The text of the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) was carefully preserved by generations of Jewish scholars. These scribes developed a sophisticated system of checks and rules to ensure the accuracy of their copies. These specialist copiers of the Bible, in and after the second temple period, were called Masoretes (`transmitters'). They gave their name to the standard Hebrew texts we have today for which they were responsible, the Masoretic Text.
When Hebrew ceased to be a mother tongue they added signs to show what vowels should be used to pronounce the text, for up to then only the consonants had been written.
The Scrolls from Qumran illustrate the care these scribes took and the beauty of the results. Pictures are available on the INTERNET.
This page is part of the Hypertext Bible Commentary - Amos,
© Tim Bulkeley, 1996-2005, Tim Bulkeley. All rights reserved.