Monday, August 30, 2021

New Tiqqunei Soferim (scribal corrections to the Bible) from the Cairo Geniza

GENIZA FRAGMENT OF THE MONTH (JULY 2021): New Tiqqunei Soferim: T-S A4.10 and T-S D1.37 (Joseph Ginsberg).
One of the most celebrated and infamous topics relating to the Masorah is the Tiqqunei Soferim, or “emendations of the scribes”. The Tiqqunei Soferim are a group of words that are deliberately written in the Masoretic Text differently than intended, in order to protect the honor of God. Whether these instances are indeed emendations by an early group of scribes (a term often referring to the biblical figures Ezra and Nehemia) or just euphemisms employed by the original authors of the text is a controversy that is as old as the Tiqqunei Soferim themselves, with some sources employing the term “tiqqun soferim” – “emendation of the scribes”, and others the term “kinnah hakatuv”, or “the text is euphemistic” (a less contentious interpretation, as it does not imply that the biblical text was actually tampered with).1

The number of Tiqqunei Soferim is most commonly given as 18, though there are some sources that list fewer.2

Four entirly new Tiqqunei Soferim seem like a big deal to me.

Past posts noting Cairo Geniza Fragments of the Month in the Cambridge University Library's Taylor-Schechter Genizah Research Unit are here and links.

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