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Re: orion-list writing systems, details

If at 1st you don't succeed, etc.

   Date: Thr, 12 Aug 1999 20:40:51 -300
   On 1999-08-11 Bob Kraft said:
   >but every so often I wonder if she
   >is not simply trying to pull our collective legs.

   No, Bob, I am not kidding, joking, or pulling legs.

   >Surely she does not really think her approach is "objective" (see
   >below), insofar as she is quite clear about making a variety of
   >unverifiable assumptions about how scribes/copyists invariably
   >operated (and still operate, in some cultures), what they can or
   >cannot do, what they do or don't intend, etc. By definition, her
   >scribes operate on a strictly controlled and predictable level, but
   >there is no way to know what the situation might have been in the
   >real world with any given individual who might indeed consciously
   >or unconsciously vary from the ideal pattern. What is true "by
   >definition" is not necessarily true "de facto."

   Well, the penalties for scribes who stepped out of line could be
   rather drastic, you know... such as a mandated *death* penalty
   under Julian, for example, for even using an abbreviation instead
   of writing the word out. While this may seem harsh, there are good
   reasons for such laws. Prior to the mid-17th century CE, the voice
   of authority was not a literary metaphor; it was a concrete reality.
   Script equals identity, the voice of the speaker(s)... if it didn't,
   we wouldn't be able to classify scripts by chancery, pontifical,
   liturgical, etc. By abbreviating a word in an official document, a
   scribe has changed the official voice, the voice of authority. This
   is not such a good idea if one wants to keep ones head on ones
   shoulders - or ones fingers on ones writing hand (another penalty
   that shows up to deal with scribal, er, abberations). While people
   will be people (that is, ornery and contrary and always trying to
   get out of following orders), a scribe who took it upon him or
   herself to "edit" texts wouldn't last too long.

   >But the details provide the playground for such generalizations,
   >and I just wanted to clarify what Rochelle meant to tell us with
   >some of the details that Stephen pried out of her.

   Bob, Stephen did NOT pry anything out of me... I was fairly certain
   that someone would ask <G>.

   >Thus further below:
   >> .... I can't possibly include all the background in the limited
   >> space of a lecture or an e-mail posting.

   To get more serious. It is one thing to see the material build up
   in a logical order, chapter by chapter, step by step; each part
   presented with some historic background, an explanation, and
   followed by detailed examples - again and again and again. It is
   another to see bits and pieces in a lecture, in a posting on the
   net, or in a conference presentation (that pre-Neo-Platonic music
   reconstructed by following the instructions in the MS always helps
   to bring it home). Two of my MS readers, one Irish (and a
   professional paleographer who will never again use a modern
   aesthetic perspective when dealing with ancient scripts and fonts),
   as well as one of my English readers, have told me that I should
   not bother to mention anything and just let people read the books.
   My problem with this approach is simple: I find it extremely
   difficult to just stand by and sit on information that people need,
   not in the future, but now! (BTW, The reason I asked for help in
   finding a bilingual Hebrew-English or Hebrew-Latin Bible is also
   simple: one of my American readers gave Chapter 10 (To Sing A New
   Song) to his teenage daughter to read. She was so fascinated that
   she is taking a course this fall semester to learn more about the
   subject. And isn't that what teaching is all about?)

   >> Sure. While from it size, format, script, and incipit, its just a
   >>second  or even third class copy, try the title page of the
   >>so-called "Manual of  Discipline."

   >I guess she means column one. I don't find any "title page"
   >(somehow different from other "pages") in the Trever photos of 1QS.
   >No incipit (as I would understand that term) either.

   I don't have access to Trever these days - one of the problems of
   being out here in Greece. (That was the best thing about ASU -
   their facsimile library... they even had the entire Oxford
   "Discoveries" series.) According to Greg, Trever has this as column
   2 - well, the early people had palpable tendenz, neverthless, I
   think they were correct that this is the "Title Page," but how they
   got "Manual of Discipline" out of it??? The words, "zot heserech
   lekol 'eidat israel" ["serech," BTW, does not mean 'rule' unless
   one wants to stretch the meaning of rule to the point of
   meaninglessness - "this [is] the custom/manner/adhesive for all the
   flock/people/folk/clan of israel] are written somewhat larger - and
   it _is_  an incipit, precisely the size we find in 3rd class copies.
   In a first class copy, the incipit is the equivalent of extra large
   modern capitals and, in some traditions, embellished in some manner.
   In a second class copy, the incipit is the equivalent of modern
   small caps (always a somewhat different font) and rarely
   embellished. In a third class document, the incipit is in the
   _same_ font and written only somewhat larger. Well, I've looked.

   >Yes, there are over two dozen sin/shins in column one, almost
   >evenly divided if the transcription of Lohse can be trusted.

   Uh, uh.. no transcriptions; photographs only. While my photograph is
   old, it is very clear and gives the entire column (including the
   torn sections) and roughly the first 5-6 graphs of the next column
   to the left (but nothing except a portion of scroll extension to
   the right - hmm).

   >I see a "mishpat" in line 5 (not 15), but haven't
   >located the "shloshim shnat" (not line 13 in Trever's photos); I've
   >found two occurrences of "Israel" (lines 22 and 23), and looked at
   >some other such occurrences in the next few columns.

   They are there, all right. These are some of the words I copied and
   pasted onto a work sheet... as a preliminary to mapping (if I can
   ever find the time). The first occurrence of "Israel" is in line 1...
   but, if Trever's photos place it as column two, I can see what

   >I would be
   >very surprised if Rochelle or anyone else could tell us, simply
   >from the individual sin/shin images (out of context), which was
   >which; as far as I can see, frequently one could superimpose a sin
   >on a shin and see no difference.

   Even though this is a low quality copy, with the scribes (there are
   ideographs of at least two hands, but there seem to be more... see
   my note to Greg) being rather quick and careless, there should not be
   too _obvious_ a difference in the outer two legs. The differences are
   in the inner leg. One of the scribes is very careful to curve the
   inner leg, the other is more careless. This is why we need to
   isolate scribal ideographs first, then map.

   >Was it a test? Did I pass?
   If this had been a test, you sure did pass. You looked!

   >In any event, the discussion is invigorating. But
   >let's have some clearer examples, please!

   I knew that "heserech lekol 'eidat israel" wasn't a very good
   example - because it's a poor quality copy with more than one
   scribe - but quite a few people have it lying around. It's always
   better to start with a formal font... such as the other one I
   mentioned: the Exodus fragments.

   I'll try to dig out the correct number for the fragments (I still
   have boxes to unpack, but not enough shelves or cabinets - still
   it's only been a year). In any case, I'll put the material from the
   Exodus in another post... this one is already long enough.

   Cheerfully yours,

Dr. Rochelle I. Altman, co-coordinator IOUDAIOS-L  risa@hol.gr

For private reply, e-mail to "Rochelle I. Altman" <risa@mail.hol.gr>
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