Jordanian lead codices report

The Centre for the Study of the Jordanian Lead Books has released a 1100+-page report on the codices that is openly available on the Centre’s website.

For additional links related to the codices, see PaleoJudaica and Donnerstag Digest (March 31, 2011)A Selective Summary of Fields, “The Dead Sea Scrolls Today”On the Web (August 24, 2011)On the Web (August 30, 2011)On the Web (September 1, 2011), and On the Web (September 6, 2011).

Phillips on a textual relative of the Leningrad Codex

The latest issue of the Tyndale Bulletin carries Kim Phillips’s essay, “A New Codex from the Scribe behind the Leningrad Codex: L17.” According to the abstract,

Samuel b. Jacob was the scribe responsible for the production of the so-called Leningrad Codex (Firkowich B19a), currently our earliest complete Masoretic Bible codex. This article demonstrates that another codex from the Firkowich Collection, containing the Former Prophets only, is also the work of Samuel b. Jacob, despite the lack of a colophon to this effect. The argument is based on a combination of eleven textual and para-textual features shared between these two manuscripts, and other manuscripts known to have been produced by the same scribe.

Phillips acknowledges that definitively linking the scribes of L and L17 isn’t entirely possible. But, he helpfully marshals several different lines of evidence to suggest the strong possibility of this connection.

For the essay’s full text and related links, see the Tyndale Bulletin website. See also PaleoJudaica. HT: Peter Williams.

The chemistry of studying the Dead Sea Scrolls

This Decoded Science article has an interesting treatment of some of the chemical elements of the study of the Dead Sea Scrolls, particularly the Copper Scroll. The article’s conclusion provides the reminder that

Archaeology allows us to look into the past. However, in order for scientists to properly examine and maintain artifacts, it’s necessary to preserve them. In many cases, chemistry makes that possible.

For the full article, see Decoded Science. HT: Jim Davila.

Qumran Cave 12: Update 2

James VanderKam, via University of Notre Dame

In a short interview published by the University of Notre Dame, James VanderKam urges caution about labeling the recent Dead Sea find as “Cave 12.” Comparisons have previously been drawn between the new find and Cave 8, which comes inside the numbering but contained no scrolls.

VanderKam comments,

In 1952, after the earliest scrolls finds, archaeologists made a survey of hundreds of caves and openings in the general vicinity of Khirbet Qumran…. Some 230 of them contained nothing of interest, but 26 housed pottery like that found in the first scrolls cave…. [G]iven the fact that other caves in the district, besides the 11 that held the Dead Sea Scrolls, contained pottery of the same sort as Qumran Cave 1, it seems a bit premature to call [the new find] Qumran Cave 12.

Whether the new find should indeed come inside the numbering of the scrolls caves would apparently depend on how things settle out regarding: (a) material apparently blank on visual inspection but needing to be subjected to multispectral analysis, (b) any contents that can be linked chemically or otherwise to other finds in other caves where texts have been recovered, or (c) other texts previously thought to have come from other caves but that might be demonstrated to have come from the new find.

Incidentally, the point about the comparison with Cave 8 (e.g., Hebrew University of Jerusalem) is the absence of scroll-type texts in what was recovered from that cave. Although not scroll-type texts, five fragmentary texts were recovered from Cave 8 (cf. The Dead Sea Scrolls). On this basis, all caves in the customary 11-fold accounting would share in common the fact that texts were (identified as) recovered from them—something that it can’t yet be said for the new find—rather than simply that texts had likely been stored there at some point.

(N.B.: My earliest post on the new cave find initially commented imprecisely that “no texts were found in [Cave 8].” I’ve now corrected this statement to reflect more properly that “no scroll-type texts were found in [Cave 8].”)

HT: Jim Davila. For the full text of piece containing VanderKam’s reflections, see the Notre Dame website. For previous discussion and further links about the new Qumran find, see Qumran Cave 12Qumran Cave 12: Update, and LogosTalk.

Qumran Cave 12: Update

Since my previous post about Qumran Cave 12, a few other noteworthy articles have cropped up, including on:

Much of what is in these articles about the new find is also in other reports. But, the Times piece confirms that

Experts at the Dead Sea Scroll Laboratories in Jerusalem … plan to carry out multispectral imaging of the [apparently blank parchment fragment] to reveal any ink invisible to the naked eye.

Such plans weren’t entirely clear from what I’d seen thus far, though it would seem to be a logical step for the sake of thoroughness. Kudos to Jim Davila for his correct prior speculation about how to interpret some of the previous and seemingly more ambiguous comments touching these plans.