18

It is quite a famous argument from Muslims for authenticity of the Quran that the previous Holy Books (Bible and Torah) sent by God have been corrupted or changed by their followers and that Quran is the only one which remains intact in its original form. Though they never provide any evidence for this claim against today's Torah, it is still one of the main arguments.

What is the counter argument to this claim according to Jewish teachings? Have there been any later versions, additions or omissions in/from the Torah? Or is it really the original one according to Judaic teachings? And what evidence can be presented to dismiss this Muslim claim?

Note: This question isn't meant to be for ridicule or anything. It's just academic curiosity. So I apologize if this causes any sort of offence. I'm not very knowledgeable about Jewish religion.

20

As you yourself say, the Muslim claims have never been backed up with proof.

If there would be proof, why would they not inform us?

That seems ample proof that it's a baseless claim.

There are various proofs that the Torah we have is essentially identical to the original (with some minor spelling variants).

One is the fact that all Jews have the same version - even though they were dispersed all over the globe for over 1,000 years, with no communication between them. Yet, when they eventually met-up in the 20th century, they all had the same version.

Another proof would be the dead-sea scrolls where almost the entire Bible was found (our version) - and they are about 2,500 years old. That's about 1,000 years before Muhammad was born.

  • 1
    "Yet, when they eventually met-up in the 20th century, they all had the same version." - While I'm not jewish, the consistency of the texts seems very interesting. Is there a link that goes into more detail about the Torahs being compared after they come back together? – Mark Rogers Mar 26 '14 at 14:58
  • 3
    What source do you have that for the past 1000 years they had no communication? Even the Yemenites famous for being the most isolated had contact with the Rambam in the 12th century at the minimum. – mevaqesh Feb 8 '15 at 19:21
  • 2
    This would be an decent answer if it were true. "If there would be proof, why would they not inform us?" Ibn Hazzam, an Islamic polemicist wrote various proofs (which were later attacked by Rashba). The claim that there was no communication between various Jewish groups for a millenium is also false. Even the Yemenites who were perhaps the most secluded, had ample contact with other communities throughout the centuries. – mevaqesh Jan 10 '16 at 2:32
  • 3
    Furthermore, this says nothing about changes that took place before the thousand year mark. (Noteworthy is the fact the the Tiberian massoretes responsible for determining our text lived before a millenium ago), thus any claimed correspondence in texts is irrelevant. Not sure where you get the 2500 year old claim for dead sea scrolls; that is older than the consensus. Who cares how much older it is than Mohammed; he isnt accused of making the changes; the Jews are! – mevaqesh Jan 10 '16 at 2:33
  • 1
    I'm downvoting your answer and am requesting that you edit your answer to reflect the truth, which is that nearly every dead sea scroll show that there were changes to the text. The one exception is the Great Isaiah Scroll, other than that, there are usually changes in every single book. – Aaron Sep 18 '16 at 2:50
8

There are differences between texts of Tanach now and in the past. In fact, there are several different so-called "textual witnesses" of Tanach that exist, each of which has their own strengths and weaknesses.

The textus receptus — received text of the Jews is the Masoretic text, whose ancestors are present in some form in some of the Dead Sea Scrolls and other books found in the Judean desert. It is clear linguistically and archaeologically that the Masoretic text is old, but not the urtext of Tanach.

Other traditions, such as those in the Samaritan Pentateuch, in the LXX and in other non-premasoretic scrolls have certain elements that appear to be more acceptable than those in the textus receptus.

Most of the changes are rather insignificant, e.g. chaser vs. maleh, additional "ve-", confusion of letters in transcription. Other changes are more substantial, like random ommissions:


Gen 4:8:

Masoretic: וַיֹּאמֶר קַיִן, אֶל-הֶבֶל אָחִיו... וַיְהִי בִּהְיוֹתָם בַּשָּׂדֶה

Samaritan (~LXX, Peshita, etc.): ויאמר קין אל הבל אחיו נלכה השדה ויהי בהיותם בשדה


Here is an interchange of graphically similar letters (ד/ר):


Gen 22:13:

