[b-hebrew] Ktiva & Kria

belaga at math.u-strasbg.fr belaga at math.u-strasbg.fr
Sat Nov 3 14:02:33 EDT 2007

Dear Yitzhak,

(1) In my answer to Karl on November 2, I tell about other solutions  
of this particular discrepancy, the one suggested by you in (1)  
included. My interest was to give voice to a particular Rabbinical  
tradition I have found other day fascinating. You will find in the  
below page of researchers from Bar Ilan another case of Rabbinical  
incursion into Mathematics:


The same people have published an article on similar cases in a  
magazine on the History of Mathematics; the references could be found  
on their personal sites.

(2) This opinion is not universally accepted.

(3) I will follow the references you suggest, thanks.

(4) The identification of letters of the Hebrew alphabet with numbers  
is very old, going back to pre-Davidic period: just look at the series  
of David's psalms which are alphabetic acrostics; by the way, the word  
"acrostic" being of Greek origins, it does not mean that the Greeks  
invented this poetical genre.
In any case, I will follow the references you suggest, too.

Thanks a lot,


> 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 thediameter was not exactly 10 arms but almost, say, around 9.6   
> arms, thena rounded off diameter would still read 10 arms, but the   
> rounded offcircumference would be 30.
> 2) In general, in cases of kativ and qari the qari likely represents  
>  a laterreading.  That is, in some cases, the Hebrew of the Bible,   
> perhaps becauseof shifting semantics and orthographies, was felt to   
> be wrong -- but thescribes were unwilling to change the written   
> text.  They therefore read itdifferently according to their   
> understanding even though it was written insome specific way.    
> Alternatively, and maybe even more widespread, isthe use of kativ   
> and qari to deal with alternate versions of the text.  Thereading   
> tradition having come from a slightly different version of the   
> textthan the writing tradition that prevailed.  For more about this   
> you can readthe appropriate section in Emanuel Tov's "Introduction   
> to TextualCriticism" (perhaps in English it is called "Textual   
> Criticism of the OldTestament")
> 3) Maimon Cohen suggests that these are two allomorphs of the   
> sameword, comparable to dɔg and dɔgɔ ("fish") or rɔ( and rɔ(ɔ   
> ("evil") that wereused interchangeably, and possibly, in Second   
> Temple period times, theshorter form became more acceptable.
> 4) The modern system of Gematria is based on the Greek system.    
> Inall 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 denoteall numbers up to a 1000, and these developed only   
> in the Second Templeperiod Aramaic script.  An earlier system may   
> have simply given the lettersnumbers from 1 to 22.  You can read   
> about this here:http://www.cs.utk.edu/~mclennan/BA/SNHIG.htmland in   
> the criticism (section B) of Bar Ilan's review   
> here:http://faculty.biu.ac.il/~testsm/elior.html
> Yitzhak Sapir_______________________________________________b-hebrew  
>  mailing   
> listb-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.orghttp://lists.ibiblio.org/mailman/listinfo/b-hebrew

Edward G. Belaga
Institut de Recherche en Mathématique Avancée
Universite Louis Pasteur
7, rue René Descartes, 67084 Strasbourg Cedex, FRANCE
tel.: 333 90 24 02 35, FAX: 333 90 24 03 28
e-mail : edward.belaga at math.u-strasbg.fr

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