Re: Numerics

From: David Bradford <>
Date: Mon Jun 06 2005 - 15:26:02 EDT

I have been chided by our moderator for submitting more than four posts in one day. Terry has suggested that I combine responses so, hopefully with your consent, I will begin with two other responses.

To: Michael Roberts.
You are right to bring to a halt the pointless speculation as to how Moses could have written about his own death. I assume that it is no longer a stumbling block to the possibility that God dictated the entire Torah to Moses. Otherwise we are condemned to speculate aimlessly forever.

To: George Murphy.
I am content to accept any of your suggestions concerning God's first utterances. As long as we can agree it was in the universal language that preceded Babel.

And finally,
The weblinks you have supplied do not help your case any more than mine, for two principal reasons. First because they both relate to the teffilim (Psalms and prayers) which, though revered, are not regarded as sacred in the way that the Torah is.

But more to the point, even if the Masoretes did make some textual changes in the Torah, why judge them to be errors? Keep in mind that the Masoretes were motivated by anxiety that the Hebrew traditions were on the verge of total disintegration. It is far more likely that they would be correcting known errors, than creating new ones. But in all ages, there have been theologians and scholars who have set about revisiting early manuscripts in order to re-create a more faithful Christian Bible. So why should the Masoretes not seek to do the same with their sacred texts? Unfortunately, there is a curtain drawn over the earliest history of all scriptures; we no longer have the sources that the Masoretes used.

To be realistic, looking at many conflicting studies and sources can only get us so far; and not necessarily in the right direction. There is an historical horizon that prevents us looking back far enough to find a total answer using external means. So, rather than take a flat earth approach, I choose to set sail anyway. I run the risk of falling off the edge, but I will not know if there is an edge unless I look. And at least this way I stand a chance of discovering the New World. If the Creator has provided his word with a recognisable watermark, then this would be an infallible witness to authenticity. There are now plenty of clues that the watermark may indeed exist. Apart form disturbing the comfortable status quo, does it hurt anyone to approach the search in a scientific way?

It is written: And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought:
But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it:
Acts 5:38-39

In fact, given what has already been found underlying the text of the Torah, I would say the main risk seems to be that of upsetting everyone except we Christians. It would not even surprise me if the knowledge we seek has been found previously, and suppressed. But times have changed.


  ----- Original Message -----
  From: D. F. Siemens, Jr.
  Cc: ;
  Sent: Sunday, June 05, 2005 11:45 PM
  Subject: Re: Numerics

  I cannot cite an ancient copy of Genesis 1:1f, and I have not found /elohim/. But you are wrong about adding letters. Yod and waw are used both as consonants and as vowels in the current Hebrew text. Specifically, the masculine plural is yod-mem. In the Jehoash Inscription, /BAR/ (March/April 2004), p. 50, leaving out the diacritical marks, line 6, hqdsm, the holy things; line 12, whlwlm, and the staircases; do not have the yod of the later spelling. I find the same absence of yod in the texts from the Dead Sea Scrolls presented in and Also, in the /BAR/ citation, line 5, `ry, cities; line 10, whqrt, and the walls; lack the yod which I find in the citation form in Young's concordance. This proves that the Massoretes added letters as well as symbols above and below the original letters. I suspect that the yod in the first word, since it does not have a point beneath the letter as /shemayim/ does, was another addition.

  The third word in Genesis is a masculine plural, which means that the yod was not present in the ancient text but was added. Consequently, your square and Vernon's scheme have to be recalculated to reflect the original test--unless, that is, you can demonstrate that the Massoretes were at least as inspired to make the changes as Moses was to set down the original text. Or, since I understand that the Dead Sea scrolls have two copies of Genesis 1:1f, you show that they contain the yods.

  On Sun, 5 Jun 2005 12:32:43 +0100 "David Bradford" <> writes:
    I won't try to answer all your issues in one reply as that just dissipates the impact of them all. But I must address one fundamental misunderstanding that seems to be a major stumbling block for you.

    The Masoretes did not introduce any new letters into the Hebrew scriptures. Nor did they deliberately remove any. Their great concerne (in extremis) was that the true understanding of the Torah in particular was in danger of being lost. This was due to the Hebrew language falling out of everyday use, just as Latin has. The Jewish background of the Masoretes forbade them to make material changes in the Torah, so what they did was introduce a system of marks (known as pointing) that could be added above, below and within letters, to assist with pronunciation. The net effect was to fix the vowel sounds; but this does not mean that they added vowels as extra characters.

Received on Mon Jun 6 15:27:22 2005

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