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or Jerusalem Codex, of Ben Naphtali, or the Babylonian Codex, the Pentateuch of Jericho, and the Codex Sinai.
1. The Codex of Hillel was a celebrated manuscript which Rabbi Kimchi (who lived in the twelfth century) says that he saw at Toledo, though Rabbi Zacuti, who flourished towards the close of the fifteenth century, states that part of it had been sold and sent into Africa. Who this Hillel was, the learned are by no means agreed; some have supposed that he was the very eminent Rabbi Hillel who lived about sixty years before the birth of Christ; others imagine that he was the grandson of the illustrious Rabbi Jehudah Hakkadosh, who wrote the Misna, and that he flourished about the middle of the fourth century. Others, again, suppose that he was a Spanish Jew, named Hillel; but Bauer, with greater probability, supposes the manuscript to have been of more recent date, and written in Spain, because it contains the vowel points, and all the other grammatical minutiæ; and that the feigned name of Hillel was inscribed on its title in order to enhance its value.
2, 3. The Codices of Ben Asher and Ben Naphtali have already been noticed. We may, however, state, on the authority of Maimonides, that the first of these was held in most repute in Egypt, as having been revised and corrected in very many places by Ben Asher himself, and that it was the exemplar which he (Maimonides) followed in copying the law, in conformity with the custom of the Jews.
4. The Codex of Jericho is highly commended by Rabbi Elias Levita, as being the most correct copy of the Law of Moses, and exhibiting the defective and full words.
5. The Codex Sinai was also a very correct manuscript of the Pentateuch, that presented some variation in the accents, in which respect it differed from the former. A sixth codex, called Sanbouki, is mentioned by Père Simon, as having been seen by him; but nothing certain is known respecting its date, or by whom it was written.
V. As the authority of manuscripts depends greatly on their antiquity, it becomes a point of considerable importance to ascertain their age as exactly as possible. Now this may be effected either by external testimony or by internal marks.
1. External testimony is sometimes afforded by the subscriptions annexed by the transcribers, specifying the time when they copied the manuscripts. But this criterion cannot always be depended upon : for instances have occurred, in which modern copyists have added antient and false dates in order to enhance the value of their labours. As however by far the greater number of manuscripts have no subscriptions or other criteria by which to ascertain their date, it becomes necessary to resort to the evidence of
2. Internal Marks. Of these, the following are stated by Dr. Kennicott and M. De Rossi to be the principal: 1. The inelegance or rudeness of the character (Jablonski lays down the simplicity and elegance of the character as a criterion of antiquity); -2. The yellow colour of the vellum ;- 3. The total absence, or at least the
very rare occurrence, of the Masora, and of the Keri and Ketib1;
VI. A twofold order of arrangement of the sacred books is observable in Hebrew manuscripts, viz. the Talmudical and the Masoretic. Originally, the different books of the Old Testament were not joined together according to Rabbi Elias Levita (the most learned Jewish writer on this subject), they were first joined together by the members of the great synagogue, who divided them into three parts, the law, the prophets, and the hagiographa, and who placed the prophets and hagiographa in a different order from that assigned by the Talmudists in the book intitled Baba Bathra.
The following is the Talmudical arrangement of the Old Testament: Of the Prophets, Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings (1 and 2), Jeremiah, Isaiah, Ezekiel, and the Twelve Minor Prophets (in one book). Of the Hagiographa, Ruth, Psalms, Job, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, Lamentations, Esther, Chronicles. By the Masorites, the Prophets are placed in the same order, with the exception of Isaiah, who precedes Jeremiah and Ezekiel, because he flourished before them. This arrangement is adopted in the manuscripts of the Spanish Jews, while the Talmudical order is preserved in those of the German and French Jews. In the Hagiographa, the Masorites have departed from the arrangement of the Talmudists, and place the books comprised in that division thus:- Psalms, Job, Proverbs, Ruth, the Song of Solomon, Ecclesiastes, Lamentations of Jeremiah, Esther, Daniel, and Ezra. This mode of arrangement obtains in the Spanish manuscripts. But in the German MSS. they are thus disposed: Psalms, Proverbs, Job, the Five Megilloth (or books) Daniel, Ezra, and Chronicles; and the Five Megilloth (or books) are placed in the order in which they are usually read in their Synagogues, viz. the Song of Solomon, Ruth, Lamentations of Jeremiah, Ecclesiastes, and Esther.
