Chapter 13 Using One Prepared Copy as a Skeleton for a Second Copy

In: Material and Digital Reconstruction of Fragmentary Dead Sea Scrolls
Authors:
Jonathan Ben-Dov
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Asaf Gayer
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Eshbal Ratzon
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This chapter presents one of the main innovations of the present book, i.e., the method to extrapolate information from one known copy to other scrolls. The procedure described thus far for creating a digital canvas is based on material reconstruction of a specific scroll. However, even after extracting all available data from each of the copies independently, no matter how detailed or rich this data is, several open questions and loose threads would remain. Some fragments, for example, may fit into more than one place in the reconstruction, and others may or may not constitute parallels with other copies, if the amount of parallel text is rather small. Solutions for such problems may rise when applying data from an additional copy of the same composition. This kind of “cross validation” increases the reliability of reconstructions that would have otherwise remained dubious, having been based on one copy only. This process is valid for textually stable compositions such as Instruction or Shirot Olat HaShabbat. The process was intuitively used by previous scholars. In this chapter we only suggest a coherent working protocol.

The present chapter describes the protocol for projecting information from the canvas of one copy to the canvas of another copy. This move can be carried out even in the absence of an overlapping fragment between the two canvasses, and in cases where the intervening text between proven points of overlap is not known and thus these textual sections are but blank columns, or “dummy columns.”1 The only thing we know about these blank sections is their length, that is, the space occupied by the missing text between two located fragments.

In the material reconstruction carried out thus far, an anchor fragment served as common ground between the distinct copies. The anchor fragment and its overlapping text in other copies were placed on their respective digital canvasses, and the composite text was cast into the layout of each scroll accordingly. Further fragments that are not directly connected to the anchor were then placed on the digital canvas of each copy. Information about the location of those fragments may come from material reconstruction or other clues (see chapter 12). Having measured the space between the fragments of the first canvas, one can now implement this data on the second canvas.

Having located the anchor fragment in the second canvas, the following step is placing further fragments or bulks of text in the canvas. This step is based on assessing the number of missing lines between two objects (i.e., fragments or bulks of text) that have been located in canvas A. This figure is then projected into canvas B, providing the distance between these objects. However, since the properties of the canvasses (i.e., column width and the density of the writing, that is, the number of letters per centimeter) are not identical, the measuring units of the number of lines in the first copy should be converted to the total number of letter-spaces between the objects. Letter-spaces provide a neutral measurement, unaffected by the peculiarities of the script of each copy. When the missing lines come from more than one column, the width of each column should be measured and multiplied by the number of letters per centimeter (the density of the writing) in order to calculate the number of letters per line for each column. The number of missing letters (which should be approximately equal in both copies) could be converted back to the number of missing lines in the second copy and provide the distance between the objects in the second canvas. Table 15 clarifies this transformation.

Table 15
Table 15

Projecting the number of missing lines from one copy to the other

For Instruction we have defined as anchor the large fragment 4Q416 2, representing four sequential, well-preserved columns. The text preserved on this fragment parallels multiple fragments in the copies 4Q417, 4Q418, 4Q418a, and possibly also 4Q418*.2 We then projected the text of this fragment plus its overlaps onto the canvas of 4Q418a, while casting it in the format of the latter scroll. In the reconstruction of 4Q418a, the anchor comprises columns IXXII. In addition to the textual data, material considerations allow the location of further fragments (figure 45):

  • 4Q418a 17+14a can be placed at the bottom of column XII.

  • fragments 4Q418a 14+16+16b can be placed at the bottom of column XIII.

  • fragments 4Q418a 13+15 which overlap fragments 4Q415 11 and 4Q418 167a+b can be placed at the bottom of column XIV.

Figure 45
Figure 45

Columns of 4Q418a. Columns XXI with the text of 4Q416 2 i–iv and its overlaps; column XV with the text of 4Q415 11 and its overlaps. Fragments belonging to columns XIXIV are located according to material considerations.

© IAA, LLDSSDL, Shai Halevi and Najib Anton Albina

Additional fragments are then placed according to the principles of the Stegemann method, as described in detail in chapter 16.

Having established the order of 4Q418a, one could now begin establishing the order of fragments in other copies. In order to further extend the canvasses of other copies, the data from 4Q418a should now be projected onto their canvas by means of an integration of the scrolls. While the actual content standing between the text of 4Q416 and the next fragment on the canvas of 4Q418a is unknown, it is possible to calculate the amount of space that stood between them. This number could be further used to set the position of overlapping fragments in a third scroll, this time 4Q418, on the canvas of that copy.

In the same method used for 4Q418a, the text of 4Q416 2 can be projected into the layout of 4Q418, based on overlaps with multiple small fragments of that copy. A sequence of four consecutive columns is created, spread between two sheets of leather. Yet, while additional fragments were placed in the canvas of 4Q418a before and after this textual block based on the order of the fragments in the wads (see chapter 16), the third copy 4Q418 does not provide similar material considerations. The only way to extend this latter canvas is by building on the material data from 4Q418a.

Let us examine as an example the fragments 4Q418 167a+b, which overlap fragments 4Q418a 15+13. The latter are located in column XIV of the respective canvas. Since the number of missing lines between the end of the text of 4Q416 2 and the location of fragments 4Q418a 13+15 in the canvas of 4Q418a is known, it could provide the distance between these objects in the canvas of 4Q418 too, thus indicating the location of fragments 4Q418 167a+b (table 16).

Table 16
Table 16

Projecting the number of missing lines from 4Q418a to 4Q418

Moreover, the canvas of 4Q418 can also be enriched by placing in it the text from other columns of 4Q418a, using the same protocol. This protocol enables a significant enhancement of the canvas of 4Q418, as described in figure 46.

Figure 46
Figure 46

Columns of 4Q418. Column i: 4Q418 fragments 10a, b and the overlapping text of 4Q416 2 iv and 4Q418a 18 (blue); column ii: text of 4Q418a 17+17b+14b; column iii: text of 4Q418a 14+16+16b; column iv: 4Q418 fragments 167a+b, placed according to the distances between columns 4Q418a XII to XIV. Column numbers of 4Q418 are for illustration purposes only.

© IAA, LLDSSDL, Shai Halevi

After placing all available data, text, fragments, and empty spaces on the canvas, and projecting the skeleton of the composition onto the canvas of the scroll, further hitherto unlocated fragments of the second copy can be placed in these spaces.

1

For a discussion on dummy columns see chapter 9.

2

For the composite text of 4Q416 2 i–iv see Qimron, The Dead Sea Scrolls, 2.152–57. The fragments overlapping 4Q416 2 i–iv are: 4Q417 2 i–ii; 4Q418 7a, 7b, 8, 8c, 8d, 9, 9a, 9b, 9c 10a, 10b, 11, 13, 26, 27, 64, 66, 199; and 4Q418a 18, 20, 22, and possibly fragment 4Q418 33 which may belong to copy 4Q418*. See further details in Strugnell and Harrington, DJD XXXIV, 88–131; Tigchelaar, Increase Learning, 44–48, 56–57, 75–80; Qimron, The Dead Sea Scrolls, 2.156.

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