Talmud, the Old Testament in the Time of The

Talmud, The Old Testament In The Time Of The.

The Talmud presupposes a text so firmly established by tradition that the Talmudists no longer venture to alter anything in it; they merely seek to settle it unchangeably for all time by means of very precise regulations on the subject of Biblical calligraphy, the different ways of reading, etc.

1. The Canon (κανών). — This word, which occurs first in the 3rd century after Christ, has no corresponding expression in Jewish writings. The Bible is called ספר, or הספר, "the Book" (Sabbath, fol. 13, col. 1); "the Scripture," כתבא (Targum 2 in Ge 12:20); "Holy Writings," כתבי הקדש (Sabbath, fol. 16,col. 1); מקרא, "Reading" (Taanith, fol.

27, col. 2). In Kiddushin, fol. 49, col. 1, we find the expression וכתובי אורייתא נביאים, "the Law, the Prophets, and the Writings." The order of books as found in our present Hebrew Bibles is that of the Masorites, and differs from that given in the Talmud, as the following table will show:

Besides these twenty-four books, the Talmud also quotes from the apocryphal book Jesus ben-Sira, better known under the name of Ecclesiasticus, as the passages given in the art. ECCLESASATICUS indicate. But, in spite of this book being quoted so often, we are distinctly told that it is not canonical. Thus Yadaim, ch. 2, says, "The book of Ben- Sira, and all the other books written after its time, are not canonical" '(אינן מטמאין את הידים). Again, the declaration made by R. Akiba, that he who studies uncanonical books will have no portion in the world to come (Mishna, Sanhedr. 10:1), is explained by the Jerusalem Talmud to mean "the books of Ben-Sira and Ben-Laanah ;" and the Midrash on Coheleth, 12:12 remarks, "Whosoever introduces into his house more than the twenty-four books (i.e. the Sacred Scriptures), as, for instance, the books of Ben-Sira and Ben-Toglah, brings confusion into his house." Accordingly, Ecclesiasticus is not included in the canon of Melito, Origen, Cyril, Laodicea, Hilary, Rufinus, etc.; and though Augustine, like the Talmud and the Midrashim, constantly quotes it, yet he, as well as the ancient Jewish authorities, distinctly says that it is not in the Hebrew canon (De Civit. Dei, 17:20). Comp. also Jerome, Prol. in Libr. Solom., where he says that Ecclesiasticus should be read "for the instruction of the people (plebis), not to support the authority of ecclesiastical doctrines."

2. The Alphabet. — It is difficult to determine with precision the time at which the square character was; perfected. Origen and Jerome ascribe the invention to Ezra, and so does Jose ben-Chalafta, who flourished between A.D. 138 and 164. In the Talmud we find descriptions and allusions to the form of Hebrew letters which precisely suit the square alphabet; and even' in the Mishna, which was completed in the 3d century of our era, traces occur of the same. In our own days the existence of the Hebrew square alphabet before the Talmudic era has been proved by the discovery of some tombstones in the Crimea, a few of which even bear the date A.D. 6 and 30 (comp. Geiger, Jidische Zeitschrift, 3, 128-133, 237; 4:214 sq.). But these stones cannot be relied upon, and the forgery has been made manifest by Dr. H. Strack, A. Firkowitsch u. seine Entdeckungen (Leips. 1876). In the Talmud, however, we are distinctly told not to change א and ָע, ב and כ, ג and צ, ד and ר, ה and ִח, ו and י, ז and ן, ט and פ, ֹם and ס (Shabbath, fol. 103, col. 2). The Talmud also knows the five final letters , Š , , ן, ֹם , (ibid. fol. 104, col. 1), which were probably used to render reading more, easy by distinguishing one word from another (thus, אלהימאת [the third and fourth words of the Heb. Bible] might be read אלהי מאת, "God is dead"). The Talmud, again, not only mentions the so-called taggin Cyan, (תגין, כתרים), or calligraphic ornaments on the letters , ג, ז, נ, ט, ָע, ש (Menachoth, fol. 29, col. 1 sq.; Shabbath, fol. 89, col. 1; fol. 105, col. 2), but also gives different combinations of the alphabet, as כל, ים, טנ, חם, זע, וŠ, ה, דק, גר, בש, שת את, זן, ומד, חלק, דכ, גיŠ, בטע, כת אחם, יש, טר, חק, ז, יŠ, הע, דס, גן, בם, אל.

