Codex B 19A: Stages of Legitimation of the Masoret Bible Ancient Example

Tyumen State University Herald. Humanities Research. Humanitates


2021, Vol. 7. № 1 (25)

Codex B 19A: Stages of Legitimation of the Masoret Bible Ancient Example

For citation: Grigorishin S. V., Novokreshchennykh E. V. 2021. “Codex B 19A: Stages of Legitimation of the Masoret Bible Ancient Example”. Tyumen State University Herald. Humanities Research. Humanitates, vol. 7, no. 1 (25), pp. 20-42. DOI: 10.21684/2411-197X-2021-7-1-20-42

About the authors:

Sergey V. Grigorishyn, Cand. Sci. (Philos.), Associate Professor, Department of Archeology, Ancient History, and Middle Ages, Tyumen State University;; ORCID: 0000-0002-2509-6382

Ekaterina V. Novokreshchennykh, Cand. Sci. (Philol.), Senior Lecturer, Department of English Language, University of Tyumen;; ORCID: 0000-0002-1000-3470


This article examines the cultural and historical circumstances of the appearance and introduction into the scientific circulation of the oldest manuscript code of the Hebrew Bible — the Leningrad Code B 19A. The authors of the article make an attempt to restore the contextual connections of the Code with Jewish philosophy and biblical textology. The concept of the research is built on the basis of genealogical analysis, which opened up the opportunity to first analyze the stages of legitimation of Codex B 19A that are closest to the present, and then move into the depth of chronology, right up to the moment of creation of the studied text. The result of the study was the identification and explication of internal links between the Codex B 19A, Masoretic schools, Rabbanites, Karaites and, finally, medieval critics of the biblical text. The research methodology is based on the principles of philosophical hermeneutics, the comparative historical approach of the genealogical method as applied to textual criticism.

Revealing the cause-and-effect relationship in the legitimization of the Masoretic Bible showed that the need to create a single standard for the sacred text arose already by the middle of the 8th century, the time of the emergence of the Karaite movement. The refusal of the Karaites to submit to the authority of classical rabbinical literature led to a rethinking of the biblical text. Together with the status of the main sacred book, the Bible turned out to be a text around which philological, philosophical and theological discussions became possible. Awareness of the fact that the biblical text has different interpretations led the Rabbanites and Karaites to the conclusion that it was necessary to create a philological standard for the Bible. For this reason, the authority of the Masoretes as specialists in the vocalization of the text, the direct creators of the vocalization system, has sharply increased. The Ben Asher family of Tiberias emerged as the main Masoretic school, and its last representative, Aaron Ben Asher, became the most authoritative Masoretic. Aaron Ben Asher owns the Masorah system introduced in the Aleppo Codex and copied in the Leningrad Codex B 19A. Maimonides was the first among Jewish philosophers to appreciate the textual achievements of Aaron Ben Asher, which significantly raised the authority of the Masoret in rabbinic and Karaite intellectual circles.


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