Masoretic: וַיִּשָּׂא אַבְרָהָם אֶת עֵינָיו וַיַּרְא וְהִנֵּה אַיִל אַחַר נֶאֱחַז בַּסְּבַךְ בְּקַרְנָיו וַיֵּלֶךְ אַבְרָהָם וַיִּקַּח אֶת הָאַיִל וַיַּעֲלֵהוּ לְעֹלָה תַּחַת בְּנוֹ (=Onkelos, Vulgate)

Samaritan (~LXX, Peshita, etc.): וישא אברהם את עיניו וירא והנה איל אחד נאחז בסבך בקרניו וילך אברהם ויקח את האיל ויעלהו לעלה תחת בנו (=Some M MSS, Septuagint, Peshitta, Targum Ps-Yonatan, Targum Neofiti)

The M version אַיִל אַחַר (another ram) is more difficult to accept, since there was no ram mentioned before.


Here is one that apparently comes from error in word division:


Gen 49:19-20:

Masoretic (=Targum Onkelos, Ps-Yonatan, Neofiti): וְהוּא יָגֻד עָקֵב. מֵאָשֵׁר שְׁמֵנָה... לַחְמוֹ...

(but he shall raid [their] heel. Of Asher, his food is rich...)

LXX: ...והוא יגד עקבם. אשר שמנה לחמו...

(but he shall raid their heel. Asher, his food is rich...)


The LXX reading seems more plausable.

Some changes are apparently intentional, such as this anti-polytheistic one


Deut 32:8

Masoretic (=Samaritan, Peshitta, etc.): בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל

4QDeutj: בני אלהים


Within the Masoretic text itself, there are variations. These are often regarding small details, like placement of gaayot (metegs) or teamim.

Nonetheless, despite the differences between different manuscripts are small and seldom change the meaning of things. Certainly the text has not been corrupted remotely close to the extent claimed.


MORE READING:

M. Goshen-Gottstein. The Book of Isaiah, sample edition with Introduction.

E. Tov. Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible. This book has many more examples like the ones I provided above.

I. Yeivin. Introduction to the Tiberian Masorah.

  • 1
    Why downvote? I think this answer is perfectly reasonable. – Argon Jan 17 '16 at 1:01
  • "It is clear linguistically and archaeologically that the Masoretic text is old, but not the urtext of Tanach." - Certainly great portions of the MT (if not (almost) all) are identical to the original received text, and I'm not even sure you can make a convincing argument in many of the classic cases where traditional TC would reject the MT's reading. As an example, the original text of Genesis 4:8, which you quoted as an example of a change in the MT, likely followed the MT (see, for example, lib.cet.ac.il/pages/item.asp?item=7951). Although I wouldn't downvote this answer... – רבות מחשבות Jan 21 at 19:59
  • @רבותמחשבות That is a questionable assertion. In some cases, MT is to be preferred but in other cases it is not. (Even supposing there was an urtext at all is questionable.) – Argon May 31 at 17:27
  • Fair points, but I think that in many cases, a very strong argument can be made in favor of the MT. – רבות מחשבות May 31 at 17:54
  • @רבותמחשבות Sometimes, but not other times. For example, most scholars find the Septuagint and 4QSam^a to be better witnesses of Samuel than the Masoretic text generally. Emmanuel Tov actually discusses about issues with preferring M by default in his book "Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible" (in the 2nd edition, pg 299-300). – Argon May 31 at 18:32
7

To expand on Danny's answer.

As per Danny, it's clear that Jews everywhere have had essentially identical texts for thousands of years. If you want to look back before that, I recommend David Weiss Halivni's books, particularly "Peshat & Derash". He defends the thesis that the texts did suffer some issues in the era of the Judges, and that Jewish authorities have often discussed these issues and their relationship to various special dots and modified letters in the traditional scribal text.

7

I hadn't answered this question because I assumed that since there were so many answers already provided, that there must have been at least one answer that really satisified the question, in a truthful manner, but that is not the case.

