www.ucalgary.ca/~elsegal/Talmud Map/MG.html Masorah Chapter numbers Targum (a few links) Sedrah
Jewish Bibles 1“Proper” contents 2“Proper” versions of each book 3Meaning (translations) 4Traditions of reading / vocalizing 5Physical forms / Structures of Bibles. 6Uses. Ritual, private uses, etc. 7Exploring the meanings 8Preserving authoritative commentaries.
1. Proper content Which books were and were not, scriptural? Not finalized until early centuries C.E.
Post 70 c.e. Fixed canon Torah / Prophets already accepted List of other “Writings” determined. Tanakh comes into being
Criteria uncertain Only Hebrew / Aramaic Greek Septuagint’s extra books out. “Ancient”: Latest early 2 nd Temple (i.e., before 450 bce). Radical Apocalypses rejected. Sectarian texts rejected.
2. “Proper” versions Ancient manuscripts show great diversity. Rabbis determined a “correct” text. Wanted consistency to the last letter. By mid 2 nd century One version becomes standard. Some variants remain.
Masoretic Text Name of the modern version of biblical books Rabbi’s decided on the “Proto-M.T.” “Masorah” the rabbinic traditions of reading and recitation of the proto-M.T.
Proto- and early M. T. On Scrolls Multiple titles on one scroll No complete consistency in order of books No vowels. Few could read them
3Meaning (translations) “Targums” Aramaic In worship: Hebrew read aloud Translated orally for congregation with some added explanations.
Targums 2 nd century onwards Onkelos early: very literal Jonathan: interpretative. Became important in communal worship. Sometimes used in Talmud.
Gen. 1:2 MT: The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters. T. J. And the earth was vacancy and desolation, solitary of the sons of men, and void of every animal; and darkness was upon the face of the abyss, and the Spirit of mercies from before the Lord breathed upon the face of the waters.
4Traditions of reading / vocalizing Sacred text in a sacred language requires specific pronunciation. Oral reading of text without vowels difficult nd h sd t mss s t th srlts b crfl t kp ths lw
Masorah “Tradition” System of correct text and pronunciation. Taught by rote memorization of scripture. Later: MT copied out with vowels, accents, etc. added
Masoretes: Scholars who established “correct” text and vocalizations “Masoretic text” the version they adopted and further developed. Some variety remains.