The Linguistic Study of the Damascus Document: A Historical
Hebrew University of Jerusalem
The analysis of the language of the Damascus Document, in particular
the vocabulary and phraseology of the text, has served as the basis for
the differing views on the identity, customs, and beliefs of the sectarian
community mentioned in the Cairo Geniza manuscripts of the work (CD). Consequently,
today, a century since the discovery of the document, it is only fitting
that attention be given to the history of linguistic research into the
Damascus Document. There have been several surveys of the scientific literature
on the Damascus Document, for example, that of J.A. Fitzmyer in his prolegomenon
to the 1970 reprint of S. Schechter's editio princeps of the document,1
or that of P.R. Davies in his book on the Damascus Document.2 The paper
presented here will trace the study of the language of the Damascus Document
from the initial publication of the manuscripts by Schecter in 1910 through
the publication of the first of the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1950-1951, the
publication of the Damascus Document fragments from Qumran Caves 5 and
6 in 1962 by J.T. Milik, to the recent publication of the Cave 4 Qumran
fragments in 1996 by J.M. Baumgarten. I shall concentrate on grammatical
studies, since vocabulary and phraseology have been treated in almost every
study that deals with with the Damascus Document, whereas the grammar has
been, to a large extent, neglected. I shall conclude with some observations
on the language of the recently published Qumran Cave 4 fragments of the
Damascus Document, as well as remarks on certain features of the Cairo
Geniza manuscripts in the light of the orthography and language of the
4QD fragments and other Dead Sea Scrolls.
1. The Years 1910 - 1949 The first stage in the history of linguistic
research into the Damascus Document began with the editio princeps of Schechter
in 1910. In the introduction to his Documents of Jewish Sectaries, Schechter
succintly summarized the language of MS A: "The language of the MS.
is for the most part pure Biblical Hebrew. The first three pages rise even
to the dignity of Scriptural poetry, though a good deal of it is obscured
by the unfortunate condition in which the text is at present. But there
are in it terms and expressions which occur only in the Mishna or even
only in the Rabbinic literature dating from the first centuries of the
Middle Ages..."3 He went on to list the following lexical items and
expressions: ÂÙ¯Âù, Á·Â, ÂÈÒÂã
ä·¯Èýä, ä¯Âýä ýú ãÌ
ÊÂ·ä, äÚ¯ÈÂú, ÊÎÂ
ÏùÂ·, âÏâÏ äùÓù, ÏÓùÎÈÌ,
äÓÂÎÔ, ·ÓÂ·ä, âÂÈ
and âÂÈÌ (with the meaning "Gentiles"), Ïä¯ùÂúÂ,
Á·Â¯ Èù¯ýÏ, ·ÓÓÂÔ,
ÓãÂ÷ã÷, Óã¯ù äúÂ¯ä, ·Èú
äùúÁÂú, Ò¯Í, the introductory formulae
for citing a biblical passage Îýù¯ ýÓø,
åàùø à', ëàùø
ëúåá, ëëúåá, and
ëúåá áéã, the absence of
the Tetragrammaton and the use of àì "God." On
the difference between the biblical citations and their appearance in the
Damscus Document, he wrote: "deviations from the Massoretic text are
mere textual corruptions of a careless scribe and not to be explained by
the variae lectiones suggested by any known verson, or quotation by any
ancient authority."4 Elsewhere in the introduction Schechter noted
the unusual terms Ó·÷¯, ÒÙ¯ ääâÂ
(which today is taken as äâé),5 ÓÚÓã,
and ÒÙ¯ ÓÁÏ÷Âú äÚúÈÌ
(Book of Jubilees). In the notes accompanying the text, he compared the
Hebrew of the documents to the Hebrew of biblical, rabbinic, and Karaite
writings, and also to expressions in intertestamental literature. Schechter's
linguistic comments consist of comparison to biblical and rabbinic passages
and numerous emendations in the text, which made better linguistic sense.
The importance he assigned to Rabbinic Hebrew can be seen in his terse
and frequent remark: "see Rab. dict."
Reaction to Schechter's publication of CD was swift. Of the many articles
and comments which immediately appeared, one should note especially I.
Lévi's "Un écrit sadducéen anterieur a la destruction
du Temple,"which consisted of different readings of the text with
translation and notes.6 In his introduction to the text, he included a
section on the language of the manuscripts in which he compared the Hebrew
of the document to that of Ben Sira with its borrowing and reworking of
biblical elements and presence of Aramaic.7 Surprisingly, Le(vi did not
find evidence of Rabbinic Hebrew in the document.: "La langue est
déja par elle-meme un témoin instructif d'une époque
ancienne. C'est de l'hébreu pur, enrichi d'éléments
araméens, comme c'est le cas pour l'Ecclésiastique; en outre,
et comme en cet ouvrage, certains termes ou locutions nouvelles qui se
retrouvent dans la littérature postbiblique y ont une acception
différente. Il est surtout digne de remarque qu'on n'y sent pas
l'influence ni de l'hébreu de la Mischna et du Midrasch, ni de l'araméen
scolastique ou populaire du Talmud... La langue de Ben Sira est bourrée
de centons bibliques. Il semble que telle était alors la mode."