The truth is that every bit of evidence we have says that the Torah underwent changes. But most of these changes were not usually significant, though sometimes enough changes could become significant. [Of the Biblical textual differences, most of them are names of places, spelling differences, ages or heights of people.] For example, by the time we reach the flood during the time of Noah, the "Official" Torah has existed for 1,656 years, whereas other ancient versions has the world having existed for 2,242 years. Any differences that were theological in nature were very rare.1

But what is also true that after a certain time in history, the Torah/Biblical text stopped changing, scribal practices started conforming to each other more, and every Jewish community ended up with the same text (minus incidental spelling differences of the same words). By the time of Muhammad, every [known] Jewish community had the same Biblical text [as in any differences between texts didn't change anything theologically]. But the Dead Sea Scrolls predate Muhammad, and predate any other known Biblical texts, and these Dead Sea Scrolls have shown that there exist corruptions of some form or the another in our received text which I will show below.

The version of the text that Jews have been relying upon for the past 1,000 years is called the Masoretic text. This is the "official" version of the Biblical text for religious Jews. Unfortunately, this "text" in manuscript form is only 1,000 years old. The oldest [surviving and unfortunately not complete] manuscript we have of the Masoretic text is the Aleppo Codex, which has been digitized and can be viewed/read here: http://aleppocodex.org/ Note that there are other types of Masoretic texts, but the Aleppo Codex was used by the Rambam, and he claimed that all [scholars] relied upon it, and this codex was treasured and highly valued by all of world Jewry.

However, we know that the Torah is more than 1,000 years old, so what about more ancient manuscripts? Well, we didn't have any older Hebrew manuscripts [before the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls], but we had other manuscripts of ancient Greek, Aramaic, Samaritan, and Latin translations of the Hebrew Bible. The problem? There were lots of differences between these translations and the Masoretic Text. For example, the Greek translation, called the Septuagint, had extra verses in the Torah, had extra books (such as Ben Sirach, Ecclesiasticus, Maccabees, etc), and had extra chapters for books like Daniel. Rabbis in historical discourses between them and Catholics said those changes were caused by the process of the translation, or due to books being included for political reasons etc. But the problem is that most times, all these different ancient translations would agree with each other, and it was only our Masoretic text that would be different.

An example would be Genesis 4:8. The Masoretic text says the following:

ח וַיֹּאמֶר קַיִן, אֶל-הֶבֶל אָחִיו; וַיְהִי בִּהְיוֹתָם בַּשָּׂדֶה, וַיָּקָם קַיִן אֶל-הֶבֶל אָחִיו וַיַּהַרְגֵהוּ. 8

And Cain spoke unto Abel his brother. And it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.

Notice something missing? The Masoretic text states "And Cain said to Abel....and they were in the field." The Masoretic text doesn't state what Cain says. But the Greek Septuagint, the Samaritan Torah, the Aramaic Peshitta, and every other ancient manuscripts have these extra words: "And Cain said to Able let us go to the field..." So we have instances of every older translation of the Hebrew text being in agreement, and the Masoretic text being the only one that's different.

And then the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered. And while they are also missing the words of Cain, there are literally thousands of differences between the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Masoretic text. And many times, the Dead Sea Scrolls agrees with the older translations we've been talking about and disagrees with the Masoretic text we have received. A good example is this question: How tall was Goliath?

1st Samuel 17:4 Masoretic Text:

ד וַיֵּצֵא אִישׁ-הַבֵּנַיִם מִמַּחֲנוֹת פְּלִשְׁתִּים, גָּלְיָת שְׁמוֹ מִגַּת: גָּבְהוֹ, שֵׁשׁ אַמּוֹת וָזָרֶת. 4

And there went out a champion from the camp of the Philistines, named Goliath, of Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span.

So according to the Masoretic text, Goliath was roughly 9 feet tall, which is quite miraculous. But The Septuagint, Josephus, other ancient texts and the newly discovered Dead Sea Scrolls read the following:

And there went out a champion from the camp of the Philistines, named Goliath, of Gath, whose height was four cubits and a span.

Goliath has shrunk from 9 feet tall to 6'9; which is definitely impressive...but not miraculous. So with the Dead Sea Scrolls we have strong corroborating evidence that our received Masoretic Text is corrupt with how tall Goliath was. And yet Jews disregard this very strong evidence and continue to teach their kids that Goliath was a 9 foot tall giant, when the reality is that he was probably about 6'9.

