John J. Collins

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The Archbishop of Canterbury, Stephen Langton (died 1228 CE) receives credit for the division of the Bible into chapters still in use today by Christians and Jews. The division of the Bible into verses, however, has a different history. The Hebrew Bible had been divided into sentences or “verses” by the way in which the Masoretes “pointed” them for reading and chanting in the 10th-11th centuries CE. These verses ended with the sof passuq, a punctuation mark that looks like a colon (:) in western scripts. These sentences or verses are, with few exceptions, the same as the contemporary versification of the Bible. The division of the New Testament in Greek into verses is the work of Robert Estienne (1503-1559), also known as Robert Stephanus, who in 1551 published a Greek text with the translation of Erasmus and that of the Vulgate that divided the New Testament books into verses. There is a legend that he did so while riding a horse from Paris to Lyons.
John J. Collins, Introduction to the Hebrew Bible (Minneapolis: Fortress, Press, 2004), 7-9. F. L. Cross and E. A. Livingstone, Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (rev. ed.; New York, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1983) 798b-799a; 1308a. Bruce M. Metzger, The Text of the New Testament (3d ed., rev.; New York, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992), 21-35; 103-104. Emanuel Tov, Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1992), 22-37

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