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orion mssg from Philip Davies

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Tue, 12 Aug 1997 06:01:51 +0000
From: philip davies <P.Davies@sheffield.ac.uk>
To: msorion@mscc.huji.ac.il

I have collected comments on recent mail (while I was absent) ino this
single posting. Apologies for th time-lag.

Yirmiyahu Ben-David wrote:

As a point of information mentioned before, the Romans didn't rename the
area known as Yehudah (Judea) to become 'Palestine' until 135 CE.  The
single mention (perhaps two) of 'Palestine' before that referred to areas of
'Azah (Gaza) and/or part of Levanon or Syria; *not* Yehudah.  It's
anachronistic, illogical and oxymoronic to refer to "Palestine in the 1st

Coincidentally, I was just reading Richardson's new book on Herod, where he
describes Herod's domains. He points out that Herod was not king of Judah
but of the Jews; his kingdom was not 'Judah' but a combination of many
territories, mostly given to him  by Rome.  Masada and Hebron were in
Idumea, not Judah; northern Galilee in Iturea, part of the coastal plain
was Philistia, Bethshan belonged to the Decapolis, etc. etc. 1st century
BCE/CE Judah was much smaller than modern Israel. I do not want to insist
on pedantry for its own sake, but if nomenclature is such a touchy matter,
then let us by all means be very very precise.......!!!

On palaeography as an exact science (Brad Harrison), 2 comments:

1. Typology andchronology are not the same thing. Typological analysis is
reasonably sound but evolution does proceed uniformly and relative datings
canot be tranformed into a precise chronological scheme. A margin of error
of a generation each way (ie at least fifty years overall) is not at all

2. The underlying assumption of the palaeographic method applpied to Q is
that the scrolls were from a single scriptorium. That is now a dubious
hypothesis (I accept with Stephen Goranson that it is not ruled out, but
the number of different hands constitiutes a problem). We certainly cannot
assume a single scribal tradition in the Q scrolls. Therefore, one has to
suppose the strong possibility of various scribal conventions (including
the famous Tovian 'Qumran scribal school'). Why assume that typologies
correspond? Once we allow that scribal schools did not immediately
influence each other but only that over a century or so new letter shapes
did evolve, how on earth can one say that a demonstrable typological
evolution can be assigned a date to within anything like the absurdly close
limits of Cross and his acolytes?

I agree with Greg that common sense is not a good guide to C14
calculations, but there is no reason to ignore it in doing palaeographical

Philip R Davies
Department of Biblical Studies
University of Sheffield