[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: orion Variations/scribes

It occurs to me to suggest, after reading the exchanges between Rochelle
Altman, Philip Davies, and Greg Doudna--apologies at having omitted
others--that one could notice the variety of scripts at Qumran without
having to believe that many/most/all scrolls come from elsewhere.

On top of all the other uncertainties in this field, there is the idea of
process, and what that process might be with respect to scroll
production. We have been assuming that the <gk>telos</> of the
"monastery" at Qumran was to produce scrolls, or that all the scrolls
were collected somewhere else and dumped at Qumran. 

Most of us have not suspected that the variety of scribal hands
characteristic of the collection of scrolls could be the result of a
process shared by a community -- the Yaxad, if you will -- which used the
Qumran site, and had somewhat different goals from producing and storing

There might have been an individual progression through a variety
of roles which were NOT focused on the goal of scroll production. Rather,
scroll production would be seen as a necessary stage of learning; one
produced a scroll from dictation, then one copied one that had been
ordered, then one originated a pesher that someone else wrote down, and
then one originated liturgical material, and then, as one's gifts and
openness to revelation were recognized, moved on to teaching, or
missonizing, or something, and left the texts behind.

It could be in a different order, of course, though I don't think "taking
dictation" was the ultimate step, somehow. 

This is falsifiable to a certain extent, in that the few times that we see
the same hand in different documents could be examined, with the following
questions in mind: 

	Are these texts of the same, or different, genres?  If they are 
	    in the same genre, then my speculation has no support. If
	    different genres are observed, then
	Are the scribes whose work we see in these different genres using
	    Qumran practice, or do their practices differ in the different
	    mss, or do they differ between scribes? 

That is, what are the regularities that can be observed. Do those
regularities contradict or support a "process" conception of individual
growth and development at Qumran? Then some critical observation and
thought can produce a model out of some of the differences between texts
and hands. 

At that point, there will be some individual points that can be confirmed
or disconfirmed, and others that will have validity as part of the overall
picture, without being falsifiable. 

I'd also suggest that negative results are as important as positive
results, in this kind of study, and deserve publication. We would have
more basic information to help think through the complex models that
continue to be proposed as speculations.  We could accept some of them
tentatively, and discard some as untenable. 

Sigrid Peterson  University of Pennsylvania  petersig@ccat.sas.upenn.edu