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Grammar of Biblical Hebrew


Wolfgang Schneider

Although Wolfgang Schneider’s Grammatik des biblischen Hebräisch: Ein Lehrbuch serves primarily as an introductory textbook to biblical Hebrew, it makes an invaluable contribution to the text-linguistic study of Hebrew Bible. Schneider’s understanding of narrative syntax and discourse linguistics continues to influence such grammarians as Niccacci and Talstra, through whom his work is validated. His discussion of clauses and text syntax remains pertinent to Hebrew students and professors alike. With this English translation, Schneider’s work may now make a worldwide contribution to biblical studies by clarifying for the student the contribution of text grammar to the reading of the biblical text.
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07 Masoretic Notes on the Text of the Bible


07.1 Ketíb and Qeré


In a great deal of places, the ancient scribes, the Soferim (סֹפְרִים “writers,” actually “numbers”), who took care of a unified consonantal text until a.d. 100, already proposed some other variants alongside the consonantal text fixed by them. There they distinguished the “written” (Aramaic כְּתִיב) from the “read” (Aramaic קְרֵי), which they themselves proposed. In the course of time, the number of such places grew to 1,314.

The Masoretes, who arranged the pronunciation of the biblical text in the 8th–10th centuries a.d., received the traditional changes, consciously placed the different variants as a choice, and noted them in the margin (Masora, → § 07.3). They did not intervene in the canonical consonantal text.

In the masoretic text, as it stands today in Biblia Hebraica, we find in the current text the consonants of the “Ketib” (thus the variant rejected by the Masoretes) with the vowels of the “Qeré” (thus the variant proposed by the Masoretes). A small circle over the word refers to the marginal note.

Marginal Notes

The consonants of the Qeré stand in the margin, beside the indication קרי or קׄ.

e.g.: (Genesis 39:20)

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