Neither Schechter nor Lévi, however, attempted to describe aspects
of the language apart from certain lexical items. The first to comment
on the grammar, in addition to the lexicon, was M.H. Segal in notes on
Schechter's publication in JQR in 1911-12,8 which he expanded upon in a
lengthy Hebrew article published in 1912 in Haschiloah.9 Segal like Lévi,
also presented the text and offered many emendations (both scholars did
so without actually seeing the mansucripts and on the basis of Schecter's
transcription and the two photographs in his book). Segal pointed out several
salient grammatical phenomena found in the documents:10 the use of the
waw conversive (the imperfect consecutive and the perfect consecutive)
( he noted that in MS A the imperfect consecutive occurs where the simple
perfect is used in MS B; the common use of the infinitive construct, which,
among other things, functions as a verbal noun (e.g., the Pi>el forms
_÷åí å_éèåø 8:5) and
also expresses obligation (e.g., àéï òåã
ìäùúôç 4:10); the genitive is expressed
by the construct chain as well as by lamedh (e.g., äî÷áø
ìîç_ä 13:7); the relative pronoun is àùø,
only once -ù; iterative action is expressed by the use of ùåá
as an auxiliary verb (e.g., åùá åäåãéò
9:19); the pronominally suffixed forms àçéäå
and ôéäå occur as opposed to àçéå
and ôéå; numerals are placed after the counted noun
(e.g., ù_éí òùøéí
1:10). He also presented what he considered to be a complete list of lexemes
and expressions, which are either unattested in the Old Testament, or are
rarely attested in the Old Testament but occur in the Mishna and Midrashim.
In his English article he summarized: "The Mishnic usages found in
this document may, however, be very old. They are certainly anterior to
the Christian era. The general purity of the author's style and grammar,
the facility with which he writes in flowing Biblical Hebrew, and his adroitness
in twisting round biblical phrases and adapting them for his purpose, all
prove him to have belonged to a whole circle of writers who cultivated
the composition of books in an early and archaic style in imitation of
the earlier canonical literature. In other words, the author belonged to
the school of writers from which emanated the Palestinian apocalyptic and
pseudepigraphical literature which was certainly composed in a tolerably
pure Biblical Hebrew, with a more or less large admixture of Mishnic expressions
and forms. The language of the present work affords us, therefore, an excellent
illustration of the character and style of the Hebrew originals of such
works as the Book of Jubilees, the Testaments of the Twelve patriarchs,
and even of the Apocalypses of Baruch and Ezra."11 He added later:
"Our text is then entirely free from all direct Aramaic influence."12
In 1913, R.H. Charles added his voice in general agreement as to the character
of the language of the Damascus Document in his edition of the Apocrypha
and Pseudepigrapha:13 "It is good Hebrew enriched by a few Aramaisms
like the Book of Daniel and Sirach, though in a less degree. It contains
also a few Mishnaic and Talmudic expressions, but in certain cases the
phrases in question bear a different meaning in post-Biblical Jewish literature.
The language, as has been generally recognized, is not that of the Mishnah,
the Midrashim, or the Talmud. Like Sirach, our author makes constant use
of O. T. diction, but, unlike him, he quotes its text frequently in the
name of the writer..." Note that he, too like Lévi, stressed
the similarity to Ben Sira.
An important and comprehensive linguistic treatment of the vocabulary
and orthography (but not grammar) of the Damascus Document was presented
by L. Ginzberg in a series of articles in Monatsschrift fur Geschichte
und Wissenschaft des Judentums 55-58 (1911-1914), which were later republished
in 1922 as Eine Unbekannte jüdische Sekte. Ginzberg was the first
to describe the orthography of the Damascus Document14 and he did so since,
as he stated, some of his suggested emendations presupposed the special
orthography of the document.15 He commented on the considerable use of
scriptio plena in marking the vowels o and i, and the scriptio defectiva
of ÈÓÂ 10:9 "his days" and ÁÙöÂ
11:2 "his desires" (= "his work"). In a lengthy chapter
entitled "Zur Textkritik, Sprach- und Sacherklärung," Ginzberg
analyzed in detail many lexical items and expressions.
Ginzberg also devoted a special chapter to the language of CD, which,
according to this son, was completed before the outbreak of World War I,
but was only published posthumously in 1976 in an expanded English version
of the German original.16 In this chapter Ginzberg presented a list of
144 lexical items, which he divided into "new words and idioms which
occur neither in biblical nor in Talmudic-midrashic literature" (23
items), "rabbinisms" (31 items), and "biblical purisms"
(15 items). He limited himself to one grammatical comment: "A prominent
feature of our document's style is the employement of the imperfect with
the WAW consecutivum."17 Like Le(vi and Charles, he stressed the linguistic
parallels in lexicon between Ben Sira and CD. He noted the mosiac patchwork
of the document, and yet at the same time believed that the document reflected
a linguistically unified composition: "Though our document is amorphous,
featuring excerpts from various sources which are arranged without system
and relationship, yet one can detect a certain uniformity with regard to
diction and grammar."18 He concluded the chapter with: "Our investigations
of the language of the document have thus completely confirmed the conclusions
reached in the previous chapters: our document presents a work of the first
century B. C. E. 19
Most, but not all scholars, however, concurred with the view of the
Hebrew as expressed by Schechter, Segal, or Ginzberg. Note, e.g., the dissenting
voice of A. Büchler:20 "The most striking feature of the language,
however, is the continuous employment of whole phrases and sentences of
the Bible the like of which we find in none of the literary productions
of the pre-Christian, pre-Talmudic, and Talmudic times (except the Hebrew
Ben-Sira which should not be used as evidence owing to its contentious
character)...Besides this, the very hard, clumsy, sometimes almost impossible
Hebrew in the halakic part which is not merely due to the style of the
author, strikes one as late." A concise survey of differing opinions
on the Hebrew of CD can be found in H.H. Rowley's The Zadokite Fragments
and the Dea Sea Scrolls.21 Of those arguing that the Damascus Document
was a late, medieval composition, the name of S. Zeitlin stand out.22 The
translation and commentary of F. F. Hvidberg23 and the edition of L. Rost24
also merit attention. The upper apparatus provided by Rost contains previously
suggested scholarly emendations, the bottom apparatus includes references
to biblical, rabbinic, and intertestamental literature. Unlike the editions
of Segal and Le(vi, the readings of Hvidberg and Rost were based on an
examination of photographs.
