Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia

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Biblia Hebraica series

BHK Biblia Hebraica Kittel (1. - 3.)
BHS Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia (4.)
BHQ Biblia Hebraica Quinta (5.)
Edited by Karl Elliger, Wilhelm Rudolph et al.
Language Biblical Hebrew, Biblical Aramaic
(with prolegomena in German, English, French, Spanish, Latin)
Publisher Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, Stuttgart
Published 1968–1976; 1997;
August 26, 1998
Media type see bhs editions
OCLC 148815162
Preceded by Biblia Hebraica Kittel
Followed by Biblia Hebraica Quinta
A sample page from Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia (Genesis 1,1-16a).

The Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia, or bhs, is an edition of the Masoretic Text of the Hebrew Bible as preserved in the Leningrad Codex, and supplemented by masoretic and text-critical notes. It is published by the Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft (German Bible Society) in Stuttgart.

Publishing history[edit]

bhs is a revision of the third edition of the Biblia Hebraica, edited by Paul Kahle, the first printed Bible based on the Leningrad Codex. The footnotes are completely revised. It originally appeared in installments, from 1968 to 1976, with the first one-volume edition in 1977; it has been reprinted many times since.

The fifth reprint of the bhs was revised and redistributed in 1997. Work is currently under way at the Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft to produce a completely reworked and expanded edition in 20 volumes, known as the Biblia Hebraica Quinta or Fifth Hebrew Bible, which also includes references to and comparisons with recently released material from Qumran texts. Initial volumes of the Bible Hebraica Quinta have been available for sale since 2004. Completion of the project is intended by 2020.


The text of bhs is an "exact" (see below) copy of the Masoretic Text as recorded in the Leningrad Codex. However, Chronicles has been moved to the end as it appears in common Hebrew bibles, even though it precedes Psalms in the codex.

The bhs is composed of the three traditional divisions of the Hebrew Scriptures: the Torah (תורה "instruction"), Neviim (נבאים "prophets"), and the Ketuvim (כתבים "writings").

In the margins are Masoretic notes. These are based on the codex, but have been heavily edited to make them more consistent and easier to understand. Even so, whole books have been written to explain these notes themselves. Some of the notes are marked sub loco ("in this place"), meaning that there appears to be some problem, often that they contradict the text. The editors never published any explanation of what the problems were, or how they might be resolved.

The sub loco notes do not necessarily explain interesting text variants; they are, in the vast majority, only notes on inaccurate word countings/frequencies. See Mynatt, Daniel S: The Sub Loco Notes in the Torah of Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia: Bibal Press, 1994

Footnotes record possible corrections to the Hebrew text. Many are based on the Samaritan Pentateuch, the Dead Sea Scrolls and on early Bible translations ("versions") such as the Septuagint, Vulgate and Peshitta. Others are conjectural emendations.

An exact copy of the text of L?[edit]

Since the Masoretic text of L consists of both consonants/plene vowels (the "consonant text"), the Tiberian vocalization system (vocalization of the consonant text), and Masorah notes, all of these need to be accurately reproduced for the BHS to be called an "exact copy" of L. This is usually the case. Although, some authors[who?] have mentioned exceptions.

Errors exist in the reproduction of the consonantal text,[1] vocalization,[2] and very many purposeful alterations (emendations) in the Masorah notes, where the editors saw frequency (counting) errors etc.[3]

An example of the latter is Gen 1:12 for the first occurrence of the word לְמִינֵהוּ "after their kind". The Mp note says "דׄ", which means that the word occurs "4" times in all of the Bible. The word does not occur 4 times, but 14.[4]

Subsequently, the editor for the BHS added "יׄ" to the note so it says: "יׄדׄ", which means that the word occurs "14" times in all of the Bible.

The bible scholar Emanuel Tov has criticised BHS somewhat for having errors, and for correcting errors in later editions without informing the reader.[5]

Book order[edit]

The order of the biblical books generally follows the codex, even for the Ketuvim, where that order differs from most common printed Hebrew bibles. Thus the Book of Job comes after Psalms and before Proverbs, and the Megillot are in the order Ruth, Song of Songs, Ecclesiastes, Lamentations and Esther. The only difference is with Chronicles.

