Owen then refers to the Westminster Assembly’s "learned Dr. Lightfoot" – in his Centuria Chorograph (LXXXI:146). Lightfoot was, inter alia, also a Calvinistic Christian Scholar of the Talmud. Hear, then, what "the learned Dr. Lightfoot" says – against the ‘pointless’ innovation of the sixteenth-century Jew Elias Levita:
"I do not admire the Jew’s impudence who found out that fable!" – observes Lightfoot. "Recount, I pray, the names of the Tiberians – from the first foundation of a university there, to the expiring thereof!…. Read over the Talmud of Jerusalem; consider how Rabbi Juda, R. Chamnath, Z. Judan, R. Hoshaia, R. Chaija Rubba, R. Chaija Bar Ba, R. Jochanan, and the rest of the great doctors among the Tiberians – do behave themselves!… If you can believe the ‘points’ of the Bible to proceed [or to have originated] from such a School – believe also their Talmuds! The pointing of the Bible savours of the work of the Holy Spirit – not of…men!"
Moreover, adds Owen: "The Jews generally believe these points to have been from Mount Sinai, and so downward, by Moses and the Prophets; at least from Ezra and his companions, the ‘Men of the Great Synagogue’; not denying that the knowledge and use of them received a great reviving by the Gemarists and Masoretes, when they had been much disused. So R. Azarias at large, Imre Binah, cap. lix…. The learned Buxtorfius’ discourse De Origine et Antiquitate Punctorum lies unanswered….
"Languages are not made by grammars, but grammars are made by languages…. The grammar of it and them must be collected from the observation of their use…. The rule and art of disposing, transposing, and changing of them – must be constituted and fixed before the disposition of them….
"Johannes Isaac, a converted Jew, Book I to Lindanus, tells us that above two hundred testimonies about Christ may be brought out of the original Hebrew that appear not in the Vulgar
– 7 –
Latin or any other translation…. Let any man consider…Isaiah 53 and Daniel 9, as they are now pointed…in our [Hebrew] Bibles, and compare them with the translation of the [Greek] Septuagint – and this will quickly appear unto him…. As the text stands now pointed…, neither Jews nor Socinians…have been able or ever shall be able to relieve themselves from the sword of the truth therein….
"It is said, then, ‘that whereas the old Hebrew letters were the present Samaritan – the Samaritan letters have been always without points…. This is not a place to speak at large of the Samaritans, their Pentateuch, and its translation. The origin of that nation is known from the Scripture, as also their worship of God. Second Kings 17. Their solemn excommunication and casting out from any interest among the people of God, is also recorded. Ezra 9-10; Nehemiah 13….
"The Jews are [wrongly] said to have forgot[ten] their own characters in the captivity…. That the men of one and the same generation should forget the use of their own letters which they had been exercised in, is incredible! Besides, they had their Bibles with them always, and that in their own character only…. When, then, this forgetting of one character and learning of another should arise – doth not appear…. Not can it be made to appear that the Samaritan letters had never any vowels affixed to them. Postellus affirms that the Samaritans had points in the days of Jerome – and that their loss of them is the cause of their present corrupt reading….
"Of the qeri uwketib" – the qeri or often several variants which could be read, as distinct from the ketib or written text which could not be altered – "the difference in them is in the consonants, not in the vowels…. [The A.D. 1093-1167] Aben Ezra makes it no small matter that men of old knew aright how to pronounce [the vowel] Kamets Gadol. Saith he…‘The men of Tiberias, also the wise men of Egypt and Africa, knew how to read Kamets Gadol.’"