tagged: reconstructed text

 

A Hebrew Reconstruction of Psalms 152 and 153, edited, vocalized, cantillated, and translated into English by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer

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A Letter of Passover Instruction, from the Judean Garrison of Elephantine/Yeb (TAD A4.1)

This letter, written in Imperial Aramaic in 419 BCE, is among the vast number of papyrus letters found in Elephantine, also known as Yeb. The Jewish (or more accurately, Judean) community of Yeb is a fascinating bit of history — a group of Judean mercenaries who settled in Egypt and built their own smaller temple! Although their origin was clearly Judean, and they referred to themselves as the ḥeila yehudaya = Judean garrison, their form of worship featured no Deuteronomic centralization, no discussion of the patriarchs, and questionable monotheism! Although the primary deity was YHW (note the difference in spelling), multiple other deities or hypostatized aspects of divinity were worshipped, and verbs for the word “God” are conjugated in the plural rather than the singular. This text is one of a series of letters written between the brothers Yedaniah and Ḥananiah. In this case, it is giving instructions for keeping the holiday of Pesaḥ. These instructions are interesting in their own right — the prohibition on beer could alternatively be read as a prohibition on any alcoholic drink, which would align with Karaite practice rather than rabbinic. But what’s even more interesting is what isn’t mentioned — the instructions given mention nothing whatsoever about the exodus from Egypt, or even God! The diktat to observe the holiday is accredited not to God or Moses, but to Darius, king of the Achaemenid Empire! This passage is a fascinating taste of a part of Judaism that we know very little about. Vocalization according to Tiberian norms and translation into English by the translator. . . .

מעריב ליל שבת לפי נוסח פרס העתיק | Maariv for the Sabbath Evening according to the Ancient Persian Rite

This is a transcript and translation of the Maariv service for Shabbat evening in the Old Persian rite, as recorded in MS Adler 23 ENA (https://hebrewbooks.org/20923) in the JTS Library. The Old Persian rite shows some fascinating unique linguistic features. The first thing that immediately strikes one is its tendency towards poetic extensions and doublings, even in texts (such as the Avot blessing) where most other rites are almost completely uniform. It also shows some nonstandard vocalizations that appear to be influenced by the Babylonian system of vocalization. In modern Persian communities the standard rite is a variation of the Sephardic rite used throught the Mizraḥi world, but this older rite with its unique facets deserves to be preserved as well. This is part 1 of a planned series of transcripts and translations from MS Adler 23 ENA. . . .

סדר עתיק לקריאות מהתנ״ך לפי מסכת סופרים | A Service for Scriptural Readings from Antiquity, reconstructed from Masekhet Soferim by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer

The “minor tractate” Soferim is one of our best sources for early liturgical practice. It is the oldest known source for multiple practices still followed today, such as the blessing for the haftarah. Such luminaries as the Vilna Gaon considered it a vital work. But some of its practices are… well, odd. There are customs in Tractate Soferim which are found nowhere else in classical rabbinics — blessings for the recitation of books in Writings other than the scrolls, a three-year cycle of Torah readings, and a custom to divide the scrolls in half when reading them. This service is constructed based on the descriptions and passages of Tractate Soferim, mostly following the Gra’s edition. In some ways it may be very familiar, especially to Ashkenazim, but in others it is a fascinating glimpse into a heretofore lost practice of Judaism. . . .

ילקוט מזמורים לבן סירא פרק נ״א | An Appendix of Psalms of Ben Sira chapter 51, vocalized, cantillated, and translated by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer

The end of the scroll of Ben Sira (Ecclesiasticus) reconstructed from Cairo Geniza fragments not contained within the Septuagint. . . .

הגדה של פסח | Pesaḥ Haggadah (Nusaḥ Erets Yisrael), based on multiple Cairo Geniza manuscripts compiled and translated by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer

This is a vocalized reconstruction, arrangement and translation of the Haggadah according to the ancient Land of Israel rite, based on multiple manuscripts from the Cairo Geniza, including Halper 211 and T-S H2.152, with additional input from the Italian rite and customs recorded by Rav Saadia Gaon. It is translated in gender-neutral Hebrew. . . .