H.G.M. Williamson, «Do We Need A New Bible? Reflections on the Proposed Oxford Hebrew Bible», Vol. 90 (2009) 153-175
The launch of the Oxford Hebrew Bible has recently been formally announced and examples of its work published. Unlike nearly all current scholarly editions of the Hebrew Bible, it aims to provide an eclectic rather than a diplomatic text. There are many aspects of the underlying reasons for this which should be approved. Nevertheless, as a project it has certain inherent weaknesses. It completely overlooks the different linguistic levels which are amalgamated in the Masoretic Text, so that its policy of maintaining the current spelling and vocalization are misguided. It also fails in its stated objective of providing a textual archetype in those cases where different editions of the text may be thought to have circulated in antiquity. And many of the most crucial decisions at the text-critical level are not included in the apparatus at all but in the commentary; indeed, in view of the unique textual nature of the MT as well as the variety of scholarly opinion about its textual history it is commentary rather than a new edition which would best serve the needs of the prospective readership.