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The Nun-like Sign in the Masora of the Cairo Codex of the Prophets: Use
The exact role of this symbol and its masoretic term is still unknown, although
some authors consider it another way of expressing the phenomenon ketib-qere
(A. Dotan, »Masora«, 1971, p. 616; I. Yeivin, Introduction
, 1980, pp. 52–53; E.
d. F. Francisco, Manual da Bíblia Hebraica. Introduçao ao Texto Massorético. GuiaIntrodutório para a Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia,
3a ed. Brasil, 2008, pp. 191–192; E.
Tov, Textual Criticism
, p. 59; Himbaza 2000).
In the Cairo Codex of the Prophets (C) this sign occurs more than five hun-
dred times while its presence in the other main masoretic codices is scarce ornull. In the present study all the occurrences are analyzed in order to define itsuse and to explain its function in the context of this Codex.
Aron Dotan (Israel)An Ancient Tradition of Verse Count of the Entire Bible
The Masora’s accepted count of 23204 verses in the entire Bible is corroborated
by modern computer counts as well. Beside it there is another count whichshows a total reduced by some hundreds verses, which is in clear contrast tothe data of the masoretic genuine count. This other count turns out to be ofancient origin, going back to the second century C.E., around the time of thecanonization of the Hebrew Holy Scriptures. The paper examines Talmudicsources for evidence following the process of the gradual acceptance of booksinto the Canon of the Holy Scriptures. It then attempts to synchronize it withthe ancient enigmatic count of verses which may have been based on a morelimited Canon of Scriptures.
Edson de Faria Francisco (Brazil)Mistaken Realization of Masoretic Annotations from Leningrad Codex
B19a to the Biblia Hebraica series: General Remarks
Since the publication of the Biblia Hebraica
(BHK) (1929–1937), the annotationsof the masora parva
and masora magna
of the Leningrad Codex B19a (L) have
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been realized, wholly or partially, in the Biblia Hebraica
series. The BHK realizesonly the masora parva
and the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia
(BHS) (1967–1977)realizes the masora parva
, but in corrected and normalized realization and themasora magna
in a separate volume, the Massorah Gedolah iuxta LeningradensemCodicem B19a
, in corrected and normalized realization too. Currently, the BibliaHebraica Quinta
(BHQ) (2004–) reproduces both the masora parva
and the ma-sora magna
of Codex L, in an essentially diplomatic representation, aiming atbeing faithful to its source. However, one can see that not always the masorarealization of Codex L has been carried out accurately, and errors, omissions, ad-ditions and erroneous deciphering can be found in the three editions of BibliaHebraica
series and also in the Massorah Gedolah
. Not always these works reflect
what is actually in the masora of Codex L.
This brief study intends to comment and to show, through selected exam-
ples, terms, expressions and masoretic notes reproduced erroneously in BHK,BHS or BHQ. The lecture will point at the possible causes of such inaccura-cies and comment on possible corrections. In addition to the three editions, thelecture will address the Massorah Gedolah
and several cases of mistakes that arefound in it too. The communication will emphasize that it is important that theterms, expressions and annotations of the masora of Codex L should be real-ized correctly, for two important reasons: 1. to be an important testimony ofthe ample activity of the Masoretes, as seen in Codex L and 2. the usefulnessof the masora for modern biblical research. The lecture completes the topic
»Reprodução Inexata de Anotações Massoréticas« (»Inaccurate Realization of
Masoretic Annotations«) of the chapter »Códice de Leningrado: Firkowitch I:B19a« (»Leningrad Codex: Firkowitch I: B19a«) from the forthcoming LexiconMasoreticum: Léxico de Terminologia Massorética Tiberiense
. The Lexicon Masoreticum
is the current postdoctoral work of this author to the University of São Paulo
(USP), to be published in the future.
Viktor Golinets (Germany)Variations of Vocalization within the Tiberian Masoretic Tradition and
in Comparison with other Textual Traditions
There are many cases within the Tiberian masoretic tradition where the sameword is vocalized differently, although neither the semantics of the context nor
the morphosyntax seem to demand any vocalization variation. Sometimes thisvariation pertain to phonology, sometimes the meaning of the passage is in-volved. An example for the latter case is Dt 6:16, where the word הָסַּמַּבּ is vo-calized as a noun, while in Dt 9:22 and Dt 33:8 the word הָסַּמְבּ is regarded as aplace name. While this word, which seems to have the same meaning in all threeinstances, is understood in two ways within the Tiberian masoretic tradition, themasoretic understanding of this word is also at variance with other textual tra-
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ditions. The Targums render הָסַּמ as a noun in all three cases. The Septuagintseems to understand הָסַּמ as a place name in the first two instances.
