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orion a little more on red ink
Here is a little more on red ink. This information further contradicts
remarks by Neil Altman which claim that the Qumran manuscripts are medieval
and not ancient.
Mishna Megilla 2.2 lists cases in which the obligation to read the
scroll (of Esther) is and is not fulfilled. If one reads a scroll written
in red, it says, the obligation is not fulfilled. Such a ruling makes sense
only if there were at that time Biblical scrolls written in red.
In addition to the Egyptian pallettes for red and black ink, double
inkwells have been found in Italy. In Pompeii wall paintings show double
inkwells, evidently for black and red ink. These paintings must be dated
before the volcano erruption of 79.
That same erruption of Mt. Vesuvius killed Pliny the Elder, author
of the encyclopedic compilation, Natural History. In this work Pliny, using
a source from the time of Herod the Great, described the Essene settlement
near the Dead Sea and between Jericho and Ein Gedi (the latter which was
still in its ruined state following its destruction in about 40 BCE). (In
my opinion, this was M. Agrippa's description of Qumran and Ein Feshkha in
15 BCE.) In Natural History Pliny discussed the red pigment cinnabar
(minium, mercury sulfide), which is the type of red ink found in a few
Qumran manuscripts. In book 33, chapter 40 Pliny wrote (according to the
Loeb translation), "Cinnabar is also used in writing books..."
At Qumran red ink is found on 2Q14, Psalms 103:2, on 4Q27, Numbers
b, and on 4Q270, a copy of Damascus Document, all of which are published in
the DJD series.