Himnon Ramah History

From alumnus Arthur Elstein:

A number of years ago I visited with esteemed scholar Moshe Greenberg, the author of Himnon Ramah, at Harriet Elazar’s apartment in Jerusalem.  I told him that over the years a number of changes had crept into the Ramah hymn (click here to read the lyrics).   Here are the notes he sent me afterwards, dated July 2003, which explain his reasoning for every place in the text where changes have occurred over the years.  When he died, I sent his wife Evelyn a condolence note.  In her reply, she said that Jeff Tigay, who had succeeded Moshe in the Bible chair at Penn, used the Ramah hymn in his classes as an example of how errors can creep into a text in a relatively short time, not to speak of centuries of transmission.  Interestingly, each of the changes is in the direction of making the Hebrew simpler and less “literary,” yet Moshe had Biblical precedents for the usages he picked.