2. The Years 1950-Present
The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1948 and the publication of
the first scrolls from Cave 1 in 1950-1951 (1QIsaa, 1QpHab, and 1QS) marked
a dramatic turning point in the study of the Damascus Document. The similarity
in language and phraseology between the Qumran material and the Cairo Geniza
manuscripts removed all doubt that the Damascus Document was indeed composed
during the Second Temple period, notwithstanding the vociferous protests
of Zeitlin, who continued to maintain that CD, as was the Qumran material.25
From this point on, most works dealing with the Hebrew of the Dead Sea
Scrolls refer also to the Geniza manuscripts of the Damascus Document,
and all subsequent works on the Damascus Document relate the language of
the document to the finds from Qumran. Mention should also be made of A.M.
Habermann's 1952 edition containing 1QS, 1QpHab, and CD, not only because
of the concordance he supplies for these three works, but rather for his
complete vocalization of the documents and the linguistic interpretation
that the vocalized text reflects.26 C. Rabin's 1954 edition of CD,27 based
on an examination of the manuscripts and new photographs, was an important
step forward in the study of the language of the document. Rabin's new
readings, his erudition in Hebrew, Semitics, and biblical studies, and
his references to the Dead Sea Scrolls provided students of the Damascus
Document with a firm basis for study. The edition is replete with linguistic
and philological notes and references to the Hebrew of the Dead Sea Scrolls,
Biblical Hebrew, Mishnaic Hebrew, and Medieval Hebrew, as well as other
languages and sources. In addition to new readings, Rabin's greatest contribution
is his attention to grammatical forms and syntactic uses, not only lexical
items. He related phenomena to parallel features of Classical Biblical
Hebrew, Late Biblical Hebrew, Mishnaic Hebrew; he also noted the many instances
of linguistic hypercorrections. See, for example, his remarks on the periphrastic
genitive with anticipatory pronoun, which is representative of Late Biblical
Hebrew in ÷öéäí ìëì äåé
òåìîéí 2:9 "their ages of
all those who exist;" the Late Biblical Hebrew usage of òîã
"arise" as attested in áòîåã
àéù 1:14 vs. the use of Classical Biblical Hebrew
÷åí; the verb ÷åõ governing with
the preposition î- as in Mishnaic Hebrew åé÷åõ
îòùåú 20:2 vs. Biblical Hebrew ÷õ
á-; the Mishnaic Hebrew infinitive ìéøåù
1:7 vs. Biblical Hebrew ìøùú; áòåì
14:9 as Qal passive participle with active sense as is common in Mishnaic
Hebrew; the inverted word order for emphasis in áãáø
îåú ò_ä áå 9:6-7 "it was
in a capital matter that he testified against him"; the Aramaic form
with preserved nun in ìä_öéìí 14:2
""so as to save them," which according to Rabin "throws
light on the scribe's mother tongue." Rabin was fully abreast of the
state of research into the Hebrew of the Dead Sea Scrolls, as evidenced
by his frequent comparisons to grammatical features and lexical items in
the Dead Sea Scrolls. His references to and comments on Late Biblical Hebrew
and Mishnaic Hebrew also reveal his knowledge of recent advances in both
areas, as can be seen, for example, in his mention of Mishnaic manuscripts,
whose importance for the study of Hebrew had been demonstrated by J.N.
Epstein, H. Yalon, and S. Lieberman.28
In 1956, two years after the appearance of Rabin's edition, M. Baillet
published the fragments of the Damascus Document from Qumran Cave 6 (6QD),29
and among other things, compared the orthography of the Geniza passages
to the parallel passages in 6QD. The publication of Qumran fragments of
the Damascus Document conclusively proved that the CD reflected a medieval
copy of an older work. In 1957 A. Rubinstein30 contributed a discussion
of irregular uses of tenses in MS B of CD. The same year Rabin touched
on the language of CD, among other topics, in his Qumran Studies.31 In
1958 Rabin revised his edition, The Zadokite Documents, and also had occasion
to discuss further the language of CD in an influential article on the
historical background of Qumran Hebrew, in which he argued that "in
the period preceding the formation of the Qumran sect there was in common
use in Palestine a literary language in which BH and MH elements coexisted
upon a mainly MH grammatical foundation;"32 in this important study
he presented involuntary Mishnaisms in the lexicon and grammar of the Damascus
Document as well as biblical hypercorrections of Mishnaic expressions.
