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Review of Biblical Literature Blog

Scribal Wit: Aramaic Mnemonics in the Leningrad Codex
Marcus, David

Piscataway, N.J.: Gorgias, 2013 pp. xii + 185. $95.00

Series Information
Texts and Studies Third Series, 10
Edited by H. A. G. Houghton

Description: This book presents for the first time a detailed analysis of the Aramaic mnemonics, those short witty sentences written in Aramaic as memory aids, on the margins of one of the oldest extant biblical Hebrew manuscripts, that of the Leningrad Codex (1008 CE). The material is presented in clear user-friendly charts. Each mnemonic is set alongside the Hebrew verses it represents, and every Aramaic part of the mnemonic is placed on a matching line with its Hebrew equivalent, and both are highlighted in different fonts. This book demonstrates the ingenuity of the Masoretes in their grand endeavor to preserve the text of the Hebrew Bible precisely in the form that it had reached them. It explains the reason for every Masoretic note represented in the mnemonics, and presents evidence supporting the view that the Masoretes were incipient grammarians.

Subjects: Bible, Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, Literature, Methods, Linguistics

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Review by Christopher Dost
Published 3/26/2015
Citation: Christopher Dost, review of David Marcus, Scribal Wit: Aramaic Mnemonics in the Leningrad Codex, Review of Biblical Literature [] (2015).

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