The Writing World of the Dead Sea Scrolls
by Rochelle Altman
(Dr. Rochelle Altman is co-coordinator of the Ioudaios-L electronic discussion list.--JRD)
When working with ancient texts, scholars have quite understandably concentrated on the content. In antiquity, however, documents contained more than words. Content itself is very important. Content determined: 1) the choice of script, 2) the format (layout), 3) and the size. These elements form an integral part of a text's presentation; together they create a textual identity as well as a visual means of identification by the reader. In turn, these elements are further determined by political, cultural, and religious affiliations. To this day we associate size with authority, format with content, and script with a people. The primary difference between the present and the past is that today these associations are unconscious and the choices automatic; yesterday these associations were conscious and the choices deliberate. In Antiquity, everything had meaning -- the shape of a stele, the stripes on a garment, the size of a leaf or tablet, the format, the script. These were an integral part of the presentation. When viewed as a whole, the ancient works tell us the status of a given item. These relationships hold true for the writing world of the DSS.
|The importance of the relationship between the components of a writing system and a given culture cannot be overemphasized. The correct size, format, and script were mandatory if the content were to be accepted as authoritative or official. This mandatory relationship has remained true throughout the Western world, whether the document be a commercial tablet back at Sumer, abstracts of contracts from Greco-Roman Egypt, a transaction involving real property in Judea or Egypt, an edition of a Biblical book from the DSS, or an early Christian Bible.
|While we have neither time nor space to go into minute detail, some background is necessary if we are to understand the writing system used in the DSS within its cultural context: the dual tradition of the Semitic and Greco-Roman worlds of the late centuries BCE and early centuries CE.
| All Western writing systems -- including sub-systems such as scripts, formats, sizes, and even shapes<1>-- are descendants of the Mesopotamian phonetic-based writing systems; more specifically, the Northwest Semitic system commonly referred to as "Phoenician." The Phoenician writing system is phonetic-based, but phonetic-based writing systems neither occurred in a vacuum nor did they begin with the Phoenicians; they begin at Sumer.
| While the components of writing system have not changed, purposes can though and have. Today we often assume that the purpose of writing is to transmit data, the transmission of data may be a side-effect. Yesterday, the purpose behind both the Egyptian and the Sumerian writing systems was to record words as spoken by the originator of the document. The Egyptian system froze the spoken word into one unchanging utterance; the Sumerian system recorded speech, words as uttered, including stress and duration. Our Western writing systems are descendants of the Sumerian-Akkadian-Ugaritic-Phoenician systems. When we examine the early Christian texts, it becomes clear that they used the writing system we see in the DSS -- including formats, sizes, and speech as uttered. Later Christian writers, such as Augustine of Hippo, Isidore of Seville, and John of Salisbury called these words written as uttered, the "voices of the absent."<2>
|Today we correlate voice with sound, but this is a modern interpretation. Such a correlation was not usual prior to the mid-seventeenth century CE. Perhaps the clearest exposition on the subject is that of Isidore's. Isidore makes a clear distinction between sound (sono) which cannot be written down, and voice (vox) which can be written down. Perhaps this distinction may be made clearer if we think of a chorus singing in unison. While the sound varies depending upon whether the singer is a soprano, alto, tenor, or bass, they sing in one voice, that is, the words as written by the originator, the author. From the very beginning, the writing systems were oral. Writing recorded the image of the spoken word: the voice of the absent authority. To the Ancients, "the voice of authority" was a concrete, visible reality.
| Because this new technology recorded the voice of a speaker, a person could be physically absent yet still virtually present. Even back at Sumer, the most important aspect of writing was the prevention of fraud.
| The technology we call writing began in the control of trade, or to be more exact, in the prevention of fraud in trade. Within a very short space of time, people discovered that the new technology could record more than commercial transactions. The developing technology expanded from intra-city trade to control of inter-city trade, populations, and to inter-ethnic relations as well. Forgery was, and still is, a major problem. Numerous techniques were developed down the centuries to control fraud and forgery. These ranged from baking official tablets to leaving no blank spaces; from clay envelopes to seals; and to special ways of folding papyri and parchment. The primary technique used against forgery, however, was an integral part of these ancient writing systems.
