The 18th World Congress of Jewish Studies

Presentation of Grammatical Variants from the Manuscripts in an Edition of the Hebrew Bible

Manuscripts of the Hebrew Bible feature different types of textual variants. A number of categories of textual variants pertains to grammatical issues. The variants range from divergent orthography to the usage of differing morphological forms. Such variants are of importance for the textual history of the Hebrew Bible, its translation and interpretation, and, last but not least, for the development of the Hebrew language. There is no general procedure for the representation of grammatical variants in the textual editions and in descriptions of the Hebrew grammar. There is even no generally accepted view what is a “variant”, and how small should be a difference between forms to allow the latter to be designated as “variants”. Could a “variant” exist within the consonantal text only or could it also exist within the vocalisation? What is the relation between the consonantal text and its vocalization in a case of a “variant”? This lecture aims at establishing categories of textual variants from the realm of grammar and discusses way of the representation of variants in textual editions of the Hebrew Bible.