Biblia Hebraica series

BHK Biblia Hebraica Kittel (1. - 3.)
BHS Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia (4.)
BHQ Biblia Hebraica Quinta (5.)
Edited byKarl Elliger, Wilhelm Rudolph et al.
LanguageBiblical Hebrew, Biblical Aramaic
(with prolegomena in German, English, French, Spanish, Latin)
PublisherDeutsche Bibelgesellschaft, Stuttgart
Published1968–1976; 1997;
26 August 1998
Media typesee BHS editions
Preceded byBiblia Hebraica Kittel
Followed byBiblia Hebraica Quinta
WebsiteOfficial BHS text on
"The Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia" on
A sample page from Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia (Genesis 1,1-16a).

The Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia, abbreviated as BHS or rarely BH4, is an edition of the Masoretic Text of the Hebrew Bible as preserved in the Leningrad Codex, and supplemented by masoretic and text-critical notes. It is the fourth edition in the Biblia Hebraica series started by Rudolf Kittel and is published by the Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft (German Bible Society) in Stuttgart.

Publishing history

BHS is a revision of the third edition of the Biblia Hebraica, edited by Paul Kahle, the first printed Bible based on the Leningrad Codex. The footnotes are completely revised. It originally appeared in installments, from 1968 to 1976, with the first one-volume edition in 1977; it has been reprinted many times since.

The fifth reprint of the BHS was revised and redistributed in 1997. Work is currently under way at the Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft to produce a completely reworked and expanded edition in 20 volumes, known as the Biblia Hebraica Quinta or Fifth Hebrew Bible, which also includes references to and comparisons with recently released material from Qumran texts. Initial volumes of the Bible Hebraica Quinta have been available for sale since 2004. Completion of the project is intended by 2020[needs update].

BHS fascicles and editors

The work has been published in 15 fascicles from 1968 to 1976 according to this release schedule taken from the Latin prolegomena in the book.

Fascicle Editor Publication
01 Librum Geneseos Otto Eißfeldt 1969 (Fascicle 1)
02f Libros Exodi et Levitici Gottfried Quell 1973 (Fascicle 2)
04 Librum Numerorum Wilhelm Rudolph 1972 (Fascicle 3a)
05 Librum Deuteronomii J. Hempel 1972 (Fascicle 3b)
06f Libros Josuae et Judicum Rudolf Meyer 1972 (Fascicle 4)
08 Librum Samuelis Pieter Arie Hendrik de Boer 1976 (Fascicle 5)
09 Librum Regum Alfred Jepsen 1974 (Fascicle 6)
10 Librum Jesaiae David Winton Thomas 1968 (Fascicle 7)
11 Librum Jeremiae Wilhelm Rudolph 1970 (Fascicle 8)
12 Librum Ezechielis Karl Elliger 1971 (Fascicle 9)
13 Librum XII Prophetarum Karl Elliger 1970 (Fascicle 10)
14 Librum Psalmorum H. Bardtke 1969 (Fascicle 11)
15 Librum Iob Gillis Gerlemann 1974 (Fascicle 12a)
16 Librum Proverbiorum F. Fichtner 1974 (Fascicle 12b)
17 Librum Ruth Theodore Henry Robinson 1975 (Fascicle 13a)
18f Libros Cantici Canticorum et Ecclesiastes F. Horst 1975 (Fascicle 13b)
20 Librum Threnorum Theodore Henry Robinson 1975 (Fascicle 13c)
21 Librum Esther F. Maass 1975 (Fascicle 13d)
22 Librum Danielis Walter Baumgartner 1976 (Fascicle 14a)
23 Libros Esrae et Nehemiae Wilhelm Rudolph 1976 (Fascicle 14b)
24 Libros Chronicorum Wilhelm Rudolph 1975 (Fascicle 15)

The processing and development of the Masoretic annotations and notes within all editions of the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia was the privilege of Gérard E. Weil. He also released the book Massorah Gedolah iuxta codicem Leningradensem B 19a at the Pontifical Biblical Institute in 1971, which is the very first Edition of the Masora Magna, what gives an idea of his unique expertise in relation to the Masora.

A print edition of the Leningrad Codex

Like many Hebrew Bible print editions the BHS omits the Rafe diacritic consistently ("אחריך" from Cant 1:4a).

The Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia is meant to be an exact copy of the Masoretic Text as recorded in the Leningrad Codex. According to the introductory prolegomena of the book, the editors have "accordingly refrained from removing obvious scribal errors"[1] (these have then been noted in the critical apparatus). Diacritics like the Silluq and Meteg which were missing in the Leningrad Codex also have not been added.

The only exception to that is the Rafe diacritic which has been consistently omitted in the BHS due to "almost insuperable technical difficulties" with its implementation in the typeface. This is not untypical, since almost every Hebrew Bible print edition, starting with Jacob ben Chayyim's Bombergiana omits the diacritic (because of its minor importance; it serves as a pronunciation help and is partially redundant due to the Dagesh diacritic, the "opposite of the Rafe").

Like its predecessor the Biblia Hebraica Kittel the BHS adds the letters samekh "ס" (for סתומה, setumah: "closed portion") and "פ" (for פתוחה, petuchah: "open portion") into the text to indicate blank spaces in the Leningrad Codex, which divide the text into sections.

One more difference to the Leningrad Codex is the book order, the Books of Chronicles have been moved to the end as it appears in common Hebrew bibles, even though it precedes Psalms in the codex.


The BHS is composed of the three traditional divisions of the Hebrew Scriptures: the Torah (תורה "instruction"), Neviim (נבאים "prophets"), and the Ketuvim (כתבים "writings").