|As the written record recorded the voice of authority as spoken, there could only be one original. For this reason, all covenants -- vows, oaths, treaties, marriage contracts, trade agreements, royal letters, and so forth -- had to be in the hand of the author(s).<3> There was no such thing as a "copy" in our modern sense of an exact duplicate. Such an exact duplicate was considered a blatant forgery (with penalties to match).
|To avoid the charge of forgery, people made what in Biblical Hebrew is called a mishneh, that is, "an edition." In editions, we find changes of script ("cursive"), changes of format, and changes of size. In some writing systems, such as that used at Ugarit, they would even change the direction of writing.
|The one and only original document will be in the correct format for the class of document; the edition will not repeat the format, but use an "unofficial" or non-authoritative format as prescribed in the hierarchy of formats. The size will be within a range of permissible sizes for the class of document, but not the size of the original. Because there was a need for unofficial and/or non-authoritative fonts, we see the creation of "cursive" fonts, mutations of an official or authoritative script.<4>
|Cursive fonts are for "private" use. They are used to write editions of official documents for archival records; for producing editions of authoritative writings and works of fiction; for the production of profane documents and private correspondence; and, of course, editions of official or authoritative documents for private use. As the majority of the ancient tablets are covenants of one sort or another, the majority are autographs written by the parties to, for instance, a treaty. More relevant, the DSS display so many different hands because the majority of the documents are editions written by private individuals for their own use; only a small percentage of these documents are the work of professional scribes.
|Today, the word scribe brings to mind the image of a poor scribe drudging away in a cold monastic writing room copying books or a wretched clerk hunched over a chair in a ninteenth-century office laboriously making copies of legal documents.<5> Nothing could be farther from the truth. Scribal schools were founded for the same reason we have colleges and universities today: to have a pool of educated workers. Copying was for apprentices; that is how they learned a script and its fonts. Professional scribes were not "copyists"; a Master Scribe of Antiquity was the PhD of his age.
|Scribal training was rigorous. Once trained and proficient, professional scribes filled numerous posts -- notary public, tax collector, registrar, assessor, accountant, bookkeeper, secretary, court reporter, and in areas of restricted literacy the professional acted as the village scribe. A professional scribe held a position of trust, fides. There are good and sufficient reasons why the death penalty was the reward for a scribe who changed an official document; it put spurious words in the mouth of the speaker, the voice of authority. To be sure, in their secretarial roles, professional scribes made "copies," but these are editions written in cursive fonts, and use different formats and sizes. They are never exact duplicates of the originals.
|When we examine the tablets of the ancient Near East and the later documents from the Greco-Roman world we find registers of letters, registers of contracts, registers of loans, but the originals are not where we find the registers. To find the originals we must look elsewhere. The originals show up in the archives amid the ruins of Ugaritic or Hittite palaces and temples; they turn up in papyri from Theadelphia or Arsinoites or Thebes or Oxyrhynchus. Archival editions in "chancery" fonts occur; in a few rare cases, we have both the original and the edition.
|Wisc. No. 37, dated 3.11.144 CE and from Theadelphia, is a petition to an assistant of the Imperial Procurator. The lower half of the papyrus includes a letter written by the assistant to his superior pertaining to the petition, and the empty space at the bottom has not been filled in. This document is 11 inches in height by 5.79 in width, folded,<6> and written in the different cursive hands of the authors. Wisc. No. 38 is an edition of this petition that includes other correspondence on the petition: it has no folds, is 5.47 inches in height by 8.62 inches in width, has no blank space, and is written by one hand in a "chancery" cursive font. Such archival editions are never in the script, format, size, or shape of the original document.
|Certainly there are some authorized official texts written by professional scribes among the extant documents. BL Pap. 1527 is an official honorary decree. The text was duplicated on stone by a professional "inscription" scribe then cut by a professional stone carver; the official original was then handed to the honouree.<7> Dated between 138 to 160 CE on internal evidence, the decree was cut from a roll, is 11.65 inches high by 8.42 inches wide, has wide margins, an is in the official script. Official originals and authoritative texts, however, are a minority. The majority of the professionally written texts found in Greco-Roman Egypt and among the DSS are editions written in cursive fonts.
