Sans érasure A Counterintuitive Scribal Practice

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A curious phenomenon that is attested in the Ugaritic texts, elsewhere in the ancient Near East, the Hebrew Bible, the Dead Sea Scrolls, medieval texts, and beyond is a scribal practice I call sans érasure, a case in which a scribe leaves an error uncorrected and proceeds to write or copy the correct letter, word, line, or verse following the error. In this article, a number of rather clear examples are adduced from the Ugaritic texts, and a number of examples from the Hebrew Bible are proposed. Several of these cases would seemto be recognized in the Masoretic tradition in instances of 'Greek Passage' (written but not read). Some of the biblical examples resolve longstanding philological cruxes. Among the examples are several from the book of Job and the last verse in Lamentations. An explanation for the practice is suggested.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Edward L. Greenstein, 2023.


  • Job
  • Ugaritic texts
  • emendation in the Hebrew Bible
  • homoioteleuton
  • qere-ketiv
  • scribal correction
  • scribal error
  • scribal practice


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