In 1962 Qumran fragments of the Damascus Document from Cave 5 (5QD)
were published by J.T.Milik in DJD III,33 and M. Baillet presented the
official publication of the fragments from Cave 6 (6QD) in the same volume.34
Four years later a fragment from Cave 4 (4QDa ) appeared35 followed by
another in 1972.36
The most important contributions to the linguistic study of the Qumran
documents in the 1970's and 1980's were two grammars and one dictionary.
The 1976 doctorate on the Hebrew of the Dead Sea Scrolls by E. Qimron37
constituted the first comprehensive grammar (orthography, phonology, and
morphology) of the Qumran material; in 1986 Qimron published an English
version of his doctorate, which updated and supplemented the 1976 thesis
(he included a chapter on syntax and on vocabulary).38 In both versions
of the grammar Qimron excluded the Geniza manuscripts of the Damascus Document,
but included the 5QD and 6QD fragments. All of the Hebrew from the Geniza
manuscripts, on the other hand, together with the 5QD and 6QD material,
were included in the Historical Dictionary of the Hebrew Language 200 B.C.E.
- 300 C.E., which appeared in microfiche form in 1988.39 Perusal of the
Damascus Document material in the dictionary demonstrates its organic linguistic
link to other documents from the same period.
In addition, the 1970's and 1980's witnessed the appearance of new grammatical
studies devoted to specific linguistic phenomena. In 1973 G.W. Nebe40 analyzed
some problematic uses of ýú in the Damascus Document. and a year
later J. Carmignac41 discussed the morphology and syntax of the negative
ýÈÔ in the Old Testament and Qumran, including the
Damascus Document, comparing features to Later Biblical and Mishnaic Hebrew:
the syntagm ýÈÔ + infinitive; the lack of pronominal
suffix on ýÈÔ as in ýÈÔ äÌ
Ó·ãÈÏ CD 5:6-7; the distancing of ýÈÔ
from the noun it negates with intervening elements as in ýÈÔ
·äÌ ·Èðä CD 5:17. M. Bar-Asher,42 in an article
in 1981 on misunderstood spellings in Tannaitic manuscripts, suggested
that ÓÂÚË in 1QS and CD was unrelated to the participial
ÓÂÃÚ»Ë in Tannaitic sources; the
CD and Qumran form developed from Ó¿Ú«Ë
> ÓÂÃÚ«Ë (assimilation of the
¡#wa to the labial mem), whereas the participial ÓÂÃÚ»Ë
in Tannaitic manuscripts either was the result of haplography from Ó¿ÓÂÃÚ»Ë
or possibly an old internal Qal passive participle. T. Thorion-Vardi43
discussed at length the use of the tenses in the Zadokite documents in
1985 and the same year Y. Thorion 44 presented a comprehensive analysis
of the use of the preposition ·- in Qumran documents, of which one
was the Damascus Document. The next year Carmignac45 published an investigation
of the uses of the infinitive absolute in Ben Sira and in Qumran documents,
including the Damascus Document.
This decade has witnessed several important publications that bear directly
on the linguistic analysis of the Damascus Document. In 1990 J.M. Baumgarten
published fragments of 4QDd,g,h.46 Two year laters E. Qimron presented
a new transcription of CD with an apparatus that contains comments on what
should have been written in the manuscripts (i.e., Qimron corrects the
errors in the manuscripts47), variant readings from the Qumran documents,
and short philological notes and references; the volume includes high quality
photographs of the two Geniza manuscripts.48 This edition is an indispensable
aid for further linguistic analysis of the Damascus Document. In 1995 Baumgarten
and D.R. Schwartz presented in the Dead Sea Scrolls series edited by J.H.
Charlesworth an edition of CD, a passage on skin disease from 4QDa,d,g,h,
5QD, and 6QD with translation and notes.49 A noteworthy addition to this
edition of the document is the appendix by Y. Ofer on the use of the vocalization
(Babylonian and Tiberian) and other signs (erasure, the single grapheme
sign for ýÏ, also possible emendation sign) in the Geniza manuscripts;50
Ofer believes that the concentration of vowel signs in the first pages
of the Geniza manuscripts and the mixed use of Babylonian and Tiberian
signs indicates that both systems of vowel signs were probably inserted
by a single redactor.
The most significant contribution to the study of the Damascus Document,
however, is the publication in 1996 (DJD XVIII) of all the 4QD material
by Baumgarten based on material provided by Milik,51 These long awaited
fragments provide scholars with the necessary information for the challenge
of piecing together all the different material from the Geniza and Qumran
toward the goal of reconstructing a single text. On the relationship of
the 4QD fragments to the text in the Geniza manuscripts, Baumgarten notes
"The 4Q manuscripts tend to enhance the general reliability of the
text extant in the Genizah versions of the Damascus Document. This is a
pleasant surprise, in view of Schechter's rather dim view of the scribal
quality of his manuscripts....the 4Q manuscript readings turn out to be,
by and large, quite compatible with those of Text A."52
I should like to complete my survey with a few remarks on some features
in the 4QD fragments as well as comments on certain phenomena in the Cairo
Geniza manuscripts in the light of the Dead Sea Scrolls.
