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orion Orion yahad ostracon

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Due to problems with my primary email account, this and one other post
bounced.  Avital was kind enough to send them back to me so I can repost
them, so here is this one:

 Greg Doudna wrote in response to my post:
 > > 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.
 Yes, I see it in the photo now that you point it out.  I stand
 > NTN is of course the pivot word but the correctness of the Cross/Eshel
 > reading of this word seems indisputable.
 I'm not sure I follow why NTN is so pivotal.  It's a word with many
 meanings and nuances, and while it is of course possible that it
 indicates a "turning over" of something as the Essenists suggest, it
 could indicate several other things.  This is especially true in the
 absence of the YXD reading.
 > > 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.
 Agreed.  My point was that if we are to look outside this particular
 ostracon to back the idea of a defective reading, a document that was
 found in closer proximity to the ostracon would seem like a more
 likely place to make a valid comparison.  It seems especially
 important considering that the attempt at hand is to make a
 connection between this document and 1QS.
 > 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.
 Actually, in the IEJ photo the W is pretty clear.  Poorly written,
 but definitely there.  Also, I'm not convinced of the elided aleph in
 line 8.  I also question the supplied aleph in line 6: it looks like
 W)T XWMY to me.
 > > 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.
 When I was fiddling with the image, the left ear and the left leg
 were both visible.  Here is what I did: I scanned the image as a
 2-color bitmap at 600 dpi resolution.  Then, using Adobe Photostyler,
 I converted it to a grayscale gif with a cell size of between 5 and 6
 pixels, thus producing lines with fuzzier borders but better shape
 definition.  In the resulting image, the left leg curves sharply
 inward until it pretty much touches the right leg about halfway down,
 then angles back outward.  If the enhancement is giving a reasonably
 true representation of the angles involved, it's definitely a het.

Dave Washburn