Stray Remarks on the Tobit Fragments

in Dead Sea Discoveries
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This paper discusses the rhetorical functions of quotative frames in the dialogue between Tobiah and Edna (4Q197 4 iii 3–8, Tob 7:1–5) and of Hebrew loan words in the Aramaic Tobit fragments and suggests a new explanation for the puzzling קשיטא in 4Q197 4 iii 2 (Tob 7:1), which might be a mistranslation of a Hebrew original.

Dead Sea Discoveries

A Journal of Current Research on the Scrolls and Related Literature




Morgenstern, “Language,” 135–37. Not much survives of pre-Hellenistic Aramaic literature, see the overview in Holger Gzella, A Cultural History of Aramaic: From the Beginnings to the Advent of Islam (Leiden: Brill, 2015), 201–8. It is therefore difficult to assess the literary standards that informed the composition of the Qumran Aramaic and later texts.


Gzella, Cultural History, 230–34.


Hans Bauer and Pontus Leander, Grammatik des Biblisch-Aramäischen (Halle: Niemeyer, 1927), 295–96 (§81u–w).


Gary A. Rendsburg, “Confused Language as a Deliberate Literary Device in Biblical Hebrew Narrative,” Journal of Hebrew Scriptures 2 (1998–99), esp. §§3.1, 5.3, 5.5, 7.2. Thanks are due to Shani Tzoref for reminding me of Rendsburgʼs article. For a comparable example from Samaritan Aramaic see Christian Stadel, “Studies in the Conditional Sentence in Samaritan Aramaic,” Carmillim (Haʿivrit veʾahyoteha) 10 (2014), 163–80, 177 [Hebrew].


E.g., Joseph A. Fitzmyer, Tobit (Berlin: de Gruyter, 2003), 225; Klaus Beyer, Die aramäischen Texte vom Toten Meer (2 vols. with suppl.; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1984–2004), 2:181.


Edward M. Cook, Dictionary of Qumran Aramaic (Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns, 2015), 214–15 s.v.; Beyer, Die aramäischen Texte, 1:688, 2:477 s.v.


This is the approach taken by Fitzmyer, Tobit, 225. Ursula Schattner-Rieser, Textes araméens de la Mer morte: Édition bilingue, vocalisée et commentée (Bruxelles: Safran, 2005), 153 s.v. translates “vraiment”. Muraokaʼs understanding of the morphology of the form is difficult to establish: On the one hand, he explicitly parses it as a feminine singular adjective used adverbially (Muraoka, Qumran Aramaic, 163 [§48d]; קשיטא is the only example given for such a usage). On the other hand, he has a lengthy discussion of a number of forms (קשיטא not mentioned) with a supposed adverbial morpheme /-ā̀/ (op. cit., 92–93 [§22c]); curiously, the discussion includes an aside (n. 542) against the view that such forms are feminine singulars (Muraoka, ibid., attributes the view to Fitzmyer, but this is a misrepresentation). It remains unclear why Muraoka does not include קשיטא among the forms with an adverbial ending.


Cook, Dictionary, 251; see Muraoka, Qumran Aramaic, 92–93 (§22c) for other such pairs.


Cook, Dictionary, 215. This translation was first proposed in idem, “Our Translated Tobit,” in Targumic and Cognate Studies: Essays in Honour of Martin McNamara (ed. Kevin J. Cathcart and Michael Maher; Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1996), 153–62, 161 with n. 25. On the use of definite nouns as vocative see Muraoka, Qumran Aramaic, 159 (§46k), 258 (§86a).


Andrew B. Perrin, “An Almanac of Tobit Studies: 2000–2014,” Currents in Biblical Research 13 (2014): 107–42, 111–13 has a summary of the most recent contributions to this ongoing debate.


Paul Joüon and Takamitsu Muraoka, A Grammar of Biblical Hebrew (Rome: Pontificial Biblical Institute, 1996), 331 (§102e); Elisha Qimron, The Hebrew of the Dead Sea Scrolls (Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1986), 48.


Avraham Even-Shoshan, The Even-Shoshan Dictionary (6 vols.; Jerusalem: Hamillon Hechadash, 2003), 1:383 [Hebrew]. Admittedly, the existence of the Modern Hebrew adverb inspired this proposal.


Perrin, “Almanac,” 111–13.


As suggested by Frank Zimmermann, The Book of Tobit (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1958), 60 n. 2.


Cp. Takamitsu Muraoka, “An Approach to the Morphosyntax and Syntax of Qumran Hebrew,” in Diggers at the Well: Proceedings of a Third International Symposium on the Hebrew of the Dead Sea Scrolls and Ben Sira (ed. idem and John F. Elwolde; Leiden: Brill, 2000), 193–214, 205–6 with possible examples from biblical manuscripts, and idem, “Verb Complementation in Qumran Hebrew,” in The Hebrew of the Dead Sea Scrolls and Ben Sira: Proceedings of a Symposium held at Leiden Universtiy, 11–14 December 1995 (ed. idem and John F. Elwolde; Leiden: Brill, 1997), 92–149, 100.


Christian Stadel, Hebraismen in den aramäischen Texten vom Toten Meer (Heidelberg: Winter, 2008), 84, 124.


Christian Stadel, “Hebrew Influences on the Language of the Aramaic Qumran Scrolls,” Meghillot 8–9 (2010): 393–407, 400–3 [Hebrew].


Stadel, “Hebrew Influences,” 401.


Irene Nowell, “The Book of Tobit: An Ancestral Story,” in Intertextual Studies in Ben Sira and Tobit: Essays in Honor of Alexander A. Di Lella, O.F.M. (ed. Jeremy Corley and Vincent Skemp; Washington d.c.: Catholic Biblical Association of America, 2005), 3–13, 6 and 8–10.


Cf. Giancarlo Toloni, “Tobi e Ahiqar,” in Il saggio Ahiqar: Fortuna e transformazioni di uno scritto sapienziale; Il testo più antico e le sue versioni (ed. Riccardo Contini and Cristiano Grottanelli; Brescia: Paideia, 2005), 141–65. Ingo Kottsieper, “ ʻLook, Son, What Nadab Did to Ahikaros . . .ʼ: The Aramaic Ahiqar Tradition and Its Relationship to the Book of Tobit,” in The Dynamics of Language and Exegesis at Qumran (ed. Devorah Dimant and Reinhard G. Katz; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2009), 145–67 argues that the figure of Ahiqar from the story underlying the book of Tobit was not explicitly pagan. But even if Ahiqarʼs religious affiliation remained unspecified in the source, the Hebrew term in 4Q196 2 9 strengthens his identification as Jewish in Tob 1:22.


Stadel, Hebraismen, 82–83.


Stadel, “Hebrew Influences,” 402.


Cook, Dictionary, 105. Apparently, Cook reached his conclusion independently, for he does not refer to Gzellaʼs discussion.


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