Author: FENG Chengwei, Researcher, Institute of Translation and Interpretation of Christian Classics, Asia Research Center, USA; LIU Wenchen, Researcher, Institute of Translation and Interpretation of Christian Classics, Asia Research Center, USA
In the field of biblical studies, the textual criticism of the Hebrew Scriptures is mostly ignored in Chinese scholarly circles. This paper gives a quantitative study of the two prominent Hebrew texts, and provides an accurate comparison between the Great Isaiah Scroll in the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Masoretic text. In order to understand the degree of similarity and the valuable differences between the two texts, this paper will firstly provide a brief survey of the latest international research on the Dead Sea Scrolls, and then conduct a quantitative comparison between the two texts through two methods. The first method is to use the model of classification proposed by Abegg, Flint and Ulrich, and the second method is to compare the two texts word by word. The author argues at the conclusion that the degree of similarity between the Great Isaiah Scroll and the Masoretic Text is 84.4% according to the first method, and 82.0% according to the second method. This rectifies the often-quoted but mistaken analysis appears in many contemporary English and Chinese scholarly publications. The author also illustrates the value of the differences in the Great Isaiah Scroll, which will affect Chinese Biblical translations and Biblical Exegesis because in the past the Chinese Bible translators and interpreters have often emphasized the Masoretic Text but ignored the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Great Isaiah Scrolls, Masoretic Text, Dead Sea Scrolls, Degree of Similarity, Quantitative Comparison
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