|Man is ever the entrepreneur; if there is a demand, someone will fill the need. Not all professional scribes were satisfied to remain employees; enterprising professional scribes opened "bookshops," that is, publishing houses. We should note that a literate public is necessary for a book-producer/publisher to earn a living. From the existing tablets, scrolls, papyri, and codices, we can see that the products of bookshops are editions of works of fiction; this is easy enough to understand.
|The product of a bookshop is by definition neither authoritative in the Israelite tradition nor official in the Greco-Roman tradition. To this day, authoritative or official documents are issued only by an authoritative or official source. If one wanted an edition of an authoritative work, one wrote one's own edition made from an authoritative, accepted master, official, or authorized text. One could not trust the job to a bookshop.
|Bookshops appear in urban centres. There is some evidence that bookshops were around in Antiquity at different periods. Bookshops later appear in Rome and, because we also find products of bookshops among the Greco-Roman papyri and the DSS, we can state with a high degree of probabilty, that bookshops existed in Judea and Greco-Roman Egypt. We find so much variety in these products of bookshops, and not only textual variants, because the size, format, and script of the edition is always different from the one and only original.
|Because wide margins and careful execution indicated status, there also developed a system of classifying such bookshop editions. While the regulations and price lists show up in Roman documents, these classifications obviously existed earlier. First, the Romans received their writing system quite late compared to other societies, and second, such regulatory measures are always ex post facto.
|Class 1 "books" have wide margins, use a stepped-down size for the class of document, use the correct format for an edition, and have a set number of lines to a column or leaf. Class 1 editions are executed in formal cursive bookhands. The margins are in specific proportions to the height of a leaf. Inter-column margins are 113 percent of the height, as is the lower margin. The upper margin is smaller, 87 percent of the height. The incipits (the title) are in a different font and twice the size of the text font. Care is taken to disguise scribal hands by use of the staggering technique. Class 3 books, are precisely the opposite.
|In third class books, margins are minimal. The inter-column margins are the minimum for readability, usually no more than 1 cm and frequently less. The lower margin is truncated by adding two to three lines of text, depending upon the font. The upper margin is usually truncated as well. The text is written in rather broad columns, thus fitting more words to a line. These space-saving techniques are understandable as fewer leaves lowers the cost of production and the price to the person who ordered the book. Sizes are within the permitted range for the content. Class 3 books are executed in everyday cursive fonts; the Incipit is either exactly the same size or only slightly larger than the text font; the number of lines to a column or leaf vary, sometimes substantially; and while the staggering technique may be used, no serious effort is made to hide scribal hands.
|Class 2 books, as can be expected, are more carefully executed than Class 3, have wider margins (but not all that much wider); the number of lines per column vary slightly in order to squeeze the text into fewer columns/pages. The columns are broader than a first class book, but not as broad as a third class book. The font is a neatly executed semi-formal cursive bookhand; and normally some effort is made to make the book look as if it were the product of one scribe. As usual, though, which hierarchies of size, format and script were used depended upon time, place, and "who's on first."
|A trading society functions best as a literate society; the Mesopotamian economies were built upon trade. Unlike Egypt's restricted literacy, Ancient Asian Near Eastern society was based on widespread public literacy. The sheer number of private editions, covenants, and royal letters (all of which are autographs), as well as literary products of bookshops, gives us some idea of the level of public literacy at a given time and place.
|On the Eastern side of the Ancient Near East, except for the very lowest social stratum, literacy was considered essential. By regulation, fathers were required to educate their children to read and to write.<8> Under Hammurabi (18th century BCE), written records were required for all transactions. Everything was recorded, down to the smallest detail of the simplest trade or exchange.<9> These documents vary in size dependent upon the content.
|Perhaps the original idea was to facilitate location of a given document in archival storage. Whatever the reason, back at Sumer the oldest clay records<10> are generally quite small, about 1-1/2 to 2 inches long by 3/4 to 1-1/4 inches wide. The tablets are mostly commercial records; except for the material and font, these records resemble modern cash register receipts. These "cash register" records were found in baskets. Each basket was carefully indexed as to content; the tablets for a given content are all the same size.
