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Re: orion Copper Scroll

In a message dated 98-08-18 00:39:29 EDT, Frank Rosenthal wrote:

<< Robert Leonard calls attention to the  apparent similarity of Elephantine
 of KARSh as a prototype for the Copper Scroll.  Is it feasable to assume that
 a Judaean writer would use this Persian unit rather than the traditional
 talent, whether the local or imperial Roman variety?  After all, the Persian
 connection had disappeared over 300 years ago and Judaea was a significant
 element in Mediterranean commerce. 

The word "talent" ("kikkarin") occurs spelled out in the Copper Scroll as well
as "kk", and in treasure #56 by Dr. Lefkovits's numbering both terms are
mentioned.  The old term "mina" is also present, as is stater.  As to whether
a Persian unit would still be in use in the first century, I don't think this
impossible as the spoken language was Aramaic and the use of karsh had spread
beyond Judaea to Egypt by 400 B.C.E.

More questionable is the fact that "karsh" is never spelled out and seems not
to be mentioned in documents after the Elephantine papyri.  However, it makes
sense for archaelogical reasons, as the treasures are a convenient size to be
concealed if their weights are in karsh (and are all bigger than the largest
coin hoard ever found in  Israel if their weights are in talents).

Also, if "kk" is an abbreviation for talent, then the weights in the Copper
Scroll are expressed in staters, minas, and talents: the mina is roughly 50
times the stater, and the talent 60 times the mina.  If "kk" is an abbrevation
for karsh, then the ratio is 20 times (karsh-stater), 2.5 times (mina-karsh,
assuming that karsh means 10 14-gram shekel coins by tale), and 60 times
(talent-mina).  The latter, while not in our accustomed decimal form, seems
easier to use in describing the weights of treasures.

While the question is clearly unsettled, I am inclined to accept Dr.
Lefkovits's suggestion that "kk" refers to karsh.

Best regards,
Robert D. Leonard
Winnetka, Illinois