The first of these combinations is remarkable on account of Jerome having so confidently applied it to the word Sheshak, ִשש, in Jer 25:26, it being the same as בבל.

3. The Vowel-points. — See that article.

4. Division of Words. — Hebrew was originally written, like most ancient languages, without any divisions between the words, in a scriptio continua, which fact accounts for the various readings in the Sept., as Ge 7:11, עשרים for עשר יום; 20:16, כלו נכחת for ונכחת כל; 40:17, מכלם אכל for מכל מאכל, etc.; 1 ῥSamai, בן צוŠ, Alex. ἐν Νασίβ, בנציב; Ps 9:1, עלמות for על מות, etc. But there is no doubt that a division of words already existed in the time of the Talmud; at least the final letters, which are already mentioned, may have served such a purpose; and in Menachoth, fol. 30, col. 1, the space between the words in the sacred MSS. is fixed with precision. Whether or not this division of words by points-as used in the Samaritan Pentateuch-was applied, must be left undetermined.

5. Divisions according, to the Meaning of Verses. There is no doubt that at a very early period a division according to verses (פסוקים) existed. "Every verse divided by Moses may not be otherwise divided," we read in Megillah, fol. 22, col. 1. The reason for such divisions was probably twofold: a. The reading of the Scriptures, especially in the synagogue, led to such. The Mishna (Megillah, ch. 4:§ 4) mentions the פסוקים in relation to this, for we read that "not less than three verses of the holy law may be read in the synagogue to each person (called to read). One verse only of the law may at one time be read to the methurgeman, or interpreter; but it is lawful to read three consecutive verses to him from the prophets; but if each verse should form a separate section, one verse only may be read to him at a time." The Gemara forbids the leaving of the synagogue before the ending of such a section (Berakoth, fol. 8, col. 1), introduces the injunction of Ezra (Ne 8:8; Megillah, fol. 3, col. 1; Nedarim, fol. 37, col. 2), and prescribes, in reference to the prophets, how many sections are to be read on week-days (Baba Kamma, fol. 82, col. 1). b. The study of the law, the instruction and school-teaching of the same produced such sense- divisions. These were distinguished from the former, which were merely called פסוקים, by the names טעמים, clauses, sentence, or also טעמי פסוקי, clause sections; To instruct in the dividing of clauses (פיסוק טעמים) was a special part of the rabbinical teaching (Nedarim, fol. 37, col. 1); in Berakoth, fol. 62, col. 1, the teacher is said to point it out to his scholars with his right hand; and according to it disputed points of the law were settled (Chagigah, fol. 6, col. 2). As to the sign of this division which is now found in the Hebrew Bible (:), it is not seen on the synagogue-roll, nor is it mentioned in the Talmud, but is of later origin; and we must conclude it as highly probable that these divisions into verses and periods were not first externally designated, but were merely transmitted by oral tradition, as may be seen from the following quotation. In Kiddushin, fol. 30, col. 1. we read: "Therefore are the ancients called Sopherim because they counted all letters in Holy Writ. Thus they said that the Vav in. גחון (Le 11:42) is the half of all the letters in the Pentateuch; דרש דרש (Le 10:16) is the middle word; והתגלח (Le 13:33), the middle verse; that Ayin in מיַער (Ps 80:14) is the middle letter, in the Psalms, and Ps 77:20 the middle verse." In the same passage we also read that "the Pentateuch contains 5888 verses, the Psalms eight more, and Chronicles eight less." Now if we compare this number with that given by the Masorites, we shall find that the Talmud counts forty-three verses more than the Masorites in the Pentateuch, and this difference can only be explained from the statement made by the Talmud (Buba. Bathra, fol. 14, col. 2), that Joshua wrote his book and eight verses of the law (De 34:5-12); and the Occidentals, as we read in Kiddushin, loc. cit., divided Ex 19:9 into three verses. Thus much is certain, that in the time of the Talmud there was a division according to verses; but what this mark of division was, if there were any at all-at least Tr. Sopherim, ch. 3, § 5, is against it— is difficult to point out.

