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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.
The rabbis who compiled and handed on the official version of it in the so-called Masoretic Text, between the 6th and 10th centuries of the Common Era, counted the letters in each book, backwards and forwards, identifying both the number of characters and the middle one, to assure absolute fidelity of copying.
Within Judaism the Masoretic text was considered final and authoritative.
The background for Kelley's academic work can be found in his own research areas: Hebrew grammar and Masoretic studies.
There were a small number of Christian humanists in the sixteenth century who resorted to the Masoretic text of the Hebrew Bible in their translations and commentaries.
A useful feature is the noting of LXX references alongside those of the Masoretic Text and English versions.
So says Munck, but Graetz seems to put the chief Masoretic activity later, with the Karaites, VIIIth cent.
The Jewish Publication Society of America published the Old Testament as The Holy Scriptures According to the Masoretic Text in 1914, but this version has had little acceptance outside the Jewish community.
Passages and Works of Art, from the Masoretic Hebrew Bible to The 1611 King James English Bible, Are Visual Teaching Aids
The End of the Psalter: Psalms 146-150 in the Masoretic Text, the Dead Sea Scrolls, and the Septuagint