That’s what I call dedication! Israeli Judaic scholar Menachem Cohen spent thirty years on the quest to create the ultimate version of the Hebrew Bible. In the end he found more than 1500 textual errors, mostly grammatical blemishes and an intricate set of biblical symbols.
This might sound like an odd thing to do but you need to know that according to Jewish law a Torah scroll that only has one wrong letter in it is considered as void. It is crucial that every Jewish community around the globe is using the exact same version of the Hebrew Bible.
The last major overhaul was published in 1524 by Jacob Ben-Hayim under the title the Mikraot Gedolot which translates to Great Scriptures. Ben-Hayim’s version remained the standard for generations as it was the first that collected all the different texts and commentaries in one version.
The corrected version of the Hebrew Bible is not meant to replace the sometimes centuries old Torah scrolls but Cohen hopes that it will be the basis for people around the world who want to study Hebrew and the Bible. With the help of his son Shmuel, Menachem Cohen also launched a digital version of his corrected Hebrew Bible which he hopes will become the benchmark in the Israeli education system.
The digital version features a sophisticated search engine that enables anyone, also novices to explore the Hebrew Bible with ease. Cohen says that computers are the third revolution that effects the Hebrew Bible, with the change from scrolls to handwritten books and from those to printed books being the first and second revolution.
Unfortunately, we were unable to find a link to the digital version of Cohen’s Hebrew Bible. If you know more about it, please leave a comment or link in the comments below.
Picture: By Horsch, Willy, via Wikimedia Commons