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orion Isaiah scroll
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There is another possible set of replies to Steve Abramowitz's questions:
>Does it give evidence of 2 or 3 authors?
Indeed it does appear to have been written by one hand, but the
orthography throughout this scroll is inconsistent and often incorrect -- a
fact that is rarely noted and has never been adequately explained. Some
poor excuses have been offered, however. The same goes for the grammar and
the poor quality of the writing itself. Neither is up to the scribal
standards of the day. When this has come up in the past, the explanation
offered is that there was no standard established for spelling, grammar or
scribal expertise. To put it politely, that is highly debatable.
Some outside the DSS community but who are nonetheless well credentialed
have said it appears to have been written by a non-native Hebrew speaker.
Hard to believe that the most prominent of all the scrolls is such a
dreadful example of scribal tradition and that the questions raised by
these problems have so easily been put to rest. But they keep rising from
>Does it give internal and external evidence of where it was written? Does
it give evidence of when it was written or which parts where written when?<
Well there are a few problems here too. The marginal markings that went
unidentified until 1990 when Victor H. Mair, professor of Chinese at U of
Penn, identified a series of notations as 10 or 12 Chinese characters.
Referring to a similar character in Order of the Community, Mair wrote:
"This character means 'God; divine king, deceased king; emporer.' ... This
means the two strange symbols on the Dead Sea Scrolls, which appear to be
mimicking it could not possibly be dated before 100 CE .... My impression,
moreover, is that the two Dead Sea Scrolls symbols are much later, perhaps
by as much as 700 or more years."
The points in Isaiah where these markings appear are often interesting,
as are the heavy Xs that also appear in the margins. The fact that the Xs,
a common Christian symbol in later centuries, and the Chinese symbols
appear beside messianic passages has never resulted in a whisper of a
suggestion that Isaiah was, at the very least, handled by Christians well
after 68 CE.
Oh, and then there's Isaiah 7:11. Norman Golb was one of the scholars I
spoke to in 1995 who freely translated it as, "Ask a sign of the mother of
God ..." instead of Ahaz being told to "Ask a sign of the Lord your God."
This would of course be a hard concept for a Jewish scribe to get around,
especially since it appears immediatley before the often debated passage
that many translate as referring to a virgin bearing a son. When asked
why 7:11 was not translated into modern Hebrew as it stands in the Isaiah
scroll, Dr. Golb said it was because it made no sense and was an obvious
scribal error. "Mother" didn't even merit a footnote, and has never been
mentioned by any mainline DSS scholar. It might suggest, however, that
someone tinkered with the original at some later time. This "scribal error"
is not the only one of its kind in Isaiah.
Of course, there's always C14.