Acrostic Signatures in Masoretic Notes

In: Vetus Testamentum
Yosef Ofer Bible Department, Bar Ilan University Israel

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The practice of creating an acrostic to spell out the name of the author of a Hebrew liturgical poem started in the classical period (5th or 6th century). An acrostic may sometimes indicate the name of the scribe who copied the manuscript. In recent years some examples of acrostics have been discovered in the Masoretic notes accompanying ancient manuscripts of the Bible. David Lyons exposed three acrostic signatures in ms British Library Or. 4445. I have discovered two further acrostics: one in a biblical manuscript, the other on a page of a Masoretic work. The article addresses the ways in which the Masoretes create their acrostic signatures, and what we may deduce from these acrostics concerning the location of their creators and their time. The main point is that the place of the masorete of ms Or. 4445 is included in his acrostic, and has not been recognized before.

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