[b-hebrew] Excess consonants in the WLC Torah.

Christopher V. Kimball mail at cvkimball.com
Mon Jun 6 12:34:45 EDT 2005

Maqafs are not counted as consonants, but rather as accents, in my 
statistics. Since there are 11,480 maqafs in the Torah (including both 
qere and kethib variants) they are probably not the explanation.

Your idea that one might count the spaces is helpful. A note in the JPS 
"Etz Hayim" Chumash, 2001 (p 770) says:

"...Levi Yitzhak of Berdichev connects the final total of 603,550 
Israelites [v. 46] to a tradition that there are 603,550 letters in the 
Torah. ...

in referring to Numbers 1:46. I can't get close to the 603,550 number 
any way I count it, so I'm off by 50%.

Karl Randolph wrote:

>I think that a difference of this amount is not only plausible, but probable.
>Looking at your stats listed below, spaces between words (in archaic Hebrew, dots) are not counted, while Maqefs (which did not exist in archaic Hebrew) are counted as consonants. Add to that that spelling was often fluid, it’s almost surprising that the differences add up to only 43.
>Karl W. Randolph.
>----- Original Message -----
>From: "Christopher V. Kimball" <mail at cvkimball.com>
>>A computerized count of the number of consonants in the normal + 
>>kethib sections of the Torah books of the WLC Tanach is 304,848. 
>>The Koren edition of the Torah (Torah, Nevi'im, uKetuvim 
>>[Jerusalem: Koren, 1962]) has 304,805 consonants (see "The Bible 
>>'Codes': A Textual Perspective, Jeffrey H Tigay, University of 
>>Pennsylvania, October 13, 1999 
>>http://www.sas.upenn.edu/~jtigay/codetext.html , reference 5. ). 
>>Thus the Koren edition has 43 fewer consonants than the WLC. (A 
>>0.01441% difference.)
>>Do differences of this level (43 out of  305848) seem plausible?  
>>Is there an accepted explanation?

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