Dead Sea Scrolls: Qumran Sectarian Manuscripts Translation - clarification

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Posts 8
Scott Sullivan | Forum Activity | Posted: Sat, Apr 21 2018 4:41 PM

Good evening, I am just beginning to start my journey down DSS-land with the $20 off coupon for April. I've read the following thread which helped very much narrow down my immediate choice what I may start off purchasing: https://community.logos.com/forums/t/84569.aspx  Great thread. I've also read and re-read this page (https://www.logos.com/dss) about the various products.

It looks like, for me, the Qumran Sectarian Manuscripthttps://www.logos.com/product/4242/qumran-sectarian-manuscripts) is what I'm going to begin with, as I am more interested in non-biblical writings for now. To supplement this, I need an English translation (though my Greek is decent, I am only just beginning Hebrew).

I am having trouble understanding the difference between these two products:

The Dead Sea Scrolls Study Edition (https://www.logos.com/product/4241/the-dead-sea-scrolls-study-edition-vol-i-1q1-4q273-vol-ii-4q274-11q31

or

The Dead Sea Scrolls: A New Translation (https://www.logos.com/product/8868/the-dead-sea-scrolls-a-new-translation

It looks like neither is tagged, so does one of these have an advantage over the other? Thanks! 

Scott

Posts 10178
Denise | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Apr 21 2018 8:15 PM

Depends on why you’re pursuing DSS??

For example, the New Translation is grouped by type, subject and is cross-ref’d to the OT. DSS-SE is by MSS and matches up to its OL version.

Also, they support varying indices.

I assume you don’t like Vermes?


Posts 13360
Forum MVP
Mark Barnes | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Apr 21 2018 10:44 PM

If it's not already clear, the DSSSE comes in two volumes — translations and transcriptions — so you get both Hebrew and English. QSM is transcription only, whilst DSS:ANT is translation only.

The main differences between DSSSE (translations) and DSS:ANT are:

  • The DSSSE includes tiny fragments that are missing from DSS:ANT.
  • DSS:ANT shows row numbers as superscript (like verse numbers in English Bibles). DSSSE puts each row on a separate line.
  • The combination of the above two differences means the DSS:ANT reads more like a normal text than DSSSE.
  • The DSSSE doesn't include an commentary or introductions, but the DSS:ANT does.
  • DSS:ANT is more concerned to lead you read the original texts in their fullest form, so it will occasionally merge multiple scrolls together to try and create the fullest text (e.g. the Temple Scroll is put together from 11Q19–21, 4Q524, 4Q365a). DSSSE keeps all scrolls separate.
  • As with any translation, the resulting texts differ at points, sometimes significantly, especially where the text was fragmentary.

The main differences between QSM and DSSSE in transcription are:

  • QSM is morphologically tagged, but DSSSE isn't.
  • DSSSE has some brief bibliographic details for each manuscript/fragment, QSM doesn't.
  • There are times when the transcription differs slightly between the two texts.

There are pros and cons to each work. Personally:

  • Buy QSM if you need morphological tagging.
  • Buy DSSSE if you are concerned to get as accurate English translation as possible
  • Buy DSS:ANT if you're intending to 'read' the scrolls rather than simply 'study' them line-by-line.

You can consider DSSSE versus QSM+DSS:ANT, but there is genuine advantage in having all three.

Here's a screenshot of DSSSE and DSS:ANT so you can compare the translations. You'll see DSSSE has all the fragments, whilst DSS:ANT has a nice introduction.

Posts 89
David Staveley | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Apr 22 2018 12:36 AM

Scott Sullivan:

Good evening, I am just beginning to start my journey down DSS-land with the $20 off coupon for April. I've read the following thread which helped very much narrow down my immediate choice what I may start off purchasing: https://community.logos.com/forums/t/84569.aspx  Great thread. I've also read and re-read this page (https://www.logos.com/dss) about the various products.

It looks like, for me, the Qumran Sectarian Manuscripthttps://www.logos.com/product/4242/qumran-sectarian-manuscripts) is what I'm going to begin with, as I am more interested in non-biblical writings for now. To supplement this, I need an English translation (though my Greek is decent, I am only just beginning Hebrew).

