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

Re: orion Spoken DSS Hebrew

    [The following text is in the "iso-8859-1" character set]
    [Your display is set for the "US-ASCII" character set]
    [Some characters may be displayed incorrectly]

John Hays wrote:

> Thanks, Fred Cryer, for your response.
> I found it strange that despite the data that Qimron sets out, he and
> Strugnell could say, "We believe that the language of MMT, more than
> that of any other Qumranic text, reflects the spoken Hebrew of
> Qumran."
> ["An Unpublished Halakhic Letter from Qumran", Biblical Archaeology
> Today, ed. Janet Amitai (Jerusalem 1985) p406] The spoken nature of
> Hebrew seems apparent.
> He even mentions the Bar-Kochba letters and some of their similarities
> to DSS Hebrew. One might wonder what Bar-Kochba had to do with the
> speakers of DSS Hebrew, if it weren't a widely spoken
> dialect/ideolect.

    I still believe the dominant language of the ordinary populace
wasAramaic, otherwise there would have been no need for Aramaic
targumin such as 11Q10, 4Q147, and 4Q 157 nor for 4Q246, 1Q21,
4Q213, 214, 4Q534, 4Q201, 202, 204, 1Q20, 1Q23, 2Q26, 6Q8, 4Q530,
531,532, 1Q32, 2Q24, 4Q554, 5Q15, 11Q18, 4Q550, 4Q243-245,
4Q542, 4Q196-199, 4Q318.

    I don't think, as others have claimed, that the representation of
language throughout the DSS corpus is indicative of the representation
of linguistic usage of the general population, otherwise there would
been a larger representation of Greek.  I think the type of texts is
telling of an infra-cultural use of Hebrew among the DSS people.
This same type of infra-cultural Hebrew dialect may have been developing

among the bar Kochba people as a nationalistic design, yet most of the
letters of Bar Kochba found in the bundle in the "cave of letters" at
Nahal Hever were in Aramaic.

    It is this *genre* of texts in Aramaic that makes me wonder if these

"sectarians" were not as sequestered as we may believe since the
Aramaic scrolls seem to be of a "liturgical" type and, of course,
the purpose of Targumim were to interpret biblical Hebrew texts for
the Aramaic speaking populace.  Did the DSS people conduct some
form of liturgical discourse for the average "man on the street?"

> There does seem to be some explaining to do in all this. Without
> resorting to the possibility that the inhabitants of Judea were
> linguistic wizards, how can there be a strong Greek component, as seen
> in commemorative and funerary inscriptions (along with the Babitha
> archive), a strong Aramaic component, and at least two forms of
> Hebrew,
> the DSS variety and the Late Biblical --> Mishnaic variety. (We may
> grant that two varieties of Hebrew were somehow either regionally
> based
> or class based -- the most usual explanations for dialect
> differences.)

    I guess my first question on this issue is whether the DSS Hebrew
andBiblical Hebrew texts were contemporaneous.

> I don't believe that there were many sufficiently bilingual speakers
> who
> were comfortable in both languages, let alone trilingual. That Nahal
> Hever and Wadi Murabba'at attest to three languages in close proximity
> asks for understanding.

    Yigael Yadin explains this with Aramaic as the lingua franca,
Hebrewas an attempt, perhaps by an order of Shimeon, to revive Hebrew,
the Greek letters from a representation of Greek speaking Jews in his
military camps.

> These finds do show that Aramaic was marginally more used, at least in
> what has been preserved.
> Still, one thing that intrigues me is the fact that so many flavours
> of
> Hebrew can be seen among the DSS. If MMT is representative of the bulk
> of the texts why is it in a different dialect? And while we are on
> such
> unlikely to be answered questions, why is the large Isaiah text from
> cave 1 basically in DSS Hebrew and not in standard Biblical Hebrew?

    Is it not possible that a hundred years separates MMT from
1QIs(a)?Is it also possible that Isaiah A was a "study text" for the DSS
rather than a "Biblical" text?


Díman dith laych idneh dínishMA nishMA
   Jack Kilmon (jpman@accesscomm.net)