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

George Athas George.Athas at moore.edu.au
Thu Dec 23 19:30:42 EST 2010

Fred, your conclusion is possible, but not necessary. The evidence does not necessitate it. One could just as easily argue that the effort involved in production was intended for wide use.

Of course, how you define 'use' is also important. Is it 'public' if it's kept in the repository of a synagogue where hundreds of people gather on Shabbat, and only brought out for reading by a cantor?

Moore Theological College (Sydney, Australia)

From: fred burlingame <tensorpath at gmail.com<mailto:tensorpath at gmail.com>>
Date: Thu, 23 Dec 2010 08:19:30 -0600
To: George Athas <george.athas at moore.edu.au<mailto:george.athas at moore.edu.au>>
Cc: B-Hebrew <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org<mailto:b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>>
Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] Was the MT for public consumption?

Hello George;

You could be correct. I was not present at that time.

But .... when manufacture of a single book the size of the bible consumes years of one scribe's full time effort, .... it seems improbable that the masoretic text resulted for any, but a relatively few teachers; and surely not the general population of millions of consumers.



fred burlingame
On Wed, Dec 22, 2010 at 10:09 PM, George Athas <George.Athas at moore.edu.au<mailto:George.Athas at moore.edu.au>> wrote:

The intent to preserve 'orthodoxy' is within the scope of the religious and pietistic purpose of the Masoretes. However, your three points (a, b, c) do not necessarily lead to the conclusion you reach, namely that the MT was produced 'for exclusive consumption by teachers and rabbis'. There is no reason why it could not have a wider scope in mind. In fact, given the intent of preserving orthodoxy for a particular community, it seems logical to conclude that they would have liked a wider audience. While not all of the community would have been able to read it, this does not preclude them from being 'consumers' of the MT. Your conclusion appears to be narrower than your three points require.

Moore Theological College (Sydney, Australia)

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