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orion RE: ORION Answering Greg D. (Long)
On Wednesday, October 8, 1997, Greg D. wrote:
> Following this discussion with keen interest . . . If the dictation
> idea for the production of Qumran texts is correct,
> is there a way to distinguish a copy dictated by an author from a
> copy dictated by a non-author?
Not that I can think of.
>Would an author proofread and edit the copy written by the scribe?
Surely. That's where we'll find autographs. They'll even add foot
notes to a fine copy. There is one example of an autograph by
AElfric the Grammarian (10th CE). It shows up as an addendum to
his _First Series of Catholic Homilies_ in the lower margin of
f. 105r. (BL Royal 7 C.) It also offers a clear example of the
contrast between copied and "as-spoken" and/or dictated texts.
>Who is responsible for the formatting? i.e. how long lines
>will be, whether the divine name is in paleohebrew, paragraph
>division markings, that sort of thing? The author or the scribe?
Scribes. They were the ones trained to lay out pages. A 9th century
scribe's handbook gives the formulae for laying out pages. The same
formulas can be used to reconstruct the size of damaged documents ...
including the DSS. If we have one complete margin and one complete
line (that's all we need), we can determine the original size of a
leaf or the original height of a scroll.
On the continuity of layout, aka, book design, see Jan Tschichold,
_The Form of the Book: Essays on the Morality of Good Design_
(London: Humphries, 1991). Tschichold worked out for himself the
formulae that are in the 9th century scribe's handbook.
There are MSS around where the leaves were prepared in advance for
taking dictation. A later scribe's handbook discusses how to prepare
for taking dictation. Directions include preparation of enough pre-
formatted pages and makes the point that it would be best to prepare
at least 60 pens in the correct size beforehand. "Book dealer"
scribes would layout and pre-draw the format for an entire MS and
then parcel the work out to a number of sub-contractor scribes.
(Example: _The Auchinleck Manuscript_. All 300 plus pages were
predrawn. There is quite a large bibliography on this one.)
We have pre-formatted scrolls at Qumran. Some could quite easily
have been prepared for taking dictation.
Another point; if someone wanted a number of copies of a text, a
reader stood at a lectern (or equivalent) and dictated the text to
teams of scribes. The teams were usually composed of four scribes
who took turns as the ink ran out. If you wanted three copies, you
dictated to three teams. Could this technique account for the
multiple hands in some of the DSS? (Just a thought.)
>Furthermore, do you have a reason to think that an alternative
>practice would not have occurred (referring to the Qumran texts)
>--that an author would work up a copy in writing, and turn it
>over to a scribe to produce it professionally? (Then it would
>either be copied by eye or by scribe-to-scribe dictation?)
Always possible, just unlikely. Writing is *extremely* conservative.
>For example, the author(s) of Isaiah--some parts are so filled
>with wordplays could this have been composed in the head, rather
>than worked out on paper, so to speak? And acrostic psalms--and
>paranomasia phenomenae . . .
They sure could have been composed in the head. Howlett goes into
this, so does Carruthers. We could also look at Brian O Cuiv, _The
Linguistic Training of the Mediaeval Irish Poet. Statuatory Lecture
1969_. School of Celtic Studies. Dublin. Hertford: Stephen Austin
and Sons, Ltd., 1973.
>Would an ancient author dictate to a scribe like we use a computer,
>to get a printout? Today, we make corrections on a printout (at
>least I do) several times, enter changes, and get a new printout.
>Is there any reason why this would not happen anciently?
No, but, see above about composing in the head. Even dictated texts
rarely have the chicken scratched look so common today.
>This ends up with the question someone asked about fair copies, or
>first editions of a finished copy. These would be contemporary with
>the author and the equivalent, in modern terms, to a first edition.
The 8th century _Moore Bede_ is a "first edition" in these terms.
>Perhaps at Qumran we are looking at many such first editions?
>How could this question be answered, yes or no?
>i.e. are you reporting a mainstream; personal research that is
>in line with but goes beyond a mainstream;
Yes, but we are talking about a very interdisciplinary area.
One field's "doesn't everybody know that" is a "you've got to
be kidding" in another.
For instance, the movement of the symbols within the trilinear
limits aspect is from my research. But, it followed from the
pioneering work of Robert Stevick in Anglo-Saxon studies
(_Suprasegmentals, Meter and the Manuscript of Beowulf_. The
Hague: Mouton 1968), and the fine pioneer work by Columba Kelly
in Gregorian Semiological Studies (_The Cursive Torculus Design
in the Codex St. Gall 359 and its Rhythmical Significance: A
Paleographical and Semiological Study. St. Meinrad, Indiana:
Abbey, 1964) on the meaning of spacing in the MSS. Katherine O.
O'Keeffe's work (_Visible Song: Transitional Literacy in Old
English Verse. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1990) is relevant, too...
but from a different angle.
For a discussion of scribe's writing what they hear, see DeFrancis
(already posted). If you're talking about the sound aspect, that's
from research on voice-interfaces and musical sound signals. See,
for instance, Giovanni De Poli, Aldo Piccialli, and Curtis Roads,
_Representations of Musical Signals_. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press,
1991. For a study that applies music theory to voice, see James G.
Southworth, _Verses of Cadence: An Introduction to the Prosody of
Chaucer and his followers_. (Oxford: Blackwell, 1954).
BTW, if you look at a voice scan (a spectrophonogram, technically)
and then compare it to a leaf of an early MS, you will that
the graphic symbols clump and space and rise and fall in exactly
the same wave forms.
About script as political indicator, see Morison (already mentioned)
and Armando Petrucci, _Public Lettering: Script, Power, and Culture_.
(Chicago: U Chicago Press, 1993).
For script = identity, see discussions of the Syriac, Parsi, Arabic,
and Japanese scripts. See also Jack Goody's _The Interface between
the written and the Oral_ (Cambridge: CUP, 1987). (Goody's field is
If you're talking about system design, script design, and book
design, that's from academic study and training, as well as the
application of the principals under actual working conditions.
Limits are an important part of system and script design.
>or personal research that goes against a mainstream?
Well, I sure have upset _some_ folks (mostly AS metricists, tsk, tsk).
>(Just to help some on this list get this discussion of
>limits, ascenders, et al located on a landscape.) Naively,
>like most, I trust experts in other fields, like writers of encyclopedia
>articles, to get it right, in clean and orderly constructions that can
>be trusted, even though I know my own field is filled with ferment.
>But this paradox will always be with us. :-) Anyway thanks for
>the interesting posts.
You're welcome :-)
PS: The nicest part about my work is that, once these things are
explained, they can be checked and reproduced by anybody.
PPS: My bibliography (and facs, photos, etc.) is an accumulation
across more than 40 years. If someone has a specific request, I'll
try to send them some more bib.
Dr. R. I. S. Altman RISA@CONCENTRIC.NET
Voice/FAX: 602-834-6640 XNK@DELPHI.COM