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orion 4Q448 readings, etc.
In response to S. Goranson concerning readings,
it is true that different eyes see and interpret the
same remains differently. On 4Q448, however, while
I personally have confirmed clearly to my satisfaction
under microscope the correctness of both "Jonathan"
readings of Yardeni--although in both cases the
spellings are YNTN, not YWNTN--on that first letter
of line 1 which has been read as an Ayin, that appears
to me clearly to be an error. It is an understandable
mistake because it LOOKS like the Ayin immediately
below, the first letter of line 2.
However I can note two points that I believe anyone
with even the photograph published in IEJ or any other
photograph, without benefit of magnification, can see
that might change this perception. The first point is
that there should be no assumption that the line 2
Ayin is complete. By comparison with other Ayins,
it APPEARS to be missing the tops of both of its
arms. By my interpretation, this is part of the same
defacing which has removed the lower part of the Shin
above. But that aside, the line 2 Ayin cannot be
presumed to be the basis for evaluation of what an Ayin
looks like. Once this point is realized, the line 1 marks
are no longer so convincingly an Ayin, by comparison,
The second point is that there is a distinct trace of ink
to the right of the top of the Lamed ascender, the second
letter in line 2. This trace is distinctly ink and it is not part
of the Lamed stroke. It must be explained, and an Ayin
above offers no explanation for it. It agrees in position
with the lower point of Shin. The only other alternative
is that that dot of ink is an anomolous spot of ink not
part of any letter, but that is relatively far-fetched,
given that the reading of Shin gives the word that would
routinely be expected from context to begin with. That
is my answer on 4Q448. It is not motivated in any way
by a desire to be for or against any interpretation of
the text; this is strictly a letter-reading evaluation.
On the 4Q468 "Aristobulus" fragment, I agree with SG
that the second and third letters as Resh and Samekh
are broken letters and not as clear as one would like.
However the objection as to spelling--that the name
Aristobulus would be spelled Aleph, Resh, YOD, Samekh--
I reject based on comparative examples. The name
"Aemilius", for example, is spelled Aleph, Mem, Lamed...,
and Shelamzion is spelled Shin, Lamed, Tsade..., etc. The
spelling Aleph, Resh, Samekh is what one would expect
It is of course wholly true that the Aristobulus fragment cannot
be known to be related to the text of the Peitholaus fragment,
even though they are on the same PAM plate. The scribal
hands are different. The question was also asked, "And even
if one assumed Peitholaus, what side would he have been
on at the time--since according to Josephus, he switched?"
My answer is the text gives no basis to answer this question,
and the question is irrelevant to either the reading or the
identification of the name from the reading. Nor do I have an
opinion on the matter.
In any case, thanks to SG for the comments on the readings.
With this kind of discussion perhaps we all can learn.