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Re: orion Ostracon
> 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. . . .
On the nun in NTN, in the drawing Cr/E have it short, but faintly
in the IEJ photo and definitely in the color photo the rest of the
bottom of that final nun is there, slanting slightly down to the left.
NTN is of course the pivot word but the correctness of the Cross/Eshel
reading of this word seems indisputable.
> 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
1QS is not characterized by defective spellings of this nature,
and there are no defective spellings of HWN elsewhere in Qumran
texts that I could find. I was citing XNY as the closest similar sound
phenomenon. But 1QS orthography is irrelevant to this question.
What is relevant is whether the writer of the ostracon is capable of
spelling defectively and the answer is yes. Note Cross/Eshel's reading
TXWMY in line 6, except the W isn't there. And an aleph has been
elided in the first word of line 8.
> 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,
Following NTN you would naturally expect a proper name in keeping
with the Cross/Eshel reading, so my alternative is probably wrong.
Here is what puzzles me though: there is a right ear on the letter
as both Chets and Hes have. A left ear as only Chets have is debateable;
you can as easily see a left horizontal extension that He's have. A
bottom of a left leg is missing whichever letter it is. But there seems
to be intentional ink between the top left and the middle of the right
downstroke that pattern matches to the horizontal stroke slanting
downward to the right of the He of line 7, letter 8. Nevertheless the
ambiguity is such that the expectation of a name, which must then
be XNY, seems the weightier consideration.
Compare this Aramaic text from 417 BCE in Porten and Yardeni,
_Textbook of Aramaic Documents from Ancient Egypt_ (1993,
Eisenbrauns), p. 219:
Memorandum: cups of bronze which gave (NTN)
Hanan son of Haggai into the hand of Jedaniah son of -PN-
cups of bronze 21
silver cup 1
. . .
rods . . .
sprinklers 7 to pour libations