I am having trouble understanding the difference between these two products:

The Dead Sea Scrolls Study Edition (https://www.logos.com/product/4241/the-dead-sea-scrolls-study-edition-vol-i-1q1-4q273-vol-ii-4q274-11q31

or

The Dead Sea Scrolls: A New Translation (https://www.logos.com/product/8868/the-dead-sea-scrolls-a-new-translation

It looks like neither is tagged, so does one of these have an advantage over the other? Thanks! 

Scott

I have all three of these products, and the primary difference between them is this:

Starting with the Qumran Sectarian Manuscripts is a very good idea. It is edited by Martin Abegg himself. And is in fact, the Hebrew transcription that underlies Abegg's translation (i.e. DSS: A New Translation).

You can have the Hebrew open in one panel of Logos, and Abegg's English translation open in another panel, and you can link the 2 panels, so that as you scroll (no pun intended) through either, the other will follow it.

If you want to look up a Hebrew word, the Logos edition has Morphological tables and will list every single instance of the word throughout the Sectarian Documents. This is absolutely a God send! There is no concordance to the scrolls (well, there is an unofficial one, but it is old, out of date, and only available to those that belong to the "old boys club") and being able to look up every single instance of a word within the scrolls, is really handy to have, as it no longer necessitates having to manually look through them all one at a time. I wish I had had it when I was doing my doctoral dissertation, as I had to track 3 words - 2 verbs and a noun - through 800 Qumran documents, and I had to do it all manually. It took 2 years. If I had had Logos' edition then, I could have done it in 6 months (as I am currently doing for my new book).

Of the English translation products, I have this to say:

The DSS Study Edition is the "Academic standard", used by all professional scrolls scholars throughout the world. It is edited by Garcia Martinez, who is the "authorized" (that is, authorized by the International Scrolls Team itself) editor. It contains both Hebrew transcriptions and English translation within one product. The English translation is the exact same one that appears in the editio princeps of the scrolls, started in 1952 called Discoveries in the Judean Desert - which is currently up to volume 42. You need this even if you get other translations of the scrolls, because of its status as the Academic standard.

The Hebrew transcription used in this edition is not the same as that used in DJD. It is the Hebrew transcription that has come out of the Groinigen University Project, which is a rival project to the International Scrolls Team's project. The principal differences between these two transcription projects are too numerous to go into, but it is mostly to do with different theories of who the sectarians were, that is how we identify them: were they the Essenes known from classical writers? Or, where they a break-away group of Essenes who became the sectarians we now know of by their material remains? The former theory is known as the "Classical Hypothesis". The latter is known as the "Groinigen Hypothesis". The different transcriptions that have come out of these 2 competing projects have mostly to do with "correcting" hard to read Hebrew words (that is, when the manuscript is almost or completely illegible) in order to lend support to a particular identity theory. 

The DSS: A New Translation is a fairly new translation by a reputable scrolls scholar Martin Abegg. Abegg was the first scholar to point to the importance of 4QMMT and Paul's phrase "works of the law", and he did this when MMT hadn't even been published. I have this, and I find the translation fresh and quite exciting at points, because he has some very interesting takes on certain problematic words within the central sectarian documents. I would advise getting this just for its freshness, although it is not as important to have as the Martinez edition.

Denise:

I assume you don’t like Vermes?

Vermes is okay if you just want to read the scrolls for pleasure. But you cannot use him if you want to study the scrolls seriously. He is far too eclectic, and injects far too much Christian theology into his translation. Yes: his was the first English translation of the scrolls to the world-wide public outside of scrolls study, and made the name "Dead Sea Scrolls" a house hold name. And for that, he deserves enormous respect. But within serious scrolls study itself, his translation is not that well received for the reasons I just cited. 

Dr David Staveley Professor of New Testament. Specializing in the Pauline Epistles, Apocalyptic Judaism, and the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Posts 8
Scott Sullivan | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Apr 22 2018 4:33 AM

Fantastic information. Thank you Mark and David for your insights. This is incredibly helpful, especially to myself who is an absolute novice in regards to the DSS study. 

The backgrounds you both gave regarding the english translations, especially, cleared up quite a bit for me. After both of your excellent, detailed list, it seems it may be that all three would be good to use. I was afraid there was too much crossover between both translations, but it seems that is definitely not the case.

Thank you for your time!

Scott

PS

Denise, regarding Vermes, I definitely do not have a 'dislike.' More of a full blown ignorance at this point in not knowing what I don't know. :D 

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