How to use the Qumran Dead Sea Scrolls Database

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Dominick Sela | Forum Activity | Posted: Tue, Mar 8 2011 4:20 AM

I have been looking around the resources we received for the Qumran DSS DB.  I wanted to try and verify something I have read often; can anyone prove/disprove this assertion using the resources, as my Hebrew is not good enough to do it on my own?  --->

Most Bibles, if you check 1 Sam 17:4, will say Goliath was 6 cubits tall. (Some say in feet).

The books I have read on the DSS say that the 1st copy of Samuel from Cave 4 reads Goliath's height as 4 cubits not 6. Using the Biblical DSS Bible Reference Index, I think this would refer to 4Q51 Samuel. 

So my question - does it show 4 cubits? Can someone highlight the Hebrew word for the number in this manuscript and in say the ESV to show the difference? That would be greatly helpful to me and others I suspect.  I can't tell if it actually says that, or if the text is missing there. 

Second question - in that same area, if I compare the ESV and the DSS text, look at the Hebrew for "he was armed..." in 1 Sam 17:5 of ESV. To me it appears that is shown as 1 Sam 17:4 in 4Q51 Samuel. True?

Thanks!

Posts 912
David Knoll | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Mar 8 2011 5:57 AM

1) 4QSamA (4Q51) agrees with Josephus and reads ארבע [א]מות  (the letter א is reconstructed) meaning 4 cubits. 

2) הוא לבוש in verse 5 (He was dressed with) was not prteserved in the scroll and is part of a (plausible) reconstruction. You can see that it is confined in brackets.

 

 

Note: The reconstructions in the Logos edition of this scroll look prima facie very similar to the reconstructions of Cross in DJD but he is given no credit.

Posts 5337
Kevin Becker | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Mar 8 2011 6:15 AM

Thanks to the morph tagging (which includes glosses) you can look at each word to see even if you don't know Hebrew well enough to translate.

Of course you should be careful with this, its possible to misunderstand idioms etc.

Also if you can use sympathetic highlighting to help. If I open the ESV and hightlight the whole verse you can see the word that is different is not highlighted.

EDIT: I see David beat me to the punch

Posts 912
David Knoll | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Mar 8 2011 6:29 AM

Kevin Becker:

Also if you can use sympathetic highlighting to help. If I open the ESV and hightlight the whole verse you can see the word that is different is not highlighted.

\

I think this can be hazardous. There is no difference in highlighting between the preserved text and the reconstructions. We should always bear in mind  the difference between what we see and what we think (Or rather Cross thinks) ought to have been written in the scroll.

Posts 5337
Kevin Becker | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Mar 8 2011 6:38 AM

David Knoll:
I think this can be hazardous. There is no difference in highlighting between the preserved text and the reconstructions. We should always bear in mind  the difference between what we see and what we think (Or rather Cross thinks) ought to have been written in the scroll.

This is a good caution

Posts 1874
Alan Macgregor | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Mar 8 2011 7:57 AM

Kevin Becker:

David Knoll:
I think this can be hazardous. There is no difference in highlighting between the preserved text and the reconstructions. We should always bear in mind  the difference between what we see and what we think (Or rather Cross thinks) ought to have been written in the scroll.

This is a good caution

Absolutely! A lot of textual reconstruction is about "filling the blanks"! We should be careful about what we have inside the brackets, either letters or words. It's the same with epigraphical texts on funerary jars or bits of engraved masonry.

That said; it's great to have the DSS biblical texts available at such a modest price. Even better is the fact that they are collated in a workable database.

I haven't seen the problems some have described with the NH Greek texts because Gentium is my default Greek display text.

Looking forward to working through some research on Deuteronomy, though when I can make the time. Big Smile

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Posts 10177
Denise | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Mar 8 2011 8:05 AM

David ... I noticed your comment about Cross. Could you expand?

In the Logos product page 'Fresh transcriptions of every biblical Dead Sea Scroll, including Greek fragments. The Logos transcriptions are substantially the same as those found in the DJD volumes, but are the result of a fresh, expert analysis that takes into account scholarly work done on the scrolls since the DJD volumes were published.'

I'm guessing from your comment, there's more to the story?


