[b-hebrew] Why would the scribal authorities find thisobjectionable?

Yigal Levin leviny1 at mail.biu.ac.il
Sun May 1 04:00:25 EDT 2005

Dear Chrises and all,

Why is it so widely assumed that the Masoretic comment on "Tikun Soferim" is
historically correct, or that it even refers to that particular emendation?
Are there any mss. that have Yahweh standing before Abraham? The DDS version
(8QGen) is badly preserved, but seems to have "... lpny y[hwh]".


----- Original Message -----
From: "Heard, Christopher" <Christopher.Heard at pepperdine.edu>
To: "b-hebrew" <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Sunday, May 01, 2005 2:26 AM
Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] Why would the scribal authorities find

> Hello all,
> There seems to perhaps be some confusion in the responses to Chris
> W.'s original post. Here's the deal, just in case anybody has lost
> track or got turned around backwards:
> The MT on this verse reads (in part obviously)
> Unicode Hebrew: ואברהם עודנו עמד לפני יהוה
> Transliterated: W)BRHM (WDNW (MD LPNY YHWH
> This clause is marked in the Masorah as one of the "tiqqune soferim"
> or "corrections of the scribes," suggesting a different original
> reading, which would presumably have syntactically reversed )BRHM and
> YHWH. Here is my footnote about that issue from my book Dynamics of
> Diselection, p. 39 n. 14:
> -- begin quotation --
> Masoretic tradition marks 18:22 as containing one of the "corrections
> of the scribes." Ostensibly, the text originally read "Yahweh
> remained standing before Abraham," but was changed to its present
> reading out of a sense of piety or decorum. Gunkel (202) and Speiser
> (132, 134) accept the tradition and provide the putative original in
> their translations. However, Tov (66) warns against a naive aceptance
> of the tradition of the "corrections." This case seems particularly
> suspect in light of Gen 18:22 (Scullion:156). See Heard, 2000:41 n.
> 37 for fuller discussion.
> -- end quotation --
> The cross-reference to the end is to the full footnote in my
> dissertation (Dynamics of Diselection is a revision thereof) and I'd
> be happy to reproduce that for the list on Monday if anybody wants to
> see it. The bibliographical references are of course to Gunkel's
> commentary on Genesis (the English translation published by Mercer),
> Speiser's Anchor Bible volume, and Tov's handbook on textual
> criticism (I think the 2nd ed. but it might be the 1st). I reproduced
> the footnote exactly as it appears in the book, but there is a typo
> there: "in light of Gen 18:22" should have read "in light of Gen
> 19:27," which contains the phrase
> Unicode: המקום אשר עמד שם את פני יהוה
> Transliterated: HMQWM )$R (MD $M )T PNY YHWH
> This verse is *not* marked in the Masorah as containing a "tiqqun
> soferim," even though it contains the same phrasing (just with the
> subject of (MD, that is, )BRHM, stated earlier in the sentence). Thus
> it would appear that the Masoretic mark in Gen 18:22 is probably a
> case of the Masoretes' imaginations playing tricks on them, so to
> speak, and both 18:22 and 19:27 originally read PNY YHWH as they now
> do rather than the imagined PNY )BRHM for 18:22.
> I think the issue that might have sparked the Masoretes' interest is
> the notion, which one can derived (not without a little mental
> gymnastics) from 18:22, that by "remaining standing before YHWH,"
> Abraham somehow blocked YHWH's path to Sodom. Note that a couple of
> verses earlier, YHWH has stated an intention to go down to Sodom, and
> in v. 18:22a the other two men, YHWH's companions (later called
> "angels" in chap. 19) have gone on ahead, W)BRHM (WDNW (MD LPNY YHWH.
> Why didn't YHWH go on down to Sodom as planned? One might say,
> "because W)BRHM (WDNW (MD LPNY YHWH, blocking YHWH's way." Now
> conceptually it strains credulity to think that Abraham really could
> block YHWH's way, yet I think the possibility of such a conception
> might have been what occurred to the Masoretes and led to the marking
> of this verse as a tiqqun.
> Chris H.
> On Apr 30, 2005, at 8:13 AM, wattswestmaas wrote:
> > GENESIS 18:22
> >
> > "the Lord yet stood before Abraham"  and "Abraham yet stood before
> > the Lord"
> > the first sentence being substituted for the latter in the
> > masoretic notes.
> >
> > I do not understand why  the scribes would object to the first
> > rendering?
> >
> > Chris Watts.
> >
> > _______________________________________________
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> >
> --
> R. Christopher Heard
> Assistant Professor of Religion
> Pepperdine University
> Malibu, California 90263-4352
> http://faculty.pepperdine.edu/cheard
> http://www.iTanakh.org
> http://www.semioticsandexegesis.info
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