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orion-list text criticism; palaeography

To Rochelle Altman: having read your rebuttal (Sept 17) to Tom 
Simms (Sept 16), I fail to see any correlation between your
criticisms of Simms and what he wrote.  What a pre-5th 
century BCE date of fixing for the Pentateuch has to do with 
anything Tom Simms said is difficult to fathom.  Simms cited 
a comment concerning the fluidity of the Masoretic text in the 
1st-2nd centuries CE which is hardly an illegitimate position.  
Please read Emanuel Tov, _Textual Criticism of the Hebrew 
Bible_, 1992 on this.  The fluidity of the text, in the sense that 
Simms meant, is well-known among the 2nd-1st BCE Qumran 
biblical texts and familiar to all Qumran scholars on this list, 
many of whom I know would be happy to help if you need 
advising as to further bibliography on this point.

> Please, pretty please, you simply cannot make such statements without
> reading the primary sources, you simply can't. For instance, there is
> a ton of internal evidence that the Pentateuch was fixed before the
> exile... this requires knowledge of Hebrew, linguistics, and a study
> of Hebrew and Early Christian music. 
Concerning your two posts to me of Sept 12 and Sept 14, surely 
you must know, if you are a native speaker of English (are you?)
that the idiom "coining a term" has nothing to do with claiming 
origination or invention of an idea.  You clubbed me for an 
incidental and accurate use of this idiom in the course of a 
discussion I was having with someone else.  If you are not a native 
speaker of English I can understand that this might be an honest 
mistake.  But in that case I am surprised that in your second post, 
once it was brought to your attention, you did not simply say 
"excuse me".  Instead, you brought out your sledgehammer again
and brought it down on my head with twice as much force.
This second time you attacked me on the charge that, even 
if I had not actually claimed originality, I should have acknowledged 
prior history of scholarship in Latin and Greek palaeography in my 
6-page critique of Cross's palaeographic dating methods for Qumran 
texts on the orion web page, and that my failure to do so was (I am 
paraphrasing) gross incompetence, etc. etc.  I am sure you are 
aware that criticizing an article or a book for what it failed to include 
is one of the oldest ploys in the reviewing and academic evaluation 
business.  (I have seen students maliciously evaluated by 
professors using this handy, all-purpose genre of criticism.)  To put
it succinctly, I don't think the absence of discussion or reference 
to 19th or early 20th century history of scholarship in Latin and 
Greek palaeography will be reasonably perceived as a significant 
omission by most readers in terms of the scope and objectives 
of that 6-page paper.

Nevertheless, that aside, what you wrote concerning "archaeological" 
palaeographic dating in the 1800's and first half of the 1900's in 
Greek and Latin scripts, and its becoming discredited by the 1940's-
1950's, indeed is very interesting and of great potential significance 
to this discussion. I will track down the references you suggested--
and thanks.  But do you have any bibliographic references relating 
to this issue more recent than 1913?  (Give me something useful 
from more recent and I will give you a glowing footnote in my 
publication.)  As for the issue of the Qumran text deposits, I 
disagree with most of your analysis but let us take that up at 
another time.  I hope you're surviving the earthquake OK, and 
best wishes,  

Greg Doudna

For private reply, e-mail to Greg Doudna <gd@teol.ku.dk>
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