I am curious if such thing is possible, e.g. if some new evidence is found (archeological or other scientific or other). So the next generation will have more accurate interpretation, because we all know that all things are subject of interpretation. E.g. if I say now that "the car is red" after 2000 years of word to mouth the result would probably be like "apples taste very good". So, is something like, "update" or "revision" possible or not? If not now, do you see the possibility of doing so in 50 or 100 years from now?

  • 50 to 100 years? Something is off with your timescale.
    – Double AA
    Mar 15 '13 at 6:33
  • 4
    Are you asking about the text of Tanakh, or the legal conclusions of various later codes? Both are interesting questions, but they are different and should be asked separately.
    – Double AA
    Mar 15 '13 at 6:40

Depending on what you mean exactly, the answer is yes and no.

In terms of the actual canonized text of the TaNa"Ch, no, it is final and closed. There are very few instances of deviation between traditional texts, and they are all documented and accounted for. One example of potential "changes" or "improvements" actually was discovered in the Dead Sea Scrolls. There were, in fact, a few noted differences among them. But that hasn't changed anything. Why? Because it's been canonized. What do we do with these differences? Not much, honestly. There are so many possible reasons for the differences that it's impossible to know why they exist.

According to The Oxford Companion to Archaeology:

The biblical manuscripts from Qumran, which include at least fragments from every book of the Old Testament, except perhaps for the Book of Esther, provide a far older cross section of scriptural tradition than that available to scholars before. While some of the Qumran biblical manuscripts are nearly identical to the Masoretic, or traditional, Hebrew text of the Old Testament, some manuscripts of the books of Exodus and Samuel found in Cave Four exhibit dramatic differences in both language and content.


However, there are other texts we have changed throughout history. In one extreme example, the Meiri was almost totally unknown prior to the 20th Century. Some more moderate examples are the Frankel edition of the RaMBa"M's Mishneh Torah, which culls different manuscripts together into one edition, as well as several revisions (some still ongoing) of even such important works as the Shulhan 'Aruch itself. In addition, the Ba"Ch, the Vilna Gaon, and others have made textual changes to Talmud, and different textual version of the Talmud are known to have been the basis of certain Halachic disputes among Rishonim. In fact, the Talmud itself frequently alters the texts of Mishnayoth, in some cases because some have a different version than others, and in some cases simply because the text they have does not reconcile with known oral tradition.


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