The plene orthography of the 4QD fragments come as no surprise in the
light of other Dead Sea Scrolls, In retrospect, however, what is interesting
is the extent of plene orthography still preserved in the Geniza manuscripts,
which was noted by Ginzberg almost 90 years ago.53
No less surprising in the 4QD fragments is the existence of long forms
of the pronouns (e.g., äåàä 4Q266 7 iii 7, àåæ_îä
4Q268 1 7) alongside shorter forms, (e.g., äåà 4Q266
6 i 8, îäå_í 4Q267 9 iii 2) in 4QD. In the light
of the Dead Sea Scrolls, one sees that the medieval CD preserves two examples
of long pronouns: H.L. Ginsberg noted that áîä in ìäúäìê
áîä 6:10 is a long pronominal suffix as in Qumran;54
another example is 10:12 ýÏ ÈËä¯ ·Óä55
(cf. Úã Óä È·Âý ·Óä
4Q268 1 8). CD also possesses the forms of the long suffixes on àçéäå
(14:5) and ôéäå (13:4), as attested in 4QD (e.g.,
àçéäå 4Q267 9 v 8; ôéäå
266 9 ii 14); note that these long forms are the rule in the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Ginzberg also noted that the orthography of the 3 m.s. suffix on pl.
nouns with waw as against Masoretic waw and yodh, which is attested in
the 4QD fragments, occurs already in the Geniza manuscripts in the words
éîå 10:9 "his days" and çôöå
11:2 and 10:20 "his desires." The similarity to the Dead Sea
Scrolls in the use of plene orthography and the defective spelling of the
3 m.s. pronominal suffix on pl. nouns with waw (realized as o [SEF1]<
åw in the Dead Sea Scrolls) as opposed to Masoretic -ÈÂ,
is obvious today in the light of the Dead Sea Scrolls56 and Samaritan Hebrew
and Aramaic.57 though Ginzberg could not have known at that time that the
defective orthography reflected a contracted diphthong o.
The 4QD fragments exhibit a pausal-looking verbal form in ÈÓùÂÏÂ
4Q271 5 i 18 (ÈÓùÏÂ CD 12:2); such pausal-looking
forms are well known in the Dead Sea Scrolls. They are also attested in
CD: åéùîøå 3:3, whose Babylonian
vocalization reflects wayyi¡møÎr¥, åéçôåøå
6:3, and possibly éùôåëå 10:18 (unless
one reads éùôåè along with Rabin and Qimron).
According to Qimron in his transcription of CD, another example occurs
in åéòáåøå áøéú
1:20, as against other scholars, who read the Hif>il åéòáéøå.
It has been argued that the orthography with waw demonstrates general penultimate
stress, as in Samaritan Hebrew, Western Aramaic dialects, and also Mishnaic
Hebrew.58 Others have maintained that the waw merely represents a reduced
u/o-vowel and that stress was ultimate.59 The 4QD fragments do not reveal
examples of the syntagm Èö¯ ä¯Ú, ÏùÂÔ
ä¯Ú, i.e., expressions in which only the adjective has the
definite article and not the noun that is modified. This syntactic phenomenon,
which is attested infrequently in Biblical Hebrew, is more common in Mishnaic
Hebrew.60 The Geniza material, however, does possess this syntagm: ·¯Èú
äÁãùä 20:1261 and perhaps ÓÂ¯ä äÈÁÈã
20:1 "the unique teacher" (if it should not be emended to îåøä
äéçã "the teacher of the Community")
and also éåøä äéçéã
20:14.62 Unfortunately, these passages are not preserved in the 4QD fragments.
Two lexical items deserve special mention. The realization of both depends
upon the reading of a waw or yodh. The first is äâÂ/äâÈ. The
widely cited Geniza form äâÂ in the expression ·ÒÙ¯
äâÂ in 10:6, 13:2, and 14:8, shows up in 4QD fragments with yodh:63
266 8 iii 5 ·ÒÙ¯ ääâÈ; ääÂâÈ
267 9 v 12 and ·ÒÙ¯ ääâ[È] 270 6 iv 17.
The realization hágª now seems certain (see also äâé
1QSa 1 7 and äâéà 4Q491 11:21) ,64 though the
surpralinear waw in 4Q267 does suggest a reading of h((gª.65
The second lexeme is ùÙÁä, which is found in 4Q 266 12
7 and 4Q270 4 14, and according to the transcription in DJD XVIII, ùÂÙÁä.
Qimron has argued that yodh "is extremely rare"66 as a mater
lectionis for short i in closed syllables in the Dead Sea Scrolls67 and
in such cases prefers to read waw, e.g., ¯Â÷Óä instead
of ¯È÷Óä 1QM 5:6,9,14. This interpretation of Qumran
orthographic practice may underly the decision of the editor of DJD XVIII
to read waw in ùåôçä. As is well known,
however, it is difficult, even impossible, in many manuscripts to distinguish
between waw and yodh. If the reading with waw is correct, then the o/u
vowel results from the assimilation to the following labial pe. The regressive
assimilation of a to o before labials and re( is a phenomenon that is attested
in the Dead Sea Scrolls, in Mishnaic Hebrew, and frequently in Palestinian
Aramaic dialects.68 It is not found elsewhere in in this lexeme, in Hebrew,
however, whereas the orthography with yodh is, e.g., in reliable manuscripts
of Mishnaic Hebrew as demonstrated in the Historical Dictionary of the
And finally, 4Q266, unlike other 4QD fragments and Qumran fragments
in general, contains examples of what appears to be the Aramaic 3 m.s.
