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orion Re: Norman Golb
To: Steven Goranson & all -
I am moving the discussion to orion, as you suggested -
At 12:08 PM 11/22/98 -0500, you wrote:
>represented that (via Golb) no examples of three mss by a hand exist. But
>"the same scribe wrote 1QS (1QSa, 1QSb), 4QTest, 4QSam(c), 2QJer, and wrote
>corrections on 1QIsa(a)" and "the same scribe wrote 4QpPs(a), 4QpHos(a),
>and 4QpIsa(a)" [according to Greg Doudna, orion Nov 1996] and "4Q280 and
>5Q11 and 4Q390" were written by one scribe [according to Martin Abegg,
>orion Nov 1996]; and further cases of 2 mss by one scribe have been
This is a misunderstanding : I know that occurrences of "3 manuscripts per
hand" exist - so does Golb, and I am getting these numbers from his book.
Here's the relevant line from my post:
"... most handwritings in the actual DSS corpus appear only once, some
twice, and non more than 3 time (Golb's counting)"
> An exceedingly important variable you skipped: how many mss once at
>Qumran were taken away or destroyed or lost? Inhabitants, plausibly, fled,
>taking some belongings, or, as the Essene Copper scroll attests, perhaps
>relocating some to presumed safer areas, I suggest, including Trans-Jordan.
>And what would they take? Other people, apparently, entered some of the
>caves over the centuries (maybe including circa 800?), probably removing
>some mss. Maybe some Essenes returned after the Romans left, and picked
>over some caves, removing their preferences. Did Roman soldiers or
>shepherds burn some for kindling? How many mss were lost to fire in Kh.
>Qumran, or, in the caves, to rotting, rodents, collapsed caves, etc.--or
>are still sitting in caves? Or under someone's floorboards or in a bank
>deposit box? Such a number, in total, plausibly and probably, is large. It
>could well be larger, probably is larger, than the number of extant
Certainly all of the above might have happened to some of the manuscripts,
BUT: the argument regarding the number of handwritings is mainly based on
materials from cave 4. If non of the other caves were found, this argument
would still stand. Cave 4 is the one closest to Qumran, the most obviously
connected to the settlement, and hence the one we would especially expect
to exhibit the true characteristics of the settlement's scribal activities.
The argument about later intervention in effect says that the intruders
entered cave 4 where the settlement's manuscripts were buried, and removed
a number of manuscripts precisely in a way that changed the distribution of
handwritings per manuscript. I find this unlikely.
> Of the 800+ mss, many are only attested by tiny bits of remains of
>scrolls. These are hard to match to anything else, hand-wise. So the number
>of recognized hand matches is probably smaller than the actual number.
I see. It does makes sense to distinguish between the hands clearly
established, and those that appear on fragments too small to identify a
handwriting with certainty.
In your opinion, how drastically does this change the numbers?
> As L. Grabbe and many others have noted, Golb did not subject his
>proposal(s) to the same scrutiny as he demands of the so-called "Essene
>hypothesis." If hands make Qumran scribalism an "impossibility" in his
>view, how then did he allow himself to propose the Jerusalem Temple library
>as an alternate source? That's one place; why not a hand problem there?
I am not sure whether he meant that the temple was a scribal center or
merely a center where books were gathered - in the second case, there would
not be a problem. In addition, the temple establishment was incommensurably
larger than the Qumran settlement, and existed for a longer time - hence,
the large number of handwritings would be easier to accept.
Best regards, Asia