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Re: orion Newsday piece (& red ink)
Dear David Crowder,
I quoted two statements about red ink attributed to Neil Altman in
the Newsday article:
(1) "The earliest known use of red ink on manuscripts dates to the third
or fourth century after Jesus."
This is false. I mentioned that various ancient Egyptian examples
are earlier. And pallettes with red and black ink remains have been found.
Charles E. Jones gave further bibliography. See also A. Lucas and J.R.
Harris, Ancient Egyptian Materials and Industries (London, 1963) 362-3 for
further information and references. Nathan Jastram discusses red ink in DJD
XII (1994) 210-11, with further bibliography; he also notes red writing at
Kuntillet 'Ajrud and Deir 'Alla. M. Baillet in DJD III--published in
1962-- discusses red ink on pages 69-70. The Mishnah, usually dated as
completed about 200 CE or slightly later, discusses red ink.
(2) "For 50 years they [the scroll editors] kept quiet that red ink was used."
This is false. In addition to the references above, the mention of
red ink in Biblical Archaeologist (quoted before) is in an English version
of a French article published in Revue Biblique that same year. F. Cross
also mentions red ink in his 1960 book Ancient Library of Qumran and in
three further articles (dated 1964, 1965, and 1972). At least, that's what
Joseph Fitzmyer wrote in his Dead Sea Scrolls: Major Publications and Tools
for Study (Scholars Press, 1990), page 32, where he mentioned red ink and
listed the verses in 4QNum b where it appears.
Can we agree that those two statements are false?
In your post, quoted below, you wrote that the DSS red ink is not
cinnabar. But the article (not book) by Nir-El and Broshi reports that ink
from four Qumran fragments *is* cinnabar. Samples of ancient Egyptian red
ink have been found to be red ochre. There are more than one or two ways to
make red ink, and, yes, that has some significance. For example, the Lucas
reference (above) notes that uses of Egyptian red ink with minium "was very
unlikely before Roman times." But the quotations of Mr. Altman in Newsday
did not address the question of the composition of red ink, only its
Stephen Goranson firstname.lastname@example.org
> While I'm here, I will say Mr. Altman and I shall be responding to Dr.
>Goranson and the red ink issue, here and elsewhere. But if I am not
>mistaken, the fragments with red ink shown in color in DJD for the first
>time are not really identified with anything other than PAM numbers that
>refer to the photos themselves. The DJD series and the new book on red ink
>in the scrolls were not published until 1996, which is 49 years and change
>after the first discoveries of the scrolls, Cross' 1956 article
> We relied on some pretty good people for that information, and there will
>more to say. Two questions, though: Was the Egyptian use of cinnabar at
>any time remotely close to the period when the scrolls were supposed to
>have been written? We are told not. And, we understand the red ink in the
>scrolls is not cinnabar. Is that significant? [....]