Posts 5337
Kevin Becker | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Mar 8 2011 8:29 AM

I suspect that the footnotes for the ESV relies on the same reconstruction we see in this database. For the average user double checking the footnotes I doubt they will want to go that extra step and be cognizant of the caveat "as long as the reconstruction is correct." The info section says that this transcription is done by Dr. Stephen Pfann, not Cross.

To really chase that down a topic like this one would have to swing by a seminary/university library to track down journal articles on the subject; I don't imagine they are currently available in Logos.

 

This is a good time to plug the forthcoming JBL and the languishing prepub Religious and Theological Abstracts or any of the JSOTS for that matter Smile. The Journal of Hebrew Scriptures would probably hit topics like this from time to time (I've never used it though).

Posts 9946
George Somsel | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Mar 8 2011 9:24 AM

Denise Barnhart:

David ... I noticed your comment about Cross. Could you expand?

In the Logos product page 'Fresh transcriptions of every biblical Dead Sea Scroll, including Greek fragments. The Logos transcriptions are substantially the same as those found in the DJD volumes, but are the result of a fresh, expert analysis that takes into account scholarly work done on the scrolls since the DJD volumes were published.'

I'm guessing from your comment, there's more to the story?

Dead Sea Scrolls

Since June 1953 Cross has been a member of the international committee responsible for editing the Dead Sea Scrolls which had been found at Qumran in the West Bank. Cross first heard of the Scrolls while a student at Johns Hopkins University when he was shown pictures of the Isaiah Scroll by William F Albright, one of his lecturers, who later was to nominate Cross to join the Scrolls editorial team. On joining the team he was immediately allocated 61 Biblical manuscripts from Cave 4 at Qumran to prepare for publication. Initially, this involved cleaning the manuscripts in the Palestine Archaeological Museum where they were being worked on in the 'Scrollery'. As with several others on the team, Cross was financially supported between 1954 to 1960 by a John D Rockefeller subsidy.

Like Roland de Vaux, Cross was a Biblical scholar, and he used the Biblical manuscripts of Qumran to lay out a textual history of the Tanakh, and by using the non-Biblical texts he examined the development of the Jewish scribal hand from the 3rd century BC to the first century AD. He began to share certain Biblical scrolls from Qumran with his graduate students, some of whom published them in doctoral dissertations. Cross's datings of Jewish scribal writings gleaned from his work on the Scrolls and based on palaegraphical typology are still widely use in editions of the Scrolls.

He was one of only two American scholars on the scroll-publication team, being personally responsible for identifying thousands of fragments, all of which have now been published. Cross is widely regarded as a pioneer in Qumran studies.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_Moore_Cross#Dead_Sea_Scrolls

george
gfsomsel

יְמֵי־שְׁנוֹתֵינוּ בָהֶם שִׁבְעִים שָׁנָה וְאִם בִּגְבוּרֹת שְׁמוֹנִים שָׁנָה וְרָהְבָּם עָמָל וָאָוֶן

Posts 3163
Dominick Sela | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Mar 9 2011 11:13 AM

Thank you all, very informative and helpful!

 

One question - what is the "Josephus" resource David refers to in the second post?

Thanks!

Posts 5337
Kevin Becker | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Mar 9 2011 11:19 AM

Dominick Sela:
One question - what is the "Josephus" resource David refers to in the second post?

Antiquities 6.171

Posts 912
David Knoll | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Mar 9 2011 11:40 AM

Denise Barnhart:

I'm guessing from your comment, there's more to the story?

Cross spent several decades (!!!) of his life to the publication of 4QSamA. This scroll is very interesting because it reflects a mixed text type. Some of the readings are similar to the Hebrew Masoretic Text (henceforth: MT) others certainly reflect the Hebrew text that was translated by the Septuagint (henceforth: G). Even within G you have several manuscript families and the readings  of 4QSamA  can sometimes be found in the Vaticanus Codex and sometimes they can be located in the manuscripts that belong to what is termed "The Lucianic Recension" (henceforth:GL). 

Where the text was preserved, all the researcher needs to do is read the text (which is not that easy sometimes), create transcriptions and  note for each reading where else it is attested. But for the missing part it is more difficult. The researcher needs to decide what to print to fill the blanks and create and running text. One possible decision is to choose MT. The merits of this choice are that it is a well known Hebrew text (in fact the only Hebrew text that was preserved). Other possible choices are  to use a reconstructed Hebrew text of G or GL. Of course if the reading does not fit the space you need either to choose from a different text type or try to invent a reading that would fit space requirements.