|As the technology improved, the size of the writing surfaces grew. Over the aeons, the association of a certain size with respect to content solidified; first to custom and finally into prescription. This has had profound and lasting effects upon the concept of authoritative and official documents.
|Size is dependent upon the social status of the originator, the characteristics of a local pattern, and the content. While it would certainly be easier for modern scholars if we could simply separate documents by size, unfortunately it is not that straightforward. Because each culture adapted the Phoenician writing system to its own needs, this led to a multiplicity of authoritative and official formats and sizes -- each characteristic of a given locale. Each area clung to its own hierarchies, but by the third century BCE this diversity crystallized into two major streams: Semitic and Greco-Roman.
|There are some profound differences between traditions, particularly with respect to the world of the DSS. In this world, the Humash (Pentateuch) was considered the word of God and always above any mere human rules and regulations. In this world, there could be an Accepted Master edition or an authoritative edition, that is, an text that was accepted as a "good" edition from which to make private editions. These Master and authoritative editions were accepted as such by some person or group of persons in a position of authority: scholars, temple officials, b'nei neviim,<11> or what have you. (The existence of authoritative and Master editions among the DSS tells us that there were such "authorities" at the time, but we do not know enough about the period to be able to say who or what was an "authority.") In this Biblical world, we find authoritative and non-authoritative hierarchies of sizes, formats, and fonts; however, except at the lower level of profane ruling powers, "official" held no meaning.
|In the larger world of Greco-Roman society, they did have clear lines of authority; hence, the terms "official," and "unofficial" have meaning, as does "authorized." Some of the sizes and formats relevant to the DSS are summed up on Table 1.
|When we look at the Table, we can see that the "official" sizes in the profane domain on the Greco-Roman side are stepped down and the formats seem to be mirror reflections. There are good reasons for this; the materials themselves are relevant. The weight of the clay tended to limit the height of a document to what could be conveniently lifted by one person. Thus the maximum size we find among ancient tablets are the rules and regulations: 14-15 inches in height by 8-9 inches in width. Official letters ran 10-11 inches high by 8-9 inches wide. These sizes were retained when writing transferred from clay to leather. Clay does not need margins to protect the written text; leather and papyrus do. While parchment and leather were restricted by the size of the animal, even the smallest goat or lamb would produce leaves 14 inches high by 8-1/2 inches. The product of the papyrus plant is more problematic: the height of papyrus leaves are limited by the length of the strips of pith.
|The Greeks adopted their writing systems from the Phoenicians. During the Hellenic period, on the Eastern side the Seleucids continued to use stone and leather and seem to have retained the Semitic hierarchies of sizes unchanged. On the Western side, however, under the Ptolemies, the writing material, papyrus, caused a problem. Although always costly, rolls of papyrus 8 or 9 inches high were usually available; rolls of greater height were both less common and very expensive. The writing material forced a ninety-degree rotation in order to attain the "correct" size. This simple physical difficulty has an important role in the distinction between traditions.<12> This dual tradition appears and reappears throughout the Hellenistic, Roman, and Christian ages.
|The DSS are products of this dual tradition; the combined Semitic/Greco-Roman world. While the reason for the mirroring of sizes and formats becomes obvious when we examine the materials, there are some peculiarities that arise from other circumstances.
|On the Western side, there seem to have been different law codes for different strata of a given population under the Empire. Taubenschlag's work on legal papyri comes to mind.<13> He concludes that under the Ptolemies there apparently were two distinct codes in Egypt: one territorial and one for Egyptian nationals. With the arrival of the Romans and re-codification of these law codes, he states that Rome added another set of national codes, this time for the Greeks. Further, he concludes that the Romans differentiated among types of Roman citizens as well. The scrolls and codices affirm these conclusions.
|As has already been noted, in Graeco-Roman practice, size depended upon the content, the social status of the originator of the document, and the locale -- because each had its own characteristic sizes. Further, the size of a document within a class depended upon the perception of the social status of the originator. While during the early centuries CE perception of status generally coincided with actual status, these carefully maintained distinctions eroded along with the Roman Empire. We can see the effect of this erosion in the papyri from Oxyrhynchus.
