Friday, November 14, 2008

A Reader's Hebrew Bible: WLC-BHS Differences Clarification

I recently received a question about the Qere readings in 1 Sam 18:14, 22 that appear in BHS but do not appear in the Westminister Leningrad Codex (WLC) and therefore do not appear in A Reader's Hebrew Bible (RHB). The questioner wondered why the black dot that normally marks WLC-BHS differences in RHB did not appear there.

A fair question, and here, I hope, is a fair answer. According to the WLC 4.10 morphology, there are 56 instances where BHS adds a Qere that is not present in L. The Qere readings in 1 Sam. 18:14 and 22 are two such instances. Although I have not checked all 56 instances in BHS, the few I did check showed that BHS was following a note in the masorah in adding the Qere reading.

On page xvi of RHB's introduction, we said that RHB will mark with a supra-linear solid black dot all known instances where the editors of WLC read the text of L differently than the editors of BHS. Additions of Qere readings to L do not constitute a different reading of L's text as it stands. Therefore, such instances are not marked in RHB.

I suspect that many, if not most, users of BHS do not pay attention to whether Qere readings are marked as added to L by BHS, and thus would (wrongly) assume that RHB should reflect BHS at all points. Such is not the case.