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Thread: Hebrew Massorah

  1. #11

    Default Massorah and PDFs

    Michael is right - there is no way to convert the PDF to HTML, unless you use OCR software. But that will work badly with the small text sizes and Hebrew, so it wil be easier to just type the text in. Converters that go from PDF to HTML only work if the PDF has embedded text, which is not the case here.

    I developed the sample Ginsburg module, so I can do all the technical/difficult bits involved in actually creating the Module file. It just needs volunteers to type in the text as far as possible. I could do any tidy ups, and work involved in getting the text into exactly the right HTML format, if people found that difficult. So potentially, volunteers just need to enter the text. It would work in a similar way to Michael's suggestion.

    This would be a major undertaking, but along the way you would learn a truly immense amount about the Massorah, and how it worked across the 70 or so manuscripts that Ginsburg collated. There is no way you will learn that information any other way. Even if we had to stop part way through due to lack of time or volunteers, the progress up until that point would still be beneficial.

  2. #12
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    Default give it a try, eh?

    Well I'm not seeing much interest yet. If someone does want to experiment with this, go through a section in the PDF's. See how long it takes you to put together a verse list, i.e. how many pages can you do in half an hour or an hour. If someone does something it might make this seem more achievable rather than simply talking about it.
    Michael Hanel
    PhD candidate Classics Univ. of Cincinnati
    MDiv Concordia Seminary
    MA Classics Washington University
    Unofficial BibleWorks Blog
    LibraryThing!

  3. #13

    Default

    As one of the heavy Hebrew/Aramaic users, I'd much prefer to see effort channeled into something other than this. I just wouldn't use it much. Inscriptions, yes. Mishnah, yes. Massorah, no.
    Ben

  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Spackman
    As one of the heavy Hebrew/Aramaic users, I'd much prefer to see effort channeled into something other than this. I just wouldn't use it much. Inscriptions, yes. Mishnah, yes. Massorah, no.
    Find a source for something productive and let 'er go then. I'm just offering ideas
    Michael Hanel
    PhD candidate Classics Univ. of Cincinnati
    MDiv Concordia Seminary
    MA Classics Washington University
    Unofficial BibleWorks Blog
    LibraryThing!

  5. #15

    Default

    I know, and I appreciate it. We started work a while back on a inscriptions database, but it never took off. We had trouble compiling the Hebrew, among other things.
    Ben

  6. #16
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Ewan MacLeod
    This would be a major undertaking, but along the way you would learn a truly immense amount about the Massorah, and how it worked across the 70 or so manuscripts that Ginsburg collated. There is no way you will learn that information any other way. Even if we had to stop part way through due to lack of time or volunteers, the progress up until that point would still be beneficial.
    I just installed your module and I think it's tremendous.

    Of course, the Massorah is a lost art today, and that's a shame, for it is not really possible to translate the Tanach without it, at least not accurately. Case in point --

    Most modern bibles follow the KJV in Psalm 22:16 (17) -- "they pierced my hands and feet"

    How many times have you heard the translators of modern bibles and modern Hebrew scholars assert that the KJV translators must have engaged in metaphor or some such device in order to arrive at this rendering, because, as we all know, the Kethib just doesn't read that way literally?

    Well, the KJV translators were not only masters in the rabbinic literature, but they were absolute masters of the Massorah as well, and the reason they translated the above passage the way they did has nothing whatsoever to do with metaphor.

    Rather, the reason the KJV translators rendered the above passage the way they did is because the Massorah dictated that they do so.

    Ad infinitum throughout the Old Testament.

    So the Massorah has a profound impact on the translation and meaning of the Old Testament, and the Ginsburg module, albeit not identical to the Massorah of the 16th and 17th centuries, if nevertheless brought to fruition, would be an absolutely outstanding contribution to BibleWorks.

    IF we can get enough people to assist. Otherwise, the task would be far too difficult.

    Oh, by the way, for those who are curious, don't consult the Massorah Magna at Psalm 22:16 (17) for a commentary on how to render the above passage, for the Massorah Magna doesn't discuss it there. The Massorah discusses this rendering in a place in Numbers and Isaiah, which is why it is fortunate for us that the old-timers were masters in this discipline.

    So the next time somebody "corrects" the old translations, ask them what the Massorah says about their "correction" and then watch the blank look appear on their faces.

    I think anyone out there who might be considering pursuing a doctorate in biblical Hebrew would find Massoretic studies to be a wide open field, and one very much worth pursuing.

    In any event, I do hope we can find enough support to get Ginsburg's Massorah into BibleWorks, for the Massorah is an invaluable tool in correctly understanding the Old Testament.

  7. #17

    Default Same answer for Prov. 19:18?