This lecture aims to evaluate these and other cases of vocalisation variance
in the Tiberian masoretic tradition in comparison with other textual traditionsof the Hebrew Bible.
Lea Himmelfarb (Israel)Rabbi Samsom Raphael Hirsch’s Use of the Biblical Accentuation in his
The present paper focuses on the explicit relationship between the punctuation
method of Biblical accentuation and the Biblical commentary by Rabbi SamsonRaphael Hirsch (1808–1888).
Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch expressed his immense admiration for the
interpretive implications of the Biblical accentuation system. Verses in whichthe accentuation system is mentioned by this commentator are examined in or-der to find out whether Rabbi Hirsch accurately utilized the accentuation rulesand principles for dividing the verse. Or maybe his knowledge of the accents’methodology was insufficiently grounded, and he drew erroneous conclusions,and, in point of fact, incorrectly relied upon the accents in his commentary.
The choice of examples represents different aspects of Rabbi Hirsch’s
methodology and fall into three categories: 1) mention of the accents asauthoritative support; 2) interpretation that is contrary to the accents; 3)interpretation that follows the accents.
The examples are verses from the Twenty-one Prose Books and from the
Three Poetical Books – Psalms, Job, and Proverbs.
The Te‘amim and the Theory of Relativity
In his study on the Tiberian Masora, Israel Yeivin formulated the principle thatthe separating value of an accent depends on the context, formed by the totalityof all the accents in a verse. This implies that an accent like for instance geresh
could have a stronger separating value in a long clause, than on the other handa zaqeph
in a short phrase. In my paper I will argue that Yeivin’s theory shouldbe taken more seriously than usually happens. Scholars tend to accept Yeivin’sthesis concerning the accents in several respects, but seem to forget that he didnot see their values as fixed. In descriptions of the te‘amim
or in exegetical studiesthe function of atnach
is generally described as the main divider within a verse,next to silluq
, the final accent in a verse. Even though this might quite often beto the point, in a number of cases it is beside the mark. In case the atnach
isapplied in a long series of accents it might have a similar separating value (and
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thus function) as for instance zaqeph
. The acknowledgement of thisprinciple is of great importance for the use of the te‘amim
in the exegesis of theBiblical text. In my paper I will discuss a number of examples to demonstrate
what this relative value of the te‘amim
Franz D. Hubmann (Austria)Irregular Letters in Medieval Tora Scrolls and Manuscripts: A Provi-
sional Report of Work in Progress
The appearance of certain irregular letters in distinctive words of medieval Tora
Scrolls and Manuscripts is a well known phenomenon. However, a closer lookat the collected data from various manuscripts, reveals a great variety. This factcan be seen not only in different Tora Scrolls but also in the Tora-Codices.
The great difference in the data may be due to local scribal traditions or the
provenance of the manuscript. It may also be an indicator of an earlier or laterdate of the manuscript. In order to bring some light to this phenomenon, it
would be reasonable to collect the data and to compare them first. Through this
procedure we may get to a more or less basic system of placing such irregularletters in the text which can serve as point of departure for further comparisons.
Special attention must be paid to those manuscripts which show corrections ofregular letters into irregular ones (as an example I will present the Tora-ScrollBSB 487 from Munich), or – as in the case of codices – have marginal notes thatpostulate an irregular letter (reference will be made to Cod.hebr.19 of the ÖNB,
Vienna). The presented paper will contain first some sample-forms of these
irregular letters in the manuscripts at our disposition; secondly, a provisionalcollection and comparison of the data exemplified on the book of Genesis andthirdly, some examples of the possible meaning of this peculiar type of markingcertain letters/words which may be gleaned from contemporary commentaries.
Masora as Error Correcting Code
Error Correcting Code (= ECC) is a mathematical technique for reliable trans-mission of information over a »noisy« communications channel which is liableto introduce errors. ECC is a subset of information theory, which is concerned
with creating far more sophisticated and efficient methods for ensuring a high
probability that messages will be decoded correctly even if errors (at a reason-able level) occur during transmission.
