First Steps In The Study Of Glossing -- By: Harold M. Wiener

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 072:288 (Oct 1915)
Article: First Steps In The Study Of Glossing
Author: Harold M. Wiener


First Steps In The Study Of Glossing

Harold M. Wiener

Continuous preoccupation with the problems of the Pentateuch has convinced me that in its present form the work contains an immense amount of commentary. Every investigation in which I engage reveals some aspect or other of this truth, but I do not think that any section of Biblical students have any adequate appreciation of it. I propose, therefore, in the present article to throw together a few notes supplementing my previous writings on the subject. My view is that all our extant texts of the Pentateuch contain a very great deal of verbiage, which is due to the incorporation of variorum notes in the text and to endeavors to edit it satisfactorily. It seems to me that the glossators worked in several ways. They endeavored to explain by inserting notes at suitable points, they amplified by incorporating material from other passages, they interpreted and collected laws, and they repeated and expanded. Further, I think that this was a continuous process, and that we have notes on notes incorporated in our texts. Let us take an instance of a passage that seems to me to bear on its face sufficient marks of its origin. Exodus 6:12 is resumed by verse 30. Its true continuation is 7:1. If we read the intervening passage we shall see that it consists of three elements: (1) a statement that God commissioned Moses and Aaron (ver. 13); (2) a passage (ver. 14–27) which, while itself bearing the marks

of later expansion, clearly represents a commentator’s note identifying at a crucial point of the narrative the Aaron and Moses who are its heroes, and tracing the genealogy of the leading descendants of Israel till the point at which they come in; and (3) a short resumptive summary (ver. 28–30) of 6:2–12, making it possible for the ‘narrative to go on its way. Thus we have here annotation which has itself gone through further glossing.

The better to understand the ways of glossators, let us study the short passage relating the divine command as to the death of Moses, which occurs twice in our Massoretic text.

Numbers 27

Deuteronomy 32

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