The Ryland Papyrus Greek 458, published in 1936 by C. H. Roberts, though containing only about fifteen verses of Deuteronomy, shows a remarkable agreement with the text of A, which teakes it back to the second century B. C. Chester Beatty VI (963), containing fifty leaves of Numbers and Deuteronomy and dating from the second century A. D., is divided in its witness, agreeing with A in Deuteronomy and B in Numbers. A receives further support from the two vellum uncials in the Freer Collection at Washington (θ, 1219) and the British Museum Coptic Papyrus Codex ( Oriental 7594) containing Deuteronomy, Jonahm and Acts in the Sahidic dialect.
Some have tried to meet these problems by spposing that Alexandrinus is the result of an independent translation. The Codex, however, does not give the impression of translation independence, but rather of eclecticism. The phenomena might best be accounted for by supposing an underlying Alexandrian text going back to a very early date and akin to that used for the recension of Hesychius.-Sydney Jellicoe, The Septuagint and Modern Study (Ann Arbor: Oxford University Press, 1968), 187-188.
In the medieval Hebrew manuscripts which have been preserved there are numerous massoretic notes in the margins, while in the printed editions these are relegated to the foot of pages. Most of these draw the attention of the reader to directed reading which are corrections of scribal errors. We shall see in the next chapter that it is possible to place these under separate categories of recurring types of copyists errors and that these categories are recognized by the modern textual critic.
However, when considering rabbinic directed adjustments or substitutions or word or phrases in the Hebrew biblical text, we must differentiate between what are presented as corrections of faulty texts and those that are deliberate alterations made by them to avoid indelicate or theologically unacceptable expressions. Eighteen such deliberate changes in readings are listed by the Rabbis and are known as tikkune sopherim; „scribal emendations”. There are, however, more instances of deliberate alterations in texts than the recorded eighteen and those were made for the same reasons. Though these are not in the rabbinic list, they may be recognized either from the evidence of an ancient version or even from the context of the passage in which they occur. These calculated alternations in readings in no way mply any kind of textual irregularity or corrpution. On the cotrary, the literate reader, being informed that the changes were made because of religious scruple, realizes what the original word were. It appears that no such scruples existed when the compositions were made, that is when Hebrew was a living, spoken language and had survived among the general populace as the language of the sacred texts and of prayer.
1.One of these tikkune sopherim appears in 1 Samuel 3:13. In this text, the sin of the two sons of the High Prieste Eli, namely Hophni and Phineas, is described as ”meqallim Elohim”- they reviled, and showed contempt for God.” This king of expression was evidently regarded by later genearations as sacreligious and therefore objectionable, so that some substitution had to be made. They reduced the word „God” to „for themselves”. Those who accepted the new reading were compelled to understand the sense of the phrase to mean something like „they brought contempt upon themselves”. However, the rendering of the ancient Greek version, the Septuagint, kakologountes Teon „speaking evil against God” represents the original Hebrew wording. The medieval Jewish commentator Kimhi informs his reader that here we have a tikkun sopherim- a deliberate alternation in the text because of religious scruple.
2. In the prologue to the book of Job there are no less than four exemples of the same euphemistic word being substituted for the one they thought to be objectionable, thoug hthese do not appear in any rabbinic list of substituted readings made for this reason. The author of the Prologue describes in vivid and dramatic language the trials which the unhappy Job had to endure at the instigation of Satan. They are verses 5 and 11 in chapter 1 and verses 5 and 9 in chapter 2. His children die, his fortune is lost, and he himself suffers unending agony from a painful skin eruption. Yet in spite of all his misfortunes and physical suffering Job refuses to relinquish his steadfast faith in God. His wife cannot bear to see his excruciating suffering and has no patience with his unfailing faith. In chapter 2, verse 9, she is represented as impatiently flinging the following words at him: „Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse (or revile) God nad die.” In the Hebrew text the word for „curse”, namly qalel was replaced by the one meaning „bless”, that is bareh. The expression „curse God” was regarded as offensive if not, indeed, blasphemous: it was therefore changed. In this instance (as in cases of Tikkune Sopherim) the literate reader is expected to know the true sense of the words attributed to Job s wife, even though the key word had been replaced by another. While the scholar will note this kind of phenomenon when it occurs, it will readily be understood that such a change in reading does not indicate an error due to miscopying. On the contrary, it indicates that there was no mistake at all in the text, but that it was deliberately altered. The LXX rendering eipon ti rema „say something against the Lord” is a euphemistic translation of the original Hebrew. On the first occurrence of this substituted verb in Job 1:5 in the expression uvrehu Elohim bilvavam- (perhaps) they blessed God in their hearts” for „they shoed contempt for God”, Ibn Ezra notes that here we have kinui- a substituion with the opposite meaning, while Rashi makes a similar note…
3. Another case of deliberate alteration occurs several times in the same word in Jeremiah 44, verses 17, 18 and 19, but the change is achieved in a rather subtle way by altering the vocalization of the word, thus producing and entirely different word. In this passage the prophet cartigates the people for their practice of offering incense in the worship of idols (v.5) and he threatens them with dire divine punishment for their apostasy. In response to this charge came the rather surprisingly defiant answer „we will not listen to what you tell us in the name of the Lord (verse 16). We will fulfil all the promises by which we have bound ourselves, burning incense lmkt hsmim (in the non-vocalized text of v. 17). In the light of the context these two consonantal Hebrew words should be read as lemalekat hasamaim, „to the queen of heaven”. The expression „queen of heaven”, though false and absurd from the prophetic and orthodox view, was nevertheless too blasphemous even to be allowed to be mentioned, for it implied that in their turning to the nature religion of the nations around, the people had accepted the notion that Yahweh had a consort. The objectionable expression was ingeniously given quite a different meaning by the simple device of reading the first word differently, that is, by attaching a different set of vowel-signs. The Rabbis directed that if be read as limlehat which was to be taken to mean „the work of heaven” and, to make sure that the reamder understood what the sense of the changed word is, the Massoretes added the note: „haser alef- an alef is missing” the normal spelling of this word being lim(șva)le(alef)hem. We do not have to rely solely on the context to see what the original word was. The LXX ( in chapter 51 in the greek arrangement of chapters) rendered it corectly τη βασιλισση „to the queen”.
J. Weingreen, Introduction to the Critical Study of the Text of the Hebrew Bible (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1982), 26-29.
Scuzați-mi faptul că nu am scris în limba de origine anumite cuvinte.