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An East Syrian Manuscript of the Syriac 'Masora' Dated to 899 CE (Volume 2)

Introduction, List of Sample Texts, and Indices to Marginal Notes in British Library, Additional 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. 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.
Publisher: Gorgias Press LLC
Availability: In stock
SKU (ISBN): 978-1-4632-0391-7
  • *
Publication Status: In Print
Publication Date: Mar 13,2015
Interior Color: Black
Trim Size: 10 x 12.5
Page Count: 552
Language: English
ISBN: 978-1-4632-0391-7
$228.00
Your price: $159.60

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.

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 ‘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.

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)
  • Dedication (page 9)
  • Acknowledgements (page 10)
  • Abbreviations and Transliteration (page 11)
  • 1. Introduction to Add. MS 12138 and the Syriac 'Masora' (page 13)
  • 2. The Collection of the Smahe and Qrayata in Add. MS 12138 (page 29)
  • 3. Section Dividers in Add. MS 12138 (page 35)
  • 4. Reading Marks in Add. MS 12138 (page 41)
  • 5. Vowel Marks in Add. MS 12138 (page 49)
  • 6. Phonological Marks in Add. MS 12138 (page 52)
  • 7. Notes on Schools and Exegetical Glosses in Add. MS 12138 (page 59)
  • 8. Accent Marks in Add. MS 12138 (page 62)
  • Bibliography (page 95)
  • Index of Marginal Abbreviations and Notes (page 135)
  • Back Matter (page 155)
    • Tract on Accents (page 154)
    • On combinations of letters b, d, w, l (page 142)
    • On the letters b, g, d, k, p, t (page 142)
    • On the letters a, m, n, t (page 142)
    • On the letters a, h, w, y, k, n, t (page 142)
    • Explanation of Critical Marks (page 141)
    • Colophon (page 140)
    • Traditions of the Masters of the Schools (page 139)
  • Symbols and Abbreviations (page 551)
  • List of Sample Texts (page 549)
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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.
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