Baker Academic has a brand new website! Click Here To Visit:

Old Testament Textual Criticism, 2nd Edition

A Practical Introduction

Cover Art Request Exam Copy

Where to Purchase


This accessibly written, practical introduction to Old Testament textual criticism helps students understand the discipline and begin thinking through complex issues for themselves. The authors combine proven expertise in the classroom with cutting-edge work in Hebrew textual studies. The book includes clear discussions of how biblical manuscripts were copied, how manuscripts relate to each other historically, how translators have affected the text, and the impact of different readings on our interpretation.

This successful classic has been thoroughly expanded and updated to account for the many changes in the field over the past twenty years. It includes examples, illustrations, an updated bibliography, and a textual commentary on the book of Ruth.

1. Writing in the Ancient Near East
2. A Brief Overview of the Transmission of the Old Testament Text
3. Hebrew Texts of the Old Testament
4. Ancient Translations of the Old Testament
5. Critical Editions of the Old Testament Text
6. Scribal Changes in the Old Testament Text
7. Principles and Practice of Textual Criticism
8. Textual Commentary on the Book of Ruth
Appendix A: An English Key to BHS
Appendix B: What Text(s) Are We Attempting to Reconstruct?


"It is a pleasure to welcome Brotzman's work in its updated form. There is no better introduction to the field of Old Testament manuscripts and their text-critical study. It is ideal for the student with little or no background."

Richard S. Hess, Earl S. Kalland Professor of Old Testament and Semitic Languages, Denver Seminary

"Brotzman's introduction has been a helpful guide for over two decades. His collaboration with Tully in this new edition ensures that the volume will continue to be useful as an entrée into the bewildering world of Old Testament textual criticism. I am pleased to see that the new edition refines the goal of textual criticism in light of our current understanding of textual composition and transmission in antiquity."

Bill T. Arnold, Paul S. Amos Professor of Old Testament Interpretation, Asbury Theological Seminary

"This updated version of Brotzman's original work provides a welcome introduction to Old Testament textual criticism that is well informed by recent scholarship. Incorporating current theories and analyzing newly developed resources, Brotzman and Tully's judicious work gives students a firm foundation for understanding textual criticism in its unique Old Testament environment and for practicing it responsibly."

John H. Walton, professor of Old Testament, Wheaton College

"Without a doubt, this is the best textbook for introducing students to the textual history of the Hebrew Bible. It is both comprehensive and clear as it leads students into the essential discipline of textual criticism for biblical interpretation. We are indebted to Brotzman and Tully for providing a resource that does not avoid the complexities of the text but at the same time maintains the integrity of that text in terms of inspiration and authority."

Miles V. Van Pelt, Alan Belcher Professor of Old Testament and Biblical Languages, Reformed Theological Seminary

"This practical book shows readers how to take first steps in the practice of Old Testament textual criticism and how it is relevant to exegesis. The authors present a comprehensive yet readable survey of the transmission history of the Old Testament text, they show how to make proper use of the standard critical editions of the Hebrew Bible, and they present a workable approach for actually doing Old Testament textual criticism. By unpacking the entire critical apparatus of Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia for the book of Ruth, they provide expert guidance in how to decipher and utilize the textual information found there. I enthusiastically recommend it!"

Richard A. Taylor, senior professor of Old Testament studies, Dallas Theological Seminary

"At last, we have a true intermediate exploration of Old Testament textual criticism. Brotzman and Tully have struck a refreshing balance between foundational content and practical illustration. The textual analysis of Ruth alone is sufficient to commend this book to Hebrew students, and the authors' discussion of the emerging Biblia Hebraica Quinta critical edition is a helpful aid for the next generation. Because of its accessible approach and sustained interest in the exegetical process, Old Testament Textual Criticism will be a standard tool in my language classes."

Andrew J. Schmutzer, professor of biblical studies, Moody Bible Institute

"Brotzman's introduction to Old Testament textual criticism, now coauthored with Eric Tully, has been expanded and updated throughout without sacrificing readability and the practical features that have made it a popular seminary textbook. The complicated and evolving theories on the textual history of the Old Testament are explained clearly, while the new appendix discussing the goal of textual criticism allows the authors to avoid oversimplifying the issues. The chapter introducing BHS has been expanded to include BHQ and compares their textual apparatuses. Such updates will enable this textbook to serve the next generation of seminary students."

John A. Cook, associate professor of Old Testament, Asbury Theological Seminary

The Authors

  1. Ellis R. Brotzman

    Ellis R. Brotzman

    Ellis R. Brotzman (PhD, New York University), now retired, was senior professor of Old Testament at Tyndale Theological Seminary in the Netherlands for more than twenty years. He has taught at a variety of institutions around the world and continues to teach...

    Continue reading about Ellis R. Brotzman

  2. Eric J. Tully
    © 2016 TIU, Kathleen Murray

    Eric J. Tully

    Eric J. Tully (PhD, University of Wisconsin-Madison) is associate professor of Old Testament and Semitic languages and director of the PhD (Theological Studies) program at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois. He is the author of The...

    Continue reading about Eric J. Tully


"No serious academic study of the Bible can proceed without some basic knowledge of the theory and practice of textual criticism. In this second, updated edition of their practical introduction to textual criticism of the OT, [the authors] manage to make the subject as understandable as possible for the beginning student. The book is admirably thorough without being overwhelming. . . . The volume serves as a useful handbook, introducing the student to critical editions of the OT text . . . and to the principles and practices of textual criticism. Finally, the authors show how it all comes together by working through a textual commentary on the book of Ruth. If students of the Bible must grapple with textual criticism of the OT--and they must--then Brotzman and Tully's revised introduction is a good place to start."

John R. Barker, OFM,

The Bible Today

"Brotzman . . . wrote his Old Testament Textual Criticism more than 20 years ago and it has become a standard resource in this area. This new revision done with [Tully] . . . certainly offers the hope that it will again become a standard for the next 20 years. . . . With only adding about 50 pages and making the pages just a little bigger there is significant updating of the discussions and the addition of significant textual critical details. . . . This revision has significantly improved the original book, and I believe that the authors have done a good job of providing the historical background necessary for understanding OT textual criticism, as well as clarifying the important issues in this area. . . . I highly recommend this new edition."

Paul D. Wegner,

Bulletin for Biblical Research

"This second edition is a revision of the very practical and widely used introduction to Old Testament textual criticism first released by Ellis Brotzman in 1994. Those familiar with the original edition will recognize a similar structure maintained in the second edition, but with welcome refinements."

Terry Giles,

Review of Biblical Literature

"In comparison to their first edition, the authors have expanded and rewritten much of the material in light of research since 1994 in order to take better account of current understandings of the composition and transmission of texts in the ancient world. This 2nd edition also discusses how to use both BHS and BHQ."

Bradley C. Gregory,

Old Testament Abstracts

"In this new and substantially reworked edition, the aim is still accessibility for students without shirking the issues. . . . New this time is a valuable chapter explaining and comparing BHS and BHQ."

H.G.M. Williamson,

Society for Old Testament Studies Book List

Praise for the First Edition

"The first half of this book is an excellent general introduction to the text of the Old Testament, its history and transmission. . . . The second half of the book is for those with at least a year of Hebrew under their belts. . . . Brotzman, with his gift for illustrations and simplification, is an excellent place for the intermediate student to begin."

Lee Gatiss,