[b-hebrew] Need Help With Trope Identification

Brak Brak at neo.rr.com
Sun Dec 14 04:38:11 EST 2008

Dear John,

I suggest that this text is not in the Tiberian cantillation system, but
rather in the Nazarene cantillation system.  In the Tiberian system,
the sign you refer to would be the conjunctive merkha.  However, is
not the regular servant of atnax, that is munax.   Rather, the author
of this Hebrew text of Matthew copied from the Biblical cantillation
marks in Gen 25, without knowing what he is doing.  Thus, in Gen
25:19, the last part of the verse reads avraham (tipxa) holid
(merkha) et-yitzhak (silluq).  Merkha is the conjunctive servant of
disjunctive silluq, and disjunctive tipxa can divide the clause before
silluq.  However, before atnax, the only conjunctive servant is munax.
The author did not realize this and in moving the clause to before
atnax, did not modify his original.  Furthermore, he did not identify
the difference between tipxa (a small vertical line sloping to the right)
and merkha (a small vertical line sloping to the left, which in
manuscripts might slope to the right like tipxa, but not the other
way around!).  For him they were two sloped vertical lines.  Thus,
we get the artificial merkha merkha atnax.  Perhaps some sense can
be made of it by identifying where he copied his source, as it is
possible to do in this case.  But it all depends what your hopes are
in getting out of the analysis of the cantillation.   It will not give you
insight into a grammatical division of the verses, as the Tiberian
system does, in any case.  For more, read Yeivin's "Introduction to
the Tiberian Masora", sections 192 and onwards (p. 165-).

Yitzhak Sapir

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