Building the Bible

Early Translations and Transcriptions

Was transcribing by hand a reliable way to preserve the original content of the Bible?

Yes. The Masoretes and other scribes who copied manuscripts were meticulous about their work. Over the centuries, as Jewish scribes worked to preserve and pass down the Old Testament to future generations, they observed rituals. These rituals involved counting the words and letters in final copy and making sure those numbers matched the number of appearances of those same words and letters in the original manuscript. In effect, the rituals compelled the scribes to be mindful about their work and not make mistakes.


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