Monday, December 05, 2005

Ketiv-Qere in Ps 100: 3 & Christian allusions

הוּא-עָשָׂנוּ וְלֹא אֲנַחְנוּ is the Masoretic Ketiv text of Ps. 100: 3, while the Qere text is הוּא-עָשָׂנוּ וְלוֹ אֲנַחְנוּ. The Ketiv text (which is difficilior, it seems) is supported by the LXX: αυτος εποιησεν ημας και ουχ ημεις·
I want to draw your attention to two possible allusions to the verse in Christian writings. One of them to the Ketiv text, the other to Qere. Interesting enough both seem to address the relationship between Father and Son.
Qere: 1 Cor. 8:6 αλλ ημιν εις Θεος ο πατηρ, εξ ου τα παντα και ημεις εις αυτον ( וְלוֹ אֲנַחְנוּ), και εις Κυριος Ιησους Χριστος, δι ου τα παντα και ημεις δι αυτου.
Ketiv: Odes of Solomon 7: 12 (Translation of Charlesworth) "He has allowed Him to appear to them that are His own; in order that they may recognize Him that made them, and not suppose that they came of themselves (וְלֹא אֲנַחְנוּ )."
I was tempted to read in the Odes passage an allusion to both Ketiv ("they came [not] of themselves") and Qere ("that are His own"), but this second phrase may represent עַמּוֹ rather than וְלוֹ אֲנַחְנוּ.
Sorry I couldn't find a Syriac font to get the transmitted text of the Odes on the screen. (PJW may know a solution?)


  1. Thanks. I'm afraid I don't know how to get a Syriac font. I don't even know how to get a Hebrew font - so I'd be grateful for instructions. I can inform contributors that Greek characters can be obtained by putting the name of the Greek letter between & and ;. 'Alpha' is the spelling of the capital and 'alpha' of the lower case letter. Final sigma is spelled 'sigmaf'. Instructions on how to get accents and breathings would be most welcome. We can then put instructions to contributors up on the blog. Armenian, Coptic and Ethiopic possibilities would also be of interest, though perhaps rarely used.

  2. As long as I don't find a better solution, I copy the Hebrew from
    For Greek I copy LXX or NT passages from and replace the accented characters. Cumbersome, of course, but still faster than 'Alpha' 'sigmaf' etc.
    Syriac (Serto and Estrangelo) and Coptic fonts are indispensable too.

  3. Pete,
    I still do't understand your system.
    Why don't Α and ς show as Greek Characters?

  4. OK. I see. They transform when published. But while preparing a comment the writer doesn't see the trick yet.

  5. Eureka. Syriac characters can be written by using the codes at

    Simply write & followed by # before the numeric code and then ; after. This should work for all Unicode characters. At least on my computer I can see Syriac alaph: ܐ and Armenian Ayb: Ա (code on: Thanks to Alan Wood, whoever you are, for such a useful site. I can't get the Ethiopic and Coptic to be visible. Still, it's a start and provided most viewers can read the characters it should make our discussions more colourful.

  6. PJ,

    RE: Greek unicode Greek not displaying in IE6. I tested the greek text I posted in the latest version of Word for the Mac and it displayed fine. It also displays in Firefox and Safari. Don't know what to do since unicode is supposed to be platform independent.

    Anyway, I will use b-greek transcription from now on

  7. In a note (note 11 p. 38) Charlesworth, The Odes of Solomon edited and translated, writes: "Behind the thought of this verse lies the 100th Psalm: 'It is he that made us, and not we ourselves' (Ketib, Peshitta, LXX)." The Odes are much older than the Peshitta, and thus provide us with an extra witness for the Ketiv reading of Psalm 100:3.
    By the way, Pete, Syriac still doesn't show. Should I type the "decimal" (ܐ) or the "hex" (ˆ) or both
    � ? None of them seems to transform.

  8. Gie, the alaph you wrote decimally came out fine in my browser.

    The Syriac text in J. Rendel Harris's edition is given as 7:14-15. The final phrase ܘܕܠܐ ܢܣܒܪܘܢ ܕܡܢ ܢܦܫܗܘܢ ܗܘܘ 'and that they should not think that they were from themselves' does not appear to me to be conclusively influenced by Ps 100:3.

  9. Thanks, Pete,
    I agree that ܘܕܠܐ ܢܣܒܪܘܢ ܕܡܢ ܢܦܫܗܘܢ ܗܘܘ is not un unambiguous allusion to Psalm 100:1. But is it a possible one? It is a remarkable phrase, isn't it? And the fact that the Peshitta follows the Ketiv reading, shows that in the Syriac tradition this version did circulate. Any other source for the idea that is expressed in the Odes?
    And what to think of εξ ου τα παντα και ημεις εις αυτον ( וְלוֹ אֲנַחְנוּ ???) in 1 Cor. 8:6? Is it a less ambiguous reference to the Psalm text (Qere version this time)?

  10. Please don't forget that in early post-apostolic writings explicit references are rare. That is certainly the case in the Odes. If the reference to Psalm 100:3 doesn't convince you, then I fear few others will.