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Bibil Identifier bibil:202448
Publication Type Book
Title (French, Long) Fixing God's TorahA
Title (English, ) The Accuracy of the Hebrew Bible Text in Jewish Law
Author Levy, B. Barry
Year (Publication) 2001
Year (Original (1st Edition)) 2001
Year (Copyright) 2001
Year (Reference) 2001
Library BCU/Dorigny, Lausanne
Signature Perunil
Publishing house Oxford University Press
Place Oxford
ISBN 978-0-19-514113-9
Edition number 1
Language English
Pages xvii Pages
237 Pages
height in cm 24
Genre Original
Abstract Many scholars and learned readers believe that rabbinic Judaism assumes a dogmatic commitment to the notion that the Bible text, particularly the Torah text, is letter perfect; orthodox Jews often accept this notion as fact, others, as normative rabbinic doctrine. This position developed over the centuries as an internal theological and interpretative posture and as a response to external pressures. These factors include rabbinic indifference to alternative forms of the Bible text recovered from pre-rabbinic times or non-rabbinic sources, attacks from Christians and Muslims who accused the Jews of falsifying the text or failing to transmit it accurately, and mystical Jewish teachings that saw in the Torah a divinely revealed and perfectly transmitted document whose letters were, in their entirety, a divine name. The assumption of letter-perfect accuracy sustains much of the midrashic literature and has become a cornerstone of the postmodern fad of decoding the text to reveal alleged references to phenomena that occurred long after its books were written. This study, based on careful examination of hundreds of authoritative rabbinic writings, offers a very different picture of the Bible's textual reality and the rabbinic beliefs about it. Beginning with late antiquity and progressing throughout the subsequent ages, this book explores Talmudic, midrashic, medieval, Renaissance, and modern rabbinic texts that address the question of the letter-perfect accuracy of the Bible text; it is particularly attentive to the writings of Rabbis Solomon ben Adret, Jacob ben Ibn Adoniyah, and David Ibn Zimra, as well as others who lived between the thirteenth and sixteenth centuries. The documents analysed have been chosen from Bible commentaries, responsa, halakhic codes, guidebooks for scribes, studies of Bible manuscripts and the printed Bible, and many other rabbinic works. In presenting these sources, many translated here for the first time, the author explores the various rabbinic attempts to fix the Bible text—to correct it and to establish its authoritative spelling. He demonstrates conclusively that many of the same rabbinic figures whose teachings inform other contemporary Orthodox doctrines were quite open about the fact that their Bible texts, even their Torah scrolls, were not completely accurate. Moreover, though many of the variations are of little exegetical significance, these rabbis often acknowledged that, textually speaking, the situation was beyond repair.
DOI 10.1093/019514113X.001.0001
Keywords Thesaurus BiBIL : Books of the Old Testament : Pentateuch
Thesaurus BiBIL : Milieu : Ancient Judaism : Comprehensive Studies : Jewish Exegesis
Last modification 2017-10-27