Biblia Hebraica (Kittel)

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Biblia Hebraica refers almost exclusively to the three editions of the Hebrew Bible edited by Rudolf Kittel. When referenced, Kittel's Biblia Hebraica is usually abbreviated BH, or BHK (K for Kittel). When specific editions are referred to, BH1, BH2 and BH3 are used. Biblia Hebraica is a Latin phrase meaning Hebrew Bible, traditionally used as a title for printed editions of the Tanakh.

First and second editions[edit]

Psalm 1, Verse 1 and 2 in Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia

The first two editions of Kittel's Biblia Hebraica appeared in 1906 and 1913; the differences between them are slight, apart from a list of errors in the second. The second edition was reprinted several times. Both editions reproduced the Hebrew text found in the Mikraot Gedolot published by Daniel Bomberg in Venice in 1524. These editions did not include Masoretic notes, although the Bomberg edition did.

Their main feature was their footnotes recording possible corrections to the Hebrew text. Many are based on the Samaritan Pentateuch and on early Bible translations such as the Septuagint, Vulgate and Peshitta; others are conjectural emendations.

Third edition[edit]

The third edition had a slightly different Hebrew text and completely revised footnotes. For the first time, a Bible reproduced the text of the Leningrad Codex. The idea to use that Codex is credited to Paul Kahle. This appeared in installments, from 1929 to 1937, with the first one-volume edition in 1937; it was reprinted many times, with later editions recording variants in the Book of Isaiah and Habakkuk from the Dead Sea Scrolls. It reproduces the Masoretic notes in the Codex exactly, without editing.

The third edition also bears a unique quality compared to the fourth edition. Some of the references in the textual apparatus reference manuscripts that no longer exist due to the bombing of Leipzig during World War II.[1]

Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia[edit]

The third edition was superseded by the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia.

See also[edit]