Tiqqun soferim

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Tiqqūn sōferīm (Hebrew: תיקון סופרים‎, plural תיקוני סופריםtiqqūnēy sōferīm) 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.[1] The rabbis mentioned tiqquney soferim in several places in their writings, with a total of about 18 tiqquney soferim in all.[2]

Some traditional commentators such as Elijah Mizrachi, Shlomo ben Aderet ("Rashba") and Joseph Albo 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.

Even among traditional commentators, including Shlomo Yitzchaki ("Rashi")[citation needed], there are those who believe that the tiqquney soferim were actual changes that were made (and this seems to be stated explicitly in the Midrash Tanchuma).[citation needed]

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".

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Further reading[edit]

  • Boncheck, Avigdor. What's Bothering Rashi?: Bamidbar. pp 76-7. Feldheim Publishers, 2001. Jerusalem, Israel
  • W. Emery Barnes, Ancient Corrections In the Text of the Old Testament (Tikkun Soopherim), JTS, 1 (1900), pp 387–414.
  • Carmel McCarthy, The Tiqqune Sopherim and Other Theological Corrections in the Masoretic Text of the Old Testament. Freiburg & Göttingen: Universitätsverlag, 1981.
  • Moshe Zipor, The Masoretic Eighteen Tiqqune Soferim: The Birth and Transformations of a Tradition. Jerusalem: World Union of Jewish Studies, 1990.