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.
The consonants of the Qeré stand in the margin, beside the indication קרי or קׄ.
e.g.: (Genesis 39:20)
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.
Do you have any questions? Contact us.Or login to access all content.