Nov 20, 2012
Emanuel Tov Interview
The OUPBlog has an audio interview conducted by Marc Brettler with Emanuel Tov available here. There is also a written transcript of the interview here.
Here is one exchange from the interview (I have omitted the footnotes).
MB: This idea, of course, is seen in your book Textual Criticism of the Bible, which has gone through various editions over a number of years. Can you talk about the extent to which, and the manner in which your views have changed over the last 42 years that you've been publishing?
ET: Yes, my views have changed. I am not like my teacher John Strugnell, who had in his room at the École Biblique a large poster of a rhinoceros under which he had the text that said, “I have many vices, being wrong is not one of them.” So again, I’m not like Professor Strugnell, and I’ve changed my mind. I would have to mention certain areas in which I’ve changed my mind. I’ve not changed my mind in the overall view of textual criticism, I’ve simply...it’s become more sophisticated. And it’s like a puzzle in which you've inserted your different views and different layers of your views.
But I’ve changed my mind, I would say...while they may seem like small details, but there's an important text from Qumran, which I published, together with Sidnie White [Crawford. It's called “4QReworked Pentateuch.” It’s a long text and there are five different manuscripts and we've published those texts as so-called “Reworked Pentateuch,” which means it's not a biblical text. Although most of the fragments give us biblical texts. And it took me a while having studied more details and other texts—the Septuagint—to realize that basically these are biblical texts.
And this makes a big difference, I’m not alone in this view because I have those who’ve criticized me. And they said, a few years after we published the text, they said, “No, this is wrong, this is a biblical text.” I've not revised my views because of the arguments they gave, but because of other arguments that I realized much later. I’ve changed my views with regard to, again another detail, the relation between the Septuagint and Samaritan Pentateuch which, as I now see, are much closer than they are to other texts. I have not changed my mind with regards to the Qumran scrolls and the Septuagint, but I should say more and more I realize that those two texts are extremely important. Often more important than the Masoretic Text. And more and more I’ve started to realize that we should base our exegesis, because that’s what we do with textual criticism, that we should base our exegesis not only on the Masoretic text but also on the Septuagint, Samaritan Pentateuch, and certain Qumran scrolls.