[b-hebrew] Unpointed

James Christian jc.bhebrew at googlemail.com
Thu Jun 17 05:35:08 EDT 2010


On 17 June 2010 11:16, Randall Buth <randallbuth at gmail.com> wrote:

> When interpreting the MT, it is always good to remember that
> the masoretes knew Hebrew.

That's quite a bold assumption you're stating Randall! The fact that they
felt the need to develop a system tends to suggest that controversies over
the correct reading had gotten to a point where an authoritative group felt
the need to formalise the 'correct' reading. This calls into question just
how well they knew classical Hebrew.

> This can help is deciding what they have, or have not, written.
> If they have not given points for an obvious reading, there is a
> reason.
> It is always good to ask what the Masoretes understood.

Yes! But what they understood is not necessarily what the original author
meant. It may not even be the consonantal order that the original author
even penned.

> The consonantal text is often ambiguous,

Or at least it was by the time of the Masoretes.

> and someone may
> want to read the consonantal text differently. But they should also
> take the time to understand what the Masoretes were doing with
> a particular verse.
Granted. It is one of several traditional readings to be included in our
tool set. For many years the early Christian church felt the Greek tradition
to be the most faithful. It was only 4 centuries into the history of the
Christian church that Jerome was convinced that Hebrew tradition for Tanakh
was superior.

Just because many modern translations are based on Jerome's pioneering
conclusions does not mean that the MT is the greater tradition. The more we
unearth the more we find evidence that suggests that the differences in the
MT tradition seem to be post Judean versus Christian tradition forking.

I do not know the exact figures but take it in good faith the data from the
Dead Sea scrolls in places favour the Greek and Samaritan traditional
reading over the MT.

James Christian

More information about the b-hebrew mailing list