[b-hebrew] Unpointed, plus qal passive

Randall Buth randallbuth at gmail.com
Sat Jun 19 15:18:09 EDT 2010

> because Aramaic was a close cognate language of Biblical Hebrew, they tended
> to give the unpointed text of Tanakh even pronunciations based on their
> knowledge of Aramaic and the Aramaic rules of pronunciation of unpointed
> Aramaic.

I see that you have not added even one example to back your claim.
Yet biblical Aramaic is differently vocalized from biblical Hebrew. And
Onkelos Aramaic different from both. Etc.
You offer pure speculaton, and speculation by someone who claims to not
know the languages involved. In Hebrew this is called mitHatsef מתחצף.
[this word is medieval and now modern, the mishnaic word was maHtsif מחציף.]
(for you I changed through the four active keyboards on my computer to
write one
Hebrew script word. I normally like to stay in one script/keyboard.)

. . .
> And how many
> would join with me in concluding that they probably knew Mishnaic Hebrew
> better?

Well, I wouldn't. One of the results on study on mIshnaic Hebrew over the past
three generations has been the conclusion that the mishnaic Hebrew manuscripts
have been corrected toward biblical Hebrew. And the Masoretes were living in
an era of forming a new medium, a new 'high language',
later named as rabbinic or medieval Hebrew. But this gets us off-track and only
shows the need to produce evidence for claims.

> Given that the record shows that the Masoretes were more familiar with
> medieval Aramaic and probably Mishnaic Hebrew secondarily, what is the
> probability that they then read Bible with grammatical understandings,
> pronunciation rules and thought patterns from their native tongue and
> influenced also by their second tongue?>

Evidence please, not speculation, however reasonable it may seem in your
own eyes.
I note that you don't respond to the quTal qal-passive
discussion, even when expecting/wanting to hear about how people
can know more about Hebrew than the Masoretes. It is evidence of preserving
linguistic information against speculations/predictions of yours.
is normally thought of as rendering a hypothesis less reasonable.

One thing I've noticed over the past generations in Israel is that many
homogenous communities still preserve and read their traditional
readings of the
scripture in synagogue. You can still visit synagogues with Yemeni, or
Moroccan, or East Euro reading traditions, etc, even though the readers speak
Israeli Hebrew in normal speech. Furthermore, in Aramaic the typical
of Onkelos in manuscripts was widely corrupted, about one vocalization
error per
verse in most manuscripts. It was only through investigating the
Yemeni tradition,
where both BH and Onkelos reading traditions were preserved in active use,
along with comparative Hebrew and Aramaic studies, that the Onkelos-Jonathan
tradition has been reasonably restored. For inexpensive copies, get
Torat Hayyim,
or the Keter series of miqraot gedolot from Bar-Ilan. Sperber's Brill
edition can be
used if you want to spend money and see manuscripts cited.
The Middle East is a remarkable region for long preservation of texts
central to
a religious language community. Perhaps that is one benefit from the
to have ten males present when scripture was publicly read.
Even the midrashim, when they play with the
vowels and/or consonants to say, "don't read A, read B", or even
sarsehu ve-darshehu,
tend to presume that the tradition later to appear as the MT was the
base reading
tradition they were speaking about. Again, amazing, and documented.

Finally, I was sad to see you return to your refrain, proclaiming the
'close enough' and then dismissing the vocalization as 'untrustworthy'. But you
haven't shown any linguistic proof/evidence of linguistic untrustworthiness.

Randall Buth, PhD
randallbuth at gmail.com
Biblical Language Center
Learn Easily - Progress Further - Remember for Life

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