[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: orion ostracon

> 	For line 8 of the new Qumran Essene ostracon, Cross and Eshel give
> the translation "when he fulfills (his oath) to the Community[" . To the
> best of my current knowledge, that translation, and the underlying reading,
> is the best available.  . . . None of the alternates I have read
> (or thought of myself) so far are persuasive.

At the Jerusalem conference Golb showed a photograph in 
which the letter transcribed by Cross and Eshel as a yod is not 
the massive inverted arrowhead (too large to be a yod in any case) 
of Cross and Eshel; instead there is a vertical upright line inside 
the "arrowhead" which is the actual letter.  This is visible in the IEJ 
photograph.  The letter is either a gimel or a nun, and cannot 
be a yod.  Therefore there is no "yachad" reading.  At the end of 
his talk Golb reported with permission the judgment of Joseph 
Naveh that the "yachad" reading does not exist. 

No argument here with the Cross/Eshel reading of the preceding word, 
the temporal "and when he fulfills...".  But the noun "Yachad" is not the 
word that fills the next slot.  I spent a lot of time in Jerusalem 
studying that ostracon through the glass case.  Fred Cryer and I have 
prepared an article with readings of all lines.  The readings and 
interpretations of Cryer and me differ in a number of places; both of 
our versions and arguments are presented in the same article.  However 
both of us agree on the same solution for the critical word, which may be 
formulated as a word puzzle which must fulfill the following constraints:

     First letter: lamed
     Second letter: gimel or nun
     Third letter: aleph
     Fourth letter: dalet, chet, zayin (or kaph?)
     Fifth or more letters: All possibilities (lacuna)

The correct word in this land sale (not deed of gift) seems hardly 
other than lamed-nun-aleph-chet-(zayin...), niphal infinitive of 
aleph-chet-zayin, "and when he completes taking possession 
(of it)..."  For the full argument, see our article (forthcoming).  

In short there is no "yachad" and nothing identifiably Essene in 
this ostracon.  Cross and Eshel have the names Eleazar, and probably 
Honi, right.  Those are the principals.  Honi is buying land from 
Eleazar.  (Cryer has Eleazar buying land from Honi.)  This ostracon 
is of interest because it is what is actually happening at Qumran, 
and because it is also the most extensive text that can be known to 
have been written at Qumran.

Greg Doudna