Bible Review 16:3, June 2000

The Book of Jeremiah: a Work in Progress

By Emanuel Tov

The Book of Jeremiah (or should we say the Books of Jeremiah?) provides us with a unique opportunity to explore how a biblical book developed over time. That is because we can compare in detail two quite different versions that have come down to us.

These two versions—or witnesses, in more scholarly jargon—are (1) the so-called received Hebrew text known as the Masoretic Text, or MT for short,1 and (2) the Greek translation known as the Septuagint, or LXX for short.2 MT is 20 percent longer than LXX. And the arrangement of the text and chapters differs somewhat between the two versions. No other book among the Law and Prophets exhibits as many textual variations as are found in these two versions of Jeremiah.

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