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> Hebrew has 27 members in its symbol set, not 22.
If you say the Hebrew of many Qumran texts has 27 members
in its symbol set, including the 5 final forms, what does this
do to your Sin and Shin distinction? Are they the same letter
or not? If not, doesn't this kick up the count to 28, by your
analysis? If you are claiming scribes systematically wrote
Sin and Shin differently, like scribes write Waw and Yod
differently, then you have added another letter, a 23rd letter.
> I did NOT claim that there are _no_ non-meaningful variations... don't
> take things too far or "put words in my mouth."
OK, your clarification as to what you meant is noted. Then the
point at issue is which specific letter variations are significant
and meaningful, and which are non-meaningful. There is no
dispute that the same scribe will show some variation in
writing the same letters.
My question is when you point to single cases of letters and
say, "this indicates a different scribe" or "this indicates a
different way of writing Sin or Shin", how do you know that
this is a significant difference, and not a simple variation of
the non-meaningful kind that you admit happens?
I do not think matters like this can be easily decided on single
letter exemplars. One must have a database of writing large
enough to see that some detail or descriptive claim is
repeated and systematic through several occurrences of
the letter. But almost all of your claims to separate scribes
and Shin/Sin differences are derived from claims made on
the basis of single letter exemplars.
> >[snip] In pHab the same scribe
> >closed some Samekhs and other Samekhs are not quite closed.
> Greg, you are telling us that there are two scribes...
No I am not. The same scribe is doing this. (E.g. open Samekhs at
pHab 2.9, 2.6; closed at 3.1, closed at 3.3, open at 3.8, etc.)
Many people today, when writing printed English letters, will leave
some of their small "a", "b", "g", "p" letters open, while other
exemplars of their handwritten printed letters will be closed. This
random variability in single writers today is exactly the same
kind that is occurring with the single scribe of pHab who wrote
the Samekhs named above. You have admitted that random
variability can occur in certain things. On what grounds do
you judge it impossible that the same scribe can sometimes
close, and sometimes leave open, a Samekh? Would someone
applying your methods to a sample of your handwriting conclude
that Rochelle Altman is actually four persons who took turns
> It looks like we are talking about 1QSa, 1Q28a.
Thank you for the clarification. I went back to your posts on the
four scribes you propose to identify, and unfortunately there is
not enough information in your posts to check, even with the
text clarified as 1QSa. I am unable to identify which letters in
which words you are referring to in forming your distinctive
scribes 1, 2, 3, and 4. I would be glad to study them if you
care to give further information sufficient to make this possible.
I must say I am inherently skeptical of any notion that four
scribes took turns writing words or phrases in copying this or
any other Qumran text, as opposed to single scribes copying
continuous blocks of text until they quit or were replaced,
which is a well-known pattern in Qumran text scribal
> >OK now something specific that I can find. I have your reference
> >and the photograph in DJD II, Plate 1, Frg 4 with Ex 4.28-31, and
> >Frg 5 with Ex 6.5-6.
> >Now before you start telling me that what I am seeing, since it is
> >in disagreement with your theory, is a different scribe, I'm
> >willing to state categorically (subject to change only upon
> >specific and detailed demonstration) that these two fragments
> >were written by the same scribe.
> I hope you like the taste of electrons, because we have two different
> scribes on the fragments < -- Great Big Grin -- >.
Well . . . just out of curiosity, what do you do with the large piece on
the left just below the top piece? Is that a third scribe, or is it the
same scribe as one of the first two pieces? Can you also confirm
that you are saying a single scribe wrote all of Frg 4, and that
all of Frg 5 was also written by one scribe?
> Compare, for example, the alephs, bets, nuns, yods, and sins on Frag. 4
> (Ex 4:28-31) with those on Frag 5 (Ex 6:5-6). Always look to the bound
> forms for ideographs; the scribes cannot help writing their bound forms a
> certain way. Take a word like 'beni' which appears on both frags and is a
> bound form. In fact, both scribes "ligature" the nun-yod AND use stress
> notation (the elongation of the yod is stress notation in action - it's
> the equivalent of modern Greek 'accents' and means this is where the
> stress falls.)
