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Re: orion Palaeohebrew in the DSS

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Well, I have long thought that there is more to say on the topic of the
currency vs archaic status issue vis a vis palaeohebrew. What has led us to
suspect that it was an ancient "sacred" script that was no longer in
general use is the fact that it substitutes for the script of use when
writing the Tetragrammaton in numerous mss. On the other hand, as you
suggest, the fact that, for example, the scribe of the great Isaiah scroll
uses P-H symbols for his redactional markings suggests that that was the
script he was most comfortable with. Then, too, there is the obvious point
that the Hasmonaeans presuppose the intelligibility of the script by using
it on some of their coin issues. Finally, P-H is actually used on two
jug-fragments from Qumran, both to write the date of "bottling" of the wine
and to note the contents (scil. yyn, "wine"). If P-H was so familiar a
script that it features in off-the-cuff scribbles by shipping clerks it
*cannot* have been a dead-and-buried "sacred" script, only reserved for a
few select mss. This indicates that its relative rarity in Qumran requires
a bit of thought.

best regards,

Fred Cryer