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Scribal Practices

Tikkunei Soferim and the Ironic Emendation of Rashi's Interpretation

Do the rabbis believe that the scribes changed the wording of some verses in the Bible? A look at how the great medieval rabbi, Rashi, reacted to one “correction” sheds light on the history of the Jewish belief in the inviolability of the Torah text.

Prof. Rabbi

Marty Lockshin

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Unspoken Hemorrhoids: Making the Torah Reading Polite

Two places in the Bible describe God striking people with hemorrhoids (ophalim): the curses in Parashat Ki Tavo and the story of the Philistines’ capture of the ark in 1 Samuel 5-6. In the latter, the Philistines make golden statues of their afflicted buttocks to propitiate the Israelite deity. Traditional readings replace these crass references with the less offensive term techorim (abscesses).

Dr. Rabbi

Zev Farber

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The Scribes of Proto-MT and Their Practices

Prof.

Emanuel Tov

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Turning Jeremiah's Land Deed Into an Oracle of Hope

Jeremiah 32 describes the prophet’s redemption of his uncle’s ancestral land. The scribal authors turned this transaction into an oracle. Eventually, the passage was expanded to include a prayer in which Jeremiah invokes the exodus from Egypt and the gift of the land. Taken together, the passage inspires hope for exilic Jews that God will redeem their land as well.

Dr

Mark Leuchter

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Precise Transmission of Inconsistent Spelling

Prof.

Emanuel Tov

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God's Appearance to Abraham: Vision or Visit?

Prof.

Ben-Zion Katz M.D.

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"Kiryat-Arba is Hebron…." But Is It?

The conflation of two cities over time

Dr.

Jacob L. Wright

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Dr. Rabbi

Zev Farber

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The Resumptive Repetition (Wiederaufnahme)

A literary strategy used by pre-modern editors and authors that works in a similar way to the classic cinematographic catch-phrase, “Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch.” (With an addendum by Prof. Marc Brettler)

Dr. Rabbi

Zev Farber

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Scribing the Tabernacle: A Visual Midrash Embedded in the Torah Scroll

Dr.

David Z. Moster

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Judean Life in Babylonia

Upon the conquest of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar deported many Judeans to Babylonia. What was their life like there? Were they assimilated, or did they stand out? What language(s) did they speak and what religious practices did they maintain? What was their social and economic standing? Babylonian records allow us glimpses into the lives of some of the deportees.

Dr.

Laurie Pearce

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Did God Bless Shabbat?

“And the Lord Blessed the Seventh Day and Consecrated It” (Genesis 2:3). Can time be blessed?

Dr. Rabbi

David Frankel

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Pe before Ayin in Biblical Pre-Exilic Acrostics

Abecedaries uncovered in pre-exilic Israel and Judah suggest that in their Hebrew alphabet, ayin followed pe. This order is attested in a number of biblical acrostics, some of which have been corrected by later scribes to make them fit what eventually became the standard ayin-pe order.[1]

Mitchell First

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Key Characteristics of (Proto-) MT

Prof.

Emanuel Tov

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