1 For an account of these, see Chap IV. Sect. 1. § IV. infra.
There are, however, several manuscripts extant, which depart both from the Talmudical and from the Masoretical order, and have an arrangement peculiar to themselves. Thus, in the Codex Norimbergensis 1. (No. 198 of Dr. Kennicott's catalogue), which was written A. D. 1291, the books are thus placed: the Pentateuch, Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, the Twelve Minor Prophets, Ruth, Esther, Psalms, Job, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, Lamentations, Proverbs, Daniel, Ezra, and Nehemiah (in one book), and Chronicles. In the Codex, No. 94, written a. D. 1285 (in the university library, at Cambridge), and also in No. 102, a manuscript in the British Museum, written early in the fourteenth century, the books of Chronicles precede the Psalms; Job is placed before the Proverbs; Ruth before the Song of Solomon; and Ecclesiastes before the Lamentations. In the Codex, No. 130, a manuscript of the same date (in the library of the Royal Society of London), Chronicles and Ruth precede the Psalms; and in the Codex, No. 96, (in the library of St. John's College, Cambridge,) written towards the close of the fourteenth century, and also in many other MSS., Jeremiah takes precedence of Isaiah.
In the Codex Regiomontanus 2. (No. 224), written early in the twelfth century, Jeremiah is placed before Ezekiel, whose book is followed by that of Isaiah: then succeed the Twelve Minor Prophets. The Hagiographa are thus disposed :- Ruth, Psalms, Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, Lamentations, Daniel, Esther, Ezra and Nehemiah (in one book), and the books of Chronicles (also in one book).
The order pursued in the Codex Ebnerianus 2. is altogether different from the preceding. Samuel follows Jeremiah, who is succeeded by the two books of Kings, and by part of the prophecy of Ezekiel : then comes part of Isaiah. The Twelve Minor Prophets are written in one continued discourse; and are followed by Ruth, Psalms, Job, Proverbs with Ecclesiastes and the Song of Solomon, Lamentations, Daniel, Esther, Ezra, Nehemiah, and Chronicles.
Of the various Hebrew manuscripts which have been preserved, few contain the Old Testament entire: the greater part comprise only particular portions of it, as the Pentateuch, five Megilloth, and Haphtaroth, or sections of the prophets which are read on the sabbath-days; the Prophets or the Hagiographa. Some, indeed, are confined to single books, as the Psalms, the book of Esther, the Song of Solomon, and the Haphtaroth. This diversity in the contents of manuscripts is occasioned, partly by the design of the copyist, who transcribed the whole or part of the sacred writings for particular purposes; and partly by the mutilations caused by the consuming hand of time. Several instances of such mutilations are given in the account of the principal Hebrew MSS. now extant, in pp. 41-44. infra.
VII. As the Hebrew manuscripts which have been in use since the eleventh century have all been corrected according to some particular recension or edition, they have from this circumstance been classed into families, according to the country where such recension has ob
tained. These families or recensions are three or four in number,
1. The Spanish manuscripts, which were corrected after the Codex of Hillel. They follow the Masoretic system with great accuracy, and are on this account highly valued by the Jews, though some Hebrew critics hold them in little estimation. The characters are written with great elegance, and are perfectly square: the ink is pale; the pages are seldom divided into three columns; the Psalms are divided into hemistichs; and the Chaldee paraphrases are not interlined, but written in separate columns, or are inserted in the margin in smaller letters. Professor Tychsen speaks in high terms of the calligraphy of the Spanish manuscripts. As the Spanish monks excelled in that art, he thinks the Jews, who abounded in Spain in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, acquired it from them, and he appeals to manuscripts which he had seen, where the letters are throughout so equal, that the whole has the appearance of print.1
2. The Oriental manuscripts are nearly the same as the Spanish manuscripts, and may be referred to the same class.
3. The German manuscripts are written with less elegance than the Spanish codices: their characters are more rudely formed; the initial letters are generally larger than the rest, and ornamented; the ink is very black. They do not follow the Masoretic notation, and frequently vary from the Masoretic manuscripts, exhibiting important readings that are not to be found in the Spanish manuscripts, but which agree with the Samaritan text of the Pentateuch, and with the antient versions. The Chaldee paraphrases are inserted in alternate verses. This class of manuscripts is little esteemed by the Jews, but most highly valued by biblical critics.
