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Masora, Babylonian

(2,338 words)

Author(s): Ofer, Yosef
According to sources from the 10th century, the Jews of Babylon followed a pronunciation tradition in their reading of the Bible different from that of the reading in the land of Israel (Vocalization, Babylonian). The Babylonian reading tradition was widely followed, in communities that existed in the Arabian Peninsula, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, and elsewhere. There is also evidence of variation in the biblical text between the Jews in Babylonia and the land of Israel. These are also documented in an ancient Masoretic list of disagreements over the text between the מערבאי maʿarḇaʾe ‘we…

Aleppo Codex

(802 words)

Author(s): Ofer, Yosef
The Aleppo Codex is a bound manuscript of the Hebrew Bible, which is the most authoritative source representing the Tiberian biblical text and Masora. Soon after its completion it was called tāj Arabic for ‘crown’, and eventually came to be known in Hebrew as כתר ארם צובא keter ʾaram ṣoḇa ‘the Crown of Aram Zova’. According to the dedicatory inscription written at the end of the manuscript, the consonantal text was written by Shlomo ben Boyaʿa, while the vocalization, accents, and Masoretic notes were added by ראש המלמדים roš ham-melammedim ‘the most senior teacher’, Aharon ben Mosh…

ʾAṯe Meraḥiq

(84 words)

Author(s): Ofer, Yosef
ʾAṯe meraḥiq (אתי מרחיק lit. ‘coming from afar’) is an Aramaic Masoretic term indicating circumstances in which, after a word ending with one of the letters אהוי ʾhwy, a בגדכפת bgdkpt letter at the beginning of the next word, which would usually be softened to a fricative, retains instead its plosive form. In many sources the term deḥiq ‘compressed’ is found alongside ʾaṯe meraḥiq, and the distinction between the two is subject to debate ( Deḥiq ). Yosef Ofer (Bar-Ilan University)

Mappiq

(800 words)

Author(s): Ofer, Yosef
The term מפיק mappiq has a double meaning: the first meaning pertains to pronunciation; the second to a graphic symbol of vocalization. The first meaning is more ancient, with roots in the Masoretic comments; the second meaning developed in the grammatical literature out of the first meaning, but the scope of the instances included within it is more limited. The literal meaning of the Aramiac word מפיק mappiq (also attested in the form mappeq) is ‘bringing out’. In the Masoretic literature, this verb indicates a consonantal pronunciation of a letter in the biblical reading, usually ʾalef

Deḥiq

(1,014 words)

Author(s): Ofer, Yosef
Deḥiq (דחיק ‘compressed’) is a Masoretic term indicating circumstances in which, after a word ending with one of the letters אהוי ʾhwy, a בגדכפת bgdkpt letter at the beginning of the next word, which would usually be softened to a fricative, retains instead its plosive form. The term appears alongside three other cancellers of softening, which rhyme with it: פסיק pesiq, מפיק mappiq, and אתי מרחיק ʾaṯe me-raḥiq. The ancient versions of the Masoretic rule on this subject make no mention of these terms, using instead the cryptic expression טעמים הקודמים בתיבה ṭeʿamim haq-qodmim bat-teḇa ‘ac…

St. Petersburg I Firkovitch B19a Manuscript of the Hebrew Bible

(864 words)

Author(s): Ofer, Yosef
The manuscript St. Petersburg, National library, Evr I B19a, from the first collection of Firkovitch (also known as Leningrad Codex, Codex Leningradensis, MS L) includes the Masoretic text of the twenty-four books of the Hebrew Bible. The manuscript consists of 491 leaves. The text is written in three columns per page (two columns for the Books of Psalms, Proverbs, and Job), with twenty-seven lines per column. The final twenty-eight leaves contain Masoretic Treatises, some of a grammatical natur…