Another famous example of where ancient translations and the Dead Sea Scrolls agree against the Masoretic text is Psalm 145, known as Ashrei, which is recited every Shabbat. The Psalm is an Acrostic, with every line beginning with a different letter of the Hebrew alphabet, except for the letter Nun. The Babylonian Talmud discusses this:

Berakhot 4b:

But [Psalm Psalm 145 is selected] because it contains both features. R. Johanan said: Why is there no verse beginning with the letter Nun in that Psalm ? Because it would refer to the downfall of Israel's enemies; as it is written, "Fallen (Naphelah) is the virgin of Israel, she shall no more rise" (Amos v. 2).

But the Septuagint, Peshitta, Vulgate, and Dead Sea Scrolls are in agreement that there should be a line with a Nun, and here it is:

enter image description here "Faithful is the LORD in all His ways, and merciful in all His works" (Hebrew: "נאמן אלוהים בדבריו וחסיד בכל מעשיו").

But what about examples where all the older manuscripts agree, but we didn't find a copy of it in the Dead Sea Scrolls? Well, we have an example that appears to be a clear case of textual corruption:

Masoretic Text: 1st Samuel 13:1

א בֶּן-שָׁנָה, שָׁאוּל בְּמָלְכוֹ; וּשְׁתֵּי שָׁנִים, מָלַךְ עַל-יִשְׂרָאֵל. 1

Saul was one years old when he began to reign; and two years he reigned over Israel.

We all know that Saul had to be more than a year old when he became king, and we know that he reigned for more than 2 years. Yet Jewish tradition explains away these discrepancies rather than try to discuss possible corruptions. Take a look at Rashi's attempts to gloss over the textual corruption on that verse:

Saul was a year in his reign: (lit., a year old.) Our Rabbis of sainted memory said: Like a one year old, who did not experience the taste of sin (Yoma 22b). It may also be interpreted thus: Saul was a year in his reign, i.e., in the first year in which he was made king (and he reigned two years over Israel), and in the first year...

And yet the Septuagint, Vulgate, and every other ancient text has this text:

Saul was thirty years old when he began to reign; and forty two years he reigned over Israel.

Unfortunately we didn't find a copy of the Dead Sea Scrolls that contains this verse, but considering our other examples thus far, it would more than likely match this text.

All of these examples thus far have shown differences of little theological importance, so let's show one that has big implications. Deuteronomy 32:8 Masoretic Version:

ח בְּהַנְחֵל עֶלְיוֹן גּוֹיִם, {ס} בְּהַפְרִידוֹ בְּנֵי אָדָם; {ר} יַצֵּב גְּבֻלֹת עַמִּים, {ס} לְמִסְפַּר בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל. {ר} 8

When the Most High gave to the nations their inheritance, when He separated the children of men, He set the borders of the peoples according to the number of the children of Israel.

Dead Sea Scrolls:

ח בְּהַנְחֵל עֶלְיוֹן גּוֹיִם, {ס} בְּהַפְרִידוֹ בְּנֵי אָדָם; {ר} יַצֵּב גְּבֻלֹת עַמִּים, {ס} לְמִסְפַּר בְּנֵי אֱלֹהִים. {ר} 8

When the Most High gave to the nations their inheritance, when He separated the children of men, He set the borders of the peoples according to the number of the "children of Elohim"

So while the Dead Sea Scrolls prove that there was a lot of differences in the Biblical text, we stop seeing these kinds of large changes after the time of the Dead Sea Scrolls. The Dead Sea Scrolls are dated to be written around 100-300BCE, but after that, the texts seem to be much more fixed and stop having any relevant differences. Maybe the scribes got more oversight, or were better at their craft. Maybe differing manuscripts were destroyed or lost to history with the destruction of the Temple and therefore could no longer be copied or spread around. Either way, there is credibility to the claim that our text has not been a perfect transmission. But most of the "changes" wouldn't matter religiously, to Muhammad, or to Jews.

3

Rabbi Lawrence Kelemen, an acclaimed lecturer and teacher, has a class proving the veracity of the Oral Torah tradition, as well as dealing with a number of the main questions on the transmission of the Torah as we have it today. The class is freely available here.

Additionally, Rabbi Yaakov Weinberg has a wonderful class addressing similar issues, freely available here.

