This unique manuscript of the East Syrian Syriac ‘Masora’ is essential for any study of early Syriac vocalization, accentuation, and punctuation. In Volume 1, Gorgias Press has published a facsimile reproduction of this unique ‘masoretic’ manuscript. This volume (Volume 2) includes an introduction and comprehensive lists of all scriptural sample texts and marginal notes in this compilation.
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Published here for the first time is the only known manuscript of the East Syrian ‘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 Volume 1, Gorgias Press has published a facsimile reproduction of this unique ‘masoretic’ manuscript. Volume 2 includes 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 the first 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.
Dr. Jonathan Loopstra is an Associate Professor of History at Capital University in Columbus, OH.