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ancient translations

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Oxford Biblical Studies Online What is This? This Glossary provides brief definitions of terms related to the Bible and biblical studies.

    ancient translations

    In the translators' notes to the NRSV and in some of the study materials, there are references to various ancient translations of the Bible. These translations—into Greek, Syriac, Aramaic, and Latin—are called “versions” and are used by biblical scholars to help to translate the Hebrew portion of the Bible. They are useful because they provide a method of checking the Hebrew text, which cannot be done directly in most cases. The oldest complete copies of the Hebrew text are about 1000 years old and are based on the text established by Jewish scholars(the Masoretic text). (Parts of the Hebrew Bible were found among the Dead Sea Scrolls, and these texts date to the second and first centuries bce.) The ancient versions, however, translated a Hebrew text that was older, and hence provide a window into early forms of the Hebrew text.

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