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Re: orion Ostracon

Greg Doudna wrote:
[snip "second year" material]
> The best shot at a 1QS connection, it seems to me, would be the 9th 
> letter of line 2.  I have studied that letter and compared it against the 
> other Chets and Hes in this text until I see these letters in my sleep.  
> Back when I thought the word could be no other than the proper name 
> Honi (XNY) as read by Cross/Eshel I still could not see a chet there.  
> In the IEJ photograph the letter is a sort of blot that looks ambiguous, 
> but I am looking at a color photo in A. Roitman, ed. _A Day at Qumran_, 
> published by Shrine of the Book, 1997.  (Beautiful coffee table book; 
> anyone serious about working on the ostracon ought to get this book 
> just for the color photo in it.) 

Any idea how much it is?

> If it could be shown the letter is a He, 
> _as it looks like to me_, then you get a sequence NTN HNW or "(PN), 
> (who dwells) in Jericho, gave his wealth (phrase beginning with B)..."

I notice a couple of different things here.  First, I have to 
question the reading NTN, at least based on the photo and C&E's 
transcription.  The third letter looks much too short to be a final 
nun.  There's a clear example of a final nun just below it in line 3, 
and from what I can see it is not only about 3 times longer, it 
doesn't have the little hook at the top.  Going by the size and the 
shape of the top of the letter, it looks like a waw to me.

Second, I notice that your reading not only changes the first letter 
from het to he, it also changes the third letter from yod to waw.  
Again, looking at the photo and the transcription, I see a yod.  The 
left leg of the top part is much more pronounced than most of the 
he's further down, and HYWM in line 6 shows a distinct difference 
between the two, with the yod much shorter.  (The purported waw in 
L<`>WL[M at the end of line 6 is a study in itself, and I frankly 
find their reasons for reading L`WLM unconvincing.  It looks like 
LYL[H?] to me.)  The three letters look like <smudge>NY to me.

> Then you would have an interesting 1QS semantic and word parallel.  
> The defective spelling is not a problem since the name Honi spelled 
> defectively XNY in Murabba'at texts and other examples attest the 
> orthographic phenomenon.  But there are issues: (a) is the resulting 
> sentence structure natural?, and (b) can a He reading in fact be 
> confirmed and a Chet reading excluded? 

Re the defective spelling: I'm a little confused as to how a 
defective spelling of XNY in Murabba`at texts justifies a defective 
spelling of HWN here.  If we're really going for a 1QS link here, we 
would need examples of HWN spelled defectively in that document, at 
least it seems so to me.  I don't have access to the Hebrew text of 
1QS at the moment, so perhaps someone else can enlighten me about 
that.  If it is spelled defectively in 1QS and/or other documents 
from the 11 caves, then we have possibilities - assuming, of course, 
that the smudge is in fact a he.

> Perhaps the most informed answer I received from my Danish tutor 
> today.  I showed the letter and said, "If you can tell me whether that 
> is a Chet or a He you can change Qumran history for all 
> time.  What does that blot of ink look like to you?"  Her answer was, 
> "I'd call that letter a Rorschach".  No question a 1QS connection 
> would be interesting.  But what can be known on the basis of 
> evidence?  That is the issue.

I have to agree with your tutor.  I scanned the photo and have been 
doing some enhancing on it in various ways, and for the life of me, 
it looks like - a butterfly!  Rorschach indeed!  Seriously, though, 
zooming in on it I can see the raised strokes on both top corners and 
the sort of U-shaped dip in the middle of the top stroke.  The 
nearest het to compare it with is in the same line, fourth letter, in 
the word "Jericho."  That letter has the points on top, and the 
vertical stroke on the left curves in toward the center of the letter 
much as the left side of the smudge does.  I'm afraid I have to stick 
with het for this letter.  However, I could be convinced to read the 
word as XNW as opposed to XNY.
Dave Washburn