My musings on Biblical Studies, Biblical Hebrew, Dead Sea Scrolls, Septuagint, Popular Culture, Religion, Software, and pretty much anything else that interests me!

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Archive for April, 2005

The Scrolls and the Hebrew Bible (Or: anticipating publication of 4QSama)

12th April 2005

It is well-recognized that the Dead Sea Scrolls have revolutionized – and exceedingly complicated – our understanding of the text and history of the Hebrew Bible. Most of my research on the scrolls has focused on what has been perhaps one of the greatest catalysts for reviewing the development of the canon, namely, the so-called Qumran Psalms Scroll (11Q5 = 11QPsa). This psalms manuscript has a number of significant differences in content and order with the MT Psalter. The official editor of the scroll, James Sanders, and his heir apparent (and my personal friend), Peter Flint, have published extensively on this manuscript, laying out their “Qumran Psalms Hypothesis.” This view posits that the Qumran scrolls bear witness to a two-stage stabilization of the book of Psalms (Pss 1-89 and 90-150) and that 11QPsa contains the latter part of a “true Scriptural Psalter” or “edition” of the Psalter, among other things. While Flint and Sanders (and others) have argued their case extensively, I remain unconvinced on a number of points. That being said, this isn’t the scroll I wanted to talk about! If you want to know more about my own views on 11QPsa, you can take a look at my comments on this scroll on my Scrolls Introductions page. You can also stay tuned for some comments on a recent book devoted to 11QPsa by Ulrich Dahmen, Psalmen- und Psalter-Rezeption im Fruehjudentum: Rekonstrucktion, Textbestand, Sturktur und Pragmatik der Psalmen Rolle 11QPsa aus Qumran, which I will be reviewing for the Journal of Hebrew Scriptures).

What I wanted to comment on is a second scroll which has also had significant influence on our understanding of the development of the biblical text, namely, the Samuel scroll from cave four (4QSama), which is just being published in DJD 17 (those in the UK and Europe may already have a copy in your hands as its release date was April 7; in North America we have to wait until April 20 to get our hot little hands on it). My interest in this scroll is indirect. A number of scholars (e.g., Lemke, Ulrich, and McKenzie) have argued that 4QSama better represents the Vorlage of Chronicles than MT Samuel. Furthermore, it is argued that 4QSama reflects the same text-type as LXX Samuel. This means that places where Chronicles differs from MT Samuel, but agrees with 4QSama, that the Dead Sea Scroll may better represent his Vorlage. So rather than the Chronicler modifying his sources to fit his ideology (as virtually all commentators thought pre-Qumran), he was actually faithfully following his source text — but it was a text more akin to what is found in 4QSama or the LXX, rather than the MT. It will be nice to see the “official” edition of 4QSama, especially considering Herbert’s fairly recent monograph (A New Method for Reconstructing Biblical Scrolls, and its Application to the Reconstruction of 4QSam-a [Brill, 1997]) has identified 55% more deviations between the texts than previous publications. All this is to say that I looking forward to getting my hands on Qumran Cave 4.XII: 1-2 Samuel (DJD 17). Eight days and counting! (If you are as excited as I am, feel freel to buy it from!)

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DSS Updates, including Abegg lecture online and some pictures.

10th April 2005

I have uploaded an MP3 of Dr. Martin Abegg’s public lecture he gave at Taylor University College last week (April 4, 2005): "Jesus in the Dead Sea Scrolls? Messianic Expectations at Qumran." Dr. Martin Abegg is Co-Director of the Dead Sea Scrolls Institute, Graduate Program Director, and Professor of Religious Studies, Trinity Western University, British Columbia. The MP3 is available on my Taylor Public Lectures page.

I have created a Dead Sea Scrolls pictures page, where I have uploaded some scans of original photographs of the scrolls I received from the widow of R.K. Harrison. I believe they are the originals of the plates used in his out-of-print, The Dead Sea Scrolls: An Introduction (New York: Harper and Row, 1961).

Finally, I have also updated some of my Dead Sea Scrolls pages, including creating a Critical Editions of the Dead Sea Scrolls page were I list all of the DJD and Princeton volumes with full bibliographic information (thanks to Eibert Tigchelaar for some corrections and Ken Ristau for the Amazon links).

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Sorry for the Lost Comments!

8th April 2005

I just wanted to apologize to everyone who commented on my first two posts, since they have left the blogosphere! In an attempt to change my RSS feed to include the entire post rather than a summary, I messed up my entire blog and had to delete it and make another! I am figuring out this bloging stuff, and I have to say, I really feel welcomed by the blogging community! Have a good weekend everyone.

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Thoughts on Technology & the Reconstruction of Dead Sea Scrolls

8th April 2005

I am amazed at the benefits of computer technology for studying the Scriptures. This was recently impressed upon me again while visiting with Marty Abegg, who was in town giving some special lectures on the Dead Sea Scrolls at Taylor University College (N.B. I will upload an MP3 of his public lecture, “Jesus in the Dead Sea Scrolls? Messianic Expectations at Qumran,” to my Public Lectures Page soon). Marty has done an amazing amount of work preparing a searchable database of the non-biblical texts from Qumran from which he assembled the now available Dead Sea Scrolls Concordance, Volume 1: The Non-Biblical Texts from Qumran (see my Annotated Guide to the DSS).

My own (very modest) foray into using technology in helping us study the scrolls — besides using Marty’s database with Accordance as well as other software packages — is in connection with 1Q12 (= 1QPs-c), a small scroll containing part of Psalm 44. When working with the official publication of the fragmentary scroll (DJD 1; Oxford, 1955), I decided to try to visually reconstruct some of the manuscripts using computer technology. In particular, using Accordance Bible Software, Adobe Photoshop, and Quark XPress, as well as some other imaging software, I was able to identify another fragment of this scroll. Unfortunately, while my identification is likely (IMHO), it will never be able to be confirmed visually with the orginal fragment, as it as been misplaced!

You can take a look at a brief write-up of my proposed reconstruction from my Software for Biblical Studies page. Any and all comments are most welcome! (And if you know where the original fragments are, please return them to the Shrine of the Book!)

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Welcome to my blogspot!

8th April 2005

Welcome to my blogspot! I hope that my blog will be worthy of your attention. I hope to post my musings on Biblical Studies, Biblical Hebrew, Dead Sea Scrolls, Septuagint, Popular Culture, and pretty much anything else that interests me! I will also let you know about site updates and special academic events in the Edmonton area, among other things.

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