[b-hebrew] Ex 6:6 hiphil imperative 'bring' (K Randolph)

Jerry Shepherd jshepherd53 at gmail.com
Tue Jul 16 01:07:44 EDT 2013

Karl had asked: "How much editorial activity? What evidence do you have
that the MT consonantal text, apart from relatively few copyist errors,
doesn’t represent an older text form?"

My response was as follows.

Actually, I have you to thank for giving me the answer to this question.
In your reply to Ruth you referenced an article on the SBL Forum site  by
William Griffin about your preference for an unpointed text.  Notice this

"'Biblical Hebrew' is the name applied to the language(s) contained in a
collection of texts that were written over a period of about a thousand
years, spanning the second and first millennia B.C.E., by people in diverse
regions and settings. Originally, it was written in what is called
'Paleohebrew,' a script much different from current Hebrew texts.[2] Dots
were employed as word separators, and there were no distinctions between
medial and final forms. The language was written without vowels. From about
the sixth century B.C.E. on, many consonants were added to represent vowels
(*aleph, he, vav*, and *yodh*), known as *matres lectionis*, 'mothers of
the reading.'"

Griffin, by the way, references one of the important works for this whole
discussion, Cross and Freedman's *Early Hebrew Orthography*.  Now, you may
not agree with him; but Griffin here argues that the use *matres
lectiones*did not come into play until the sixth century BCE.
Therefore, any texts
of biblical books that existed before then must have been subjected to a
wholesale editing process to account that addes these *matres lectiones*.
So, when reading, for example, the text of Exodus, if one believes that
this text was written by Moses or someone at or close to that same time
period, every time one comes across a heh, waw, or yod used as a vowel
letter, one is actually reading a text that was updated to include these
vowel letters many centuries later.  That constitutes a substantial
revision of the consonantal text.

Karl's response was as follows:

Points to consider:

1) in pre-Babylonian Exile writings, were they “materes lectionis” or
full-fledged consonants? In other words, prior to their being counted as
vowels by later readers, were they considered to be consonants by the
original writers?

2) In reading the pre-Babylonian Exile books, “materes lectionis” are found
so seldom as to be either a) sounds added in poetry to make it fit a meter
or b) copyist errors by later copyists or c) originally consonants later
changed to materes lectionis?

My answer:

1) Karl, are you really being serious here?  This sounds absolutely

(2) Again, I have to ask, are you being serious here, that *matres lectiones
* are seldom found in pre-exilic writings?  Look at Gen 1.  There are two
occurrences  in v. 1, seven occurrences in v. 3, five in verse 3. and on
and on.  You've got me totally confused here.



Jerry Shepherd
Taylor Seminary
Edmonton, Alberta
jshepherd53 at gmail.com
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