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of words and sentences, and include also the direction to the tone in reading.
Now, Sir, from the foregoing considerations, allow me to presume that the whole obscurity, in which the history of the Masoretical punctuation is involved, consists in its progressive and systematic augmentation from a few first principles to its present refined and complicated form : that it was not all the work of one man, nor of one age or period, but of many that the last and fullest additions to the sacred letters of the Hebrew Text were those called Accents : and that if any at all were applied to the text in the time of Ezra, by him or by any authorised person since, most probably it was the adoption of one Point only, and from wl.ich all others first originated.
It is known to every scholar, and every one who has had but a slight inspection of ancient writings and MSS. will readily acknow. ledge, that it has been the custom of Scribes in various nations and languages to contract their writing occasionally by the adoption of a dash over, under, orin, the line of writing: a custom which seems very ancient, if we admit that in the frequent arbitrary insertion or omission of the letters Vau and Jod by the Hebrew scribes, the substitution was a point under or over the line of writing, and the word or words technically pronounced full or deficient accordingly, This will probably lead to the first rise of the Hebrew Punctuation: (1)a point in the body of any letter supposes that letter to be pronounced double by the rule of Dagesh forte, thus 27 Rabbi, Ney Immanuel, Jawi Shammah &c. (2)a Point over the line is the common substitute forthe letter Vau: thus no Meoroth, lights or luminaries, Gen. ch. 1.16. which written full is written thus, hinira and pronounced, as before, Meoroth. (3) a Point over Vau is the Point O.(4) a Point in the body of Vau is the point U.(5) a Point under a letter is the point I. Thus we have three Vocular expressions for the threefold position of a single point, and (6) the application of the single point serves also materially to mark the conjugations, and various accidence of Verbs and Participles, as may be seen in any gram
Having thus shown the several offices of the Dagesh Point as it is variously applied, I would consider it as the foundation of the system, and 'if any part of that system has a just claim to antiquity and importance, it is only from its extensive usefulness in reading Hebrew with propriety and accuracy. I could wish that an Edition of the Hebrew Bible was undertaken on this principle ; namely, to print the Hebrew Text with the Diacritical Points only, and such an edition would be a happy mean between the two extremes, viz. the editions with the Points, or those altogether without them : in the former editions of the Hebrew Text, that
text is too much incumbered with points, of which the reader has httle advantage ; and in the latter editions the text is so completely dismantled and stripped, as to exclude all punctuatory assistance whatever. I apprehend such an edition as is here proposed would prevent the objections and dangers of either extreme : a medium seems far preferable, and best designed for general use, especially among the Christians, who now begin to study the Hebrew on more liberal principles than formerly.
It is not my design to enlarge on the many advantages of such an edition of the Hebrew Scriptures, in which the diacritical points are exclusively adopted, as they at present stand in the printed edi. tions. I shall only advert to one common and obvious advantage, in which, Sir, I apprehend my opinion will be consentaneous with that of most of your learned correspondents, namely, that the text thus printed would retain undisturbed all the essential and useful part of the punctuation, and be cleared of all the useless incumbrance with which it is now burthened, and present the Inspired Text in a far less innovatory form than hitherto, and much more lucid and intelligible.
1. This method proposes to retain the Dagesh point in all letters, in which it is found in the printed editions.
2. To retain the holem point over the line as it at present stands in the printed editions.
3. To retain the hirek point under the line, in all places where its jod letter is deficient, as in the name 777 David, which is also written T with jod.
4. To retain the kibbutz point under the line where the same is observed in the printed editions.
5. To adopt the reading stops soph-pasuk and athnah. Then the characters, with their accompanying diacritical points, will present the following arrangement :
X, &c. 2. Dagesh,
IX, &c. 3. Holem,
. 4. Dagesh holem, Kid, &c. 5. Hirek,
?? X, &c. 6. Dagesh hirek, a X, &c. 7. Kibbutz,
$2$, &c. 8. Dagesh kibbutz, : N, &c. In the next place it will be proper here to subjoin a few verses printed with the diacritical and other points, that nothing may be wanting to an explanation of the subject proposed for considera
tion; and that the comparative superiority of the plan may be per fectly understood, I would recommend to the learned reader to take his Hebrew Bible with, and without, points, and compare them respectively.
Germ. ch. 1. vv. 1. &c.
1 בראשית ברא אלהים את השמים ואת הארץ: 2 והארץ היתה תהו ובהו וחשך על-פני תהום ורוח אלהים מרחפת על-פני המים: 3 ויאמר אלהים יהי אור ויהי-אוֹר: 4 וירא אלהים אתהאור כי-טוב ויבדל אלהים בין האור ובין החשך: 5 ויקרא אלהים לאור יום ולחשך קרא לילה ויהי ערב ויהי בקר יום אחד: 6 ויאמר אלהים יהי רקיע בתוך המים ויהי מבדיל בין מים למים: 7 ויעש אלהים את-הרקיע ויבדל בין המים אשר מתחת לרקיע ובין המים אשר מעל לרקיע ויהי-כן: 8 ויקרא אלהים לרקיע שמים ויהיערב ויהי בקר יום שני: 9 ויאמר אלהים יקוו המים מתחת השמים אל מקום אחד ותראה היבשה ויהי כן: 10 ויקרא אלהים ליבשה ארץ ולמקוה המים קרא ימים וירא אלהים כי-טוֹב: 11 ויאמר אלהים תדשא הארץ דשא עשב מזריע זרע עץ פרי עשה פרי למינו אשר זרעו בו על-הארץ ויהי-כן: 12 ותוצא הארץ דשא עשב מזריע זרע למינהו ועץ עשה פרי אשר זרעו בו למינהו וירא אלהים כִּי טוֹב : 13 ויהי ערב ויהי בקר יום שלישי: 14 ויאמר אלהים יהי מארת ברקיע השמים להבדיל בין היום ובין הלילה והיו לאתת ולמועדים ולימים ושנים:
To read the Hebrew text of the Old Testament with ease and intelligibility requires long initiation in any form, but especially without the reading points. In the first ages of the Jewish Church, it is presumed that the knowledge of reading the law of God was almost wholly the function of the priests and scribes, even whilst the Hebrew was a living language; but afterwards, as copies were multiplied, the reading of the Divine books became general: but now the Jews, having been dispersed over the world, and having their law in the dead letter, require laborious study to interpret it to the people. With us it seems easy enough to take up a Hebrew Bible without points, and read it with as much ease and facility as any Latin or other version; a supposition, in my opinion, alto.