    Hi, Scott,

    Your post sparked my curiosity. I was reading Prov. 19 in Hebrew this week and came across what struck me as a radical difference between the MT and the KJV

    KJV: Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying.

    MT: Discipline your son while there is hope, And to his death do not lift up your soul (do not desire his death).

    I haven't been able to find any explanation for the KJV's translation. Is there a Massorah explanation for this as well?

  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Philip Brown
    I haven't been able to find any explanation for the KJV's translation. Is there a Massorah explanation for this as well?
    Don't know. Just got a new computer with XP. Don't even have BW or the fonts installed yet. Just testing the internet connection. And I've got a whole night ahead of me just to get the basics installed, i.e., email, necessary programs, etc.

    However, I suspect it is probably not a Massoretic situation here (I could very well be wrong), but rather either a plain textual matter or perhaps even a translational matter.

    I also don't know what you mean when you say MT, for the MT you refer to may not be the MT that the Renaissance translators employed. If memory serves, the KJV translators had a minimum of 14 Hebrew texts before them, including the Bomberg editions, as well as numerous others.

    Having said all that, judging from the KJV notes it could be something as simple as translation, for the KJV translators' notes say --

    "or to his destruction; or, to cause him to die."

    As one relatively recent (?) study by the linguists and literary scholars Alter, Kermode, and other participants remarked, none of whom could even remotely be considered KJVO's, and giving their examples primarily from the Hebrew Tanach, with respect to the translators of the KJV and their attempting to open out the meaning as much as possible, wrote (and I must be a little long to really explain it)--

    "All these examples can be seen to have doctrinal or theological implications, but they also have one distinct literary implication: that the Authorized Version's translators were artful, and, in the best Renaissance sense, witty, contriving to make what they wrote have a variety of meanings. In their view the translator's task was not to assume that there is one clear meaning to which the text should be reduced, but instead to open out the text to include as much as possible... Many modern versions eschew anything which smacks of imagery or metaphor... The loss is measurable not only in terms of aesthetics but also in terms of meaning. Particularly in the narrative sections of the Bible the Authorized Version emerges from comparison with twentieth-century versions as more attractive and more accurate... the Authorized Version has the kind of transparency which makes it possible for the reader to see the original clearly. It lacks the narrow interpretive bias of modern versions, and is the stronger for it... Through its transparency the reader of the Authorized Version not only sees the original but also learns how to read it. Patterns of repetitions, the way one clause is linked to another, the effect of unexpected inversions of word order, the readiness of biblical writers to vary tone and register from the highly formal to the scatological, and the different kinds and uses of imagery are all, like so much else, open to any readers of the Renaissance versions, and best open to them in the Authorized Version." The Literary Guide To The Bible, Robert Alter & Frank Kermode, The Belknap Press Of Harvard University Press, 1987, pgs 663 - 665.

    Had to be that long to let you know that I suspect that's what's going on in Proverbs here, and as I said, those boys, Alter and Kermode and Gerald Hammond, who authored that particular section, concentrated almost wholly on the Old Testament when penning those words, so that's what those comments apply to.

    What are you doing reading Proverbs anyway? Trying to get wise or something?
    Last edited by Adelphos; 07-25-2006 at 12:13 AM.

  9. #19
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Hanel View Post
    This would be a taste of how this would work. Unzip the attached file and put it in your Bibleworks subdirectory called "databases" (by the way I know this works in BW7, I do not know if this works in earlier versions). Restart BW7. You will then notice the Massorah is available in your Resources column. Also whenever you hit a verse that is in the module, it will show up in the Resource Summary window. Check it out. Get excited and volunteer to help this out
    I can think of no other work that would hold as much value to a Christian looking to deeply study God's Word than Ginsburg's collation of the Massorah. It is, quite literally, a fence to the Scriptures and is vastly important to anyone that cares about the preservation of our Father's Word and it's correct meaning; to both those teaching and those being taught. It is a superlative work that is underused due to it's limited availability in printed format (I am blessed to own it), and to have it in the premier Bible Study software would be like a crown jewel in Biblical works made available to Bibleworks users. It's inclusion in Bibleworks will be a blessing much greater than I believe that most people will fathom at first look. I consider the Massorah to be PART OF the Old Testament and this work should be a front burner consideration for those that are able to produce such things.

    Is any progress being made?

    The sample is of quite fine quality!

  10. #20
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by MWMiles View Post

    Is any progress being made?
    To my knowledge nothing is being done on this particular project. The only other Hebrew language family project that has been brought up has been a Northwest Semitic one and info on that is here.
    Michael Hanel
    PhD candidate Classics Univ. of Cincinnati
    MDiv Concordia Seminary
    MA Classics Washington University
    Unofficial BibleWorks Blog
    LibraryThing!

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