6. Stichoi (στίχοι). — The poetical passages in Ex 15; De 32; Jg 5; 2Sa 22:were in the time of the Talmud already written στιχηρῶς (comp. Shabbath, fol. 103, col. 2, infine; Sopherim, ch. 12). The same may be said of the poetical books, אמה, i.e. Job, Proverbs, Psalms. The Decalogue was also originally written in ten series (שטים, στίχοι), as is intimated in the Targum on the Song of Songs, 5, 13: "The two tables of stone which he gave to his people were written, in ten rows (shittin), resembling the rows or beds (shittin) ins the garden of balsam." SEE SHITTA.

7. The Smaller Sections of the Pentateuch. — In our Hebrew Bibles, which follow the Masoretic text, the Pentateuch is divided into 669parashas, or sections (פרשיות, פרשה), of which 290 are open (פתוחות, and distinguished in our Bibles by the initial letter פ) and 379 are closed (סתומות, marked by the initial letter ס). Of these parashas mention is made in the Talmud, viz.

1. Taanith, ch. 4:§ 3, the history of creation is divided into seven sections, viz. Ge 1:1-23; Ge 24-31; Ge 2:1-3.

2. Berakoth, ch. 2, § 2; Tamid, ch. 5, § 1; Menachoth, ch. 3, § 7, the ections of the prayer and phylacteries (Ex 13:1-13; De 6:4-9; De 11:13-21; Nu 15:37-41) are mentioned.

3. Megillah, ch. 3, § 4-6 (comp. also Yoma, ch. 7:§ 1; Sotah, ch. 7:§ 7), the following sections for the Sabbath and festivals are given, viz.: Ex 30:11-16; De 25:17-19; Nu 19; Ex 12:1-12; Le 22:26-33 (for the first day of the Passover); De 16:9-12 (for Pentecost); Le 23:23-25 (for New Year); 16:1-34; 23:26-32 (for the Day of Atonement); Nu 6:7-22,18 (for the Day of Dedication); Ex 1:3-17:8 (for Plim) Nu 28:11-15 (for the new moon); Le 26:3 sq. s Deuteronomy 28 sq. (for the fast-days).

4. Tamid, ch. 5, § 1; Sotah, ch. 7:§ 2,6; Nu 6:22-27.

5. Yadaim, ch. 3, § 4, Nu 10:35-36.

6. Sotah, ch. 7:§ 7, De 17:14-20; Nu 5; Nu 11-31; Nu 19; De 21:1-9; De 26:1-11; De 14:22-27; De 26:12-15; De 25:5-10, and many others. In the Gemara the following parashas are mentioned:

7. Shabbath, fol. 115, col. 2; f 6, col . 116 , 150, Nu 10:35-36.

8. Berakoth, fol. 12, col. 2, states that "every parish which Moses divided we also divide; and any one which he did not divide, neither do we," in reply to the question why the verse כרע to קימנו(Nu 24:9) was not taken out from the long section (ch. 22-24) and used for the prayer Shema Israel, i.e. "Hear, O Israel."

9. Ibid. fol. 63, Col 1; Nu 6:1-6; Nu 5; Nu 11-31, are mentioned. 10. Götting, fol. 60, Col 1; Le 21; Nu 8:5-22; Nu 9:6 sq.; 5, 1-4; Le 16; Le 10:8-11; Nu 8:1-4; Nu 19: sq., are mentioned.

That some of these were open, some closed, we read in, Shabbath, fol. 103, col. 2; Menachoth, fol. 30, 31; Jerusalem Megillah, fol. 71, col. 2; and in Sopherim, 1, 14, we also read that the open section is an empty space, the width of three letters, at the beginning of a line, and the closed is as much in the middle of a line.

8. The larger sections, marked in our Bibles by פ פ פ and ס ס ס, are not mentioned in the Talmud.

9. Haphtarahs. — After the reading of the law in the synagogue, it was also customary from an early period to read a passage from the prophets (comp. Ac 13:15,27; Lu 4:44 sq.), and with that to dissolve the meeting (λύειν τὴν συναγωγήν, Ac 13:43; Heb. הפטיר); hence the reader who made this conclusion was called מפטיר, and the prophetic passage read הפטרה. The Mishna repeatedly speaks of the Haphtarahs (Megillah, ch. 4:§ 1-3, 5,10), and as early as in the Gemara (Megillah, fol. 29, col. 2; fol. 31, col. 1), several Haphtarahs are named. Yet in general they cannot then have been fixed determinately, and even now different usages prevail among the Jews of different countries, as may be seen from the table given in the art. HAPHTARAH, for, as Zunz says, "our present order is the work of later centuries."

