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Thank you for your response, Dr. Goranson.
Regarding Isaiah, my comments about the problems of the script,
spelling and grammar in this document reflect only what I have been told by
scholars well trained in Hebrew and ancient manuscripts. Those problems are
there and they are inconsistent even with other scrolls, I believe. I have
read the explanations and heard them in interviews, but I find it difficult
to believe that the frequency of the problems can be explained by scribal
carelessness or accidents.
Has anyone even suggested that Isaiah was written by someone other than
a Jewish scribe in ancient Israel?
Yes, the "non-letter scribal markings" have been chronicled and
discussed but it was only speculation, and no one identified them as
anything, much less Chinese or even possible Chinese before Dr. Mair's
report. If these markings are Chinese, they're Chinese. They simply
cannot be brushed off as accidental scribblings that happen to mean "a
divine king who is slain" in 7th Century CE Chinese.
I may have this name wrong, but I believe an Australian specialist in
Chinese Jewry named Donald Leslie confirmed Mair's findings in 1993 or so
and translated other characters in Isaiah that Mair never saw. His paper
was published by the hard-to-find Sino-Judaic Institute in California. In
our research, we have found leading scholars of Chinese who have confirmed
Chinese characters in Isaiah, Order of the Community and other scrolls.
There is more to come on this, I promise.
Yes, I read Dr. Klein's response to Neil Altman's article in The
Lutheran. It was Dr. Klein who delivered the copies of the marginal
markings from Altman to Mair in the first place, I believe. No, he did not
agree with Altman's conclusions and the tone of his letter to the editor
would not have been taken kindly on this forum.
To be frank, it would seem a miracle that any non-traditional scholar
would stumble upon evidence that true experts would have missed for years
or that an alternative view that some would call "far out" might eventually
prevail in part or in whole. But there is this troubling matter of the
Chinese. Apparently. And if it is late, then the difficulty of the
explanation cannot change that. There will have to be a new explanation.
While I have edited some of Altman's pieces, I probably know more about
crime scenes than manuscripts. But the investigation of both can be very
similar. We all have heard of cases in which an initial, dominant theory of
who did what in a room was overturned by fingerprints, fibers and other
small but important bits of evidence. And it's not always the ranking
investigator on the scene who gets to the bottom of it. Sometimes it's a
mousy little guy with persistence and a microscope who is regarded as an
anklebiter by the boys upstairs.
There is a lot of evidence in Isaiah and other scrolls that hasn't been
dealt with. Little things that are out of place in BCE documents sealed up
in the 1st century CE. I believe we have found a few and whether or not we
can explain how they got there or not does not diminish the fact of their
presence. But if the evidence IS there, then there is an explanation for
Didn't it sound unlikely in 1865 that organisms invisible to the naked
eye could kill? Didn't it sound unlikely that world-class art experts in
the past two decades could confirm van Gogh's hand on one forgery after
Yes, I'm keeping my day job. Thanks for the hearing.
>> I have read the idea you present, or variations, two or three times.
are many studies on the Isaiah a scroll (H. Orlinsky, W. Brownlee...).
Spelling variants and mistakes are common in handwriting (and typing,
including my own!).
These marks were discussed in BA or BAR, I think. E.
Tov has written on non-letter scribal marks. I was sent a clipping of an
article from The Lutheran magazine which brought a response from, I think,
Ralph Klein, a year or two ago, if you want to check indexes. I am not
aware of any evidence to date the scroll later than Second Temple period.
I don't know Chinese (I forgot most of the few characters I learned
college roomate). You name one proponent that these markings are Chinese.
Do other scholars of Chinese agree? Doesn't it sound unlikely that a
Chinese Hebrew-reader visited Qumran (or wherever the text was copied) or
that the scroll traveled to China then to the Qumran cave? Sincerely,
Stephen Goranson firstname.lastname@example.org <<