Cross chose a different way. He thinks he can predict what reading 4QSamA would use that means sometimes from MT sometimes from G and sometimes from GL. Where no version fits space requirements he created a coherent text that would fit. The thing is that as far as I can tell the Logos version copied his reconstructions.

in 1 Sam 6:4 Cross follows G in reconstructing כמספר instead of מספר in MT. Even Cross says: "Calculations of space do not give a basis, of course, for reconstructing such a small change". Interestingly, the Logos version has the same reconstruction.

In 1 Sam 6:20 G is the preferable reading but MT also fits the space and  there is no certainty that לעמד had not penetrated the textual transmission earlier than 4QSamA.

In 9:21 he reconstructs with the Syriac only because in his opinion MT seems "awkward".

In 15:29 וגם יחצה ישראל לשניים with G (but reconstruction  of the Hebrew יחצה from the Greek is not at all certain) instead of MT נצח ישראל לא ישקר.

I could list hundreds of examples but the main thing is that even if I don't always accept his reconstructions and even if I dislike the audacity (or presumption) to reconstruct an eclectic text in a scientific edition such as DJD, Cross worked very hard on this for many many years and his work was copied by a commercial company without his name even being mentioned!

 

 

Posts 9946
George Somsel | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Mar 9 2011 11:46 AM

Dominick Sela:

Thank you all, very informative and helpful!

 

One question - what is the "Josephus" resource David refers to in the second post?

Thanks!

Josephus. Antiquities, vi.171

καταβὰς οὖν τις ἐκ τοῦ Παλαιστίνιων στρατοπέδου Γολιάθης ὄνομα· πόλεως δὲ Γίττης ἀνὴρ παμμεγαθέστατος· ἦν γἀρ πηχῶν τεσσάρων καὶ σπιθαμἠς ὅπλα τῇ φύσει τοῦ σώματος ...

Now there came down a man out of the camp of the Philistines, whose name was Goliath, of the city of Gath, a man of vast bulk, for he was of four cubits and a span in tallness,

george
gfsomsel

יְמֵי־שְׁנוֹתֵינוּ בָהֶם שִׁבְעִים שָׁנָה וְאִם בִּגְבוּרֹת שְׁמוֹנִים שָׁנָה וְרָהְבָּם עָמָל וָאָוֶן

Posts 10177
Denise | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Mar 9 2011 11:54 AM

David ... thank you for the extra time explaining. It had not even dawned on me about the reconstructions.


Posts 9946
George Somsel | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Mar 9 2011 12:15 PM

David Knoll:

in 1 Sam 6:4 Cross follows G in reconstructing כמספר instead of מספר in MT. Even Cross says: "Calculations of space do not give a basis, of course, for reconstructing such a small change". Interestingly, the Logos version has the same reconstruction.

That doesn't seem to be what I see.  In BHS 4.2 I read מִסְפָּר סַרנֵי פְלִשְׁתִים or were you referring to the Biblical Dead Sea Scrolls?  I would almost certainly expect that since the DJD reflects Cross's work.

george
gfsomsel

יְמֵי־שְׁנוֹתֵינוּ בָהֶם שִׁבְעִים שָׁנָה וְאִם בִּגְבוּרֹת שְׁמוֹנִים שָׁנָה וְרָהְבָּם עָמָל וָאָוֶן

Posts 912
David Knoll | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Mar 9 2011 12:41 PM

George Somsel:

That doesn't seem to be what I see.  In BHS 4.2 I read מִסְפָּר סַרנֵי פְלִשְׁתִים or were you referring to the Biblical Dead Sea Scrolls?  I would almost certainly expect that since the DJD reflects Cross's work.

 

As I said

MT מספר סרני פלשתים

G and Cross כמספר סרני פלשתים

Posts 3163
Dominick Sela | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Mar 9 2011 3:50 PM

Kevin Becker:

Dominick Sela:
One question - what is the "Josephus" resource David refers to in the second post?

Antiquities 6.171

 

Thanks!

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