My last article was What is a Torah?, and now I want to discuss a particular type of Torah. A Sefer Torah is a handwritten copy of the Torah on a scroll, rather than in a book, and is still used for ceremonial purposes in Synagogues. On Mondays and Thursdays short sections of the Torah are read, and a longer sections are read on Saturday (Sabbath, Shabbat) and during festivals; over the course of a year, the entire scroll will be read....
Do Any Original Masoretic Texts Still Exist?
This is the last article in a short series that started with the question Who were the Masoretes? and then followed up with Why is the Masoretic Text Important?. This list contains some of the oldest Masoretic Texts and copies which still exist. All of these are more than 1,000 years, and some of them have been in almost continuous use since they were written.
- Damascus Pentateuch
Why is the Masoretic Text Important?
My last post, Who were the Masoretes?, described the
work of the Masoretes. Now I want to focus on why their work is important to
The great, indeed all-important, question which now meets us is this—Does this Hebrew text, which we call Masoretic, and which we have shown to descend from a text drawn up about AD 100, faithfully represent the Hebrew text...
Who were the Masoretes?
The Masoretes were
Jewish scribes and scholars who made it their life's work to accurately copy
the Hebrew Bible. They worked approximately from the A.D. 600's to A.D. 950,
primarily in the areas of Jerusalem, Tiberius and Babylonia. The name Masoretes
comes from the Hebrew word masorah,
which means "tradition" or "to hand down".
During the first century A.D. Rome ruled over Israel. In A.D. 66, the first...