pronominal suffix -eh: One finds ýÙä 2 ii 21 "his anger"
(as against ýÙÂ in the corresponding passage Úã
ýù¯ Á¯ä ýÙÂ ·Ì
CD 2:21); ìçììä áèîàúí
5 ii 6 "to profane him with their uncleanliness"; áãøùä
àåúå 8 i 2 "when he examines him" (áãøùå
àúå CD 15:11); åìôé ãòúä
8 i 6 "according to his knowledge" (åìôé
ãòúå CD 15:5); øòä 8 ii 6
"with his neighbor" (ò]í øòäå
4Q270 6 iii). This apparent Aramaism is not all that surprising since both
Hebrew and Aramaic were spoken and written at this period. The use of the
Aramaic 3 m.s. pronominal suffix on nouns is possibly attested also in
1QpHab ëáåãä 10:11,70 unless the he is the
archaic biblical orthography for the Hebrew suffix o, which does not seem
to be attested elsewhere in the Dead Sea Scrolls.71 Note that the Aramaic
form of the 3 m.s. pronominal suffix on pl. nouns, -ÂäÈ, appears
to be found a number of times at Qumran, unless the examples should be
read as the Hebrew pronominal suffix ÈäÂ-.72
In conclusion, the study of the Hebrew of the Damascus Document has
made tremendous strides in the 100 years since the discovery of the Geniza
manuscripts. Although many words and expressions aroused immediate interest
and were discussed in the light of parallels to biblical, rabbinic, and
medieval literature, the study of the grammar, on the whole, lagged behind
the study of the vocabulary, with the notable exceptions of the contributions
of M.H. Segal before the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, and C. Rabin
and E. Qimron since the publication of the Scrolls. The relationship of
phenomena in the Damascus Document to features in Late Biblical Hebrew,
Mishnaic Hebrew, and the Hebrew of the Dead Sea Scrolls has been proven
beyond doubt. Moreover, the Geniza manuscripts of the Damascus Document,
once disparaged linguistically, are now recognized as medieval copies that
still possess features of an earlier authentic type of Hebrew.73
1 S. Schechter, Documents of Jewish Sectaries (New York, 1970) 19-37.
2 P.R. Davies, The Damascus Covenant: An Interpretation of the "Damascus
Document" (JSOTSup 25; Sheffield, 1982) 3-47.
3 S. Schechter, Documents of Jewish Sectaries (Cambridge, 1910) 1:xi.
4 Ibid., xii.
5 See below.
6I. LeÏvi , "Un eÏcrit sadduceÏen anteÏrieur a la destruction du
Temple," REJ 61 (1911) 161-205; 63 (1912) 1-19.
7 It is ironic that Schechter, who first published the Hebrew version
of Ben Sira from the Geniza in 1899, did not notice this, though he does
cite a passage in Ben Sira in the notes (p. xxxiii at 2:10 n. 16).
8 M.H. Segal, "Notes on 'Fragments of a Zadokite Work,'" JQR
N.S. 2 (1911-1912) 133-141, especially pp. 139-140; idem, "Additional
Notes on 'Fragments of a Zadokite Work," JQR N.S. 3 1912-1913) 301-311.
9 Idem, ÒÙ¯ ·¯Èú-ãÓù÷ ÚÌ
Ó·Âý ÂäÚ¯Âú, Haschiloah.
Litterarisch-wissenschaftliche Monatsschrift 26 (Januar-Juni 1912) 390-406,
10 Ibid., 391-393; JQR 2 191-141.
11 JQR 2 140-141.
12 JQR 3 311 n. 10.
13 R.H. Charles, The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament
in English (Oxford, 1913) 2:786.
14 L. Ginzberg, Eine unbekannte jüdische Sekte (New York, 1922)
15 He described MS A, not MS B, because he felt that the latter agreed
on the whole with Masoretic orthography.
16 L. Ginzberg, An Unknown Jewish Sect, tr. R. Marcus et al, (New York,
17 Ibid., 282.
18 Ibid., 282.
19 Ibid., 303.
20 A. Büchler, review of S. Schechter, Documents of Jewish Sectaries
by S. Shechter, JQR N.S. 3 (1910-1913) 467-469.
21 H.H. Rowley, The Zadokite Fragments and the Dead Sea Scrolls (Oxford,
22 S. Zeitlin, Review of R.T. Herford, The Pharisees, JQR N.S. 16 (1925-1926)
23 F. F. Hvidberg, Menigheden af den nye Pagt i Damascus (Kobenhavn,
24 L. Rost, Die Damaskusschrift (Berlin, 1933).
25 He did so repeatedly. See "'A Commentary on the Book of Habakkuk'
Important Discovery or Hoax?" JQR 39 (1948-1949) 235-247; idem, "The
Hebrew Scrolls: Once More and Finally," JQR N.S. 41 (1950-1951) 35-53;
idem, "The Hebrew Scrolls: A Challenge to Scholarship," JQR N.S.
41 (1950-1951) 255-264; idem, The Zadokite Fragments: Facsimile of the
Manuscripts in the Cairo Genizah Collection in the Possession of the University
Library, Cambridge, England (Philadelphia, 1952) 1-32. Zeitlin was not
alone, however. See also P.R. Weis, "The Date of the Habakkuk Scroll,"
JQR N.S. 41 (1950-1951) 125-154.