4. The Italian manuscripts hold a middle place between the Spanish and German codices, and sometimes have a nearer affinity to one class than to the other, both in the shape of the Hebrew characters, and also as it respects their adherence to or neglect of the Masoretic system. M. Bruns, the able assistant of Dr. Kennicott in collating Hebrew manuscripts, has given engraved specimens of the Spanish, German, and Italian manuscripts, in his edition of Dr. K.'s Dissertatio Generalis (8vo. Brunswick, 1783); and Professor Tychsen has given fourteen Hebrew alphabets, of various ages and countries, at the end of his Tentamen de variis Codicum Hebræorum Vet. Test. MSS. Generibus. Antient and unpointed Hebrew manuscripts, written for the use of the synagogues, and those Masoretic Spanish exemplars, which have been transcribed by a learned person, and for a learned person, from some famous and correct copy, are preferred by M. De Rossi to the copies written for private use, or even for the synagogue, from Masoretic exemplars, of which last the number is very great. But M. Bauer pronounces those manuscripts to be the best, whose various lections are most frequently confirmed by the an
1 Tychsen, Tentamen de variis Cod. Heb. MSS. pp. 302-308.
tient versions, especially by the Alexandrian and Syriac, and also by the Samaritan Pentateuch and version. 1
VIII. M. De Rossi has divided Hebrew manuscripts into three classes, viz. 1. More antient, or those written before the twelfth century; -2. Antient, or those written in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries; -3. More recent, or those written at the end of the fourteenth, or at the beginning of the fifteenth century. The most recent, or those written since the fifteenth century, which are very numerous, and are those found in the synagogues, he pronounces to be of little or no use, unless it can be proved that they have been transcribed from antient apographs. The total number of Hebrew manuscripts collated by Dr. Kennicott for his critical edition of the Hebrew Bible (of which an account is given in a subsequent page), is about six hundred and thirty. The total number collated by M. De Rossi for his Collection of Various Readings (also noticed in a subsequent page),
four hundred and seventy-nine manuscripts, besides two hur and eighty-eight printed editions. The following are the most antient manuscripts collated by Dr. Kennicott.
1. The CODEX LAUDIANUS A. 172 and 162, and numbered 1. in Dr. Kennicott's list of Hebrew manuscripts. Though now in two folio parts, it is evident that they originally formed only one volume : each part consists of quinquernions, or gatherings of five sheets or ten leaves, and at the bottom of every tenth leaf is a catch-word beginning the next leaf, which is the first of the succeeding gathering of ten leaves. But at the end of the first part or volume, there is pasted on, one leaf of the next quinquernion, completing the book of Deuteronomy; so that this volume concludes with five sheets and one leaf over. And the first gathering in the second volume consists of only four sheets and one leaf, which last is likewise pasted on, for want of its fellow-leaf. This manuscript is written on vellum, according to Dr. Kennicott, in the Spanish character, but in the opinion of Dr. Bruns it is in the Italic character, to which M. de Rossi assents. The letters, which are moderately large, are plain, simple, and elegant, but universally unadorned; and they were originally written without points, as is evident from the different colour of the ink in the letters and in the points. Some of the letters, having become obliterated by the lapse of ages, have been written over a second time; and though such places were re-written in the same strong character, yet many of the words were becoming a second time invisible, when collated by Dr. K. This eminent critic assigns it to the tenth century, but De Rossi refers it to the eleventh. The Laudian manuscript begins with Gen. xxvii. 31.: it contains fourteen thousand variations from Vander Hooght's edition of the Hebrew Bible. More than two thousand are found in the Pentateuch, which confirm the Septuagint Greek version in one hundred and nine various readings; the Syriac, in ninety-eight; the
Walton, Prolegom. c. iv. § 1-12. pp. 171–184. cc. vii. viii. pp. 225–331. edit. Dathii. Carpzov. Critica Sacra, pp. 283-387. Dr. Kennicott, diss. i. pp. 313 317.; also his Dissertatio Generalis, passim. Jahn, Introd. ad Vet. Fœdus, pp. 153 -170. Bauer, Critica Sacra, pp. 215-226. 343-407. De Rossi. Var. Lect. tom. i. Prolegom. xi.-xix. pp. xI.-xx.