  • 3
    Could you summarize any of the contents of these lectures? – mevaqesh Sep 18 '16 at 3:32
1

Consider the orthographic changes between the pre and post Babylonian captivity (that you can see from the Dead Sea Scrolls). And consider the textual differences between the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Masoretic texts.

Though these textual changes exist, it remains an exercise for the student to ascertain whether they are significant.

1

זה כתוב במזמור שנים עשר

:אִמְרוֹת יְהוָה, אֲמָרוֹת טְהֹרוֹת כֶּסֶף צָרוּף, בַּעֲלִיל לָאָרֶץ; מְזֻקָּק, שִׁבְעָתָיִם. אַתָּה-יְהוָה תִּשְׁמְרֵם; תִּצְּרֶנּוּ, מִן-הַדּוֹר זוּ לְעוֹלָם.

זה כתוב בספר משלי

כָּל-אִמְרַת אֱלוֹהַּ צְרוּפָה

זה כתוב בספר ישעיהו יָבֵשׁ חָצִיר, נָבֵל צִיץ; וּדְבַר-אֱלֹהֵינוּ, יָקוּם לְעוֹלָם.

זה כתוב בספר ירמיהו

וַיִּשְׁלַח הַמֶּלֶךְ אֶתעיְהוּדִי, לָקַחַת אֶתעהַמְּגִלָּה, וַיִּקָּחֶהָ, מִלִּשְׁכַּת אֱלִישָׁמָע הַסֹּפֵר; וַיִּקְרָאֶהָ יְהוּדִי, בְּאָזְנֵי הַמֶּלֶךְ, וּבְאָזְנֵי כָּלעהַשָּׂרִים, הָעֹמְדִים מֵעַל הַמֶּלֶךְ. וְהַמֶּלֶךְ, יוֹשֵׁב בֵּית הַחֹרֶף, בַּחֹדֶשׁ, הַתְּשִׁיעִי; וְאֶתעהָאָח, לְפָנָיו מְבֹעָרֶת. וַיְהִי כִּקְרוֹא יְהוּדִי, שָׁלֹשׁ דְּלָתוֹת וְאַרְבָּעָה, יִקְרָעֶהָ בְּתַעַר הַסֹּפֵר, וְהַשְׁלֵךְ אֶלעהָאֵשׁ אֲשֶׁר אֶלעהָאָח: עַדעתֹּם, כָּלעהַמְּגִלָּה, עַלעהָאֵשׁ, אֲשֶׁר עַלעהָאָח. וְלֹא פָחֲדוּ, וְלֹא קָרְעוּ אֶתעבִּגְדֵיהֶםעעהַמֶּלֶךְ, וְכָלעעֲבָדָיו, הַשֹּׁמְעִים, אֵת כָּלעהַדְּבָרִים הָאֵלֶּה. וְגַם אֶלְנָתָן וּדְלָיָהוּ וּגְמַרְיָהוּ הִפְגִּעוּ בַמֶּלֶךְ, לְבִלְתִּי שְׂרֹף אֶתעהַמְּגִלָּה; וְלֹא שָׁמַע, אֲלֵיהֶם. וַיְצַוֶּה הַמֶּלֶךְ אֶתעיְרַחְמְאֵל בֶּןעהַמֶּלֶךְ וְאֶתעשְׂרָיָהוּ בֶןעעַזְרִיאֵל, וְאֶתעשֶׁלֶמְיָהוּ בֶּןעעַבְדְּאֵל, לָקַחַת אֶתעבָּרוּךְ הַסֹּפֵר, וְאֵת יִרְמְיָהוּ הַנָּבִיא; וַיַּסְתִּרֵם, יְהוָה. וַיְהִי דְבַרעיְהוָה, אֶלעיִרְמְיָהוּעעאַחֲרֵי שְׂרֹף הַמֶּלֶךְ, אֶתעהַמְּגִלָּה וְאֶתעהַדְּבָרִים, אֲשֶׁר כָּתַב בָּרוּךְ מִפִּי יִרְמְיָהוּ, לֵאמֹר. שׁוּב קַחעלְךָ, מְגִלָּה אַחֶרֶת; וּכְתֹב עָלֶיהָ, אֵת כָּלעהַדְּבָרִים הָרִאשֹׁנִים, אֲשֶׁר הָיוּ עַלעהַמְּגִלָּה הָרִאשֹׁנָה, אֲשֶׁר שָׂרַף יְהוֹיָקִים מֶלֶךְעיְהוּדָה.

