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In Prophets and Writings

by JPS / Varda Books
In Prophets and Writings, we placed them at five locations according to the Leningrad Codex. Transcription Errors. Research in the past decade with high-resolution photographs of our codex has continued to clear up earlier misreadings and typos. To match revisions in recent editions of BHS ( 1990, 1997), we corrected MCW ( 1987) in several hundred places. Then, checking selectively in a large facsimile edition ( 1998) of the codex, we found eight more instances where BHS editors had misread the manuscript. Further, we found seventeen MCW typos. (All told, this codex is closer to the received traditions than previously thought.) Scribal Errors. Bible scholar and editor R. Mordechai Breuer has noted, The Leningrad Codex… is one of the best of the ancient manuscripts as far as its vocalization and accentuation are concerned. Yet a lack of pointing where the rules of Hebrew call for it must be a scribal oversight. Conversely, excessive pointing must also be a mistake. Rather than needlessly puzzle our readers, we fixed both types of errors; we added about 150 pointing characters (and subtracted a few) as implied, and in accord with the manuscripts and editions noted by BHS. Other anomalies may reflect a variant reading tradition, an idiosyncrasy of the scribe’s graphical system, a dialect—or an outright error. In any event, we judged the codex’s reading to be impossible by modern standards—and significant enough to trip up most readers—in fortythree words, which we changed to match the received masoretic texts. 16 Hebrew Footnotes. Like the medieval scribes, we culled most of our nearly six hundred notes from the larger body of masoretic lore (roughly two hundred thousand notes!); we do not pretend to have been exhaustive. We composed such notes either in the classic Aramaic shorthand or in Hebrew terms similar to the Letteris Bible’s notes—but spelled out and reworded for clarity. Many of these notes point out a textual anomaly (in spelling, vocalization, accentuation, punctuation, grammar, or meaning), lest the reader be puzzled or think it a mistake. Other notes relate to counting: the total number of verses in each book, halfway point of each book, variant counting traditions, or aspects of the text that affect the count. 17 Our glossary explains the Hebrew footnotes. 16 In those forty-three words, we only moved or changed pointing, except for deleting one superfluous waw and changing one prefixed kaf to a bet. Probable scribal errors that we let stand typically involve a missing dagesh (a dot to show either that the letter is doubled or pronounced with a stop). Apparent errors in this codex are well documented—in BHS, the Dotan/Adi edition, and R. Breuer’s lists. We therefore trust that those for whom such errors matter have the wherewithal to determine a reading that will satisfy them. 17 Where masoretic traditions give more than one verse total or halfway point, we checked the calculations ourselves and noted discrepancies. xviii

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In Prophets and Writings, we placed them at five locations according to the Leningrad Codex. Transcription Errors. Research in the past decade with high-resolution photographs of our codex has continued to clear up earlier misreadings and typos. To match revisions in recent editions of BHS ( 1990, 1997), we corrected MCW ( 1987) in several hundred places. Then, checking selectively in a large facsimile edition ( 1998) of the codex, we found eight more instances where BHS editors had misread the manuscript. Further, we found seventeen MCW typos. (All told, this codex is closer to the \\"received\\" traditions than previously thought.) Scribal Errors. Bible scholar and editor R. Mordechai Breuer has noted, \\"The Leningrad Codex… is one of the best of the ancient manuscripts as far as its vocalization and accentuation are concerned.\\" Yet a lack of pointing where the rules of Hebrew call for it must be a scribal oversight. Conversely, excessive pointing must also be a mistake. Rather than needlessly puzzle our readers, we fixed both types of errors; we added about 150 pointing characters (and subtracted a few) as implied, and in accord with the manuscripts and editions noted by BHS. Other anomalies may reflect a variant reading tradition, an idiosyncrasy of the scribe’s graphical system, a dialect—or an outright error. In any event, we judged the codex’s reading to be impossible by modern standards—and significant enough to trip up most readers—in fortythree words, which we changed to match the \\"received\\" masoretic texts. 16 Hebrew Footnotes. Like the medieval scribes, we culled most of our nearly six hundred notes from the larger body of masoretic lore (roughly two hundred thousand notes!); we do not pretend to have been exhaustive. We composed such notes either in the classic Aramaic shorthand or in Hebrew terms similar to the Letteris Bible’s notes—but spelled out and reworded for clarity. Many of these notes point out a textual anomaly (in spelling, vocalization, accentuation, punctuation, grammar, or meaning), lest the reader be puzzled or think it a mistake. Other notes relate to counting: the total number of verses in each book, halfway point of each book, variant counting traditions, or aspects of the text that affect the count. 17 Our glossary explains the Hebrew footnotes. 16 In those forty-three words, we only moved or changed pointing, except for deleting one superfluous waw and changing one prefixed kaf to a bet. Probable scribal errors that we let stand typically involve a missing dagesh (a dot to show either that the letter is doubled or pronounced with a stop). Apparent errors in this codex are well documented—in BHS, the Dotan/Adi edition, and R. Breuer’s lists. We therefore trust that those for whom such errors matter have the wherewithal to determine a reading that will satisfy them. 17 Where masoretic traditions give more than one verse total or halfway point, we checked the calculations ourselves and noted discrepancies. xviii
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