[b-hebrew] Ktiva & Kria

Yitzhak Sapir yitzhaksapir at gmail.com
Sat Nov 3 13:25:57 EDT 2007

On Nov 2, 2007 5:22 AM, Edward Belaga wrote:
> In my article "On The Rabbinical Exegesis of an Enhanced Biblical
> Value of Pi" is presented and discussed a certain tradition of reading
> into the discrepancy of Ktiva (written form of the Massoretic text)
> and Kria (its reading tradition) of a verse from Tanakh.
> (Could be found in many places; in the HTML format, for example, on the site
> http://www.math.ubc.ca/people/faculty/israel/bpi/bpi.html
> an independent critical account in a mathematical magazine could be
> found on the site
> www.m-a.org.uk/docs/library/2063.pdf)
> Does anybody know other cases of such reading leading to conclusions,
> already published or eventual, of a universal cultural interest ?

1) A much more simpler solution is rounding off.  If the measurement of the
diameter was not exactly 10 arms but almost, say, around 9.6 arms, then
a rounded off diameter would still read 10 arms, but the rounded off
circumference would be 30.

2) In general, in cases of kativ and qari the qari likely represents a later
reading.  That is, in some cases, the Hebrew of the Bible, perhaps because
of shifting semantics and orthographies, was felt to be wrong -- but the
scribes were unwilling to change the written text.  They therefore read it
differently according to their understanding even though it was written in
some specific way.  Alternatively, and maybe even more widespread, is
the use of kativ and qari to deal with alternate versions of the text.  The
reading tradition having come from a slightly different version of the text
than the writing tradition that prevailed.  For more about this you can read
the appropriate section in Emanuel Tov's "Introduction to Textual
Criticism" (perhaps in English it is called "Textual Criticism of the Old

3) Maimon Cohen suggests that these are two allomorphs of the same
word, comparable to dɔg and dɔgɔ ("fish") or rɔ( and rɔ(ɔ ("evil") that were
used interchangeably, and possibly, in Second Temple period times, the
shorter form became more acceptable.

4) The modern system of Gematria is based on the Greek system.  In
all likelihood it dates from Greek and later times, as the name implies,
and as the system needs the final version of the mncpk letters to denote
all numbers up to a 1000, and these developed only in the Second Temple
period Aramaic script.  An earlier system may have simply given the letters
numbers from 1 to 22.  You can read about this here:
and in the criticism (section B) of Bar Ilan's review here:

Yitzhak Sapir

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