The Bible is an important source of western culture. Critical study of this text goes back to—indeed practically coincides with—the creation of universities in Europe.
Even today, historical-critical study of this foundational text harbours the hope of laying bare basic concepts structuring the way we think. In recent times, however, it has been asked: What is the Bible? The answer is not straightforward.
Even on the most basic level, the textual one, the data are complex. There is not one single text of the Bible, but a multiplicity of textual forms. The problem is particularly pressing in regard to the Hebrew Bible (aka the Old Testament). Discoveries in the Dead Sea region have pulled the rug from under traditional thinking about the text of the Hebrew Bible. Until the middle of the twentieth century, scholars could oppose “the” Hebrew text to ancient translations such as the Septuagint.
Today, this is no longer possible: a variety of Hebrew texts have come to light that cannot easily be reduced to one single version.
The CONSORTIUM FOR THE STUDY OF TEXTUAL PLURALITY is a network of scholars and research projects focusing on various aspects of this textual multiplicity.
Together we are exploring ways toward a global conception of the phenomenon. Is it possible to conceive of textual pluralism in a way that preserves the notion of the Hebrew Bible as a work?
If divergent text-forms are considered equally valuable, is there a principle that nevertheless ties them together?