At first glance, the Masora seems to carry out exactly the same function in
relation to the biblical text that ECC does for transmissions: it represents ad-ditional data appended to the original text, in different forms (Masora Magna
and Masora Parva
), facilitating »transmission« of the original text from genera-
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tion to generation along with a mechanism for correcting errors that occur inthe process of copying manuscripts. However, closer inspection reveals somedifferences between these two areas. For instance, ECC as applied to commu-nications is concerned with chance errors, which are completely content-blind,
whereas scribal errors are content-dependent: a scribe may replace a certainword with another one with a similar meaning; he may use plene
instead of de-
fective spelling; he may add or omit conjunctive ›waw‹, and so on. The Masoratherefore focuses especially on protection against this sorts of errors.
The lecture will present weak Masora mechanisms which failed, and contrast
them with a protective mechanism which achieved great success – Maimonides’codification of the tradition concerning »open« and »closed« portions (textualunits), and the graphic form in which the biblical songs appear. We posit thatMaimonides’ success was due not only to his stature in the Jewish world, butalso – and perhaps more importantly – to the successful ECC method whichhe adopted. We also discuss structural aspects of the Masora which aided themass dissemination of the biblical text set down by the Masoretes, overcomingthe problem of scribal errors, and prevailing over other textual traditions whichcompeted with the Masoretic text.
The lecture is based on cooperation between me and Professor of Mathe-
Josef M. Oesch (Austria)Historical Sketch of the Representation of Petuha and Setuma in Hebrew
Bible Manuscripts with Special Emphasis of the Pentateuch Texts
1. Origin, content and function of the terms »petuha« and »setuma«.
The terms »petuha« and »setuma« were handed down in connection with the
rules for copying Tora scrolls in a halakha, which forbids the exchange of thesetwo entities. Comments on their content and the function, however, are not tobe found, and neither are their various significations clarified.
From a later assignment of a function to them (»give Moses time for reflec-
tion«) we can see that they were originally elements of oral texts, that is, shorter
(setuma) and longer pauses (petuha). In order to represent them in a written
text, smaller and larger spaces in a line were chosen; thus the terms setuma
(›congested line‹) and petuha (›open line‹).
2. The findings in the manuscripts of the Dead Sea
This representation of shorter and longer pauses in a text can be observed
as early as in the manuscripts of the Dead Sea. Even though no unified methodof marking has yet been developed there, that method, which is described inthe later treatise ›Sefer Tora‹, is already strongly represented. We can also findremarkable similarities in the textual structures when these old texts are com-pared to medieval manuscripts.
3. From the standardization of texts to the oldest biblical codices
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After the textual standardization two not quite identical systems of marking
were established for petuha and setuma: The scriptural system according to
›Sefer Tora‹/›Soferim II‹ and the Mishne Tora of Maimonide on the one hand
and on the other hand that of ›Soferim‹ and the rules of Jacob ben Asher. Bothsystems can be found in medieval codices and Tora scrolls. Even though theydo not evince a totally unified picture of the tradition of petuha and setuma,they still contain a remarkable degree of concordance.
4. Unification in the representation and tradition of petuha and setuma
Both in medieval Tora scrolls (for example Munich BSB 487) and in Pen-
tateuch codices (Vienna ÖNB Codex Or. 19) we can see an attempt to unifythese varying structural devices and varying structures. There we can recognizethe wish to conform to the rule of the pre-mentioned halakha in the process ofcopying, in order to produce Tora scrolls which are suitable for recitation dur-ing worship in a synagogue. This striving for unification came to an end in therules of ›Shulhan Aruch‹ concerning the representation of petuha and setuma.
5. Signification and role of the petuha and setuma in present-day editions of theBible and their weight in interpreting the texts
While petuha and setuma are used in today’s Tora scrolls according to the
prescription of ›Shulhan Arukh‹, scholarly editions of the Bible tend to followthe precepts of Mamonide in their markings, if they find their way into the lay-out of the text at all. In single instances, however, the various editions containremarkable differences and inconsistencies. In interpretations these markings inhanded-down texts may find growing attention, but before they are establishedin the scholarly world, a method of structural critique (›delimitation criticism‹)
The Vowels and the Accents of the Masoretic Text
The Masoretic Text is usually spoken of as a uniform, self-consistent work.
However, a number of scholars have remarked, of certain passages, that thevowels do not seem consistent with the accents. As far as I know, the onlyone who has carried this beyond casual remarks is Yohanan Breuer, who offerssome two dozen examples in his article ›Dissonance between Masoretic Accen-tuation and Vocalization in Verse-division of the Biblical Text‹. However, theproblem is even more extensive than that. This paper ask what can be learnedfrom this situation.
