emandations of the sopherim

Schmuel schmuel at escape.com
Mon Sep 2 11:12:44 EDT 2002

Shalom b-Hebrew,

>>There is a basic issue here as to the significance of this Massorah, and 
>>whether it
>>should be considered important in discussing and translating the 
>>Masoretic Text..
>>What thinketh our scholars, experts, and thinking lay-folk ?
>>The 134 Passages Where The Sopherim Altered "Jehovah" to  "Adonai".
>>Appendix 32 From The Companion Bible, by Bullinger

>Bullinger cites Gunzburg as his source.  Number  of years ago this was 
>mentioned to me, and since I had seen no sources that there ever existed 
>such manuscript variants, and no source in Rabbinic literature for it, I 
>was very curious. I did not have the Gunzburg book (it is quite expensive) 
>so I wrote to Prof Schiffman, who is very familiar with these issues. Here 
>is what he wrote back to me about that:
>To: mshulman at ix.netcom.com(Moshe Shulman )
>Subject: Re: On the Plains of Mamre
>From:  "Lawrence H. Schiffman" <>
><snip> this is not a list of textual variants but rather a list of the 
>times ad-onai is used when it is clearly an equivalent (in meaning) to the 
>shem ha-meforash.

This is a critical claim... that Ginzburg is being misunderstood by Bullinger,
..... and then everyone else is piggy-backing on Bullinger..

This makes a lot of sense, and we know that Lawrence Schiffman is a 
world-class scholar,
it would be nice to have additional verification that Ginzburg was 
misunderstood, is that
an indisputable fact ? or an interpretation ?

Shiffman quote ...
>We know in any case, that ad-onai was secondarily introduced in the Second 
>Temple period often to indicate that the tetragrammaton should be 
>pronounced in this manner (not as written).  This is not textual variation 
>at all, and has no relevance to what he is claiming.


This is hard to understand, is Lawrence saying that it would have no 
significance if the "text"
is actually changed from tetragrammaton to adonai, or if adonai is added ?
Or is Lawrence simply referencing the spoken word... ?

If he is referring to the "text", others, including "textual critics" 
searching to be accurate to
the originals, would likely disagree to its having "no relevance"  ......

>So essentially the facts are that these are not changes, or variants, but 
>places where using the tetragrammaton appears to Gunzburg as being a valid 
>substitution for one of the other names being used. I am sure that most of 
>the time it is correct, and a substitution could be made, and likewise we 
>could find others where we would disagree.


Perhaps someone can share give exact examples of what Ginzburg actually 
write's in his Massorah, to help confirm that he is just offering a view of 
"equivalency of meanings" rather than indicating a
substitution or emandation having been made historically ?

The basic source would be The Ginsberg Massorah (Ktav Publishing House, 
1975 reprint)

Anyway, so far this is very helpful, and also fits well with my belief (and 
that of Romans 3 :-)
in the sanctity of the Hebrew Scriptures...


schmuel at escape.com

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