|On the Eastern side, profane documents relating to transactions involving, for example, the sale or lease of real property, were long and narrow. This is understandable when we consider that clay is a heavy and clumsy medium and such documents were normally sealed in an envelope, that is, an outer case of clay was wrapped around the document and then impressed with the seal or seals of the contractees. These documents would only be broken open if a conflict arose, the unbroken state being a guarantee that the document was as originally drawn. A typical transaction involving real property at that time would be around 8 to 10 inches wide and 3 inches high before sealing. With the change from wet surface to dry surface writing, as such transactions were now written on leather or stone and did not require a clay envelope, these dimensions rotated. Hence, a written contract involving the transfer of real property, such as the Qumran Ostracon, was around 8 to 10 inches high by 3 to 4 inches wide. In terms of its official place in the hierarchy of sizes, the exchange of height for width made no difference at all.
|On the Western side, in lower status documents, the text always runs right up to the right hand side of the leaf with a relatively generous margin allowance of around 1/2 to 3/4 inches on the left hand side. Dependent upon the exact locale, and the status of the owner, a lease was the appropriate height by 3 to 4.5 in width. A lease of land from Karanis (P. Warren No. 11), dated 16.9.98 CE, is 6.4" high by 4.5" wide. Another lease of land (Wisc. Inv. No. 58), from Oxyrhynchus ca. 259-60 CE, is 11.1" in height by 3.1" in width. Centuries later, in 561 CE, after the erosion of the Empire, we find a contract from Oxyrhynchus for the lease of an exhedra by a person who pretended to "noble birth": it is 12.3" in height but is still only 3.9" in width (Wisc. Inv. No. 79).
|Again, in the Asian Near East tradition, official law codes were distinguished by intended use: public, archival, and private editions. Archival and private editions were written in unofficial/non-authoritative "cursive" fonts. Public law codes were written in official scripts and inscribed upon monumental stelae or upon individual tablets joined together or mounted upon a wall. Hammurabi's Code is recorded on a stele nearly 8 feet in height; the "Decree of Rhodes," stating Philip V of Macedon's negotiations in 202/1 BCE (BL I.441), is 94 lines of monumental sculptured capitals. We do not know the size of the twelve tables of Rome, but we can assume that they were rather large. Certainly extant Imperial constitutions inscribed in Greek do not contradict this assumption. While many of these Imperial inscriptions have been cut up for other uses (one into 100 paving stones for the Roman agora at Athens) some are almost entire. Hadrian's Epistle to the citizens of Stratonicea Hadrianopolis in 127 CE, now located in the courtyard of the Museum at Manisa, totals 92 inches in height by 27 inches in width. There is also little question as to the status of the Mosaic Code under Christianity: Late Antique and Medieval illustrations depict Moses holding enormous round topped tablets longer than his arms.
|Under the Greco-Roman standards, an official document was a single broad column, written in scripto continuo, 8 to 9 inches wide including margins, and 12 inches in height. Single sheets of official papyri epistles, for instance, were normally 14 or more inches wide by 12 inches high. One of the few institutiones in Latin, Egyptian Exploration Society, Oxy. P. 2103, from the third century is a mere fragment missing both its upper and lower margins as well as a great deal of the text. Nevertheless, this fragment is 9.2 inches high by 8 inches wide.
|One size remained the same in both traditions; this is the size of a wax tablet, that is, about 6 to 8-1/2 inches in height by 4-1/2 to 5-1/2 inches in width. The wax tablets were the scratch pads of antiquity. As the surface was designed to be wiped clean for further use (tabula rasa), the size of the tablets became associated with disposable writings. In both hierarchies of sizes, this size indicates "entertainment." (It still does; that paperback thriller or that translation of Sophocles is the size of a wax tablet before trimming.)
|In accord with their normal procedures, the Romans adapted their official writing system to each locale. As Official Roman documents had to be larger than the local ones, these sometimes reach very large sizes. In parts of Anatolia, for instance, official documents were larger than in other areas; hence, in these sections, Roman ones were even bigger. There is, however, yet another reason for oversize documents.
