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This book presents a detailed analysis of the Aramaic mnemonics, those short witty sentences written in Aramaic as memory aids in the margins of one of the oldest extant biblical Hebrew manuscripts, the Leningrad Codex (1008 CE). The material is presented in clear, user-friendly charts. Each mnemonic is set alongside the Hebrew verses it represents. This book demonstrates the ingenuity of the Masoretes in their grand endeavor to preserve the text of the Hebrew Bible precisely in the form that it had reached them.
Publisher: Gorgias Press LLC
Availability: In stock
SKU (ISBN): 978-1-61143-904-5
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Publication Status: In Print

Series: Texts and Studies 10
Publication Date: Dec 7,2013
Interior Color: Black
Trim Size: 6 x 9
Page Count: 198
Languages: English, Hebrew, Aramaic
ISBN: 978-1-61143-904-5
$95.00
$57.00

This book presents for the first time a detailed analysis of the Aramaic mnemonics, those short witty sentences written in Aramaic as memory aids, on the margins of one of the oldest extant biblical Hebrew manuscripts, that of the Leningrad Codex (1008 CE). The material is presented in clear user-friendly charts. Each mnemonic is set alongside the Hebrew verses it represents, and every Aramaic part of the mnemonic is placed on a matching line with its Hebrew equivalent, and both are highlighted in different fonts. This book demonstrates the ingenuity of the Masoretes in their grand endeavor to preserve the text of the Hebrew Bible precisely in the form that it had reached them. It explains the reason for every Masoretic note represented in the mnemonics, and presents evidence supporting the view that the Masoretes were incipient grammarians.

David Marcus is Professor of Bible, Ancient Semitics, and Masorah at the Jewish Theological Seminary. He is the author of two language manuals, one on Akkadian, the ancient language of Mesopotamia, and the other on the Aramaic of the Babylonian Talmud. His book Jephthah and His Vow challenges the widespread opinion that Jephthah put his daughter to death, and his book From Balaam to Jonah: Anti-Prophetic Satire in the Hebrew Bible explores the use of satire in the Hebrew Bible. He also authored the book of Ezra–Nehemiah for the new Biblia Hebraica Quinta series being published in Stuttgart by the German Bible Society.

This book presents for the first time a detailed analysis of the Aramaic mnemonics, those short witty sentences written in Aramaic as memory aids, on the margins of one of the oldest extant biblical Hebrew manuscripts, that of the Leningrad Codex (1008 CE). The material is presented in clear user-friendly charts. Each mnemonic is set alongside the Hebrew verses it represents, and every Aramaic part of the mnemonic is placed on a matching line with its Hebrew equivalent, and both are highlighted in different fonts. This book demonstrates the ingenuity of the Masoretes in their grand endeavor to preserve the text of the Hebrew Bible precisely in the form that it had reached them. It explains the reason for every Masoretic note represented in the mnemonics, and presents evidence supporting the view that the Masoretes were incipient grammarians.

David Marcus is Professor of Bible, Ancient Semitics, and Masorah at the Jewish Theological Seminary. He is the author of two language manuals, one on Akkadian, the ancient language of Mesopotamia, and the other on the Aramaic of the Babylonian Talmud. His book Jephthah and His Vow challenges the widespread opinion that Jephthah put his daughter to death, and his book From Balaam to Jonah: Anti-Prophetic Satire in the Hebrew Bible explores the use of satire in the Hebrew Bible. He also authored the book of Ezra–Nehemiah for the new Biblia Hebraica Quinta series being published in Stuttgart by the German Bible Society.

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Contributor Biography

David Marcus

David Marcus is Professor of Bible and Masorah at the Jewish Theological Seminary. He authored the book of Ezra–Nehemiah for the new Biblia Hebraica Quinta series being published in Stuttgart by the German Bible Society, and remains a Masorah reviewer for that project. His latest book Scribal Wit: Aramaic Mnemonics in the Leningrad Codex was published last year by Gorgias Press.

  • Table of Contents (page 5)
  • Abbreviations (page 7)
  • Preface (page 9)
  • Chapter 1: The nature of the Aramaic mnemonics (page 13)
    • 1. How the mnemonics work (page 13)
    • 2. The content of the mnemonics (page 15)
    • 3. Length of the mnemonics (page 16)
    • 4. Repeated mnemonics (page 16)
    • 5. Difficulties in the mnemonics (page 17)
    • 6. Different collections of mnemonics (page 18)
    • 7. Mnemonics clarified by other versions (page 19)
    • 8. The dialect of the mnemonics (page 21)
  • Chapter 2: Hebrew grammar as reflected in the mnemonics (page 25)
  • Chapter 3: Identification of the mnemonics (page 31)
  • Chapter 4: The corpus of the Aramaic mnemonics in ML (page 35)
  • Epilogue: Practical use of the mnemonics (page 169)
  • Appendix A: The list of the Aramaic mnemonics (page 171)
  • Appendix B: The lemmas of the Aramaic mnemonics (page 179)
  • Works Cited (page 185)
  • Index of Biblical Verses (page 193)
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