gether imposing and delusive: it is certainly not for every novice to encounter so great a task, to which none but the greatest masters are equal. Every well-informed Hebrew scholar is aware, that to read the unpointed text of the Hebrew Bible with grammatical propriety, requires a previous knowledge of the elements of pronunciation and construction, and all the essential part of the punctuation. The text of Genesis here given is a specimen for retaining all that essential part of the punctuation subservient to a clear understanding of it with propriety and certainty. The diacritical point over o distinguishes t from tw, and low coeli from Opic ponentes; also nicy faciens, from Jigy facit; again nicy from midy faciens eam: also "Vy fac from "vy factores mei and muy facientes ; quy fecerunt, from why compresserunt; hy Esau, &c. I might produce a volume of examples, in which the import ance of the diacritical point is most. clearly and convincingly taught, and its several offices in rightly distinguishing the accidence in verbs and participles, as well as other parts of speech. Whọ would know how to distinguish the actives from the passives at sight, and vice versa, without the presence, or absence, of the Dagesh point in example of xop et vocavit, and $774 et vocatus
: , ) ; ' , and 777 expectabunt, &c. ? In nouns, I might instance some examples ex. gr. 17979 et spiritus, ventus, 1179 et respirabat, nons luminaria, rad. 7ix lux, 07 maledictio, rad. 778 maledixit : the points of nagu show that the word is read with two vaus ninixa. Thus I have produced a few examples for the consideration of the learned, on the usefulness and propriety of adopting the diacritical point in editions of the Hebrew text.
Two editions of the Hebrew Bible are now printing in England: one by Mr. Frey with points, marginal readings, and Latin notes, from the text of Vander Hooght, 1705. As this new edition is intended to be a fac-simile of the former, we are not a step forwarder as to any revision of the Hebrew text, now, than we were a century ago : strange, indeed, that, after all the laborious and expensive collations by Dr. Kennicott, and other learned men for the last fifty years, the same text continues to be reprinted without that revision due to the sacred and venerable book. The writings of Dr. Kennicott show the necessity for collating the printed text in all the editions extant, which has never yet been done, or, perhaps, never will be done. It is asserted by that eminent collator, that the various readings of the first printed text of the whole Hebrew Bible in the year 1488, and that by Van. Hooght in 1705, amount to twelve thousand:' there is a copy of that very early edition in
,*congregenttur יקוו ; et dictum fuit ויאמר et dicit
, and ויאמר : est
· For. An: 1768. p. 130.
the library of Exeter College, Oxford, of which some particular account is given in the Annual Report; it would certainly be important to know how far succeeding editions have, or have not, improved, and whether the Hebrew text has, or has not, been gradually and progressively revised in the long period of 325 years ! Celebrated as Vander Hooght's edition may be, it is obstinately deficient in the omission of two whole verses in Joshua, ch. xxi. and this omission is also adhered to in Mr. Frey's edition, notwithstanding the remonstrances of the learned in support of those verses, as they are extant in some editions, in particular Leusden’s Bible, printed in the year 1661, and confirmed by MSS. The translators of the English Bible retain those verses, being ver. 36. 37. Mr. Bothroyd's edition, now printing, is without points, and accompanied with a selection of various readings subjoined to the text.
To conclude, Sir, I must apologise for the length of my paper, by observing, that what is here offered to the consideration of the learned is, to promote such an edition of the Hebrew Scriptures as may faithfully preserve all the authorised text in its present form, and with the diacritical points ; being all that are necessary and essential to the reading of the Sacred Text with propriety, and securing the interpretation against error and misconstruction. June, 1813.
To The EDITOR OF THE CLASSICAL JOURNAL. I wave often thought, that the ingenuity of the llebrew critic might be usefully employed in developing the true reading of those two Hebrere formules of baptism, which have been recorded by Irenæus, as being practised among the Valentinian heretics.
His testimony respecting the first of them is to the following effect. Alii autem et Hebraica nomina superfantur, ut stupori sint, vel perterreant eos qui sacrantur, sic: Basyma eacabasa eonaa irsaurista dyarbada capotaba fobor camelanthi. Horum autem interpretatio est talis. Hoc quod est super omnem virtutem invoco, quod vocatur lumen, et spiritus, et vita, quoniam in corpore regnâsti. In the Greek of Epiphanius the account is some. what varied. "Αλλοι δε εβραϊκά τινά ονόματα επιλέγουσι, προς το
? p. 112.