26 A.M. Habermann, 'Edah we-'Eduth. Three Scrolls from the Judaean Desert.
The Legacy of a Community Edited with Vocalization, Notes and Indices (Jerusalem,
1982) [Hebrew]. He published an expanded version in 1959, incorporating
newly published manuscripts: Megilloth Midbar Yehuda: The Scrolls from
the Judean Desert Edited with Vocalization, Introduction, Notes and Concordance
(Jerusalem, 1959) [Hebrew]. Similarly, the vocalization presented in E.
Lohse, Die Texte aus Qumran. Hebräisch und Deutsch mit masoretischer
Punktation. Übersetzung, Einf(hrung und Anmerkungen (Darmstadt, 1964),
is interesting for the linguistic and philological analysis underlying
the vocalization. A fourth edition of Lohse's book was published in 1986.
See also the inclusion of the vocabulary of CD in K.G. Kuhn, Konkordanz
zu den Qumrantexten (G(ttingen, 1960).
27 C. Rabin, The Zadokite Fragments (Oxford, 1954).
28 See in the Zadokite Fragments, 43 note to l. 28 on ý»ðÂÃ
with qameß in pointed Mishnaic manuscripts vs. ýðÂÃ
in printed editions; p. 68 note to l. 2 on the consistent assimilation
of nun verabs I-n in Mishnaic manuscripts. E.Y. Kutscher's pathbreaking
article on the importance of reliable manuscripts to the study of Mishnaic
Hebrew (Henoch Yalon Festschrift, Jerusalem, 1963) had not yet appeared
at the time Rabin's edition was published.
29 M. Baillet, Fragments du document de Damas. Qumrân, Grotte
6," RB 63 (1956) 513-523.
30 A. Rubinstein, "Notes on Some Syntactical Irregularities in
Text B of the Zadokite Documents," VT 7 (1957) 356-361.
31 C. Rabin, Qumran Studies (Oxford, 1957).
32C. Rabin, "The Historical Background of Qumran Hebrew,"
Aspects of the Dead Sea Scrolls, ed. C. Rabin and Y. Yadin (Scripta Hierosolymitana
4 ), 156.
33 M. Baillet, J.T. Milik, and R. de Vaux, Les 'Petites Grottes' de
Qumrân (DJD III; Oxford, 1962).
34 A preliminary publication of 6QD appeared in M. Baillet, "Fragments
du Document de Damas. Qumrân, Grotte 6," RB 63 (1956) 513-523.
35 J.T. Milik, "Fragment d'une source Psautier (4QPs89) et fragments
des JubileÏs, du Document de Damas, d'une phylactère dans la Grotte
4 de Qumrân," RB 73 (1966), 104-105.
36 J.T. Milik, "Milkª-ßedeq et Milkª-re¡a>
dans les anciens eÏcrits juifs et chreÏtiens," JJS 23 (1972) 135-136
37 E. Qimron, A Grammar of the Hebrew Language of the Dead Sea Scrolls
(Ph.D. thesis, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 1976) [Hebrew].
38 E. Qimron, The Hebrew of the Dead Sea Scrolls (HSS 29; Atlanta, Georgia,
39 The Historical Dictionary of the Hebrew Language: Materials for the
Dictionary Series I: 200 B.C.E. - 300 C.E. (The Academy of the Hebrew Language;
Jerusalem, 1988). The Hebrew of CD is included also in the most recent
dictionaries of Biblical Hebrew: L. Koehler, W. Baumgartner et al. Hebraisches
und aramaisches Lexikon zum Alten Testament3, 6 vols. (Leiden, 1967-1996);
W. Gesenius, Hebraisches und aramaisches Handw(rterbuch (ber das Alte Testament18,
ed. R Meyer - H. Donner (Berlin, 1987- ); D.J.A. Clines, The Dictionary
of Classical Hebrew (Sheffield, 1993- ).
40 G.W. Nebe, "Der Gebrauch der sogenannten 'Nota accusativi' ýú
in Damaskusschrift XV, 5-9 und 12," RQ 8/30 (1973) 257-263.
41 J. Carmignac, "L'emploi de la neÏgation ýÈÔ
dans la Bible et a Qumran," RQ 8/31 (1974) 407-413.
42 M. Bar-Asher, "Misunderstood Spellings," Lé¡oneÏnu
45 (1981) 91-92 [Hebrew].
43 T. Thorion-Vardi, "The Use of the Tenses in the Zadokite Documents,"
RQ 12/45 (1985) 65-88.
44 Y. Thorion, "Die Syntax der Präposition B in der Qumranliteratur,"
RQ 12/45 (1985) 17-63.
45 J. Carmignac, "L'infinitif absolu chez Ben Sira et a Qumrân,"
RQ 12/46 (1986) 252-261.
46 J.M. Baumgarten, "The 4Q Zadokite Fragments on Skin Disease,"
JJS 41 (1990) 153-165.
47 E.g., in 3:1 the manuscript clearly shows úÚÈ, and
in the appartus one finds "Read úÚÂ," which is more
grammatical. Many of the corrections involve confusion of waw and yodh.
48The Damascus Document Reconsidered, ed. M. Broshi (Jerusalem, 1992).