The Torah:

1. Genesis [בראשית / Bere’shit] (English rendering: "In beginning")
2. Exodus [שמות / Shemot] (English rendering: "Names")
3. Leviticus [ויקרא / Vayikera’] (English rendering: "And he called")
4. Numbers [במדבר / Bamidebar] (English rendering: "In the wilderness")
5. Deuteronomy [דברים / Devarim] (English rendering: "The words")

The Nevi'im:

6. Joshua [יהושע / Yehoshua‛]
7. Judges [שופטים / Shophetim]
8. Samuel (I & II) [שמואל / Shemuel]
9. Kings (I & II) [מלכים / Melakhim]
10. Isaiah [ישעיה / Yesha‛yahu]
11. Jeremiah [ירמיה / Yiremiyahu]
12. Ezekiel [יחזקאל / Yekhezq’el]
13. The Twelve Prophets [תרי עשר]
a. Hosea [הושע / Hoshea‛]
b. Joel [יואל / Yo’el]
c. Amos [עמוס / Amos]
d. Obadiah [עובדיה / ‛Ovadyah]
e. Jonah [יונה / Yonah]
f. Micah [מיכה / Mikhah]
g. Nahum [נחום / Nakhum]
h. Habakkuk [חבקוק /Havaquq]
i. Zephaniah [צפניה / Tsephanyah]
j. Haggai [חגי / Khagai]
k. Zechariah [זכריה / Zekharyah]
l. Malachi [מלאכי / Mal’akhi]

The Ketuvim

The Sifrei Emet, the poetic books:
14. Psalms [תהלים / Tehilim]
15. Job [איוב / ’Iyov]
16. Proverbs [משלי / Mishlei]
The Five Megillot or "Five Scrolls":
17. Ruth [רות / Ruth]
18. Song of Songs [שיר השירים / Shir Hashirim]
19. Ecclesiastes [קהלת / Qoheleth]
20. Lamentations [איכה / Eikhah]
21. Esther [אסתר / Esther]
The rest of the "Writings":
22. Daniel [דניאל / Dani’el]
23. Ezra-Nehemiah [עזרא ונחמיה / ‛Ezra’ veNekhemiah]
24. Chronicles (I & II) [דברי הימים / Diverei Hayamim]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The reader should be aware of a pertinent error in BHS. In 2 Kgs 10:2, BHS has בְּבֹא where כְּבֹא should stand; the Mp pertains to כְּבֹא. L and BHK have כְּבֹא. (Mynatt, The Sub Loco Notes in the Torah of Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia, p 129)
  2. ^ "BHS has an error in the text. L has אֶתֶּן־לָךְ, not אֶתֶּן־לָךָ as in BHS. The text is correct in BHK 3." Daniel S. Mynatt (1995). The Sub Loco Notes in the Torah of Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia. Bibal Dissertation (2). N. Richland Hills, Texas: D & F Scott. p. 173. ISBN 978-0941037334. 
  3. ^ Daniel S. Mynatt lists 292 notes in the Mp of BHS in contrast to in the Torah alone(!), and about half of them are frequency errors.
  4. ^ Gen 1:12 (2x), Gen 1:21 (2x), Gen 6:20 (2x), Gen 7:14 (2x), Lev 11:16, Lev 11:22 (3x), Lev 11:29, Deut 14:15
  5. ^ He states: "The edition of Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia (BHS) originally appeared in fascicles which were corrected in the final printing, which carried the date 1967-1977. It was corrected again in the 1984 printing, yet even this printing contains mistakes". Textual criticism of the Hebrew Bible, Emanuel Tov, page 3. at Google books


bhs editions

About the bhs

  • Kelley, Page H, Mynatt, Daniel S and Crawford, Timothy G: The Masorah of Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia: Eerdmans, 1998
  • Mynatt, Daniel S: The Sub Loco Notes in the Torah of Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia: Bibal Press, 1994
  • Wonneberger, R: Understanding bhs: Biblical Institute Press, 1984
  • Würthwein, Ernst: The Text of the Old Testament, an Introduction to the Biblia Hebraica (2nd edition): SCM Press, 1995
  • Introduction to the Massoretico-Critical Edition of the Hebrew Bible by C.D. Ginsburg