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Re: Are 1000 scribes too many? was Re: DSS Scribes

>On Thu, 31 Oct 1996, Moshe Shulman wrote:
>> I have a problem understanding the problem. Since these scrolls were written
>> over a period of time, I would expect that there would be many different
>> handwrittings.
>Golb actually gives a specific example of what would be considered a
>reasonable number of scribes. He refers to what I understand to be a
>research by his student of a find of manuscripts in the island of
>Elephantine, upper Egypt, dated to the 5th century, which presumably
>makes it a comparable environment.
>The number of inhabitants of this community is given as "perhaps fifty
>times the estimated number of "sectarians" who have been claimed to live
>at Khirbet Qumran (inner quotations in Golb's text). Nevertheless, they
>relied upon only a dozen or so scribes. And this total served over a
>period of three or four generations." [pages 97-8 in the '95 ed. of "Who
>wrote..."] Its hard to do a simple mathematical projection, but if we
>ignore the difference in population and simply multiply the "dozen or so
>in three generations" by 4 (giving a period of 12 generations, = 300
>years) this gives us 48 scribes, a number smaller by far than that which
>can be deduced from the different handwritings of DSS.

The assumption here is that the community of Khirbet Qumran was as static as
Elephantine was. I think the odds of this are small. Whatever the community
was used for, I think we can assume that there was a greater turnover of

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   |        \/ /  \/ /       |     Moshe Shulman       |
   |        / /\__/_/\       | mshulman@ix.netcom.com  |
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