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Tiqqūn sōferīm (תיקון סופרים, plural tiqqūnēy sōferīm תיקוני סופרים) is a term from rabbinic literature meaning "correction of scribes" or "scribal correction" and refers to a change of wording in the Tanakh in order to preserve the honor of God or for a similar reason. The rabbis mentioned tiqquney soferim in several places in their writings, with a total of about 18 tiqquney soferim in all.
Most traditional commentators[who?] consider tiqquney soferim not as actual changes in the text, but rather as meaning that the original author acted like one who corrects a text for reasons of honoring God. On the other hand, most modern scholars[who?] interpret the words of the old rabbis literally — that the text was corrected by later scribes, perhaps those of the Great Assembly that edited the Biblical corpus. There are also scholars[who?] who claim that the rabbis did not give all the cases of tiqqun soferim, and they try to identify other cases.
However, even among traditional commentators there is a minority[who?] who believe that the tiqquney soferim were actual changes that were made (and this seems to be stated explicitly in the Midrash Tanchuma).
An example of a tiqqun soferim can be seen in I Kings 21:12-13, where Naboth is accused of cursing God, but the text now has "blessed" since it is not fitting that the name of God should appear after the word "cursed": "Naboth has blessed God and King" instead of "Naboth has cursed God and King".
- W. Emery Barnes, Ancient Corrections In the Text of the Old Testament (Tikkun Soopherim), JTS, London 1900, vol. I, pp. 387–414.