Benei Miqra ha-Qara’im בְּנֵי מִקְרָא הַקַּרָאִים

Benei Miqra ha-Qara’im [בְּנֵי מִקְרָא הַקַּרָאִים] are the Karaite Sons of Scripture; early Rabbinical writing called the Qaraites Qera’in¹ קְרָאִין which is the plural participle form from Qera קְרָא Aramaic for the Reading vocalized in Tenakh [for example, the keri part of the keri and kethib]. The plural of קְרָא is קְרָאֵי . The Qaraites were well known to have preferred the Qere over the Kethiv. The Hebrew קַרָאִים came from the Aramaic for textual scholar² קַרָא the plural of which is קַרָאֵי. The Qera’in were well known for their love of the Miqra and their knowledge of every part of it. It was the Qera’in who preserved the Masorah- the vocalization of the Tenakh.

Qaraite, also spelled Karaites, differ from their Rabbinical counterparts in that the Karaites do not hold the oral transmission of tradition as being divinely revealed at Sinai along with the written Torah. On the contrary, the Karaites consider all oral traditions as being secondary commentary, custom and exegesis passed along from the time just shortly after the Jewish exiles from Babylonia and Persia returned to the Land of Israel. It was about this time that a great rift formed among the Israelites which was the impetus for the formation of the Sadducee [צְדוּקִים- the vindicated] and Pharisee [פְּרוּשִׂים- the separatists] sects- the former being the sect which rejected the divine nature of the traditions passed along by the latter.

¹ ben Jonah, Benjamin. The Itenerary of Rabbi Benjmin of Tudela, translated and edited by Asher, A. vol I, New York, Hakesheth Publishing, page 80, 1841.


² Jastrow, Marcus. Dictionary of Targumim, Talmud and Midrashic Literature, Page 1409-1410, (1926).