Tuesday, November 06, 2007

The complete, accurate, original and authentic Vilna Romm Shas?

The following advertisement appeared in last week's Jewish Press:

What's interesting about this ad is the following under the heading "complete and accurate": "Each page has been thoroughly checked against the original Vilna-Romm Shas and retouched to enhance legibility and insure authenticity."

It's unclear to me what is meant by "authenticity." An authentic Shas or an authentic Vilna Shas?

There is an interesting sefer by by R. Dovid Cohen called העקוב למישור which tracks and correct printing errors in the original Vilna shas (Rashi and Tosfos included). Some of these were due to the usual suspects, graphic similarity of letters, dittography, haplography, etc. Interestingly, some were due to the Lithuanian pronunciation of Hebrew (or, Aramaic, as it were)! The typesetter would listen to someone read the text, and sometimes think another word was being read, for example, confusing a שׁ and a ס.

I wish I could supply examples, but I gave my copy to someone. In any case, there are hundreds of examples.

Many of these mistakes were long since corrected, so your gemara may well not reflect these errors. However, it seems to me that if this new version aims to match the "original Vilna-Romm Shas" for its "authenticity," then its barking up the wrong tree.

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