Hebrew bible versification

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cvkimball
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Hebrew bible versification

Postby cvkimball » Mon Aug 14, 2017 9:18 pm

The versification of the Hebrew bible in the BHS, Westminster Leningrad Codex, and the JPS Tanach is different than the versification of the Hebrew bible in Christian publications, such as the RSV/NSRV. (Verses at the Leviticus 5-6 chapter interface are one example.)

What are the sources of the two or more versifications?

Does anyone here know of a comprehensive list of the correspondences?

Thanks,

Chris Kimball
West Redding, CT
USA

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Kirk Lowery
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Re: Hebrew bible versification

Postby Kirk Lowery » Wed Aug 16, 2017 10:05 am

Chris,

It's complicated. ;-)

The simplest (and inaccurate) answer is that the versification of the Hebrew Bible is according to Jewish canonical tradition, and modern translations often (although not entirely) follow a Christian canonical tradition, with the classic manifestation being the Vulgate. However, the traditions are not monolithic. For example, the LXX (Jewish tradition) has versification variants, even within its sub-types. And a number of modern language translations follow the Jewish tradition. The Hungarian Karoli (equivalent to the English KJV), for example. Most English translations follow the Christian/Vulgate tradition.

The origins of the various versification systems are probably legendary. For one explanation, see this webpage.

I have a file that traces these differences, but unfortunately at the moment it is inaccessible due to a hard disk failure yesterday. However, I did find a comprehensive list here. You should find some form of the data in a useful format.

Just curious: what is your use case that brought up this question?

Blessings,
Kirk
Kirk E. Lowery, PhD
B-Hebrew Site Administrator & Co-moderator
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cvkimball
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Re: Hebrew bible versification

Postby cvkimball » Wed Aug 16, 2017 9:08 pm

Hi Kirk,

A visitor the the tanach.us site suggested I provide the "Christian" versification in addition to the current versification. It's a difficult task, to say the least, and it's unlikely to go forward.

Best,

Chris Kimball
West Redding, CT
USA

talmid56
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Re: Hebrew bible versification

Postby talmid56 » Thu Aug 17, 2017 9:05 am

One type of "discrepancy" that occurs is in the Psalms, where the Psalm titles in Hebrew texts (omitted in some translations) are usually counted as the first verse. When they are used in translations, often the first group of lines following is counted as verse 1 instead. And some Psalm chapter divisions are different, too (e.g., 9 and 10 are counted as one chapter in the Hebrew texts), which affects the numbering of subsequent chapters. The LXX and Vulgate tend to differ from the Hebrew chapter divisions starting with 9-10. This affects the chapter numbering in many translations today, as well as the verse numbering.
Dewayne Dulaney
דואיין דוליני

כִּ֤י שֶׁ֨מֶשׁ׀ וּמָגֵן֮ יְהוָ֪ה אֱלֹ֫הִ֥ים חֵ֣ן וְ֭כָבוֹד יִתֵּ֣ן יְהוָ֑ה לֹ֥א יִמְנַע־ט֝֗וֹב לַֽהֹלְכִ֥ים בְּתָמִֽים׃
--Psa. 84:11

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Kirk Lowery
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Re: Hebrew bible versification

Postby Kirk Lowery » Thu Aug 17, 2017 9:12 am

For a Hebrew-only site like tanach.us, I see no reason to add the alternate versification except as a crutch for those who have no knowledge of Hebrew.

And for b-hebrew, one should always use the Jewish versification when citing the Hebrew text, and only use the alternate versification if citing a ancient version or modern translation.

The whole point of versification is to help identify the part of the text you want to talk about. So whatever the text/edition uses, that is the one you should use to help others find your text citation.

Reasonable?
Kirk E. Lowery, PhD
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kwrandolph
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Re: Hebrew bible versification

Postby kwrandolph » Thu Aug 17, 2017 10:12 am

Even in Hebrew, there are some variations.

For example, in Exodus 20, the versification of the Aleppo Codex differs from that of Leningradensis. I don’t know where else they may differ, but I noticed this one.

Karl W. Randolph.

Jemoh66
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Re: Hebrew bible versification

Postby Jemoh66 » Thu Aug 17, 2017 11:35 am

kwrandolph wrote:Even in Hebrew, there are some variations.

For example, in Exodus 20, the versification of the Aleppo Codex differs from that of Leningradensis. I don’t know where else they may differ, but I noticed this one.

Karl W. Randolph.


Does the Aleppo versification line up with the LXX/Vulgate?
Jonathan E Mohler
Studying for a MA in Intercultural Studies
Baptist Bible Theological Seminary

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Kirk Lowery
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Re: Hebrew bible versification

Postby Kirk Lowery » Thu Aug 17, 2017 11:39 am

Yes, it's very complex. The Leningrad Codex is different not just from Aleppo, but from classic rabbinic manuscripts and early printed editions. Most of these differences have been noted, but not all in one place. :-(
Kirk E. Lowery, PhD
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blog: https://blogs.emdros.org/eh
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