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Saturday, December 10, 2005
 
Very Cool Tanak Site ::

Rubén Gómez pointed to Alain Verboomen's TanakhML Project, on a quick look this is a really exciting project. Among the toys that his XML dialect allows is a "Verse Analyser" which displays verses of the Hebrew text graphically revealing the structure implied by the Massoretic cantillation. This sounds terribly technical, so - for non Hebraists - what that means is that you can see how the scribes thought the text of a verse broke down into smaller units. So Amos 1:1 displays like this. Or in English:
The words of Amos
    who was among the shepherds
    of Tekoa
  which he saw about Israel
    in the days of
    Uzziah king of Judah
    and in the days of Jeroboam son of Joash
  king of Israel
  two years
  before the earthquake.
Now most of the time (as here?) this adds little to our understanding, but sometimes it shows that the scribes have parsed the structure of a verse differently from modern translators, and then things get interesting... Which reading is better? And why?

Now it is true that all this information is available in the cantillation marks in the BHS or other print or electronic Hebrew text. Yet most of us are not practiced at reading these marks, here is the text of this verse first uncantillated then cantillated to show you why:
דִּבְרֵי עָמוֹס אֲשֶׁר־הָיָה בַנֹּקְדִים מִתְּקוֹעַ אֲשֶׁר חָזָה עַל־יִשְׂרָאֵל בִּימֵי עֻזִּיָּה מֶלֶךְ־יְהוּדָה וּבִימֵי יָרָבְעָם בֶּן־יוֹאָש מֶלֶךְ יִשְׂרָאֵל שְׁנָתַיִם לִפְנֵי הָרָעַשׁ ׃

 דִּבְרֵ֣י עָמֹ֔וס אֲשֶׁר־הָיָ֥ה בַנֹּקְדִ֖ים מִתְּקֹ֑ועַ אֲשֶׁר֩ חָזָ֨ה עַל־יִשְׂרָאֵ֜ל בִּימֵ֣י׀ עֻזִּיָּ֣ה מֶֽלֶךְ־יְהוּדָ֗ה וּבִימֵ֞י יָרָבְעָ֤ם בֶּן־יֹואָשׁ֙ מֶ֣לֶךְ יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל שְׁנָתַ֖יִם לִפְנֵ֥י הָרָֽעַשׁ׃
Incidentally, any Hebraist who does not have the SBL font installed should not follow his current link, but go to http://www.sbl-site.org/Resources/default.aspx (I'll write to him and suggest he updates the link). What a cool tool, with more good things to come !


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