4Q Deutq Hebrew 4Q44
4Q paleoDeutr Hebrew 4Q45
4Q paleoDeuts Hebrew 4Q46

Qumran Cave 5

5QDeut The Book of Deuteronomy Hebrew 5Q1
5QKgs The Books of Kings Hebrew 5Q2
5QIsa The Book of Isaiah Hebrew 5Q3
5QPs The Book of Psalms Hebrew 5Q5
5QLama The Lamentations Hebrew 5Q6
5QLamb The Lamentations Hebrew 5Q7

Qumran Cave 6

Qumran Cave 11

11QLevb Leviticus Hebrew 11Q2
11QDeut Deutronomy Hebrew 11Q3
11QEzek Ezekiel Hebrew 11Q4
11QPsa Psalms Hebrew 11Q5 Contains 41 canonical Psalms.
11QPsb Psalms Hebrew 11Q6
11QPsc Psalms Hebrew 11Q7
11QPsd Psalms Hebrew 11Q8

See also


  1. ^ H. Kelley, Daniel Stephen Mynatt, Timothy G. Crawford, The Masorah of Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia: introduction and annotated glossary, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1998, p. 18
  2. ^ Randall Price, Searching for the Original Bible, Harvest House Publishers, 2007, p. 45-50
  3. ^ Thomas Hartwell Horne, An introduction to the critical study and knowledge of the Holy Scriptures (1836), vol. 2, p. 7
  4. ^ a b Old Testament manuscripts
  5. ^ Fragmentos do Gueniza do Cairo
  6. ^ David Sinclair, An Overview of the Bible (2006)
  7. ^ Würthwein Ernst (1988). Der Text des Alten Testaments, Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, pp. 38–39; translated into English and published in 1995 as Wurthwein, The Text of the Old Testament (2nd rev. ed, 1995, Grand Rapids, Mich., Wm.B. Eerdmans Publg. Co.)(this is the source for most of the dates of the mss listed).
  8. ^ Würthwein, Ernst (1995). The text of the Old Testament: an introduction to the Biblia Hebraica. Eerdmans Publishing. p. 38.  
  9. ^ Eleazar Birnbaum, The Michigan Codex: An important Hebrew Bible manuscript, Vetus Testamentum, vol. 17 pages 373-415 (Oct. 1967).
  10. ^ Damascus Pentateuch
  11. ^ Timothy Lim, The Dead Sea Scrolls: A Very Short Introduction, Oxford University Press, 2005, Dating the Scrolls, [2]
  12. ^,+Cave+4%27

Further reading

  • Würthwein Ernst (1988). Der Text des Alten Testaments, Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft 1988, p. 40–47; English translation The text of the Old Testament: an introduction to the Biblia Hebraica
  • Malcolm C. Davis, Ben Outhwaite, Hebrew Bible Manuscripts in the Cambridge Genizah Collections: Taylor-Schechter additional series 32–255, with addenda to previous volumes, Cambridge University Library 2003
  • Bernhard Pick, Lost Hebrew Manuscripts, Journal of the Society of Biblical Literature, [3] vol. 2, pages 122-127 (1882).
  • C. David Ginsburg, Introduction to the Massoretico-Critical Edition of the Hebrew Bible (1897, London: Trinitarian Bible Society), [4] especially chapt. XII, History and Description of the Manuscripts, pages 469-778, and elsewhere in the volume for information on lost mss.
  • Paul Kahle, The Hebrew Ben Asher Manuscripts, Vetus Testamentum, vol. 1, pages 161-167 (July 1951); mentions the Leningrad Codex, the Aleppo Codex, the Cairo Prophets (Codex Cairensis), and British Museum Or. 4445.
  • [Emil G. Hirsch],"Bible Manuscripts", Jewish Encyclopedia (1902)[5] volume 3, pages 178-181, includes information on lost mss.
  • Adolph Neubauer, The Introduction of the Square Characters in Biblical Manuscripts and an Account of the Earliest Manuscripts of the Old Testament, Studia Biblica et Ecclesiastica [6](Oxford Univ.), vol. 3, pages 1–36 (1891).

External links

  • Old Testament manuscripts
  • An Introduction to Hebrew Manuscripts
  • Dea Sea Scrolls Digital Library: Biblical compositions (218)
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