Rather than a comprehensive list of every difference between MT and DSS (or MT and LXX), I'm interested in scholarly assessments of differences that are deemed theologically significant or seem to be theologically motivated.

For example, the NRSV translation of the last two words in Deut 32:8 seems to follow DSS rather than MT:

When the Most High apportioned the nations,
    when he divided humankind,
he fixed the boundaries of the peoples
    according to the number of the gods;
  • LXX has ἀγγέλων θεοῦ "angels of God," seemingly translating the Hebrew בני אלהים
  • DSS 4Q37 has בני אלהים "sons of God"/"sons of gods"
  • Targum Pseudo-Jonathan has 'the number of 70 souls of Israel who went down to Egypt.'
  • MT/Leningrad Codex has בְּנֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵֽל "sons of Israel"

This textual difference seems to be in a class quite different from scribal error (mistakenly exchanging a resh for a dalet). It seems to rise to the level of editorial decision. It seems to change the meaning in a theologically significant way, perhaps to remove traces of polytheism that existed in ancient Hebrew Yahwism.

Where can I find scholarly material that catalogs differences of this kind?

  • You should reframe title as asking which book provides the extensive variants from DSS LXX? You will find some books, try asking on Quora. ISV Version gives all DSS variants, see smartbiblesearch site. For LXX you should read and compare by yourself.
    – Michael16
    Commented Jun 14, 2022 at 6:17

1 Answer 1


You can easily find scholarly analysis of the differences between MT and DSS, but the reasons for these differences, which you are asking about, would, and could only be conjecture. And this being influenced by bias, which we all have. Nevertheless, the almost total agreement between these sources is actually of huge comfort.

The differences are minor, very minor. And of the few, most don’t actually make any real difference.

The one you quote, and possibly (arguably) some other from Deuteronomy are the most significant - as these provide some support, ‘academic weight’ for some of the more recent, different Old Testament viewpoints that are challenging some traditional interpretation.

The incorporation of these recent findings, and other mostly Mesopotamian findings, and some of the other second temple literatures is providing food for thought - and depending on your foundation, maybe even confrontational.

  • Dave, thanks for responding. I agree that most differences have little or no impact on the text. It's the list of potentially significant ones that you mention that I'm interested in. Can you point me to a resource or two that present these?
    – Karl Baker
    Commented Mar 21, 2021 at 1:56
  • 1
    @Karl Baker I recommend this site ( drmsh.com ). Dr Michael Heiser. If necessary use the search function as there is quite a depth of resource.
    – Dave
    Commented Mar 21, 2021 at 2:52
  • I didn't find this topic. Can you provide a link?
    – Karl Baker
    Commented Mar 23, 2021 at 8:07
  • @Karl Baker I might be misunderstanding your intent? Nevertheless - Try this link. ... drmsh.com/…
    – Dave
    Commented Mar 23, 2021 at 17:25

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