49J.M. Baumgarten and D.R. Schwartz, "Damascus Document,"
4-79, in The Dead Sea Scrolls: Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek Texts with English
Translations, 2: Damascus Document, War Scrolls, and Related Documents,
ed. J.H. Charlesworth (Tübingen/Louisville, 1995).
50 Ibid., 10-11.
51 J.M. Baumgarten, The Damascus Document 4Q266-273 (DJD XVIII; Oxford,
52 Ibid., 6.
53 See n. 14 above.
54 In a footnote to the English translation of L. Ginzberg, Unknown
Jewish Sect, 28 n. 73 and 53 n. 152. Qimron writes in the note to his transcription:
= áí, áäí.
55 Qimron has the same note here as in 6:10.
56 Qimron, Hebrew of the Dead Sea Scrolls, 33.
57 Z. Ben-Óayyim, Studies in the Traditions of the Hebrew Language
(Madrid/Barcelona, 1954) 79; idem, "Traditions in the Hebrew Language
with Special Reference to the Dead Sea Scrolls," Aspects of the Dead
Sea Scrolls, ed. C. Rabin and Y. Yadin (Scripta Hierosolymitana 4 )
58 E.g., Kutscher and Ben-Óayyim. For a discussion and bibliography
on the subject, see Qimron, Hebrew of the Dead Sea Scrolls, 40-41.
59Ibid. See also I. Yeivin, "The Verbal Forms È÷ËÂÏðÂ,
È÷ÂËÏðÂ in DSS in Comparison to the Babylonian
Vocalization," 256-276 in Bible and Jewish History: Studies in Bible
and Jewish History Dedicated to the Memory of Jacob Liver, ed. B. Uffenheimer
(Tel-Aviv, 1971) 256-276 [Hebrew].
60 For a survey, see G.B. Sarfatti, "Definiteness in Noun-Adjective
Phrases in Rabinic Hebrew," 153-167 in Studies in the Hebrew Language
and the Talmudic Literature Dedicated to the Memory of Dr. Menaúem Moreshet,
ed. M.Z. Kaddari and S. Sharvit (Ramat-Gan, 1989) [Hebrew].
61 Only the (eth is preserved in 4Q269 4 ii 1. Baumgarten reconstructs
62 See Rabin, Zadokite Documents, 37 n. 1 to 20:1. Qimron, for example,
63 But in 1 QSa 1 7 with yodh.
64 See M. Goshen-Gottstein, "'Sefer Hagu,' ( The End of a Puzzle,"
VT 8 (1958) 286-288, who believes that ääâÂ should be read ääâÈ
and was realized as hahege. Rabin ( Zadokite Documents, 50, note to 10:6)
suggested that the orthography reflected hágª, a borrowing
from Aramaic. Qimron (Hebrew of the Dead Sea Scrolls, 21,66) also interprets
the orthography to reflect hágª, but implies that the form
reflects the Hebrew ì"ä noun pattern (like ëÌÀìÄé,
áÌÀëÄé). See also DJD XVIII, 67.
65 See DJD XVIII, 110.
66 Qimron, Hebrew of Dead Sea Scrolls 19 n. 5. See also idem, "The
Distinction between Waw and Yod in the Qumran Scrolls," Beth Mikra
18 (1973) 112-122 [Hebrew].
67 Note, however, that it is attested in CD (Ginzberg, Eine unbekannte
j(dische Sekte, 3-4) ìúéúå 1:6, åâéáåøéäí
3:9, åä_éöì 4:18, _éúôùéí
4:20, _éîåì 16:6, and it can also be found in
reliable manuscripts of Mishnaic Hebrew (J.N. Epstein, îáåà
ì_åñç äîù_ä [Jerusalem,
68 E.Y. Kutscher, The Language and Linguistic Background of the Isaiah
Scroll (1QIsaa) (Leiden, 1974) 496-497 ( = Jerusalem, 1959 [Hebrew]); Qimron,
Hebrew of the Dead Sea Scrolls 39-40 who argues that the sound shift occurs
not only before labials and re( but also liquids.
69 See MS Kaufmann Qiddushin 3:13 and MS Vatican 66 Sifra 'Aúare 8:3.
70 Qimron, Grammar of the Hebrew Language 78-79, 237.
71 An unusual orthographic practice is found in one Aramaic document,
an Aramaic deed of sale from Kefar Baro published by Milik in "Un
contrat juif d'an 134 apr(s J.-C.," RB 61 (1954), 182-190, in which
he seems to represent final ( in ¯ùä "authority" (l. 9).
72 See Qimron, "Waw and Yod," 107; idem, Hebrew of the Dead
Sea Scrolls, 61. -ÈäÂ is rare in Biblical Hebrew on plural
nouns (5x); -ÂäÈ is attested once in Biblical Hebrew (Psa
73 And as such, merit linguistic investigation. Research on the grammar
of the Dead Sea Scrolls and CD proceeds unabated. For example, see the
recent article of M.F.J. Baasten on nominal clauses in which CD is investigated
alongside 1QS, 4QSa-j, 1QSa, 1QSb, 1QpHab, 11QT, and 1QM: "Nominal
Clauses Containing A Personal Pronoun in Qumran Hebrew," 1-16 in The
Hebrew of the Dead Sea Scrolls and Ben Sira. Proceedings of a Symposium
held at Leiden University 11-14 December 1995, ed. T. Muraoka and J.F.
Elwolde (Leiden, 1997).
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