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Re: orion-list Modern Esther Scroll Question

Dear Tyler,
It sounds like you have a standard scroll of esther used in synagogue
worship. Without any particular additions such as illuminations you'd
probably have trouble dating it precisely. I don't know what carbon 1 4
would give you or some dating method like that if it is a recent megillah,
as it probably is. YOu can probably pinpoint its place of origin
moreprecisely by examining the form of the letters. Ashkenazi and Sephardi
megillot and sifrey torah have somewhat different scripts.

As for its value, if it is kosher, that is, letter perfect and fully
legible, then it is usable for reading and you should be able to sell it
at market prices of regular megillot. If you could date it precisely and
find its place of origin and there were significance to that you could
perhaps try selling it as an antique, or as a piece of "Judaica". If I ran
across such a megillah and examined it and found it Kosher I would keep it
and use it.  You might try taking it to a local "sofer stam" to see if you
can get any more information. 

By the way, less than a month ago a student walked into my office carrying
a megillah with a very similar story. He had been given a megillah by
someone he had never seen in his life whom he ran into outside a pawn shop
in Switzerland. The person gave him the megillah and disappeared. the
student came to me for i am a professor of Bible at Ben gurion University
in Beer Sheva, and wanted "expert" advice. I told him more or less what I
told you. The major difference between the two "finds" is that his, rather
than being in a tin case (a very commonly used container in my
experience) had a pole at the inner end on which it was
rolled. UNfortunately the said pole was broken at one end, the knob being
missing. That damaged whatever artistic merit the scroll hay have
had. Also, since the decoration could have helped more precise dating,
that clue was partially lost.
Victor HUrowitz

 On Sun, 19 Mar
2000, Tyler F. Williams wrote:

> I recognize that this question is a little off-topic for this list, but it
> does begin with reference to the Dead Sea Scrolls! Please reply off-list.
> I received a call the other day from an individual whose father had passed
> away and his estate included what his father had described as a "Dead Sea
> Scroll" of Isaiah that he had bought on a train near the end of the second
> world war. As it turns out, it is (obviously) not a Dead Sea Scroll of
> Isaiah, but a scroll of the book of Esther. The scroll itself is ca. 6 feet
> long and 11" high and contains the complete unpointed text of Esther. The
> scroll material is a light-tan thin leather, and the individual sheets are
> 15" long; the pieces are hand-stitched together. The scroll is quite worn,
> though intact. Each piece has 3 columns of left-justified black square
> script with blind vertical and horizontal ruling. The names of Haman's sons
> in Esther 9 take up an entire column and are written stichometrically with
> one name per line. The scroll has a tin carrying case.
> Now the questions:
> 1) Is this most likely a copy of Esther for liturgical use for Purim? (as
> suggested by the lack of pointing and apparatus).
> 2) The scroll is at least from the period of the second world war; though
> likely quite a bit earlier due to the evidence of use (the person who bought
> it only brought it out occasionally to show it to people). Would such a
> scroll be used in synagogue worship? And if so, would there be any way to
> date it?
> 3) Is the scroll of any value?
> Thank you in advance for any ideas!!
> -Tyler
> ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Tyler F. Williams
> Assistant Professor of Old Testament/Hebrew Bible, NABC/EBS
> 11525 - 23 Avenue, Edmonton, AB, Canada   T6J 4T3
> Phone: (780) 431-5217/ Toll Free: 1-800-567-4988/ Fax: (780) 436-9416
> Web Page: http://www.nabcebs.ab.ca/~twilliam
> ---------------------------------------------------------------------------

For private reply, e-mail to avigdor horovitz  <victor@bgumail.bgu.ac.il>
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