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The Benefits of Color Images of the Leningrad Codex

Our recent access to color images of the Leningrad Codex, as opposed to the black-and-white images available for years, will allow us to determine a more accurate reading in a few places in the Leningrad Codex. We have already found at least two occurrences where what is clearly a pink or red imperfection in the codex material was misread as an ink dot when viewed in the black-and-white printed facsimile of the Leningrad Codex.

There are a number of places where our text of the Hebrew Bible, the Westminster Leningrad Codex, differs from printed Hebrew Bibles such as Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia (BHS), first published in complete form in 1977 and last revised in 1997.  Until recently our only basis for knowing what is written in the Leningrad Codex was a black-and-white facsimile such as the large 1998 facsimile book from Eerdmans. Now however we have access to color images of the Leningrad Codex through both Accordance and BibleWorks. The Leningrad Codex was written using dark brown ink on a material that includes occasional pink or red spots.  Those spots can appear to be ink dots when viewed as black-and-white.  For example, in the black-and-white images there appears to be a spurious Dagesh in the Resh of the first word of Geneis 2:10:

וְנָהָרּ֙

but color images make it clear that the dot in the Resh is an imperfection in the codex material, not a dot of ink.   Similarly there appears to be a Mappiq or Dagesh in the non-final Heh of the sixth word of Genesis 34:28:

חֲמֹרֵיהֶּ֑ם

but the color images make it clear that it is an imperfection, not an ink dot. We have therefore corrected both of these mis-readings from the upcoming version of the Westminster Leningrad Codex, which will be released next year (2017).

Because we viewed both of these readings as obvious typos, neither case affected our morphological analysis as detailed in the Westminster Hebrew Morphology database.

 

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