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Products>Old Testament Textual Criticism: A Practical Introduction, 2nd ed.

Old Testament Textual Criticism: A Practical Introduction, 2nd ed.

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This accessibly written, practical introduction to Old Testament textual criticism helps students understand the discipline and begin thinking through complex issues for themselves. The authors combine proven expertise in the classroom with cutting-edge work in Hebrew textual studies. The book includes clear discussions of how biblical manuscripts were copied, how manuscripts relate to each other historically, how translators have affected the text, and the impact of different readings on our interpretation.

This successful classic has been thoroughly expanded and updated to account for the many changes in the field over the past twenty years.

Resource Experts

Key Features

  • Presents an expanded and updated version of the the popular seminary textbook on Old Testament textual criticism
  • Explores Old Testament textual criticism with a balance between foundational content and practical illustration
  • Includes examples, illustrations, an updated bibliography, and a textual commentary on the book of Ruth


  • Writing in the Ancient Near East
  • A Brief Overview of the Transmission of the Old Testament Text
  • Hebrew Texts of the Old Testament
  • Ancient Translations of the Old Testament
  • Critical Editions of the Old Testament Text
  • Scribal Changes in the Old Testament Text
  • Principles and Practice of Textual Criticism
  • Textual Commentary on the Book of Ruth

Top Highlights

“The method of textual criticism involves four steps. First, the text critic gathers the available manuscript evidence. Second, he or she compares the evidence and retroverts any translated versions back into Hebrew. Third, he or she evaluates the various readings and attempts to tell the ‘story’ of which reading is most original and which readings are secondary. Finally, the text critic selects the best, most original reading or emends the text.” (Page 134)

“Akkadian is the earliest attested Semitic language” (Page 10)

“The work of the Masoretes involved adding four elements to the protomasoretic consonantal text that they had received from the rabbis of the talmudic era: accentuation, vocalization, paratextual elements, and the Masorah.” (Page 51)

“Generally speaking, older manuscripts are preferable, because the closer a document is to the original text, the less likely that there could have been corruption.” (Pages 137–138)

“One of the standard maxims in textual criticism says that we should not count manuscripts, we should weigh them” (Page 137)

Praise for the Print Edition

It is a pleasure to welcome Brotzman’s work in its updated form. There is no better introduction to the field of Old Testament manuscripts and their text-critical study. It is ideal for the student with little or no background.

—Richard S. Hess, Earl S. Kalland Professor of Old Testament and Semitic Languages, Denver Seminary

This updated version of Brotzman’s original work provides a welcome introduction to Old Testament textual criticism that is well informed by recent scholarship. Incorporating current theories and analyzing newly developed resources, Brotzman and Tully’s judicious work gives students a firm foundation for understanding textual criticism in its unique Old Testament environment and for practicing it responsibly.

—John H. Walton, professor of Old Testament, Wheaton College

Without a doubt, this is the best textbook for introducing students to the textual history of the Hebrew Bible. It is both comprehensive and clear as it leads students into the essential discipline of textual criticism for biblical interpretation. We are indebted to Brotzman and Tully for providing a resource that does not avoid the complexities of the text but at the same time maintains the integrity of that text in terms of inspiration and authority.

—Miles V. Van Pelt, Alan Belcher Professor of Old Testament and Biblical Languages, Reformed Theological Seminary

This practical book shows readers how to take first steps in the practice of Old Testament textual criticism and how it is relevant to exegesis. The authors present a comprehensive yet readable survey of the transmission history of the Old Testament text, they show how to make proper use of the standard critical editions of the Hebrew Bible, and they present a workable approach for actually doing Old Testament textual criticism. By unpacking the entire critical apparatus of Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia for the book of Ruth, they provide expert guidance in how to decipher and utilize the textual information found there. I enthusiastically recommend it!

—Richard A. Taylor, senior professor of Old Testament studies, Dallas Theological Seminary

About the Authors

Ellis R. Brotzman (PhD, New York University), now retired, was senior professor of Old Testament at Tyndale Theological Seminary in the Netherlands for more than twenty years. He has taught at a variety of institutions around the world and continues to teach in his retirement.

Eric J. Tully (PhD, University of Wisconsin-Madison) is assistant professor of Old Testament and Semitic languages at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois. Prior to coming to Trinity, he taught at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Nashotah House Theological Seminary. Tully is the author of The Translation and Translator of the Peshitta of Hosea.

Sample Pages from the Print Edition


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  1. Andrew Heckmaster
    I own this book in print and on Logos. It is absolutely essential in every Christian library.
  2. Lincoln A. Bovee'