10. Various Readings. — The various readings so frequently found in the margins and foot-notes of the Hebrew Bibles, known as Keri and Kethib (קרי וכתיב, pl. קרייו וכתיבן), are very ancient. The Talmud traces the source of these variations to Moses himself, for we are distinctly told in Nedarim, fol. 37, col. 2, that "the pronunciation of certain words according to the scribes (מקרא סופרים), the emendations of the scribes (עטור סופרים), the not reading of words which are in the text (כתיב ולא קרי), and the reading of words which are not in the text (כתיב קרי ולא), etc., are a law of Moses from Sinai (מסיני הלכה למשה)." We here mention some of the Talmudic passages which have reference to these readings: Ge 8:17, Kethib הוצא, but Keri היצא (Bereshith

Rabba, ad loc. sect. 34:fol. 37, col. 3). Le 21:5, Kethib. יַקרחֻה, but Keri יקרחו (Makkoth, fol. 20, col. 1). Le 23:13, Kethib ונסכה, but Keri ונסכו (Menachoth, fol. 89, col. 2). 1Sa 17:23, Kethib ממערות, but Keri ממערכות (Sotah, fol. 42, col. 2). Haggai 1, 8, Kethib ואכבד, but Keri אֶכָבדָה (Yoma, fol. 21, col. 2). Es 9:27, Kethib וקבל, but Keri וקבלו (Jerusalem Berakoth, fo]. 14, col. 3). Ec 9:4, Kethib יבחר, but Keri יחבר (Jerusalem Berakoth, fol. 13, col. 2). Job 13:15, Kethib לא, but Keri לו (Sotah, ch. 5,§ 5). Pr 31:18, Kethib בליל, but Keri בלילה (Pakta, ed. Buber [Lyck, 1868], fol. 65, col. 1). Isa 63:9, Kethib לא, but Keri לו (Sotah, fol. 31, col. 1; while Taanith, fol. 16, col. 1, reads לו). To these variations belongs also the substitution of euphonisms for cacophonisms. SEE KERI AND KETHIB, § 8.

For the most part the rabbins follow the reading of the קרי, often that of τὸ כתיב, especially when they can elicit a new interpretation from the reading of the כתיב; thus, e.g., Ru 3:3, they interpret the reading of the כתיב, וירדתי while the קרי reads וירדת (Midr. Ruth Rabba, sect. 5, fol. 43, col. 3 [Cracov. 1588, fol.]). The reading according to the כתיבis cited in Chullin, fol. 68, col. 1, from Le 2:2 and 2Sa 23:20, in Berakoth, fol. 18, col. 1, in fine. In the Mishna we find the marginal reading קרי six times, that of the כתיב twice, viz.: Le 9:22, it is written ידו; but il-Sotah, ch. 7:§ 6, and Tamid, ch. 7:§ 2, it reads ידיו De 20:7, it is written שפכה; but in Sotah, ch. 9:§ 6, שפכו, according to the Keri. 1Ki 6:6, it is written היצוע; but in Middoth, ch. 4:§ 4, היציע. Isa 10:13, it is written כאביר; but in Yadaim, ch. 4:§ 4, כביר. Eze 43; Eze 16, it is written והאראיל; but in Middoth, ch. 3, § 1, והאריאל. Job 13:15, it is written לא; but in Sotah, ch. 5, § 5, לו.

The reading according to the Kethib we find in two passages, Ex 21:8, לא (Berakoth, ch. 1, § 7; Kiddushin, fol. 17, col. 1), and Isa 10:13, in Yadaim, ch. 4:§ 4. Words written but not read, כתיב ולא קרי, are mentioned in Nedarim, fol. 27, col. 2, viz. נא, 2Ki 5:8; ואת, Jer 32:11; ִידר, 41:3; חמש, Eze 48:16; א, Ru 3:12. Words read but not written, קרי ולא כתיב, are mentioned in Nedarim, fol. 37, col. 2, viz. פרת, 2Sa 8:3; איש, 16:23; באים, Jer 31:38; לה, 1,29; את, Ru 2:11; אלי, 3, 5:17.

