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An East Syrian Manuscript of the Syriac 'Masora' Dated to 899 CE (Volume 1)

A Facsimile Reproduction of British Library, Add. MS 12138


Prepared by Jonathan Loopstra
This unique manuscript of the East Syrian Syriac ‘Masora’ is essential for any study of early Syriac vocalization, accentuation, and punctuation. This volume presents a facsimile reproduction of this ‘masoretic’ manuscript. An introduction and comprehensive scriptural indices will be included in a forthcoming volume.
Publisher: Gorgias Press LLC
Availability: In stock
SKU (ISBN): 978-1-61143-896-3
  • *
Publication Status: In Print
Publication Date: Feb 6,2014
Interior Color: Color
Trim Size: 10 x 12.5
Page Count: 633
Languages: English, Syriac
ISBN: 978-1-61143-896-3
$263.00

Published here for the first time is the only known manuscript of the East Syrian Syriac ‘Masora,’ thought to be a type of school handbook designed to teach students how to accurately read and interpret Scripture. This manuscript, dated to 899 CE from the city of Ḥarrān, contains the earliest complete collection of vocalized, diacritically marked, and accentuated sample texts from the Syriac Old and New Testaments, alongside hundreds of philological and exegetical notes. Judah Ben Segal echoed many other scholars when he extolled this manuscript as “the most important manuscript extant for the study of East Syrian textual criticism.” In fact, the Syriac biblical text now published here slightly pre-dates the famous Hebrew Aleppo Codex of Aaron ben Asher, thereby highlighting the value of this Syriac manuscript as an important witness to the growth of ‘masoretic’ activities in the ninth and tenth-century Middle East. In this present volume, Gorgias Press has published a facsimile reproduction of this unique ‘masoretic’ manuscript. The forthcoming second volume will include an introduction and comprehensive lists of all scriptural sample texts and marginal notes in this compilation.

Add. MS 12138 is a treasure trove of information concerning the development of Syriac diacritical markings, vocalization, accentuation, and East Syrian biblical interpretation. The high-quality, color reproduction in this volume along with the accompanying lists and indices in the second volume will be valuable resources for students and scholars in the fields of biblical studies, Syriac studies, as well as those interested in the wider development of literacy and learning in the ninth and tenth century Middle East.

Review excerpt from Hugoye: Journal of Syriac Studies, v. 24, 2021

"With respect to the advancement in manuscript editing and the development of efficient tools for researchers, the monograph under review is a masterful work. Its impressive apparatus is designed to meet the need of the established scholar as well as that of the advanced student. It should also be warmly welcomed as a direct continuation of the fundamental studies by H. Ewald, A. Merx, G. Diettrich, T. Weiss, and J. B. Segal on the ‘Masoretic’ accents...the book marks an important step in the history of Syriac studies. Overall, it provides a wealth of phonologically and lexically reliable linguistic evidence ready for further reflection and analysis. Aramaists interested in Eastern Syriac pronunciation and lexicology will find it indispensable. In addition, it will allow in-depth study of the accents, not only among Syriac scholars but also among Hebraists and Byzantinists who will find valuable information on shared features and differences between the Hebrew and Greek ekphonetic notations and that of BL Add. 12138. More broadly, it will also be of interest to biblical scholars concerned with Syriac exegesis and the textual and oral transmission of the Bible at the end of the first millennium." - Emmanuel Aïm
 
Full Review: https://hugoye.bethmardutho.org/article/hv24n1praim

Published here for the first time is the only known manuscript of the East Syrian Syriac ‘Masora,’ thought to be a type of school handbook designed to teach students how to accurately read and interpret Scripture. This manuscript, dated to 899 CE from the city of Ḥarrān, contains the earliest complete collection of vocalized, diacritically marked, and accentuated sample texts from the Syriac Old and New Testaments, alongside hundreds of philological and exegetical notes. Judah Ben Segal echoed many other scholars when he extolled this manuscript as “the most important manuscript extant for the study of East Syrian textual criticism.” In fact, the Syriac biblical text now published here slightly pre-dates the famous Hebrew Aleppo Codex of Aaron ben Asher, thereby highlighting the value of this Syriac manuscript as an important witness to the growth of ‘masoretic’ activities in the ninth and tenth-century Middle East. In this present volume, Gorgias Press has published a facsimile reproduction of this unique ‘masoretic’ manuscript. The forthcoming second volume will include an introduction and comprehensive lists of all scriptural sample texts and marginal notes in this compilation.

