from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- The scribes; the ancient teachers or expounders of the Jewish oral law.
Sorry, no etymologies found.
The sopherim were so called because they wrote out the law, or because they classified and arranged its precepts, or because they counted with scrupulous minuteness every elapse and letter It contained.
-- (1) Three meanings are connected with the verb saphar, the root of sopherim -- (a) to write, (b) to set in order, (c) to count.