The Masoretic Text
The Masoretic Text is not a single manuscript, but refers to a family of manuscripts all sharing the same careful, scribal tradition. These texts stand as the basis for most all printed Hebrew Bibles today, including the text presented on Biblearc. They contain the ancient text made up of consonants, with the addition of vowels and cantillation marks. The scribes also added in the פ and ס letters to indicate paragraph divisions. The Masoretic scribes likely began their work around 600 AD.
One feature of the Masoretic Text that we have come across in this course is the ketiv-qere readings. In such cases the scribe is noting that the vowels present in the Masoretic Text he is copying do not match the consonants for the same word. Thus, one of the readings—the consonants presented or the consonants implied by the vowels—must be mistaken.
The texts which make up the Masoretic Text older than 1100 AD include the Cairo Codex (896 AD), the Petersburg Codex (916 AD), B.M. Or. 4445 (925 AD), the Aleppo Codex (925 AD), the Sassoon 507 (10th century AD), Sassoon 1053 (10th century AD) and the Leningrad Codex (1008 AD). However, among these only the Aleppo and Leningrad Codexes contain the entire Hebrew Bible, and most of the Aleppo Codex’s Torah was destroyed in 1947. For this reason, the Leningrad Codex is used today as the base text for Hebrew Bibles.