Add. MS 12138 is a treasure trove of information concerning the development of Syriac diacritical markings, vocalization, accentuation, and East Syrian biblical interpretation. The high-quality, color reproduction in this volume along with the accompanying lists and indices in the second volume will be valuable resources for students and scholars in the fields of biblical studies, Syriac studies, as well as those interested in the wider development of literacy and learning in the ninth and tenth century Middle East.

Review excerpt from Hugoye: Journal of Syriac Studies, v. 24, 2021

"With respect to the advancement in manuscript editing and the development of efficient tools for researchers, the monograph under review is a masterful work. Its impressive apparatus is designed to meet the need of the established scholar as well as that of the advanced student. It should also be warmly welcomed as a direct continuation of the fundamental studies by H. Ewald, A. Merx, G. Diettrich, T. Weiss, and J. B. Segal on the ‘Masoretic’ accents...the book marks an important step in the history of Syriac studies. Overall, it provides a wealth of phonologically and lexically reliable linguistic evidence ready for further reflection and analysis. Aramaists interested in Eastern Syriac pronunciation and lexicology will find it indispensable. In addition, it will allow in-depth study of the accents, not only among Syriac scholars but also among Hebraists and Byzantinists who will find valuable information on shared features and differences between the Hebrew and Greek ekphonetic notations and that of BL Add. 12138. More broadly, it will also be of interest to biblical scholars concerned with Syriac exegesis and the textual and oral transmission of the Bible at the end of the first millennium." - Emmanuel Aïm
 
Full Review: https://hugoye.bethmardutho.org/article/hv24n1praim
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ContributorBiography

Jonathan Loopstra

Jonathan Loopstra is an Associate Professor of History at University of Northwestern in St. Paul, MN. He holds an M.St. degree in Syriac Studies from the University of Oxford, a M.A. from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, and a Ph.D. from the Catholic University of America. He works primarily in the fields of Patristics and Middle Eastern Studies, with a particular interest in the history and theology of various Christian communities of the Middle East.

  • Table of Contents (page 5)
  • Introduction to this Reproduction (page 9)
  • Genesis (page 632)
  • Exodus (page 587)
  • Leviticus (page 558)
  • Numbers (page 539)
  • Deuteronomy (page 513)
  • Joshua (page 487)
  • Judges (page 469)
  • 1 Samuel (page 453)
  • 2 Samuel (page 434)
  • 1 Kings (page 418)
  • 2 Kings (page 401)
  • Psalms (page 386)
  • Proverbs (page 348)
  • Sirach (page 335)
  • Ecclesiates (page 314)
  • Ruth (page 310)
  • Song of Songs (page 307)
  • Job (page 305)
  • Isaiah (page 291)
  • Hosea (page 261)
  • Joel (page 257)
  • Amos (page 256)
  • Obadiah (page 252)
  • Jonah (page 252)
  • Micah (page 251)
  • Nahum (page 248)
  • Habakkuk (page 247)
  • Zephaniah (page 246)
  • Haggai (page 245)
  • Zechariah (page 244)
  • Malachi (page 239)
  • Jeremiah (page 237)
  • Lamentations (page 206)
  • Ezekiel (page 203)
  • Daniel (page 181)
    • Bel (page 172)
    • Dragon (page 171)
  • Matthew (page 170)
  • Mark (page 151)
  • Luke (page 141)
  • John (page 121)
  • Acts (page 103)
  • James (page 83)
  • 1 Peter (page 81)
  • 1 John (page 78)
  • Romans (page 77)
  • 1 Corinthians (page 68)
  • 2 Corinthians (page 59)
  • Galatians (page 53)
  • Ephesians (page 50)
  • Philippians (page 48)
  • Colossians (page 45)
  • 1 Thessalonians (page 44)
  • 2 Thessalonians (page 42)
  • 1 Timothy (page 42)
  • 2 Timothy (page 40)
  • Titus (page 37)
  • Philemon (page 36)
  • Hebrews (page 36)
  • Back Matter (page 28)
    • Tract on Accents (page 28)
    • On Combinations of l / w / d / b (page 19)
    • On the Letters t / p / k / d / g / b (page 17)
    • On the Letters t / n / m / a (page 17)
    • On the Letters t / n / k / y / w / h / a (page 17)
    • Explanation of Critical Marks (page 16)
    • Colophon (page 14)
    • Traditions of the Masters of the Schools (page 11)
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