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Re: orion ORION: Limits & the DSS (Illustrated)

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Like Philip Davies, I, too, found Rochelleīs contribution interesting. In
answer to his question about the particular statement cited, as to scribes
always using particular forms "because they must", the answer is that not
only is it falsifiable, it is in fact false. James Barrīs fine study on the
*Variable Spellings of the Hebrew Bible* shows the wide range of spelling
practices that were available to Hebrew scribes with no one, apparently,
sensing any incongruity or solecism. The same or an even greater range of
choices was available to Babylonian and Assyrian scribes. Given the wide
variety of graphemes available to them, there were always options when
expressing particular syllables, or indeed even as far as the question as
to whether a word was to be expressed syllabically or in logogrammatic form
was concerned. In fact, this point is obvious, as one of the primary
characteristics of natural language systems is that they possess a high
degree of redundancy, whereas artificial languages --like, e.g., computer
languages-- do not. 
In connexion with the DSS, it is clear that the scribes had great freedom,
as numerous scripts were available to them and used by them, and, moreover,
as they in fact produced both shorter and longer versions of the same texts
with no apparent constraints as to "verbatim" reproduction. Eugene Ulrich
put this succinctly when he remarked that the unit the scribes sought to
preserve and transmit was not the word, line, paragraph or chapter, but the
*book*, meaning that the lesser units were hardly compulsory items.

best regards,

Fred Cryer