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(məsō`rə) [Heb.,=tradition], collection of critical annotations made by Hebrew scholars, called the Masoretes, to establish the text of the Old Testament. A principal problem was to fix the vowels, as the Hebrew alphabet has only consonants. Through assiduous study the Masoretes formulated rules for an accurate reading of each verse, evolving a system of vowels and punctuation for the purpose of pronunciation and intonation. Two systems of vowels were evolved: the Tiberian (now in use), consisting of curves, dots, and dashes, which can be traced to the 7th cent.; and the Babylonian, of earlier origin, a more complicated superlinear system. The language of the Masora is mostly Aramaic, although some of the notes are written in Hebrew. The Masoretic compilation that consists of notes in the margins is called the Small, or Marginal, Masora; the one that consists of notes written at the top or the bottom of the text is known as the Great, or Final, Masora. Masoretic work was begun at an unknown time; the first traces of it appear in some halakic works on the Pentateuch. Innumerable scholars contributed to this work, which ceased c.1425.


See R. Gordis, Biblical Text in the Making (1937, repr. 1971); C. D. Ginsburg, Introduction to the Masoretico-Critical Edition of the Hebrew Bible (rev. ed. 1966).

References in periodicals archive ?
I am not saying the Masoretic pointing was necessarily correct, simply that it was either largely or at least a reasonable representative of an old tradition; in any event, the vocalization of such Semitic languages as were routinely written consonantally was part and parcel of their morphology, more so than many a language written alphabetically.
Regardless, when the first set of Dead Sea Scrolls (DSS) was discovered in Qumran and recognized as such beginning in 1947, biblical scholars should have reassessed their claim that the Masoretic Text could possibly be regarded as "inspired.
The Septuagint completely reverses the Masoretic reading (k'tiv): "He was their deliverer.
Masoretic studies is supported by a professional organization called the International Organization for Masoretic Studies (IOMS).
41) These humanist ideals of biblical scholarship were also embraced by these Spanish Hebraists in their passionate defense of the veritas hebraica: the philological retrieval of the Christian "Old Testament" according to the Masoretic text of the Hebrew original.
Passages and Works of Art, from the Masoretic Hebrew Bible to The 1611 King James English Bible, Are Visual Teaching Aids
The text is essentially the same in the Masoretic text and the Samaritan Pentateuch; see The Pentateuch: The Samaritan Version and the Masoretic Version, ed.
137:7-9, from The Writings-Ketuvim: A New Translation of the Hebrew Scriptures according to the Masoretic Text, Third Section (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America, 1982).
The Dead Sea Scrolls have shown that a number of variants from the Masoretic Text in the Samaritan Pentateuch result from the Samaritans' use of an expansionist Pentateuch now also known from Qumran.
He observes some unique readings with respect to the Hebrew Masoretic Text, but only so far as it helps understand what the translator intended to convey.
The Vulgate attached the words va-yelekh shefi to the beginning of verse 4, as opposed to the Masoretic text, where they appear at the end of verse 3.
More specifically, for them, as is still the case with language scholars today, "the Bible" meant the traditional Masoretic Text of the books of the Tanach, the one readily available to everyone who has a Hebrew Bible.