In English: It is written in psalm 12,

The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.

It is written in the book of proverbs,

Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.

It is written in the book of Isaiah,

The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.

It is written in the book of Jeremiah,

So the king sent Jehudi to fetch the roll: and he took it out of Elishama the scribe's chamber. And Jehudi read it in the ears of the king, and in the ears of all the princes which stood beside the king. Now the king sat in the winterhouse in the ninth month: and there was a fire on the hearth burning before him. And it came to pass, that when Jehudi had read three or four leaves, he cut it with the penknife, and cast it into the fire that was on the hearth, until all the roll was consumed in the fire that was on the hearth.

Yet they were not afraid, nor rent their garments, neither the king, nor any of his servants that heard all these words. Nevertheless Elnathan and Delaiah and Gemariah had made intercession to the king that he would not burn the roll: but he would not hear them. But the king commanded Jerahmeel the son of Hammelech, and Seraiah the son of Azriel, and Shelemiah the son of Abdeel, to take Baruch the scribe and Jeremiah the prophet: but the LORD hid them.

Then the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah, after that the king had burned the roll, and the words which Baruch wrote at the mouth of Jeremiah, saying, Take thee again another roll, and write in it all the former words that were in the first roll, which Jehoiakim the king of Judah hath burned.


The following was posted as a separate answer and edited into this one:

As the Hebrew scriptures I refered to show, there are those who would destroy the scriptures, but God promises to preserve it. What was the first thing God shows us that Satan said so long ago in the garden. He questioned God's word. Thus we have two "text types". 1) the supernaturally inspired and preserved holy scriptures 2) the changed, altered, messed up text derived from this and motivations of Satan, and people who have no big problem with changing the word of God. For all the minutiae of "textual criticism" people should be reminded of this bigger and more important truth. And to be expected are those who will argue with the above, as Satan, and hearts which do NOT believe the true supernatural nature of holy scriptures abound.

  • 2
    Thanks for this and welcome to MiYodeya. This is an English-language site (see meta.judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/1606/…) so it would be helpful if you provide an English summary. Tanakh sources are easy to translate e.g., via sefaria.org – mbloch Jan 9 '16 at 19:20
  • In English: It is written in psalm 12, The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever. It is written in the book of proverbs, Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar. It is written in the book of Isaiah, The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever. – jahhouse Jan 30 '16 at 22:56
  • It is written in the book of Jeremiah, So the king sent Jehudi to fetch the roll: and he took it out of Elishama the scribe's chamber. And Jehudi read it in the ears of the king, and in the ears of all the princes which stood beside the king. Now the king sat in the winterhouse in the ninth month: and there was a fire on the hearth burning before him. And it came to pass, that when Jehudi had read three or four leaves, he cut it with the penknife, and cast it into the fire that was on the hearth, until all the roll was consumed in the fire that was on the hearth. – jahhouse Jan 30 '16 at 22:59
  • 2
    @jahhouse Any relevant information, such as translations should be edited int o the text of the answer itself. – mevaqesh Sep 18 '16 at 3:33
  • 1
    How does this actually answer the question? – sabbahillel Jan 22 at 3:50
1

As noted in Aaron's excellent answer it seems to be incontrovertible that the text of the Torah has changed over time. What is also equally clear, according to every source I can find, is that those changes are in the form of minor textual variants or other euphemistic language (tikkun sof'rim) and have no theological consequence whatsoever.

At approximately the 30 minute mark in this lecture Rabbi Wieder cites a responsa of Rashba which was addressed specifically to the argument of the Muslim community which you are inquiring about. Rashba discusses the concept of scribal emendations (tikkun sof'rim) and concludes that: 1. If the Rabbis wanted to change the text of the Torah for some nefarious purpose they would not have then foolishly announced that they had done so and list the places in which they had done so 2. Any possible euphemistic changes have no theological relevancy

You must log in to answer this question.

protected by msh210 Mar 27 '14 at 3:37

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality or spam answers that had to be removed, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site (the association bonus does not count).

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .