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PROFESSOR BLAU ON THE BIBLE AS A BOOK 715 



PROFESSOR BLAU ON THE BIBLE AS A BOOK 1 . 

It is not often that a monograph printed in the " Program " of a 
Seminary attains as much literary merit or is of such fascinating 
interest as that now under review. Those who, while admiring the 
plodding industry and formidable statistics displayed by Dr. Christian 
Ginsburg in his Massoretic labours on the Hebrew Bible, have too 
often felt that they lacked something in scholarship, will welcome 
Dr. Blau's new booklet. It is eminently critical and " wissenschaftlich," 
and though its 200 pages are complete in itself, the monograph is 
only the first 2 of a series of studies of the Hebrew Text, which, if they 
carry out the promise of the "Buchwesen/'will be really epoch-making. 

In the present volume, the learned Professor treats of the externals 
of the Hebrew Bible, dispassionately and without bias, as though him- 
self an outsider. The conclusions to which he arrives largely support 
the authenticity of the traditional text, but it is by the scholar's, not 
the theologian's road that he travels. Though his subject is ancient 
Hebrew books in general, the " althebraische Bilcher " with which he 
deals are almost exclusively biblical. The authorities he quotes are 
hardly less ancient. With some display of self-denial he limits him- 
self to original Talmud literature — Mishna, Midrash, and Gemara. 
To him even the minor treatises Soferim (or rather, as he points out, 
" Sefarim ") and Sefer Tora seem too modern ; they are post-talmudic, 
and like the corpus of the Massora only to be used where they quote 
earlier and original authorities which have been lost. The principle 
is a good one. He will have nothing of hearsay evidence, and only 
uses secondary evidence where that at first hand is quite unavailable. 
Accordingly most of the authorities cited are at least 1800 years old. 
At that date, the author maintains, no new-fangled notions of 
Hellenism influenced the conservatism applied by Orientals to public 
copies of the Scriptures. It was only in the twelfth century that 
R. Jacob Tarn, and after him R. Asher b. Jechiel, discussed whether 
modern methods might not be applied in the preparation of scrolls 
for the Synagogue. 

With mediaeval MSS., of which the earliest dated one is a codex 

1 Studien sum aMiebraischen Buchwesen und zur biblischen LiteraturgescMchte, 
von Prof. Dr. Ludwig Blau, Budapest, 1902. Printed with the twenty- 
fifth annual report of the Landes-Rabbiner Schule at Budapest. 

2 The author's Zwr EMeitung in die Heilige Schrift to some extent covers 
the same ground as the projected series. 



716 THE JEWISH QUAKTEBLY BEVIEW 

of the Prophets of St. Petersburg of 915 A.D. 1 , the author does not 
concern himself. His task it is to reconstruct the form of a book 
such as would have been written and used by the ancient Hebrews 
of Bible times. Such a book would generally be a part of Scripture, 
but it might also have been a translation, or apocryphal, or a 
Midrash 2 and very rarely not Jewish at all or even un- Jewish. The 
author claims that here he is breaking new ground, and he does not 
scruple to suggest a hypothesis where facts fail him. Birt and Watten- 
bach are his chief sources for classical bookmaking in general, though 
the Hebrews were even more reticent than the Greeks and Romans 
about the outsides of their books. Their culture was not inferior to 
that of their classical contemporaries but their conservatism preserved 
for them a far older archetypal text than even Homer succeeded in 
retaining. 

The following precis of the work was prepared for the writer's 
personal use, but as the subject, though unfamiliar, is of great im- 
portance for Bible criticism, it has been suggested that it might be of 
service to English readers generally. It is only a precis and, of 
course, lays no claim to originality. 

I. 

Blau first deals with the outward form of the books : — 

(a) Their material. 
(6) Shape. 

(c) Length. 

(d) Size (" Format "). 

(e) Distribution. 

(/) The archetype and oldest MSS. 

(a) The first material used was stone (see Job xix. 24) covered with 
chalk. The word for writing meant engraving or scratching (ppn, 
mn) and the pen was a graver. Ezek. iv. 1 knew bricks as writing- 
material, and Jer. xvii. 13 earthenware or pottery; wooden and 
perhaps metal tablets must also have been used (Num. xvii. 17, 
Ezek. xxxvii. 15, and 1 Mace. xiv. 26). Such materials, however, 
though useful for the legislator and recorder, were not applicable to 
literature, and there must have been some more pliant material for 
the "Sefer." ISp occurs 182 times in the Bible, and its writer the 
"1S1D 48 times. 3TD, the common word for writing, occurs 220 times, 
whereas all its five other synonyms occur but very rarely. What was 
the writing-material '? It was in such general use that it is never 

1 A facsimile of a Hebrew Arabic document of 831 from the Geniza 
appeared in the Jewish Qvronicle. a Agada rraN Wim 



PROFESSOR BLAU ON THE BIBLE AS A BOOK 717 

mentioned, but it could only have been leather or papyrus. Skins 
were common enough among a pastoral folk like the Israelites, and 
papyrus grew in the neighbourhood of Gennesaret. But Dr. Blau 
rejects Strack's view and unhesitatingly pronounces for leather. 
Herodotus and Diodorus witness that the Persians and other 
barbarians wrote on oxhide, and even in Egypt leather preceded 
papyrus. In the sixth century B. c. the Athenians wrote Homer on 
wooden tablets and skins. The letter of Aristeas, written 200 B. C, 
describes the sacred scrolls brought to Egypt for the purposes of the 
Septuagint Translation as having been upon " dicjidepais," the Hebrew 
characters illuminated in gold, and the " leather wondrously prepared 
and with invisible seams between the skins 1 ." The earliest post- 
biblical literature of the Jews frequently mentions papyrus but 
unanimously condemns its use for ritual purposes. "1BD originally 
meant the rubbed surface of the skin from which the hair had been 
scratched off. Frequent references to the writing-materials of the 
Greeks in Jewish literature show that papyrus was very cheap, and 
quite commonly used by the Jews, not only for writing but for 
domestic utensils and even shoes. Acknowledgements of debt, 
receipts, bonds, &c, were frequently written on potsherds, but also 
on papyrus. John ii. 12 speaks of not writing with ink and paper, 
and the frequent injunctions of the Rabbis not to write Bible texts 
on papyrus show that in the first century papyrus must have been 
frequently used. 
There were three kinds of writing-skins, generally deer-skin 2 : — 

(1) 7*1 J or "I1J? Leather for n"D, with the hair off but none of the 

skin peeled off. 

(2) $pp parchment of split skin, Aramaic parchment. 

(3) DIDDIDDIT fro-rSs, $v<tt6s, formerly adjective for tpp, a Greek 

parchment. 

The Gaon Hai distinguished (2) and (3) thus :— *|7p was the outer 
hair side, D1BD1D3V1 the inner flesh side. Both were to be written on 
the " Spaltseite " the side of cleavage. But he is probably wrong, and 
(2) is the inner skin when cleft from the flesh side, and (3) is the 
middle skin when cleft from both flesh and hair side. 

Jews remained through the Middle Ages adept preparers of parch- 

1 Mr. Thackeray (J.Q.R., XV, 370) translates " the previous parchments, 
whereon was inscribed the law in gold in the Jewish characters, the 
material being wonderfully prepared, and the joining of the several leaves 
being rendered imperceptible." He suggests that Statyopots has come into 
the text through dittography of SifSipais. 

a J. Meg., 74 d 53, gazelle-skin ; Bab. Bat., 14a, calf-skin ; J. Sab., 14c 15, 
fowl-skin ; Kelim, 10. i, fish-skin. 



718 THE JEWISH QUARTERLY REVIEW 

ment. Charles IV, in 1349, pawned the Jews to the Frankforters, 
but reserved to himself and his successors the right to exact parch- 
ment from them. 

In Bible times the complete book was often sealed (Isa. xxix. 11, 12), 
perhaps to protect it from being fingered by readers and rubbed 

[roro noinn min Gittin, 60 a]. 

(6) Its SHAPE was a Boll; "1DD n?30 (Jer. xxxvi) is an unwritten 
scroll. Ps. xl. 8 seems to support the Talmudic tradition that the 
Psalmist came into the Temple with the Scroll of the Law. On the 
Arch of Titus a scroll is being carried in the triumphal procession, 
cf. Josephus, Bell. VII, 5. 5. Jerome seems only to have known scrolls, 
and the Talmud describes a single one containing the whole "]3ft 
[Baba Bathra, 13. 6]. Each child had its scroll, and "the Romans, 
after the capture of Jerusalem, wrapped its school-children in their 
scrolls and burnt them," J. Taanith, 62 a, IflNI ins b CPSmn 171 
WIN fa-lid 11DD3. 

There was usually a stick at the beginning and an unwritten space 
sufficient to surround it, and at the end an unwritten space sufficient 
to surround the whole scroll (Baba Bathra, 13 b, 14 a). The n"D 
had two sticks. In the fourth century scrolls were still prevalent, 
and in a sixth-century picture Jeremiah is depicted unrolling a scroll, 
and Moses receives the law in the shape of a scroll. The codex, or 
modern book, first appeared in the third century. The Jews of 
antiquity had Hebrew books in the form of scrolls only. To open 
and close a book is ??3 , to roll, in Aramaic "p3 . 

(c). Length. It would seem that each biblical writing originally 
constituted a scroll for itself. Jeremiah was to write a scroll 
(xxxvi. 2, 32). The twelve minor poets were originally separate, but 
because of their size they have been regarded as one book ever since 
the first settlement of the canon. Sirach xlix. 10 talks of "icy D"Ot? 
D'WOJfl, Josephus, Talmud, and Midrash all treat them as one. But 
so far as authority went the whole of the Old Testament was as one. 
The Pentateuch scroll is only secondary to that of the whole Law, 
though it eventually superseded it by reason of its more manageable 
size. The division into five was arbitrary, but excellent, and was 
induced by size. The Massorites, and even Midrash, like the most 
modern of the Biblical critics, give other divisions. 

Genesis is in 2 parts (1) nTV 'D or D^iyn riKna 'D The Creation. 

(2) "Wn 'D or Dns^n 'D The Patriarchs, 
Joshua xiii; 2 Sam. i. 18. 
Exodus is in 3 parts (3) QnXD ntW 'D The Exodus. 

(4) Laws. 

(5) The erection of the Tabernacle. 



PROFESSOR BLAU ON THE BIBLE AS A BOOK 719 

Leviticus is in 2 parts (6) DWD nitfl r D The Priests. 

(7) nm-lpn 'd The Sacrifices. 
Numbers is in 2 parts (8) D^Tlpsn 'd Numbers. 

(9) niyDOn 'D Journeyings. 
Deuteronomy isin2parts (10) mm nJtPD 'D Recapitulation. 

(n) JVtm JlT'DB 'D Death of Moses. 

Dr. Ginsburg (Introduction, p. 461) quotes from a Bible codex of the 
thirteenth century an evidently early tradition as to the Pentateuch: — 

ditto dhj?n rwn 'd nto ptwn 'd 

mm jnoi onro nwy "d torn w 'd 

mnnpi Ewna mm 'd nto ^» 'o 

nijjDem Dnipan 'd kto '•yon 'd 

ntw n-VDSi mm mvo 'd nto won 'd 

The division of the Pentateuch, then, was introduced out of 
technical considerations, but it occurs in the Samaritan Bible and 
is therefore at least as old as Ezra. The size, therefore, of a book 
about 400 B.C. would vary between that of Leviticus and Genesis. 
Dr. Blau then ingeniously adopts an edition of the British Bible 
Society as a pattern, and gives by the number of its pages the 
relative sizes of the books: — 

1. Genesis 36-3 10. Isaiah . . 18-5 + 13*5 = 32-5 

2. Exodus 30-5 Isaiah xl-xlvi is the work of 

3. Leviticus 22 an unknown author, but its 

4. Numbers 31 size, 13-5, was too small for an 

5. Deuteronomy 27 independent scroll and it 

6. Joshua 29 went better with the shortest 

7. Judges 19 of the Great Prophets than 

Small and so in many Codices with the Minor Prophets 

Ruth accompanies it. which which would have 

8. Samuellandll 24-5 +205=457 become too bulky (29-5 + 

Samuel and Kings are really 135 = 43). 

one. The LXX calls the 11. Jeremiah 41 

whole Kings, and the division 12. Ezekiel 37 

is purely mechanical, "mit 13. The Twelve Prophets . 29-5 

der Scheere gemacht wor- 14. Psalms 40 

den." Kings now begins 15. Proverbs 22 

with a 1. 16. Job 16 

9. Kings I and II 24*5 + 23 = 47-5 17. Chronicles 48 

1 8. Ezra (Nehemiah) ... 18 
VOL. XV. 3 C 



720 THE JEWISH QUARTERLY REVIEW 

1-9 are in chronological order, and so with the later prophets, 
10-13, i n mos t MSS. and the five earliest editions. But with 13 the 
order is broken, and in Baba Bathra, 14 b, the reason given why the 
prophecy of Hosea does not head the list is because of its small size. 
And size seems the true reason— especially having regard to the 
receptacles in which the scrolls were kept. Ancient Hebrew books 
"had no title, and the first author who gives his name was Jesus the 
son of Sirach. The nearest approach to a title was in Ezekiel's 
vision of a book, ii. 10. 

Zechariah ix-xiv is attributed by Bible critics to two anonymous 
authors, and they with " Malachi," which is not a name, seem to have 
been appended to the Roll of the twelve prophets as fitting nowhere 
else. In the prophetical canon no anonymouswriting is introducedas an 
independent work. Both passages begin NCD, and the only reason 
why they are not appended to Malachi would seem to be that they 
were always regarded as much older. 

Dr. Blau, in his criticism of Dr. Ginsburg, in Jewish Qcabtekly 
Review, XII, 223, points out that Ginsburg's subdivision into eight 
of the orders of the Hagiographa is reducible to three. Six MSS. 
follow the Talmud and give the order : — 

1. Ruth. 7. Lamentations. 

2. Psalms. 8. Daniel. 

3. Job. 9. Esther. 

4. Proverbs. 10. Ezra-Nehemiah. 

5. Ecclesiastes. II. Chronicles. 

6. Canticles. 

Job is interposed between the Davidian and the Solomonian writings, 
but the order is otherwise chronological, perhaps David was regarded 
as the author of Job. But anyhow Job being poetical, had to join the 
poets. Dr. Blau argues as to the division of Chronicles and Ezra, 
" Die Chronik ftillte eine Rolle, die Genesis und Exodus voll aufnehmen 
konnte," 36 + 30 = 48 + 18. 

In those MSS. in which Chronicles is the first of the Hagiographa, 
it is because of its size ; size mattered less than chronology at a later 
date when the canon of the Hagiographa was fixed. The canon of the 
Prophets had been settled much earlier. Therefore in those MSS., 
Ezra-Nehemiah, from which Chronicles had been sundered, remains 
the last. They were sundered because of the great size (66) of the 
whole, but the division was on a chronological basis — pre-exilic and 
post-exilic. That they were originally one is proved by the identity 
of the two first verses of Ezra with the last two of Chronicles. Such 
catch-verses are found in classical MSS. and even on the tablets of 
Cuneiform inscriptions. 



PROFESSOR BLAU ON THE BIBLE AS A BOOK 721 

Psalms. The division of Psalms into five books is much more ancient 
than R. Chija (200 a. D.) who says (Kiddushin, 33 a) that he taught 
Simon b. Juda the Patriarch two-fifths. And here (p. 59) there is 
perhaps a little inconsistency on the author's part. He says " Die 
Fiinftheilung ist sehr beliebt geworden auch im Matthftusevangelium 
und bei Papias " ; but a few pages earlier, in discussing the Pentateuch 
(p. 48), that the number five at least among the Jews was " keine 
heilige und sonst keine gebrauchliche," and therefore a fivefold 
division could only be induced by external considerations. Probably, 
however, the apparent inconsistency would be explained by Dr. Blau 
as due to the analogy of the Pentateuch, which, once divided into five, 
established a sacred precedent. But whatever the reason for dividing 
into five, why was it divided at all ? The relative size of Psalms is 
40 to the 36 of Genesis, so that on first thoughts it would not be too 
bulky, but as it was written in stichoi, and as the 147 Psalms had to 
be interspaced, and as, moreover, it was to be sung, and had therefore 
to be written in larger characters in order to be easily legible, its 
relative size would easily exceed 100, and five scrolls would be none too 
short. That the division was due to chronological considerations, and 
the first book the oldest and so on, Dr. Blau doubts, though he 
reserves discussion of the point for a future opportunity. 

Ecclesiastes a separate Scroll. — The theory that there was an inter- 
mixture of the pages is rejected by Dr. Blau as it was separately 
written on a scroll. Such separate scrolls were the books Josephus 
took from the Romans. Luke xx. 42 talks of the B//3Xoi tyakpubv. 
vt5t3 and DvTl are books, brought to Rabbi Juda I (200 a. d.). 
A widow received for her F13VD— nbwv>U\ 3VK 'D1 lltX D^Tl 1SD. 
Prom Baba Bathra, 11 a and 13 b, we see that there were scrolls which 
contained the .whole ~l")ft as well as the " eight prophets " and 
Hagiographa separately. 

The original division was into two — iTWl and n?3p, n"nTI and 
NipD, iTOn and DW3J.— BfoVQ and BHpfl OTD was a third and later 
division and l'j seems to have often been on one scroll. A fragment 
of a book, whether for paedagogic or other purposes, e. g. HD1D , is called 
n?JD if independent, and ilBHS if regarded as part of a whole. 

Estherwas originally i"l?}D and the only book besides the Pentateuch 
admitted into the liturgy. Afterwards, besides the five scrolls one had 
rwjtfl rbiO, pDDp '», Dn*Dn '» (J. Ber., I4ai2), OnriD '» <B.M.,92a). 
The order of study in Palestine was first Nni? (Tablet of Letters), 
then TOD fragment, then a book, then the Bible. The order in 
Jelamdenu (ed. Grfinhut, Likkutim, V, 160) is TWt03 ND^JD Xtrb 

wruto HD^n NTiaDin snbo vxn mm DmD nw anpon b. 

3 c a 



722 THE JEWISH QUARTERLY REVIEW 

And in Deut. R. c. 8, fol. 23 Wilna, "1BD3 3"m) IT? W93 tnip n?nn 
'r03 3"mi DW3J3 y'rwi . (a) Halacha Midrash, (b) Halacha Mishna, 

(c) Agada nwtaa 3"nxi Ti»?nn m naiss* tnpon nx *io« sirwa 

TlfUtG 3"nt0 . Amulets containing Scripture texts were in vogue in 
the third century. 

(d) Format. The external size of books was mostly very small— the 
whole scroll could be held in one hand (Ezek. ii. 9). The ancient 
n"D looked like a man's arm and was carried about everywhere — its 
height equalled its circumference, and as there were 300,000 separate 
letters in the scroll the letters must have been small, and Jerome, in 
the fourth century, says that the Hebrew script was almost too small 
to be legible. 

(e) Distribution. Books were rare in Jehoshaphat's time, and in 
Ezra's, and in 1 Mace. iii. 48 we see that the Syrians searched for books, 
and Antiochus Epiphanes was the first confiscator. In the letter of 
the Jerusalemites to their Egyptian brethren, we read that " Judas 
gathered all the books which had been scattered during the war 
(against the Syrians), and they are now with us. If you want any, 
send for them" (2 Mace. ii. 14, 15). With the Pharisees and their 
love for the letter the production of copies of the law greatly increased. 
On the Day of Atonement, after the High Priest's blessing, each man 
brought his Torah from his house and read it in the Temple to show 
it off (Joma, 70 a) ns 13 NTIpl UV3D T\"D WOO 1I1N1 1HN 73 3"n«) 
d'317 initn nisnn?. Every community had a collection of scrolls 
always, often private individuals. Even found books were to be 
tenderly treated and not too often read for fear of being rubbed 
(J. Baba Metzia, 8d8) — each scholar wrote his own scroll. Even 
heathens possessed them, and sometimes wrote them, and they might 
be used. Children could use Samaritan bibles, which were like the 
Jews', except that Deut. xi. 30 adds DDK'. One might buy but not 
sell Torahs. Jerome talks of collections, and cases, and cupboards of 
books and " Jewish Archives " (" de Archivis Judaeorum "). The text 
was preserved by the care and reverence in which the Scrolls were 
held, and if one were burnt the Jew mourned as for a parent. 

(/) The Oldest Codices, tradition said, were the thirteen written 
by Moses for each tribe. Levi's was preserved in the Ark ; Jeremiah 
preserved the Scrolls from fire ; Ezra restored them. In Mur, near 
Kahira, is a codex said to have been written by Ezra, but Sirach xlix. 13 
sings not of Ezra but of Nehemiah. Sirach xliv mentions all the 
sacred books of the Temple Archives, and Josephus (Arch. V, 1. 17) says 
that they were preserved in the Temple and carried in Titus's triumph. 
Aristeas and Demetrios witness how corrupt Egyptian codices of the 
Pentateuch were till Ptolemy borrowed the Temple Codices. The 



PROFESSOR BLAU ON THE BIBLE AS A BOOK 723 

three Temple Codices were : NT1 'D '•Bitty? 'D pjJD 'D Sifre, ii. 356 
on Deut. iii. 27 and J. Taanith, 68 a 47 ^IJJD r D mtJD 1tTCD D^BD 'l 

toijjd aina meai tnp v6x jwd ama itreo into kti 'di oioyr 'di 
'didw nx r6e*i aina ikxd into inis i5>Dai dw wpi Dip t6k 
ic^pi fonts* m 'nj» ns 'n^i ama owai ('n Y'a root?) font?" via 
mt?y nn« aina owai ton ytwn ama inv» nnto ins ifoai dw 

CJty Wpl ins ifoai ton. This explanation is too far-fetched to 
be acceptable— it is only Volksetymologie. The Scrolls were found 
after the destruction of the Temple, and then named after the 
places where they were found. So in Aboth d. R. Nathan, II, v. c. 46, 
JWD n-aa tO»JtJ> nBD Nin riPDV 'n nfcN near Tiberias ; KV1 is a proper 
name ; [Nfl NH }3 (Abot, 523) ; VI VI na (Chagiga, 96) ;] iQIDy? is 
probably Nt31t a smaW codex. In Mishna Moed Katan, III, 4 read 
rnjyn 'Da not DO))) 'D. It was the Model Codex. It would seem 
pace Dr. Blau, that each of the ancient synagogues preserved a rntj? 'D 
as a model codex, as a " help " to the scribe ; and the confusion between 
"Ezra" and "Azara" led to a whole mass of synagogue legend 
throughout the East. The best-known instance is the so-called 
" Scroll of Ezra " which was the pride of the Synagogue in Old Cairo 
before the discovery there of its famous Geniza. 

The writer found in Bokhara a copy of the rare Ixar Pentateuch of 
1489, at the end of each part of which was the statement that it had 
been corrected by the Codex Ezra. Of Tunis D. Caze"s, in his Essai 
sur VHistoire des Israelites de Tunisie (Paris, 1889, p. 85), writes: 
" Mentionnons ici une tradition assez repandue chez les Juifsde Tunisie, 
d'apres laquelle le Rabbin Abraham ibn Ezra aurait ete a Tunis. On 
conserve dans le grand Temple, dans un placard mure, une Bible qu'on 
dit avoir appartenu au celebre commentateur. Cela est peu croyable 
et il est plus simple de supposer que la tradition n'est venue que plus 
tard, pour expliquer l'existence du livre qui etait un simple rnjg "IBD, 
destine a faire les corrections aux rouleaux de la Loi ; plus tard, 
lorsque les livres imprimes devinrent communs, le HTtJ? "IBD devint 
facilement tOty "ISD, et pour expliquer la presence de ce volume 
au temple, on a imagine le voyage d' ibn Ezra. Quoi qu'il en soit, on 
a place sur la porte muree de ce placard, devant laquelle il y a 
toujours une lampe allumee, une inscription dont voici la copie : — 

x"y? tnry ja dnnaa 'an a-in naa 

mew visb 13 pbnnv »» b 

".ps xan hb)yb "h aioi n?n ohjn 

Does Dr. Blau by "Mur" near Kahira perhaps mean the "wall" 
of the Synagogue ? 



724 THE JEWISH QUARTERLY REVIEW 

Other Codices were those of the scribe R. Meir and Severus (vide 
Epstein in Chwolson's Festschrift), also the Psalters of R. Chijja and 
R. Chanin bar Rab, J. Megilla [72 a 7 J. Succa, 53 d]. Papyrus scrolls 
could last, in Galen's opinion, not more than 300 years, leather was 
more durable, but not the ink. The book-worm PJ5D and the mouse 
were the enemies of the book, but they were protected by their 
traditional sanctity [nNOW KVt ]Kin »si? [Jadaim, IV, 6]. 

II. 
The Inner Form op Old Hebrew Books. 

1. Columns and Margins— "Opistography," i. e. writing on both 
sides, occurred in private writings but not in the Scriptures. Ezek.ii. 10 
is a witness to its rarity. A column was a door J1?*T or S|"l. In 
J. Meg., 71 d and Menachot, 39 a the space to be left between two 
columns is a thumb-breadth ?Di &WD f\"1? fp }\3 ; the space between 
two books of the Pentateuch should be four lines, between two of the 
minor prophets three. In a scroll of the Prophets one may begin at 
the beginning of a column and end at the end, but in the minor 
prophets in the middle (so as to avoid the scroll being afterwards 
divided). The width of a column should be three times D3 , nnfiK'D?. 
Of the dilatable letters BflSlN there is of course no trace so early. 
In Tosifta Sabb., 13. 5 (129 a) jniN jfyvo fN tWO nSDI Qwi>jn 
Dp 11 ?!?! 'JBD — JV?3 would seem to mean not margins but evangelium. 
Further on in the same passage is a reference to Ben Sira and other 
books. Dr. Blau accounts for the incorporation with Isaiah of the 
second Isaiah by the fact that the one may have ended and the other 
begun a new column; but when he similarly accounts for the con- 
stituents of Zechariah, "Dasselbe ist auch von den Anhangseln des 
Zecharia anzunehmen" (p. 120), he seems to overlook the rule on p. 1 17, 
"Innerhalb des ZwSlfprophetenbuches jedoch ist dies verboten." 
Apparently a strip contained three columns, Tosifta Baba Mezia, 2. 21, 
says that in a found book one may only open three columns at 
a time, and when books were made, three columns on the page seemed 
to be usual, e.g. the earliest Syriac MS. of 411 ; and St. Lucian at the 
end of the third century left the Church of Nicomedia a bible 
ycypafiftevov a-e\ia-i Tpurcrais. Mediaeval MSS. often have commentary 
on either side of the text, and our Talmuds are still so printed. What 
was the number of columns in a f/'D ? From a passage in J. Megilla, 
7 1 c at least twenty columns seem to have been usual. 

The normal height of a scroll was 6 hand-breadths, the upper 
and lower margin 7 finger-breadths, so that the column was 4 hand- 
breadths and 1 finger-breadth high == 7-5 centimetres x 4} = 31-5 cm. 



PROFESSOR BLAU ON THE BIBLE AS A BOOK 725 

In Soferim, a post-Talmudic treatise of Palestinian origin, Jose b. 
Judah of the second century gives the minimum height of a column as 
6 to 8 finger-breadths, and the breadth 2 thumb-breadths, and the space 
between the columns is half that, i. e. 1 thumb-breadth. 

The length of a line = width of scroll, was thought by Lambert and 
Bflchler to be 7 or 8 words of 27 to 32 letters, like the Letteris edition of 
the Bible. 

Virgil's hexameters contain 32-42 letters, and average 36 to 9. 
Homer's average 377 letters. Oldest Hebrew verses are the stichoi of 
TON, Job, Proverbs, Psalms. The alphabetical acrostics in Psalms ix, 
xxv, xxxiv, xxxvii, cxix, cxi, cxlv give 26 to 32 letters, and some elegiacs 
only 20 to 22 letters. 

