[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

orion-list Cave 4 linen/genizahs

Tim Phillips wrote:

> I apologize if this has been taken up before, but if the caves were
> being used in a genizah fashion (not saying they were or weren't), then
> would both linen and writings be a good bit older than the time of
> deposit? And related...how much use/wear (from handling and reading) is
> detectable from the remaining scrolls/fragments? (How would it be
> detected in such cases as ancient, damaged, parchment?)
Yes, in that case one would expect the texts to be older than their
date of deposit.  But would the linen have gone on at the time of
"burial" (in which case it would be contemporary to the time of
deposit) or would it be inherited with the older scroll?  According
to DJD III, some of the linen in the outlying caves was used for
packing in the jars, and also over the jar tops.  Presumably that
would be then-modern linen, contemporary with the time of 
deposit.  On your second question it would be interesting if 
there were techniques developed to answer these questions (i.e. 
ability to estimate age of a manuscript from wear or age patterns, 
etc.), but I don't know of any, apart from the general observation 
that the repair patch on 4QpaleoEx, the wornout ink and rewritten 
letters on 1QIsaA, etc. indicates those texts had seen some use.

But I would like to comment further on the prior issue of whether 
the scroll deposits were like genizah deposits.  All examples of 
genizahs seem to have disposals of texts near their place of use, 
which might be argued for Cave 4 but seems very different from the 
difficult terrain and distances involved with the outlying caves.  
And, in the outlying caves the texts were not buried but 
were given precautions intended to preserve them that involved 
some care and work: the clay jars with tops to seal them, and 
even linen packing to protect them in the jars, all transported to 
those caves.  In any case Qumran--except for the fact of the 
massive scroll finds themselves calling for an explanation--is an 
odd place to imagine a synagogue or community needing a genizah 
for that quantity of texts.  At Masada an Ezekiel manuscript was 
found buried underneath the floor of the room identified as a 
synagogue there--but there is no parallel to that at Qumran.  
Caves are well-known in stories, in the pseudepigrapha, in the 
Copper Scroll, and in material remains to be used for hidings: of 
valuables, of people.  And if it was a genizah phenomenon, why 
scatter the scrolls through multiple caves some distance from the
site at all?  (But scattering does happen with hidings--again cp. 
the Copper Scroll, a basic strategy in hidings to use multiple 
spots.)  The homogeneity of the kinds of texts in the outlying 
caves with the Cave 4 Hebrew texts, the same types of jars in 
each of the outlying cave stashes, the scattered locations, the 
care with which the deposits were done in the outlying caves--these 
features seem to suggest the relics of hiding behavior, rather than 
genizahs.  As for the texts in the inlying caves without jars, one 
possibility is these are from hiders who ran out of time and had to 
stash everything in a hurry with no time to complete the hiding 
process.  Alternatively it might be considered that the texts of the 
inlying caves are the remains of what originally were also carefully 
stored and hidden texts in those caves but which were discovered 
and taken by people anciently--and the fragments and leather ties 
were left behind in the disorder and piles which were found in e.g. 
Caves 4 and 8 after the good scrolls were taken.  But the 
phylacteries and Greek texts--those were found only in the inlying 
caves and not the outlying caves.  Why?  (I don't know.)

Greg Doudna

For private reply, e-mail to Greg Doudna <gd@teol.ku.dk>
To unsubscribe from Orion, e-mail to majordomo@panda.mscc.huji.ac.il with
the message: "unsubscribe Orion." For more information on the Orion Center
or for Orion archives, visit our web site http://orion.mscc.huji.ac.il.