In connection with this we may remark that in the treatise Megillah, fol. 25, col. 2, we are told of certain passages of Scripture which are read in the synagogue and interpreted, read and not interpreted, and such as are neither read nor interpreted. Thus, "The intercourse of Reuben with Billah is to be read without being interpreted; that of Tamar (and Amnon) is to be read and interpreted. The (first part of the) occurrence with the golden calf is to be read and interpreted; but the second part (commencing Ex 34:21) is to be read without any interpretation. The blessing of the priests, and the occurrence of David and Amnon, are neither to be read nor interpreted. The description of the divine chariot (Ezekiel 1) is not to be read as a Haphtarah, but R. Jehudah permits it; R. Eleazer says neither (Ezekiel 16), 'Cause Jerusalem to know her abomination,' etc.

11. Ablatio Scribarum, עטור סופרים, Nedarim, fol. 37, col. 2. See the art. MASORAH, § 6.

12. Correctio Scribarum, תקין סופרים, is not mentioned in the Talmud, but reference is made to it in the Mechilta, Siphri, Tanchuma, Bereshith Rabbaj Shemoth Rabbah (Midrashic works, enumerated under MIDRASH); the passages belonging to the correctio scribarum are given s.v. MASORAHI, 5. SEE TIKKUN SOPHERIM.

13. Puncta Extraordinaria. — Over single letters, over entire words, we find dots or points, generally called "puncta extraordinaria." The first instance is mentioned in the Mishna, Pesachim, 9, 2, over the ה of the word רחקה, Nu 9:10. Ten such words which have these extraordinary points are enumerated in Midrash Bamidbar Rabbâh on Numbers 3, 39, sect. 3, fol. 215, col 4; comp. Pirke de-Rabbi Nathan, ch. 33; Siphri on Numbersix, 10; Sopherim, 6:3; Massora Magna on Numbers 3, 39; Oklahve-Oklah, § 96. The following words are mentioned in the Talmud: Ge 18:9, אֹליֹוֹ. On this passage the Midrash Bereshith Rabba remarks: "איו are pointed, but not the ל. R. Simeon ben-Eliezer saith, wherever you find more letters than points, you must explain the letters, i.e. what is written; but where you find more points than letters, you must explain the points. In this case, where there are more points than the written text, you must explain the points, viz. אִיוֹ, 'where is Abraham.' The meaning is that the points over these three letters intend to indicate that the three angels did not ask 'where is Sarai, איהשרה,', but 'where is Abraham,' אברה איו: (comp. Baba Metsiah, fol. 87, col. 1). Ge 19:3, ובקוֹמה. In the Talmud, Nazir, fol. 23, col. 1, we read: "Why is there a point over the Vav, ו, of the word ובקומה? To indicate that when she lay down he did not perceive it, but when she arose he perceived it" (comp. also. Horayoth, fol. 10, col. 1; and Jerome, Quaest. in Genesis: "Appungunt desuper quasi incredibile et quod rerum natura non capiat coire quemquam nescientem") Nu 3:19, וֹאֹהֹרֹןֹ. Ba-midbar Rabbah, loc. cit., says that the points over Aaron indicate that he was not one of that number (comp. also Berakoth, fol. 4, col. 1). 9:10, רחקהֹ. In Mishna, Peschim, 9:2, we read: "What is a distant journey? R. Akiba says from Modaim and beyond, and from all places around Jerusalem. situated at the same distance. R. Eleazar says 'any distance beyond the outside of the threshold of the court of the Temple.' R. Jose says the reason for the point over the ה (in our word) is to denote that it is not necessary to be actually on a distant road, but only beyond the threshold of the court of the Temple." De 29:28, לֹנֹוֹ וֹלֹבֹנֹיֹנֹוֹ עֹדאּעולם. Ba-midbar Rabbah, loc. cit., "You have made manifest, hence I will also manifest unto you hidden things" (comp. Sanhedrin, fol. 43, col. 2, in fine). Ps 27:13, לֹוֹלֹאֹ. Berakoth, fol. 4, col. 1, says, "Lord of the universe, I am aware that thou greatly rewardest the just in future ages, but I know not whether I shall partake of it with them on account of my sin." Buxtorf remarks on this passage, טעם בלא טעם, i..e. a sense without any sense: The meaning probably is that לולא, without the points, means if not, like the Latin nisi, but with the points it signifies "a doubt." As to the origin and signification of these points, nothing certain can be said. According to the rabbins, Ezra is said to have been the author of them (comp. Ba-midbar Rabbah on Nu 3:39, sect. 3, fol. 215, col. 4; Aboth de-Rabbi Nathan, ch. 33). This much may be taken for granted, that these points were known long before the Talmud.