The most obvious case of such inconsistency is the marking of 20 or so
pausal forms with conjunctive accents. One tradition could not combine thesetwo unless the value of at least one of them had been lost. Consideration of thisquestion leads to important conclusions, such as the voweling of the text musthave been established first, and the accents added later.
Other features of voweling mark the ends of minor units within those
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marked by pausal forms. The ends of such units are usually marked witha disjunctive accent, occasionally with a conjunctive, leading to the sameconclusions as with pausal forms. In a few cases, the word marked as a unit bythe voweling is divided between two units by the accentuation (Ps 10:15). Inthese cases, the Greek translation, the earliest, follows the voweling, supportingthe view that the accentuation was a later addition.
There are other forms of inconsistency, down to the occasional variation
between an accent or maqqef in marking a word with qames or holem, or withsegol or sere in a closed final syllable. Such inconsistencies are not common,but they occur throughout the text, and so ought to receive more consideration.
Some speculations on their origin are offered.
Paul Sanders (Holland)Poetic Layouts in the Oldest Masoretic Codices of the Hebrew Bible
In many ancient Hebrew manuscripts, we find eye-catching text layouts for Bib-lical poetry, especially the books of Psalms and Proverbs, the poetic parts of Job,and some other poetic texts. In these sections, there is at least one blank space
within most lines. In some manuscripts, virtually all the blank spaces, which
are of varying width, occur between the end of a colon and the first word ofthe following colon. Such text layouts can be labelled as colometric. In othermanuscripts, however, many of such blank spaces do not occur at the ends ofcola but between words that are part of the same colon. These text layouts areonly pseudo-colometric.
Unfortunately, these colometric and pseudo-colometric text layouts have not
been studied extensively. I have recently finished my complete analysis of thepoetic text layouts in Berlin Or. Qu. 680 (Paul Kahle’s Ec1) and the famous
Aleppo Codex. I will discuss them in an article in the volume Have a Break
(edited with Raymond de Hoop, Pericope series, publication expected in 2013
In my paper, I will for the first time present a survey of the final results
of my analysis of the poetic layouts in Berlin Or. Qu. 680 and in the AleppoCodex. As I will show, the poetic text layouts in the Leningrad Codex (Len.
B19A) are commonly only pseudo-colometric. Therefore, I have not selectedthis manuscript for an extensive analysis. In Berlin Or. Qu. 680, however, mostpoetic texts appear to have an appropriate division of the text that indicatesclearly how the copyist delimited the cola. When writing the consonantal textof the famous Aleppo Codex, Shlomo ben Buya‘a also wanted to indicate wherethe cola ended by inserting blank spaces, but in Psalms, Job and Proverbs thecolumns were not wide enough to position two long cola on the same line andto leave a space blank between them. Therefore, he could not always indicateclearly which colometric division of the text he had in mind.
In my article, I will also compare the distribution of the Masoretic (Babylo-
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nian and Tiberian) accents, the distribution of the pausal forms, and the mucholder poetic text layouts in fragmentary manuscripts from Masada and Qum-ran. To what extent do these divisions of the poetic texts correspond to thedivision, by means of blank spaces and line breaks, in Berlin Or. Qu. 680 and inthe Aleppo Codex? And how can the divergences be explained? In some cases,deviating divisions will appear to be due to a different interpretation of the text.
Scholars who are willing to give their reaction to my paper will receive the
text of my paper before the Munich IOMS meeting if they ask for it by e-mail
Who Counted First the Letters of the Tora?
The number given for the letters of the Tora in Codex L, 400,945, is far beyond
reality. This seems to be typical for most reported letter counts before and evenafter Norzi. But, according to the famous Baraita in Qid. 30a, the »Soferim«had counted the letters of the Tora even much earlier. Indeed, some statisticalfindings to be presented suggest that already the proto-rabbinic text was basedon exact statistics on the number of letters of each book and the total numbersof each letter of the alphabet in the Tora.
Assuming this, the question will be discussed if some Masoretes knew the ex-
act number of letters too. According to Norzi the Tora has to contain 304805letters. However, the Codex L, with its independent orthography sometimes di-vergent from its own Masora, has exactly 304,850 letters in the Tora, accordingto Computer counting. The differences in plene
/ defective writing between theearly Tiberian manuscripts increase at the end of Deuteronomy – more than15 differences between Codex A and Codex L are to be found in Deuteron-omy 28–34. Despite the fact that the vocalization, accentuation and Masora ofCodex L are copied from Codex A or a manuscript very close to it, the lettersseem to reflect an independent manuscript tradition, perhaps as old and goodas that of Codex A – and perhaps with its own antique counting tradition.
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