[sword-devel] clean bible or bad phantasy?
Tue, 03 Dec 2002 11:28:09 -0800
I failed to mention that the Hebrews did in fact occassionally separate
words with a point or stroke, like the Phonecians and Moabites (whose
languages' alphabets were almost identical to old Hebrew). These points
must not have been regularly used in the original text however, since
the Septuagint often makes word-divisions different from those of the
Masoretic text. Jewish tradition mentions several passages in which the
separation of words was regarded as doubtful.
As i understand it, the situation looks like this:
original and old copies from the original
Masoretic Text Septuigant
Most Old Testament translations come from the Masoretic Text since we
have had those Masoretic Text as our best Hebrew texts the longest time,
while New Testatment quotations of the Old Testament come from the
Septuigant (which the New Testament writers used as their Bibles). There
are quite a few disagreements. We can not be sure of how often word
divisions were indicated in the original original text. The Masoretic
Text refers to several "old" codices such as the Leningrad Codex
(published as 'Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia' and the Aleppo Codex).
Unfortunately, the oldest Manuscripts of the Masoretic Text date back
only to around the year 900 A.D.. Most are from 1100 A.D. or later, and
no complete Text is earlier than that 1100 A.D.. If you are thinking of
these codices when you think that the original text had word divisions,
you must remember that these are not original, but only about 1000 years
old. We don't have the original text (except perhaps for a few small
fragments which we are not even certain are THE original). Some of the
earliest comprehensive Hebrew texts we even have the Dead Sea scrolls,
and those were not written until around the 3rd century BC to 68 A.D.