Israeli Judaic scholar Menachem Cohen has completed his mission to edit the Bible,USA Today Reports
Cohen has been on a mission to correct all known textual errors in Jewish scripture to produce a truly definitive edition of the Old Testament.
His edits, focusing primarily on grammatical blemishes and an intricate set of biblical symbols, mark the first major overhaul of the Hebrew Bible in nearly 500 years.
Poring over thousands of medieval manuscripts, the 84-year-old Cohen identified 1,500 inaccuracies in the Hebrew language texts that have been corrected in his completed 21-volume set. The final chapter is set to be published next year.
The massive project highlights how Judaism venerates each tiny biblical calligraphic notation as a way of ensuring that communities around the world use precisely the same version of the holy book.
According to Jewish law, a Torah scroll is considered void if even a single letter is incorrect or misplaced. Cohen does not call for changes in the writing of the sacred Torah scrolls used in Jewish rites, which would likely set off a firestorm of objection and criticism. Instead, he is aiming for accuracy in versions used for study by the Hebrew-reading masses.
“The people of Israel took upon themselves, at least in theory, one version of the Bible, down to its last letter,” Cohen said, in his office at Bar-Ilan University near Tel Aviv.
The errors have no bearing on the Bible’s stories and alter nothing in its meaning. Instead, for example, in some places the markers used to denote vowels in Hebrew are incorrect; or a letter in a word may be wrong, often the result of a centuries old transcription error. Some of the fixes are in the notations used for cantillation, the text’s ritual chants.
Most of the errors Cohen found were in the final two thirds of the Hebrew Bible and not in the sacred Torah scrolls, since they do not include vowel markings or cantillation notations.
“I want the Bible to be user-friendly,” said Cohen, a grandfather of eight. “Today, we can create sources of information and searches that allow you to get an answer to everything you are wondering.”