The Masoretic Text

The Masoretic was primarily copied, edited and distributed by a group of Rabbis in Tiberias, Israel, known as the Masoretes between the 7th and 10th centuries CE.

It’s the text of the “Old Testament” (more correctly the 'Tanak') which is used in just about all Jewish and Protestant translations of the Bible, and recently, since 1943, in some Catholic bibles. It is the authoritative Hebrew text of the Jewish Bible.

It’s based partly on the Leningrad Codex, which was copied in 1008 CE and is our earliest complete copy of the Masoretic (or Rabbinic or Authorized) text of the Hebrew Bible.  The Leningrad Codex is used by most biblical scholars in its published edition, Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia (or the earlier Biblia Hebraica)

Another important manuscript is the Aleppo Codex, which forms the basis of a new edition of the Hebrew Bible currently being produced at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.  The Aleppo Codex, a Hebrew Bible with the Masoretic vowel pointing, was written in the 10th century, about 925 CE, likely in Tiberias, and survives to this day. It is perhaps the most important Hebrew manuscript in existence. This manuscript was copied in and is thus earlier than the Leningrad Codex and other Hebrew manuscript.

Both the Leningrad Codex and the Aleppo Codex are part of what is known as the ‘Masoretic Text’.  This term is quite complicated, since it covers many manuscripts rather than a single one;  “Masoretic Group’ or Masoretic Family’ would be a more accurate name. 

 1st stage originated among Babylonian Jews, the Pharisees, of the ‘temple circles’ and ended with the destruction of the temple in 70 CE  (or perhaps with the end of the Second Jewish Revolt in 135 CE)

 2nd stage extended from the destruction of the temple until the eighth century CE and was characterized b more and more textual consistency as rabbinic scholars thought  to standardize the text of the Hebrew Bible.

 3rd stage extended from the eighth century until the end of the Middle Ages and was characterized by almost complete textual uniformity.  During this period, a group of Jewish scholars know as the Masoretes set out to produce a standard text of the Hebrew Bible - one that in their eyes would be true to the Scriptures revealed by God in ancient times.  (more to be added at a later date)