Job is a written book, not a book of hymns to be sung. The poems 
in the first book of Maccabees and Ben Sira were written in stichoi — 
and the stichoi form of the newly discovered Hebrew text is evidence 
of its genuineness. The average verse line of Job is 26, exactly 
the amount required by the Baraitha to Menachoth. Poetical pas- 
sages had to be written H33? "3J ?y rf"IN, brickwise,— so as to dis- 
tinguish them from prose ? for even prose had not lines of the same 
length until DnSlN became dilatable. 

MS. Or. 4445 B.M. of the ninth century has 3 cols, of 21 11. of ioletters. 
MS. Petersburg Prophets of 916 ,,2 „ 21 „ 15 „ 

Of the eighteen facsimiles of Ginsburg's Hebrew Bible (London, 
1898), most have 3 columns, only one of the seventeenth century has 
1 column, the line has only once more than 40 and generally less 
than 30 letters. Evidently the codex or book imitated the scroll. 

How many lines had the column? Buchler, from Soferim and 
Massora, infers 42 as normal, but 60, 72, and 98 occur. The Pentateuch 
has 304,000 letters, i. e. 10,133 lines of 30 letters, i. e. 241 columns of 
42 letters, i. e. 25 yards, which is far too much ; therefore the column 
must have contained 72 lines of 30 to 32 cm. high and less than 4 
finger-breadths wide, so the writing must have been very tiny. 

2. Lineation and Lines.— J. Meg., 7 1 d 9 1W WDV) HC^ m?n 
1H1 panttl nnijtt pania " It is a Halacha from Moses on Sinai to 
write on leather with ink !13p3 p?J"lDD1 and to rule (regula = ?J*lD) 
with a reed." No "book" is without lineation, not even Adam's. 
The books of Herculaneum were also ruled, and so the Codex 
Alexandrinus (fifth century). In gold-writing the lines consisted of 
silver points or dots. Hai Gaon (iooo) says Bible quotations are 
punctuated. He found this in writings of the Seboraim in 500, and 
this was usual in the Orient till the sixteenth century. In Schechter's 
texts, J. Q. B., XIV, 456-474, such quotations are punctuated. The 



726 THE JEWISH QUARTERLY REVIEW 

same punctuation occurs in E. N. Adler's "An Eleventh Century 
Introduction to the Hebrew Bible " (J. Q. R., IX, 687) and has been 
remarked upon by Professor David Kaufmann (ib., X, 162). Inter- 
lineations were always above and not below the line. "1DP7TW and 
rUJpniU may each be written as two words and the latter on two 
lines. R. Eleazar b. Jose (c. 200) saw the priest's mitre and curtain in 
Rome, and denied that ? tflp was written on one line and the Tetra- 
grammaton above it (Sab. 636). 

3. Character and Writing. — Archaic nations regarded writing 
as a miracle. Judges viii. 14 shows how common it was in Bible times. 
Jeremiah xxxvi. 18 first mentions ink (Isa. xxxviii. 9 for 3JT1D read 
DITTO). All ancient codices were written over, inked again 
" aufgefrischt." Gold- writing, xP vcr °yp° f t >0 h is mentioned in Aristeas 
as having been used in the copies of the Law sent by the High Priest 
to Ptolemy. Swete denies this, and Abrahams, with Low, suggests 
that only the name of God may have been written in gold 1 . 
Canticles v. 14, as interpreted in Schir Rabba, I, 11 (226 Wilna) 
ansn fit rb iltPJU ant nin «""), hypothecates gold- writing of texts with 
silver dots or lines ?J"lDn fit span niTipJ D& That gold-writing was 
forbidden seems due to historical rather than religious reasons, the 
Pharisees objected to the sumptuary extravagances of the aristocratic 
Sadducees, and Jerome also objects to gold, Sabbath, 103 b an3B> IN 

iw "hx nn am a nnarxn m anac in ma t&& . Soferfm says that this 

was usual with the Alexandrian Bible Codices D^-nJDa^N ?tt> JJViVD. 
Illiterates had to sign their names as witnesses to a " Get " and so 
they wrote over their names in red ink or their names were written 
and cut out of fresh paper and they filled the interstices with black 
ink. Omissions were " hung " (jvID) over the line— even whole verses 
could be thus omitted and afterwards replaced, perhaps in the wrong 
place. The four " hung " letters of the Massora are the earliest traces 
of this. Only one side of the skin was written on. " Opistography," 
i. e. writing on both sides, is only once alluded to in Scripture 
(Ezek. ii. 10). 

npn na^na thin writing is a characteristic of the 173? = UbeUarius 
or "IBID or scribe— and a proof of the minuscular writing of antiquity. 
Writing-materials were as follows : for the schoolboy a style consisting 
of a ania on one side and pniD (eraser) on the other ; for the scribe 
fUp or DIDPip = icakafios. The inkstand was KaKanapiov ">B1Dn JlDp 

pID^Np once VT TV3. 