No one will ever fault you for lack of interesting claims. I must say I
admire your courage, wading in to the field of Qumran scholars with
swinging sword ready to slash to pieces accepted notions--I kind
of admire it, if you could only show some evidence from Qumran
texts for these amazing claims. The "elongation of the yod" is a
STRESS NOTATION??? This one is a real shocker. You think
Qumran scribes intentionally wrote certain letters longer to signal
_stress_??!! A single good demonstration of this phenomenon
would be big news. But it requires listing of patterns of several
examples, compared to several others which aren't, to show a
pattern and a correlation. But the four lines of Frg 4, alas, simply
don't have sufficient database to show this point. You need a
longer column written by a single scribe to show this. All you
need to show is anywhere, in any Qumran text, with multiple
examples of single letters all systematically distinguished
in correlation to stress . . . and you have identified a major
breakthrough. But in the absence of a convincing demonstration
in at least one case in a Qumran text, a claim that this is
occurring in single letter examplars in a tiny fragment is
difficult to distinguish from the Rorshach inkblot effect--
seeing apparent significance in what was actually produced
by simple accident.
> Can you see how the scribe of Frag 4 uses a much sharper angle of attack
> in his approach stroke, a much steeper angle on the "head" stroke of the
> bet, and adds a "tail" at the bottom right, while the scribe of Frag 5
> uses the merest 'chip' of an approach stroke and does not add a tail?
> Can you see how the 'bet-resh' in line 4 of Frag 4 shows exactly the same
> 'bet' ideograph, in other words, this is the way this scribe writes 'bet'.
> The nun-yods are also different. The scribe of 4 writes his nuns with an
> angled, straight line lower stroke while the scribe of 5 rounds his nuns.
> (On 5 the nun-yod of 'ani' is not ligatured; but can you see how the 'nun'
> swings down below the lower limit? That's stress notation again.)
I see no difference in Alephs. On the Bet, what you refer to as an
added tail on the right is actually what Cross calls the two-stroke
Bet, or Bet with the base stroke written from left to right. In some
scribes such a stroke ends right at the vertical of the Bet. In other
scribes the base stroke extends beyond the vertical of the Bet.
In some scribes both happens--random variability. On what
basis are you certain that the present case is not random
variability on this point? On the Nuns, I see one in Frg 5 that
indeed looks "rounded" whereas in Frg 4 they look more angled.
But could you not be reading more significance into
one or two letter exemplars that cannot be distinguished from
random variation? As for the Nun being written lower to indicate
stress notation (!), again on what basis are you certain this
is not random variation from the same scribe writing non-final
Nun a single way, and some are a little bigger, some slightly
lower, than others. It looks like random variation to me.
> Now, the shin/sins. On Frag 5 there is only the one 'sin' in the word
> 'Israel'. The central stroke is clearly above the base and the aleph
> again shows stress notation.
An aleph in the word "Israel" showing "stress notation"???
What about the writing of that aleph shows this? I don't
see anything different about it from other alephs in either
frg 4 or frg 5.
> On frag 4 we have a number of shins in line 2 (moshe, shel-, asher).
> On this line, the scribe always keeps the central stroke of the shins
> within the outer legs, but there is no question that in 'shel' and 'moshe'
> the central stroke comes right down the center, while the 'shin' in
> 'asher' meets the left-hand leg above the base... On the other hand,
> in line 3, the sin in 'Israel' extends well below the base. (Note that
> the 'aleph' in 'Israel', as in frag 5, is again written with stress
> notation.) On line 4, the 'shin' in 'asher' appears to also extend below
> the line, but close examination shows that this is a blob of ink and not a
> purposeful extension. The last 'shin' on the frag is also a central
I am sorry I do not understand your point clearly. What, exactly,
are you saying is the difference between Sin and Shin in Frg 4?
In any case, since there is only one Sin in Frg 4, unless you
identify a larger block of text as written by the same scribe so
we can get more Sins to look at (compared to the same
scribe's Shins) we will be talking in Rorshach inkblot terms.
The claim of a scribe's systematically distinguishing between
Shin and Sin cannot be shown from Frg 4, if your analysis is
granted that that scribe wrote no more than Frg 4. Single letter
exemplars just are insufficient to make global claims of
this nature that have not been demonstrated or observed in a
single case in any other Qumran text. Nevertheless, thank
you for some interesting posts!
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