Photo courtesy of Reinhard Pummer
Author Ronald Hendel believes that the time has come for scholars to produce an eclectic critical edition of the Hebrew Bible—one that combines the best readings from all the ancient manuscripts. While modern scholarly editions of the Hebrew Bible do refer to variant readings in marginal notes, the biblical text itself continues to follow the traditional reading of the Masoretic Text. An eclectic edition, by contrast, would not give preference to the Masoretic Text. Rather, scholars preparing such an edition would first compare and analyze the different readings offered by various biblical manuscripts. They would then determine which of these variants represents the best, or most original, reading of the passage in question. Once identified, the most original reading would be incorporated into the biblical text. According to Hendel, the eclectic edition resulting from this process of analysis and selection would improve upon editions based on the Masoretic Text by bringing the reader closer to the original language and ideas of the Hebrew Bible.