The Masoretic Text

The traditional--sometimes imperfect--Jewish version of the Torah text.

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The problem for Orthodoxy presented by biblical criticism applies only to what is known as the Higher Criticism, that is, the critical examination of how the Pentateuch came to be. The Lower Criticism, the critical examination of the text in the light of emendations and the ancient versions, is much less of a problem since there is no actual dogma which states that the Masoretic Text is entirely inerrant as the very word of God.

Nevertheless, no Jewish community, Orthodox or Reform, has ever thought of emending the actual text of the Sefer Torah used in the synagogue, an attempt that would be considered to be sacrilegious by all Jews.

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Rabbi Louis Jacobs

Rabbi Dr. Louis Jacobs (1920-2006) was a Masorti rabbi, the first leader of Masorti Judaism (also known as Conservative Judaism) in the United Kingdom, and a leading writer and thinker on Judaism.