[b-hebrew] Was the MT for public consumption?

fred burlingame tensorpath at gmail.com
Wed Dec 22 22:30:39 EST 2010

Thanks for your comments.

Your answer sounds right ....

but pages 2-6 of the attached link appear to suggest more happening than
piety, text preservation and liturgical function. I do not know the
credibility of this document.


In any event, the above link implies the following. The masoretic text
("MT") formed the grand conclusion of approximately 1,000 years collective
effort by a large number of scribes//rabbis to canonize the language and a
particular set of scriptures. Dissenting groups such as karaites had arisen
against the majority rabbinic tradition. The MT appears intended to fix and
close both the language and the text to dissent and change; perhaps in the
same way china acting today.


Furthermore, given the:

a. subsidence of the corresponding spoken language to the MT;

b. the length of time necessary to become fluent in a dead language; and

c. the relative scarcity of books before the advent of printing;

the MT appears intended and manufactured exclusively for consumption by the
teachers or rabbis.


fred burlingame

<George.Athas at moore.edu.au> wrote:

> The question is: Was the Masoretic Text (MT), specifically the Leningrad
> Codex, produced for public consumption?
> Answer: It was produced (1) in order to preserve the text received; and (2)
> for Jewish liturgical purposes.
> Within the scope of those two points, I don't think there was a
> consideration about whether it was produced for public consumption. Insofar
> as 'for Jewish liturgical purposes' coincided with public consumption, then
> yes. But I don't think the Ben Asher family of Tiberias thought of
> themselves as a public publishing house. I think if you asked them, they
> would have said they were performing a religious duty motivated by piety,
> not a publishing or marketing campaign.
> Moore Theological College (Sydney, Australia)
> www.moore.edu.au
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> b-hebrew mailing list
> b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org
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