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Manuscripts of the Mishna

(811 words)

Author(s): Heijmans, Shai
1. Overview of Extant Manuscripts The text of the Mishna has come down to us in three main types of manuscripts, each having a distinct textual tradition: (a) Manuscripts containing only the Mishna. Excluding the Yemenite manuscripts (which were probably compiled from Maimonides’ commentary and, therefore, belong to the third type), and the material discovered in the Genizah or in book covers, there are only six known manuscripts of this type: Ms. Kaufmann, Ms. Parma A, Ms. Cambridge Add. 470.1 (15th century, containing almost…

Greek Loanwords

(1,943 words)

Author(s): Heijmans, Shai
1. Overview Close contact between Greek and Hebrew began in the Hellenistic period and continued uninterrupted (though perhaps with some decline during the Hasmonean period) until the conquest of Palestine by the Arabs in 634–640 C.E. This contact resulted in approximately two thousand Greek and Latin loanwords in Hebrew and Jewish Aramaic. The Bible contains some Greek loanwords, although only the three musical instruments mentioned in the Aramaic of Dan. 3 are undisputed (Names of Musical Instruments: Pre-Modern Period): קתרוס qtrws ( qere: קִיתָרוֹס qīṯå̄rōs ) ‘zither’ < κίθαρος …

Vocalization of Rabbinic Texts

(3,032 words)

Author(s): Heijmans, Shai
1. Overview The aim of this entry is to survey the background and describe the main features of vocalization in rabbinic texts (Mishna, Talmud, and Midrash). The vocalization of rabbinic texts differs in several respects from biblical vocalization: (a) there was never an authoritative reading tradition for rabbinic texts; (b) the vocalization systems employed in rabbinic texts never reached a stage of uniformity; (c) the Tiberian vocalization of the Bible often exerted influence on the vocalization of rabbinic texts, obscuring the genuine reading traditions. These three aspects…

Vocalization, Palestinian

(2,081 words)

Author(s): Heijmans, Shai
1. Introduction The term ‘Palestinian vocalization’ refers to a type of vocalization system that was used during the Middle Ages to represent the Palestinian pronunciation tradition of Hebrew and Jewish Aramaic. The Palestinian vocalization system was used alongside the Tiberian system for some time, but fell out of use probably around the 10th or 11th century (Alloni 1963:31–32). All the texts we possess with Palestinian vocalization originate from the Cairo Genizah. The first text was published …

Vocalization, Palestino-Tiberian

(2,123 words)

Author(s): Heijmans, Shai
1. Introduction The term ‘Palestino-Tiberian vocalization’ (for alternative terms see below, section 3) refers to a type of vocalization that used Tiberian signs to represent a non-Tiberian pronunciation tradition of Hebrew and Aramaic. Its two salient characteristics are an extended use of dagesh and rafe, and the free interchange of qame and pata , on the one hand, and ere and seghol, on the other. Unlike its Tiberian counterpart, Palestino-Tiberian vocalization never consolidated into a uniform system, and manuscripts differ as to the principles of its application. Palestino…