"The study of the Hebrew tongue and learning being carried on, it fell at length on him who undoubtedly hath done more real service for the promotion of it than any one man whatever – Jew or Christian. I mean Buxtorff the elder. His Thesaurus Grammaticus, his Tiberias or Commentarius Masorethicus, his Lexicons and Concordances and many other treatises…evince this to all the World.
"Even [the Romanist] Morinus saith that he [Buxtorff] is the only man among Christians that ever thoroughly understood the Masora…. Now this man [Buxtorff], in his Tiberias or Commentarius Masorethicus, printed with the great Rabbinical Bible of his own correct setting forth…in the year 1620, considereth at large this whole matter of the points – and discovereth [or discloses] the vanity of Elias’ pretension about the Tiberian Masoretes….
"The points are taken into consideration…. That word or those three letters D-B-R are instanced by [the A.D. 400 Bethlehemite] Jerome to this purpose (Hom. IX:12). As it may be pointed, it will afford eight several senses: DaBaR is verbum [or ‘word’]. And DeBeR is pestis [or ‘plague’] – as far distinct from one another as life and death!…
"Jerome [the author of the Latin Vulgate translation of the Holy Scriptures]…tells us over and over, that notwithstanding the translation of the LXX [alias the B.C. 270 Greek Septuagint version of the Old Testament] – he had his knowledge of the Hebrew tongue from the Hebrew itself, and the help of such Hebrews as he hired to his assistance…. There was a succession of learned men of the Jews at Tiberias until a hundred years after Jerome" – Jews who employed "the points of the Hebrew Bible…according to the tradition they had received from them who spoke that language in its purity…. None" – however critical – are "able to show, out of any copies yet extant in the World or that they can make appear ever to have been extant, that ever there were any such various lections in the originals of the Old Testament!…
"It is true we have not the Autographa [or Hebrew original master writings] of Moses and the Prophets…. But the Apographa or [Hebrew] ‘copies’ which we have, contain every ioota that was in them [the originals]….
– 5 –
"What use hath been made and is as yet made in the World, of this supposition that corruptions have befallen the originals of the Scripture?… It is, in brief: the foundation of Mohammedanism (Alcoran Azoar 5); the chiefest and principal prop of Popery; the only pretence of fanatical anti-Scripturists [such as the Quakers]; and the root of much hidden Atheism in the World…..
"It is granted that the individual Autographa of Moses, the Prophets, and the Apostles, are…utterly perished and lost out of the World; as also the copies of Ezra…. Had those individual writings been preserved – men would have been ready to adore them, as the Jews do their own Apographa in their synagogues!"
Yet : "The Jews have a common saying among them – that ‘to alter one letter of the Law, is no less sin than to set the whole World on fire’…. Consider that the Word to be transcribed was, every ioota and tittle of it, the Word of the great God!… [The A.D. 1135-1204 Rabbi] Maimonides, in Halachoth Sefer Torah VIII:3-4, tells us that [the 10th-century A.D. Tiberias Masorite] Ben Asher spent many years – in the careful, exact writing out of the Bible….
"Consider the twenty things which they [the Masoretes] affirm to profane a book or copy – and this will further appear. They are repeated by Rabbi Moses, Tractatus de Libro Legis, chapter X. One of them is…‘If but one letter be wanting’; and another, ‘If but one letter be redundant’…