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Re: orion ORION: Autograph vs. copy (4-1/2 screens plus notes)
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I meant "evolved" in the simple sense of complex and at the same time
standardised: elaborated considerably to meet a wide number of different
demands, as was the case with the writing of Greek and Latin antiquity, and
as was palpably not the case in Syria-Palestine of the first century bce.
The DSS do not reveal an internally consistent scribal practice: too many
different scripts, too many different orthographies, only a small minority
of the texts (Tov numbers between 120 and 130 mss) show the influence of
the so-called "Qumran scribal practice" with respect to editing and layout
and even orthography, nor is there uniformity even with respect to the
languages employed. A previous contributor wanted to point to the
continuity with ANE scribal systems. There were indeed wonderfully
developed and also some intentionally archaic and retrograde writing
systems in use in the ANE, but the DSS do not reflect the conventions of
Babylonian and Assyrian scribes accomodating syllabic and logographic
writing to clay tablets; nor do they reflect the conventions of Egyptian
scribal practice. We may guess at the influence of the great wealth of
Phoenician and Aramaic literatures that may be presumed to have existed,
and which no doubt exercised an influence on Israelite and Judaean scribal
practices, but we possess virtually none of it, and that sort of straw-man
argumentation is pointless.
Nor do the DSS *pace* Michelle Altman reflect the conventions of Greek and
Latin scribal practice: my word, they would have been easier to deal with
if they *did* do so!
The largest corpus of semitic language materials from the NW-semitic region
in the period in question is and remains the DSS themselves; once again,
scholars should direct their attention to the actual scribal practices
demonstrable in the Scrolls instead of racking them on Procrustes´ bed. The
"sources and analogues" approach has profound limits, and we encounter them
on this issue speedily.
Frederick H. Cryer
Assoc. Prof. for Research
Univ. of Copenhagen
Faculty of Theology
1150 København K.
fax: (045) 35 32 36 52