In the margins are Masoretic notes. These are based on the codex, but have been heavily edited to make them more consistent and easier to understand. Even so, whole books have been written to explain these notes themselves. Some of the notes are marked sub loco ("in this place"), meaning that there appears to be some problem, often that they contradict the text. The editors never published any explanation of what the problems were, or how they might be resolved.

The sub loco notes do not necessarily explain interesting text variants; they are, in the vast majority, only notes on inaccurate word countings/frequencies. See Daniel S. Mynatt, The Sub Loco Notes in the Torah of Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia (Bibal, 1994); Christopher Dost, The Sub-Loco Notes in the Torah of Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia (Gorgias, 2016).

Footnotes record possible corrections to the Hebrew text. Many are based on the Samaritan Pentateuch, the Dead Sea Scrolls and on early Bible translations ("versions") such as the Septuagint, Vulgate and Peshitta. Others are conjectural emendations.

Book order

The order of the biblical books generally follows the codex, even for the Ketuvim, where that order differs from most common printed Hebrew bibles. Thus the Book of Job comes after Psalms and before Proverbs, and the Megillot are in the order Ruth, Song of Songs, Ecclesiastes, Lamentations and Esther. The only difference is with Chronicles.

The Torah:

1. Genesis [בראשית / Bere’shit] (English rendering: "In beginning")
2. Exodus [שמות / Shemot] (English rendering: "Names")
3. Leviticus [ויקרא / Vayikera’] (English rendering: "And he called")
4. Numbers [במדבר / Bamidebar] (English rendering: "In the wilderness")
5. Deuteronomy [דברים / Devarim] (English rendering: "The words")

The Nevi'im:

6. Joshua [יהושע / Yehoshua‛]
7. Judges [שופטים / Shophetim]
8. Samuel (I & II) [שמואל / Shemuel]
9. Kings (I & II) [מלכים / Melakhim]
10. Isaiah [ישעיה / Yesha‛yahu]
11. Jeremiah [ירמיה / Yiremiyahu]
12. Ezekiel [יחזקאל / Yekhezq’el]
13. The Twelve Prophets [תרי עשר]
a. Hosea [הושע / Hoshea‛]
b. Joel [יואל / Yo’el]
c. Amos [עמוס / Amos]
d. Obadiah [עובדיה / ‛Ovadyah]
e. Jonah [יונה / Yonah]
f. Micah [מיכה / Mikhah]
g. Nahum [נחום / Nakhum]
h. Habakkuk [חבקוק /Havaquq]
i. Zephaniah [צפניה / Tsephanyah]
j. Haggai [חגי / Khagai]
k. Zechariah [זכריה / Zekharyah]
l. Malachi [מלאכי / Mal’akhi]

The Ketuvim

The Sifrei Emet, the poetic books:
14. Psalms [תהלים / Tehilim]
15. Job [איוב / ’Iyov]
16. Proverbs [משלי / Mishlei]
The Five Megillot or "Five Scrolls":
17. Ruth [רות / Ruth]
18. Song of Songs [שיר השירים / Shir Hashirim]
19. Ecclesiastes [קהלת / Qoheleth]
20. Lamentations [איכה / Eikhah]
21. Esther [אסתר / Esther]
The rest of the "Writings":
22. Daniel [דניאל / Dani’el]
23. Ezra-Nehemiah [עזרא ונחמיה / ‛Ezra’ veNekhemiah]
24. Chronicles (I & II) [דברי הימים / Diverei Hayamim]

Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia: A Reader's Edition

In September 2014 an edition of the BHS called Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia: A Reader's Edition (abbreviated as the BHS Reader) was published by the German Bible Society and Hendrickson Publishers. This edition features the same Hebrew text as the regular BHS, but without the Masora on the side margins and with a "Lexical and Grammatical Apparatus" on the bottom of the page replacing the critical apparatus of the BHS.

It was done as a six-year project by Donald R. Vance (Oral Roberts University), George Athas (Moore Theological College) and Yael Avrahami (Oranim Academic College).

The edition defines an English translation to every word in the text: words that occur 70 times or more are listed in a glossary in the back of the book, and words that occur fewer than 70 times are listed in the apparatus. The translations were mostly taken out of the Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament, but also from DCH [a] and the Brown–Driver–Briggs.

Alongside with the translations it features a grammatical parsing of the words encoded in a system of abbreviations (e.g. an introductory example in the book states that the word "והקריבו" from Lev 1:15 has the note "Hr10s0 קרב" in the apparatus which means that the word is a "Hiphil suffix conjugation third masculine singular verb with a wāv retentive and a third masculine singular pronominal suffix of the root קרב").[2] It also has a 50-page appendix listing paradigm-tables for strong and weak verbal roots and noun suffixes.

The BHS Reader follows a tradition of "reader's editions" of Bibles in the original languages. In March 2008 Zondervan published a similar edition done by A. Philip Brown II and Bryan W. Smith from Bob Jones University called A Reader's Hebrew Bible which is based on Westminster Leningrad Codex 4.10, virtually identical to the BHS. Their translations in the apparatus are based on the same dictionaries (with a threshold of 100 occurrences for glossary or apparatus translations instead of 70 in the BHS Reader) and a simpler parsing system.


The bible scholar Emanuel Tov has criticised BHS somewhat for having errors, and for correcting errors in later editions without informing the reader.[3]

See also


  1. ^ DCH: Dictionary of Classical Hebrew by David J. A. Clines


  1. ^ Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia, 1997, page xii
  2. ^ Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia: A Reader's Edition, 2014, page xiii
  3. ^ He states: "The edition of Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia (BHS) originally appeared in fascicles which were corrected in the final printing, which carried the date 1967-1977. It was corrected again in the 1984 printing, yet even this printing contains mistakes". Textual criticism of the Hebrew Bible, Emanuel Tov, page 3. at Google books


BHS editions

About the BHS