BLOG: The Hebrew Bible gets first edit in 500 years: Is this the beginning of change for religious institutions?

Israeli Judaic scholar Menachem Cohen, 84, spent 30 years correcting what he believed to be a plethora of errors in the Hebrew Bible. This is the first edit in 500 years for the Hebrew Bible. Correcting a total of 1,500 grammatical errors, Cohen’s work is slated to be published next year. He said his main goal is to correct the past and prepare for the future. Cohen claims his corrections do not affect the meaning of the Hebrew Bible.

It was amazing to me that for 500 years, people didn’t sense the errors,” said Cohen. “They just assumed that everything was fine, but in practice everything was not fine.“ The last corrected version was published in 1525 by Jacob Ben-Hayim, and called the Makroat Gedolot, which put together the religion’s varying texts and commentaries.

Cohen is not alone in his critique of the Hebrew Bible, currently the Hebrew University Bible Project in Jerusalem is also working on a scholarly edition of the Hebrew Bible. The project’s editorial coordinator, Rafael Zer, finds Cohen’s version to be “quasi-scientific” because it lacks a guide of how and why the supported errors were corrected.

Cohen is not the only Jewish scholar to notice and try to correct the errors – currently, the Hebrew University Bible Project in Jerusalem is also working on a scholarly edition of the Hebrew Bible. The project’s editorial coordinator, Rafael Zer, has said that he finds Cohen’s version “quasi-scientific” because it lacks a guide of how and why the supposed errors were corrected.

I want the Bible to be user-friendly,” Cohen said. “Today, we can create sources of information and searches that allow you to get an answer to everything you are wondering.

Naturally Moi

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