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  • Author or Editor: Nehemia Gordon x
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Part 1 of this study considered how the rabbinic prohibition against erasing the Tetragrammaton led to scribes performing diverse procedures to resolve scribal errors. In part 2 it will be shown that special procedures were performed in Torah scrolls, namely, skiving, excision, and removing sheets. Washing off the divine name was not found in the corpus examined. Despite the rabbinic prohibition, medieval Jewish scribes occasionally marked the Tetragrammaton with a strikethrough or erased it through abrasion. This may have been the handiwork of Karaite scribes who did not see themselves bound by the midrashic interpretation of Deut 12:4. The scribes who wrote the Aleppo Codex may have abraded erroneous instances of the Tetragrammaton in order to create a model codex. Scribes in the isolated Jewish community of Kaifeng, who erased erroneous instances of the Tetragrammaton, may not have been familiar with rabbinic strictures.

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In: Textus
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Abstract

Early rabbinic interpretation of Deut 12:4 prohibited erasure of the Tetragrammaton, which required Jewish scribes to employ creative methods to resolve extraneous instances of the divine name. This may be foreshadowed in the writing of divine appellations in Paleo-Hebrew in the Dead Sea Scrolls. Medieval Jewish scribes employed diverse methods to deal with errors involving the Tetragrammaton. In codices this involved marking God’s name with dots, rectangles (also used in liturgical scrolls), lines, and supralinear circelli. Some scribes indicated the Tetragrammaton’s erasure by leaving it unpointed and recording a correction (usually Adonai) in the margin, without any additional notation. A special procedure involved a nonstandard usage of the Qere notation. All of these methods were performed in accordance with rabbinic strictures. Part 2 of this study will consider exceptions to the rule and the special case of liturgical Torah scrolls.

Open Access
In: Textus