Seeking an Autograph: An Investigation into the Problems of OT Autography

Article 10 of the Chicago statement on Inerrancy applies the doctrine “only to the autographic text of Scripture.” This statement sets forth a clear delineation between the original New Testament manuscripts and later transmission. However, for the Old Testament, such a delineation is difficult. Does the term “autograph” apply to the original texts or to the final form of the text found in the Old Testament? Should the autograph be located in the Masoretic Text tradition used in modern versions of the Bible or the earlier LXX tradition used in the New Testament? Furthermore, how might one address issues concerning transmission of strands of biblical text that question whether a final form even exists?

In light of these and other problems, the research represented in this paper seeks to (1) identify the scope of issues surrounding Article 10 as applied to the Old Testament manuscripts, (2) seek possible ways to address these issues, and (3) do so in a way that remains faithful to the overall wording and spirit of the Chicago Statement on Inerrancy.

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