14. Inverted Nun, נ. — Before Nu 10:35, and after ver. 36, we find in our Hebrew text the letter Nun, נ, inverted (n). In the Talmud, Shabbath, fol. 115, col. 2; fol. 116, col. 1, we are told that" the section commencing ויהי בנסע הארן ויאמר משה (Nu 10:35) was made by God with signs below and above, to indicate that it is not in its proper place. But Rabbi said this is not so, but that this book was counted by itself. How do you know it? R. Samuel bar-Nachman said, R. Jonathan saith (it is written) 'She hath hewn out her seven pillars' (Pr 9:1); this means the seven books of the law." On the inverted Nuns found in Psalm 107, mention is made in Rosh Hash-shanah, fol. 17, col. 2.

15. The Vav Ketid in Nu 25:12. — Of this קטיעא ויו, or Vavcut— of, which is found in our Hebrew Bible י, we read in the Talmud, Kiddushin, fol. 66, col. 2: "Whence do we have it that a person having some defect is unfit for the sacred ministry? R. Jehudah said that R. Samuel taught that this is because the Scripture says, 'Wherefore say, Behold I give unto him my covenant of peace'— a perfect peace, and not an imperfect one. But, said one, it is written שלים, i.e. peace; but answered R. Nachman, the Vav in שלום is cut off" (דשלום קטיעה היא זי ו).

16. The Closed or Final Mem (ֹם) in the middle of the word Isa 9:6, לםרבה. — In the Talmud, Sanhedrin, fol.. 94, col. 2, we find the following:

"Why is it that all the Mems in the middle of a word are open (i.e. מ). and this one closed (i.e. ֹם)? The Holy One (blessed be he) wanted to.. make Hezekiah the Messiah, and Seunacherib Gog and Magog; whereupon Jus- tice pleaded before the presence of the Holy One, Lord of the world, "What! David, the king of Israel, who sang so many hymns and praises before thee, wilt thou not make him the Messiah? But Hezekiah, for whom thou, hast performed all the miracles, and who has not uttered one song before thee, wilt thou make him the Messiah?" Therefore has the Mem been closed.

17. Suspended Letters. — The suspended Nun we find in מנשה, Jg 18:30. The Talmud, Baba Bathra, fol. 109, col. 2, states the following: "Was he (i.e. Gershom) the son of Manasseh? while the Scripture says the sons of Moses were Eleazar and Gershom. But because he did the deeds of Manasseh (2 Kings 21), did the Scripture append him to the (family) of Manasseh." The meaning is that the prophet did not like to call Gershom the son of Moses, because it would be ignominious that Moses should have had an impious son; hence he called him the son of Manasseh, with the suspended letter, which may mean the son of Manassehb or Moses.

The suspended Ayin is found in רשעים, Job 38:15. In the Talmud, Sanhedrin, fol. 103, col. 2, we read the following: "Why is the ָע in רשעים suspended? It is to teach that when a man is רש, poor, in this world, he will also be רש in the world to come; or, literally, poor below, he will also be poor above." Of the suspended Ayin in מיער, Ps 80:14, we read, Kiddushin, fol. 30, col. 2, that this letter is the mid-die letter in the Psalms.

18. Matscular and Minuscular Letters. Of words. written with large and small letters in our Hebrew Bible we find nothing in the Talmud, but some of these instances are mentioned in the Sopherim, ch. 9. That his mode of writing must have been very ancient cannot be doubted, for there is a dispute in the Talmud, Megillah, fol. 16, col. 2, whether the ו in ויזתא (Es 9:9) should be written as a majuscular or minuscular letter; and the word והתגלח (Le 13:33), which is now written with a majuscular, is mentioned in Kiddushin, fol. 30, col. 2, as being the middle of the verses of the Pentateuch.


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