…text editing is a necessary hermeneutic tool for students and scholars of Jewish studies. Every student should be introduced to the world of text-critical analysis and avoid considering any edition as a revelation from Sinai. Or rather, he or she should consider the text as written revelation, as Torah she-bikhtav, and apply to it the same rules applicable to the written tradition, i.e., that the text can become meaningful only by the intervention of a reader/interpreter. As the Midrash Sifra states it with an ironic dictum of R. Yishmael, quoting Rabbi Eliezer:

R. Yishmael said to him: You say to the text (katuv): be silent until I explain you!
א”ל רבי ישמעאל: הרי את אומר לכתוב שתוק עד שאדרוש

The silence of the text is the indispensable premise for revelation to happen through the commentary.

Giuseppe Veltri, “From The Best Text To The Pragmatic Edition: On Editing Rabbinic Texts”, in The New Testament and Rabbinic Literature, eds. Reimund Bieringer, Florentino García Martínez, Didier Pollefeyt, Peter Tomson (Leiden & Boston: Brill, 2010), 77-78.

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