Tanakh.Info is a Polyglot Online Bible that contains the Hebrew Bible and its ancient versions in parallel – Masoretic Text, Samaritan Pentateuch, Aramaic Targums, Syriac Peshitta, Greek Septuagint, Old Latin, and Latin Vulgate, and also the Greek versions of Aquila of Sinope, Theodotion, and Symmachus. Not everyone is proficient in all the languages of the ancient versions of the Tanakh, nor does everyone have the sufficient knowledge to be able to evaluate the textual evidence. Thus, Tanakh.Info aims to translate all the important ancient versions of the Tanakh into English, and seeks to help students of the Tanakh to evaluate the textual evidence.
The Original Text of the Hebrew Bible
We do not possess the original manuscripts of the Holy Scriptures. What we have today are copies of the copies of the copies of the autographs. As careful as copyists may be, when something is copied by hand over a few thousand years, mistakes are bound to happen. For example, the copyist of the Masoretic text made an error of omission in Genesis 4:8 :
וַיֹּאמֶר קַיִן אֶל־הֶבֶל אָחִיו וַֽיְהִי בִּהְיֹותָם בַּשָּׂדֶה וַיָּקָם קַיִן אֶל־הֶבֶל אָחִיו וַיַּהַרְגֵֽהוּ׃
And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him. (King James Version)
In order to make sense of the sentence, the translator of KJV had to translate
וַיֹּאמֶר קַיִן אֶל־הֶבֶל as “And Cain talked with Abel” instead of “And Cain said to Abel”;
compare KJV’s translation of
וַיֹּאמֶר קַיִן אֶל־הֶבֶל (And Cain talked with Abel) in Gen 4:8
with KJV’s translation of
וַיֹּאמֶר קַיִן אֶל־יְהוָה (And Cain said unto the LORD) in Gen 4:13.
Fortunately, we have ancient versions of the Bible that can be used for cross checking and verification of the accuracy of textual transmission of the Hebrew Bible. Based on the Hebrew text of Gen 4:8 preserved by the Samaritans, the Hebrew text is corrected to
ויאמר קין אל הבל אחיו נלכה השדה ויהי בהיותם בשדה ויקם קין אל הבל אחיו ויהרגהו׃
And Qayin said to Habel his brother, “Let us go to the field.” And it came to pass when they were in the field, that Qayin rose up against Habel his brother, and killed him.
This reading is supported by the Septuagint, the Peshitta, the Vetus Latina, and the Vulgate.
Gen 4:8 [Septuagint]
καὶ εἶπεν Κάιν πρὸς Ἅβελ τὸν ἀδελφὸν αὐτοῦ Διέλθωμεν εἰς τὸ πεδίον. καὶ ἐγένετο ἐν τῷ εἶναι αὐτοὺς ἐν τῷ πεδίῳ καὶ ἀνέστη Κάιν ἐπὶ Ἅβελ τὸν ἀδελφὸν αὐτοῦ καὶ ἀπέκτεινεν αὐτόν.
And Kain said to Habel his brother, “Let us go to the plain.” And it came to pass that when they were in the plain Kain rose up against Habel his brother, and killed him.
Gen 4:8 [Peshitta]
ܘܐܡܼܪ ܩܐܝܢ ܠܗܒܝܠ ܐܚܘܗܝ܂ ܢܪܕܐ ܠܦܩܥܬܐ܂ ܘܗܘܼܐ ܕܟܕ ܗܼܢܘܢ ܒܚܩܠܐ ܂ ܩܡ ܩܐܝܢ ܥܠ ܗܒܝܠ ܐܚܘܗܝ ܘܩܛܠܗ܂
And Qayin said to Habil his brother, “Let us go to the plain.” And it came to pass when they were in the field, that Qayin rose up against Habil his brother, and killed him.
Gen 4:8 [Old Latin (Vetus Latina)]
Et dixit Cain ad Abel fratrem suum : Eamus in campum. Et factum est, cum essent ipsi in campo, insurrexit Cain super Abel fratrem suum, et occidit eum.
And Cain said to Abel his brother, “Let us go to the field.” And when they were by themselves in the field, Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and killed him.
Gen 4:8 [Vulgate]
Dixitque Cain ad Abel fratrem suum egrediamur foras cumque essent in agro consurrexit Cain adversus fratrem suum Abel et interfecit eum.
And Cain said to Abel his brother, “Let us go outside.” When they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel, and killed him.
Tanakh.Info’s Hebrew Bible Project aims at producing:
- A new critical text of the Hebrew Bible that is as close as possible to the original text.
- A new English translation for the Hebrew Bible and its ancient versions (Septuagint, Peshitta, Targums, Vetus Latina, and Vulgate).
- A comprehensive critical apparatus.
- A textual commentary for every verse in the Tanakh.
- A PDF version of the Tanakh that will be made available for download.
What does TaNaKh mean?
TaNaKh (תַּנַ”ךְ) also spelled Tanach, Tenakh, or Tenak is an acronym formed from the initial Hebrew letters of the three traditional subdivisions of the Hebrew Bible:
- Torah תּוֹרָה (Law)
- Nevi’im נְבִיאִים (Prophets)
- Ketuvim כְּתוּבִים (Writings)
Tanakh is also called “Miqra” (מקרא), meaning “that which is read.”
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