[b-hebrew] tiqqune sopherim

Schmuel schmuel at escape.com
Wed May 4 15:31:54 EDT 2005

Hi b-hebrew,

subject was: Re: [b-hebrew] Why would the scribal authorities find this objectionable?

  Thaks to Christopher for his contributions on the tiqqune sopherim questions, including 
the relationship between Genesis 18:22 and 19:27 .. also the quote from your dissertation, including

"..Emmanuel Tov.. warns that ...even though many scholars accept the traditions about the corrections made by the soferim as basically correct, in  all probability these corrections were not carried out in reality."  Tov considers 18:22 a case in which "it is improbable that the  original text would indeed have read as the Masorah claims," though  he does not explain why this is the case. "

  Nehemiah Gordon, who I referenced with a similar view, has published with Emanuel Tov.  Interestingly it seems they agree on this basic concern, while Nehemiah accepts the Masoretic Text as authoritative, preserved scripture, and Emanuel Tov afaik does not.  

  Christopher, does your dissertation and research go into these issues in depth?  Do you consider in your book also how the tiqqune sopherim question affects the basic underlying question as to whether the Masoretic Text represents the "original" text.

In accessible writings, even just the basics are often not laid out, questions like.
   a) precisely what does the Masorah say 
   b) how much pre-Masorah corroborative support is there for the "emendation" view.
       Does DSS, Targum, Talmud, Midrash give any support to an "emendation" view.
       Or the Vulgate or Greek or Aramaic OT (Peshitta)
   c) the history of the rabbinics on this, especially from 900 A.D. to 1500 A.D.
   d) bibliography
   e) overview of scholarship, including the modern views.
   f)  relationship between the Adonai/Tetragrammaton verses and the other tiqqune sopherim

    And of course the verses are usually just listed with verse numbers, it would be nice to have them actually given in a more accessible words, in good old HTML :-) Note that most web references say very little, simply quoting McCarthy or Bullinger, and many simply accept the verses as changes from the original text.  I have never found a substantial web article.

  In a slightly disjointed earlier post, I gave a few references, I figure I would like to know first really what is "out there", and understand the basics better.  

Here is my list of references, almost none of which I have read :-)

Bibliography of Masora Studies - James Duvall, M. A Hebrew Union College Cincinnati 

   Carmel McCarthy - The tiqqune sopherim and other theological corrections in the Masoretic text of the Old Testament (1981)

   Moshe Zipor - The Masoretic Eighteen Tiqqune Sofrim : The Birth and Transformations of a Tradition. In Proceedings of the Tenth World Congress of Jewish Studies, ed. Assaf D. 51-58. Division A. (Jerusalem: World Union of Jewish Studies, 1990). 
    Some Notes on the Origin of the Tradition of the Eighteen Tiqqune Sopherim. 
    VT, vol. 44, 1994, p. 77-102. 

       The Masorah of Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia: Introduction and Annotated Glossary 
      Kelley, Page H., Mynatt, Daniel S. Crawford, Timothy G. 

     Daniel S. Mynatt on the web
A Misunderstood Masorah Parva Note In L for l)'w%(r: in Numbers 2:14
     Ginsburg, Christian D., Introduction to the Massoretico-Critical Edition of the Hebrew Bible, (New York: KTAV, 1966, 1897). 

    Bullinger - The Massorah. Appendix 30, 31,32, 33 From The Companion Bible. 
http://www.giveshare.org/library/companionbible/appendices/app30.html and following.

    Barnes, W. Emery, Ancient Corrections in the Text of the Old Testament
       (Tikkun Sopherim), JTS 1 (1900): 387-414. 

   Greg Stafford in JDW2 p.189 ftn. 137 listed a number of scholarly studies done in disagreement with the "Tiqqune Sopherim's" list of scribal emendations.

    Christopher Heard - Dynamics of Diselection (and dissertation)

   Emanuel Tov - Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible 
  Gunkel's  commentary on Genesis (the English translation published by Mercer),  
  Speiser's Anchor Bible volume, 
And the references to Scullion and Dillmann, perhaps these
  Westermann, Claus. Genesis 1-11: A Commentary (translated by John J. Scullion) 
  Dillmann (1850?)

   Less formally, Lawrence Schiffman has written some in email, and Moshe Shulman was working on expounding the view in favor of the Masoretic Text more thoroughly.

    In French we have D. Barthélemy, ""Les Tiqqune soperim et la critique textuelle de l'Ancien Testament," 

    I mention all this because I believe there is a gaping hole in the publicly available scholarship on this question, and maybe I can do my own little assistance to help fill the gap.  Someday we may see an accessible, clear, penetrating discussion on the web too ! :-)

Peter Kirk,
>After writing most of the above, I read Schmuel's contribution which seems to confirm that the tradition of a correction here is unreliable. Schmuel suggests that the corrections may have dated back to the time of Ezra and Nehemiah. Well, I accept that the entire Hebrew Bible may have been subject to extensive redaction in that time (except perhaps for those parts which were only written at about that time) (snip)

   Another reader privately asked me what were my views.  I just want to be clear that I was not suggesting earlier corrections.  My faith view is very simple, the Masoretic Text is a Received Text, and represents the scriptures, the Dvar Elohim..  The Tiqqune Sopherim represents an important challenge to that view, making it a very significant question to anyone concerned with questions of inspiration and preservation of the scripture text.  

  If the arguments are weak that the Masorah represents an earlier change of the text, that leaves upon other possibilities, like the one of Peter's or a "partial" mixed point of view.  However I am really counterposing the view that the Masorah notes represents midrash (e.g. Schiffman), not an earlier emended text. 

   Overall,  accessible scholarship is very spotty, and even confusing at times, with the alternative paradigms not clearly laid out..  The Bullinger view gets the public limelight, and then gets picked up by a lot of non-scholars and plastered over the web :-)

Steven Avery
Queens, NY

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