A conference will take place on 7 and 8 November 2016 at Exeter College.

Subject: ‘The exegetical value of the Masora: Pointing and accentuation in historical perspective’

Convenors: Professor Jan Joosten and Professor Joanna Weinberg.

Speakers include: Philip Alexander, Manchester; Yochanan Breuer, Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Elvira Martin Contreras, CSIC, Madrid ; Danny Crowther, CMCS Oxford; Scott Mandelbrote, Cambridge; Tim Nicholas-Twining, Cambridge; Jan Joosten; Joanna Weinberg; Benjamin Williams, KCL.

Attendance is free but please pre-register by e-mailng: sue.forteath@ochjs.ac.uk


Monday 7 November

2pm Opening remarks – Joanna Weinberg & Jan Joosten

First session: Historical aspects – the underlying tradition

2.15 Danny Crowther, ‘Why are there two systems of Tiberian te‘amim?’

2.55 Philip Alexander, Who were the custodians of the reading tradition of the Torah in the Talmudic period?’

3.35 Tea

4pm A viewing of some Masoretic manuscripts in the Bodleian Libraries

5pm Jan Joosten, ‘How far back in antiquity can we trace the oral tradition of Tiberian Hebrew?’

5.40 Respondent: Geoffrey Khan

7pm Dinner (for participants only)


Tuesday 8 November

Second session: Exegetical implications

10am Yochanan Breuer, ‘Agreement and dissonance between the various components of the Masoretic text: spelling, vocalization, accentuation’.

10.40 Coffee

11am Elvira Martín Contreras, ‘Using the Masoretic notes for interpretation’.

11.40 Benjamin Williams, ‘”From the cantillation marks we gain an understanding of what is not written in the Torah.” Derash on the Te’amim and the Exegesis of Moses Alsheikh’.

12.20 Respondent: John Barton

1pm Lunch


Third session: Modern debates

2pm Joanna Weinberg, ‘Johann Buxtorf the Elder’s Tiberias: an unusual take on the Masoretic vowel-points and accents’.

2.40 Scott Mandelbrote, ‘Christian exegesis and the Masora from the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries’.

3.20 Tim Nicholas-Twining, ‘From the origin of the vowel points to the history of the Hebrew critics: Louis Cappel, Johannes Buxtorf II, and Jean Morin’.

4pm Respondent: Theodor Dunkelgrün

4.10 Tea