“The Text of the Old Testament” by Al Wolters

Wolters, reviewing the discussion within textual criticism, divides the discussion into two realms: 1) the history of the transmission of the text, and 2) recovering an authoritative starting point for the translation and interpretation of the Old Testament. In the area of the transmission of the text, he explains the importance of the discoveries at Qumran and the significance the Dead Sea Scrolls have on the discipline of textual criticism. As scholars have studies these manuscripts, some have changed their views of the Masoretic Text, LXX, and the tradition of other text families.

The debate that surrounds the question of authority has changed little, however. The question is still, “what should be considered authoritative?” The various views across the spectrum include only the original text, the canonical or received text, canonical texts (plural), or all of the texts (representing all of the various textual and theological traditions). Wolters observes, at the same time, that more people are holding a stronger view of the MT and proto-MT text tradition on account of the multiplicity of texts. On the other hand, some are still willing to accept more than one version of a text as canonical or authoritative. Overall, Wolters’ coverage of the field of Old Testament textual criticism is balanced as he touches on the primary issues.