Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Age of Trup -- part viii

We continue Shadal's Vikuach al Chochmat haKabbalah. (See previous post.) Here Shadal gives us a taste of what is to come in the next chapter ("Third Day"), in terms of using the age of trup to attack the authenticity of the Zohar.

He mentions Eliyahu Bachur's position that the nikkud is post-Talmudic, and the contrary opinion based on the fact that Zohar and Tikkunim, which are presumably pre-Talmudic and Talmudic, mention them. He strongly hints that these are both of late authorship, but gives "the author" reason for now to say they are early, but were written with Divine Inspiration, and thus knew of nikkud, trup, and other later historical developments, such as Mohammed.

The text of Shadal:

The guest: Until the great grammarian Rabbi Elijah Bachur came and taught in his book Masoret haMasoret, third preface, based on proofs taken from the Talmud, that the nikkud never was and was not created before Ezra, nor in the days of Ezra, nor after Ezra, until after the closing of the writing of the Babylonian Talmud.

Then all the scholars, both Israelite scholars and gentile scholars, were divided in half. Half of them supported the opinion of Rabbi Elijah and half of them argued upon him. However, the accepted opinion nowadays in this matter is the opinion of Rabbi Elijah, and the greatest of the proofs that a few of the Israelite scholars bring against it is only based on the Sefer haZohar and the Tikkunim, and they say that they are the handiwork of the Tannaim and Amoraim, and they {those works} mention in many places the nikkud and the trup.

The author: The proof taken from the Zohar and the Tikkunim is nothing, in my opinion, for I believe that these sefarim were written with Divine Inspiration. And if so, there is no further reason to ask how the nikkud and trup are mentioned in them, for they are mentioned with Divine Inspiration, just as the masters of dikduk (grammar) are mentioned in them (in the preface to the Tikkunim), of whom there are no doubt that they did not begin until the end of the era of the Geonim. And also Mohammed, the prophet of the Ishmaelites, who was at the beginning if the era of the Geonim, he is also mentioned in the sefer haZohar, chelek 3, page 282, in a few nuschaot {versions}. And so too the two sets of tefillin, which did not exist nor were created until Rabbenu Tam came, they too are mentioned there, on page 258 {Josh: Unless I am misinformed, they found both Rashi and Rabbenu Tam tefillin amongst the Dead Sea scrolls, but this does not mean that people had the custom to wear both; of course, other types were also found.};

And all this is not difficult at all to one who believes as is appropriate to believe, that the sefer of the Zohar was authored with Divine Inspiration. Therefore, behold I agree with you, my brother, if you wish to gird your loins like a man, to enter into the thick of this investigation, until we bring out its proper conclusion to light.

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