The Septuagint's version of Jeremiah is one eighth shorter than the Masoretic Text's version. In the Dead Sea Scrolls is evidence of both versions.

Did any ancient Jewish writers (such as in the Mishnah, Talmud or Midrash) address the origin of the different source texts or offer an explanation for them?

  • 2
    Good question! Reading the book as it is in the Masoretic text, it's pretty obvious that the book was assembled and edited in a bunch of layers, at different times, so it makes sense that there were AT LEAST a couple of different ancient versions. For example, the last chapter was obviously added on by an editor, unless Jeremiah wrote the end of II Kings. A lot of the oracles that were dated according to kings' reigns are out of order - for example, Chapters 25-27 come before Chapter 21, and Chapter's 35 & 36 aren't in the right place, either...
    – Gary
    Nov 1, 2014 at 14:53
  • ...I'm not sure of the source--but I think it was a recent scholarly conjecture-- that the two versions were from before and after the events of Chapter 36, with the key indicator being 36:32 "Then Jeremiah took ANOTHER roll, and gave it to Baruch the scribe....who wrote therein from the mouth of Jeremiah all the words of the book which Jehoiakim king of Judah had burned in the fire; and THERE WERE ADDED BESIDES UNTO THEM MANY LIKE WORDS."(emphasis mine) That looks to me like evidence of editing long before even Jeremiah's parts of the book were even completed.
    – Gary
    Nov 1, 2014 at 15:00
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    @Gary I've also heard it suggested that the two versions originate from the scrolls Baruch and Seraiah took in different directions. Nov 1, 2014 at 23:19
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    @DoubleAA - I found this comparison: ccel.org/bible/brenton/Jeremiah/appendix.html of the verse order differences - the "major" missing verses are listed at the very bottom of the page..
    – Gary
    Nov 2, 2014 at 2:22
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    @warz3 (last comment) your claim seems highly unlikely. there were other people running around with variants too (samaritans, tzadokim), even if the Qumran sect was dead already. just because nowadays we pretend our tanakhs are all the same doesn't mean people were always so naïve.
    – Double AA
    Apr 2, 2015 at 17:16


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