20th June 19:58
Which Version ? Or more than you ever wanted to know about theHebrew Bible. (hebrew clear points vowels bible)
The Hebrew version is obviously the only correct version.
Of course the next question is "Which Hebrew version ?"
The Masoretic Text is probably the best candidate.
"The traditional authoritative Hebrew version of the Hebrew Bible.
The consonantal text dates back to about 100 CE.
The system for reading the vowels dates from the 8th -10th cent. CE."
( Contrarians may want to look at the Samaritan Pentateuch or the Targums instead)
The next question is "Which Masoretic text ? "
Here is one possible answer:
" the famed Leningrad Codex, the Masoretic text traceable to
Aaron Ben Moses ben-Asher, c.930 c.e. Ben-Asher researched all
available texts to compile an authoritative Bible manuscript.
In 1010 c.e. his work was revised by Samuel ben Jacob, a scribe
in Egypt. Lost for centuries, the manuscript was eventually
discovered in the mid-nine****th century and became known as
the Leningrad Codex. "
"The Leningrad Codex is part of the Abraham Firkovich collection
at the Russian National Library in St. Petersburg (formerly Leningrad),
where it has been for more than 130 years. Firkovich was a
Jewish businessman, a devoted Karaite (Jews who follow only
the Bible and reject oral or Talmudic tradition), an inveterate traveler
and collector of Hebrew manuscripts. The Codex was acquired by
Firkovich (who offered no details in his letters or in his autobiography
as to where he got it) and then sold it to the then St. Petersburg Imperial Library."
Amusing is it not, that the Karaites may have had the most accurate version !
Another possible answer is
The Aleppo Codex
" The Codex was copied by the scribe Shlomo Ben-Buya'a over one thousand years ago.
The text was then verified, vocalized, and provided with the Massorah by Aaron Ben-Asher,
the last and most prominent member of the Ben-Asher dynasty, which shaped the
Hebrew text of the Bible. It was probably the manuscript used by Maimonides when he set
down the exact rules for writing scrolls of the Torah."
"It is believed that Aaron Ben Asher himself penned the vowel points and
the marginal Masorah (a system of comments cross-referencing the spelling and
the occurrence of particular words) in this manuscript. It received the name of
"Aleppo Codex" because for about five centuries it was kept in the synagogue in
Aleppo, northern Syria. Prior to this it had been in Cairo (Egypt) for a time,
where it was apparently used as a model by the famous medieval Jewish scholar Maimonides."
The next question is "Which edition of the Leningrad Codex" ?
Biblia Hebraica Leningradensia ***tus (BHS ) is considered by many to be the most authoritative
rendering of the Leningrad text
"And BHS does not include the massorah gedolah, but only
references to them, and does not have the non-biblical texts which are
included in L. "
Of course the massorah gedolah are not part of the canon.
And if you really want to know more about the differences between BHS and L, see:
If you want to read the Leningrad Codex, with the massorah in all their
glory, a facsimile edition is now available.
" The Leningrad Codex (L) is the oldest complete Hebrew Bible manuscript extant,
and as such it can fairly claim to be the most valuable witness to the text available.
It is the culmination of textual traditions that date back to the sixth century C.E.
(Masoretic), the first century C.E. (proto-Masoretic), and even to the first two
centuries B.C.E. (pre-Masoretic). In addition to its value as a textual witness,
L is also important as a witness to the scribal tradition of the Masoretes,
specifically the Ben Asher branch of the tradition. Even beyond its
significance as a witness to the text and to Masoretic tradition,
L is a beautiful example of medieval Jewish bookmaking, as much a
work of art as a reservoir of tradition. The facsimile edition is
faithful to this tradition, offering stunningly clear photographs,
glossy pages, and an attractive, sturdy binding."
" The naive user may find the facsimile of the Leningrad
adequate, but in fact the manuscript itself is sometimes " insufficiently
clear on account of defacement, spots, lacunae, and fading that have
affected it over time, as a result of much handling, or on account of
mistakes of the scribe and slips of the pen " (page xi). Further, the
photographs are not entirely trustworthy: the Zuckerman photographs, which
" penetrate deep under the surface of the parchment and catch the embedded
ink " (page xii) sometimes makes a correction to the text recede behind a
reading that the scribe rejected."
Now that I have muddied the clear pools of thought, I leave you
to unmuddy them :-)