1 Dr. Gaster, in his sumptuous Hebrew Illuminated Bibles (London, 
Harrison, 1901), also discusses the question. 



PROFESSOR BLAU ON THE BIBLE AS A BOOK 727 

III. 
Preservation and Distribution op Old Hebrew Books. 

1. Mantles and Depositories.— The scroll was generally wrapped 
in silk. It might not be touched with the naked hand. In a bedroom 
it had to be kept under cover, or behind a curtain, or in the window. 
The curtain of an ark might be used to cover a ft"D . The mantle 
was called nrtSBO (which is also the Biblical word for a lady's 
cloak). It was of silk, wool, linen, leather, or paper. D'HSDn pFl 
(Tos. Jadajim, II, 11) seems to have been a leather case, in which 
scroll with mantle was placed. 

In the second Temple there was no ark. The niTl or }1"IK, in which 
the scroll was kept, is inferred to have been about a man's size, from 
a Talmudic quotation (Berachot, 47 b ?) ' ' * Q'SIBSD piNl iWll 
Kin N133 jnNI. But the inference seems far-fetched. There 
were three kinds of ark 5>"M», m*n, iTT^, made of brass, bone, 
leather, glass or wool, and on a stand. The case with rollers occurs 
on Christian monuments (Schultze, Bolle und Codex). On cemeterial 
frescoes of the third century Jesus sits with a case containing scrolls 
at his feet, or with a scroll in his left hand, and on Jewish gilt glass 
(Goldglasern) of the third century we frequently find pictures of the 
" armarium judaicum " or /ajWof, the ark or receptacle for generally 
six recumbent scrolls. Pictures of these have lately appeared in the 
Jewish Encyclopaedia (sub voce Ark), and Jacobs [J. Q. R., XIV, 737], 
has pointed out that this was the usual form of a Eoman bookcase. 

2. Scribes and Correctors. — The first biblical scribe was Jere- 
miah's Baruch, but Ezra was the first copyist who supplied many copies. 
In Talmud times there was no longer a priestly caste of scribes— though 
the earliest were priests. Pesachim, 57 a "b "IN Dmp JV3D ^ '1K 
JDID^pD, cf. Luke i. 62, shows discouragement of an attempt on the 
priest's part to keep caligraphy a family secret. But O'lBlD were 
a profession like notaries; R. Meir was the greatest. Huna wrote 
70 ri"D, R. Ammi 400. The ."IBID was also a ")i>3? but the *1?37 
was not necessarily an official. To write and lend books was meri- 
torious. The corrector had to read aloud, and the scribe had to read 
the original also— hence many of the textual errors through similarity 
of sound. The "bib like the libellio, was despised. 

In order to preserve the original text the correctors were paid by 
the Temple treasury and had to correct all copies by the Model 
Codex. The king's copy was corrected by the highest three 
tribunals. Nobody might keep an uncorrected book in his house 

VOL. XV. 3 1) 



728 THE JEWISH QUARTERLY REVIEW 

more than thirty days. If a verse of four lines was omitted, the page 
or skin was spoilt and had to be replaced by another. 

3. Bookselling and Prices of Books. — Prophets, and even 
Sirach (xxxix.9; xxxviii. 33), were orators not writers. The oral law 
was forbidden to be written. But in the letter of the Palestine to the 
Egyptian Jews (2 Mace. ii. 15) of the books which Judas Maccabeus 
collected they say, " if you want any books send for them and have 
copies made." 

The first bookseller must have been the copyist. The scribe in 
Talmud times made books to order. A heathen, in J. A. z., 41 a 14, 
is said to have had books in stock for sale. A wise man might buy 
them of him, but not a layman. Heirloom Jl"D should not be sold. 
Apocrypha and Agada could not have been frequent or the Hebrew 
originals would not have been lost. (For the literature as to book- 
selling in Greece and Rome, vide Wattenbach, 535, and Dziatko in 
Pauly Wissouk, III, 939, and Birt, 103, 357, 433, 504. Rome was the 
chief emporium of MSS., as Italy still is of Hebrew MSS.) Old books 
went to the Geniza, not to the second-hand bookseller. The grave 
is not likely to give up its literary Hebrew treasures like a papyrus 
buried in a necropolis. Why not ? 

As to prices, a n"D bought for 80 was sold for 120 zuz in the year 
330. An ordinary n"D cost about 70s. n"DN in 250 fetched 5 mana 
= 300*. Esther in 337 1 zuz. 

Babylonian parchment was dear. For Jewish dealers in parchment 
in Spain vide Jacobs, J. Q. B., VI, 600. For a tax on parchment of 
Jews, vide Steinschn eider, Kunde der hebr. HSS. 17. A small house 
cost 6s., a labourer in a vineyard was paid 1 denar = -6 of a shilling. 
A n"D was thought worth about 3 or 4 hectares of a field, and Esther 
cost a day's wages of a vineyard labourer, vide Herzfeld, Handels- 
geschichte der Juden des Alterihums. 

Elkan N. Adleb.