|The DSS date from after the return from Babylon, a period of "renaissance." Another period of renaissance followed after the change from the Ptolemies to the Seleucids, and yet another under the Hasmonai'im. Historically, there are three basic patterns of "Renaissance" that emerge following a change in power structure.
|The first pattern occurs when the new ruling power is a consolidator. The "consolidation" pattern is marked by a flood of literature in the old power language and by translations of the old into the new voice. Under a consolidator, the script systems show the incorporation of graphs from the old into the new as well. We already find this pattern at Akkad. Sargon I retained some Sumerian symbols for xenographic exchange.<14> Constantine's consolidated uncial is a blend of existing Roman and Greek graph forms.
|The second pattern is the paradigm of "defeat." This pattern shows up when a people has been successfully cowed or effectively crushed as a resisting ethnic identity. Within a remarkably short space of time after the Winners decide that victory is complete, we find a spate of literature in the new ruling vernacular and script system extolling the virtues of the defeated.<15>
|The third pattern that shows up is the "identity" paradigm: it indicates a we-are-just-as-good-as-you-are reassertion of ethnic identity. This third pattern is marked by the appearance of literature in the native language, an elevation of native script systems towards "official" square models, and an increase in the size of literary and legal texts in the vernacular.
|The third pattern, the identity pattern, shows up both in Greece and Judea. With respect to Greek texts, Turner notes that "documents, musical texts, and commentaries are often written in wide columns, sometimes enormously wide." <16> They are indeed. The column of one fragmentary "commentary" of Aristotle on The Constitution of Athens from late in the 1st century CE, BM Pap. 131, is 6-1/2 inches across; another is nearly 8 inches.
|Among the DSS we have the fragments of the Paleo-Hebraic Pentateuch and the Book of Job.<17> 11Q1(PaleoLev) is written in a very broad column format. We have reason to suspect that this very broad column format is a stepped down image of the original carved-in-stone tablets, as the Mesha stele is an example of the authoritative format (and shape) used in the North-West Semitic areas back in the 9th century BCE. The scroll was written by one or more professional scribes who almost certainly were employees in an authoritative writing room. The script is the "national flag" of pre-Exilic Hebrew ethnic identity: Paleo-Hebraic.
|We tend to forget that only a minority of the population went into exile and many texts remained behind in Judea as well as in the Egyptian community at Elephantine. We also forget that Paleo was still in use through the Mishnaic period or there would have been no need to weigh arguments about a change of authoritative script from Paleo to Square.
|The Paleo-Hebraic script in these Pentateuchal fragments is a cursive version of the authoritative Monumental Paleo-design. The possibility that these fragments are pre-exilic is slight. Because of the format, the probabilty that they were made from an existing Accepted Master text is higher. We must, however, be cautious. One of the Winner's standard operating procedures that has been used from Antiquity till this day is to borrow authority from the past by co-opting an older official or authoritative script. Thus, there is also a possibility that the script is a design borrowed from the ninth century BCE script system. We cannot date these documents; these Paleo-Hebraic fragments could have been written in any of three periods of renaissance after the Return. We can only propose that the last date when they are likely to have been produced is the second century BCE.
|There is one other oddity about the Pentateuchal fragments; these scrolls are oversize. Scholars estimate that the Paleo-Hebraic Leviticus would have been more than 22 inches in height not including margins. On one hand, there is some evidence that the pre-exilic size of the Humash was quite large. Ancient rules and regulations meant to be viewed publicly were enormous. On the other hand, under the Persians and the Seleucids, 13 inches not including margins, would have been the "correct" height for the local ordinances. If the fragments are an authoritative edition of a pre-exilic Accepted Master text, then the size merely reflects the original Accepted Master edition. If post-exilic, the height makes the statement that, not only are we as good as you are, we are better -- and our Rules are greater than yours. So, the height does not give us a date, either.
|Nevertheless, these Paleo-Hebraic fragments tell us something. The extremely broad format states unequivocally that this is an edition of an Accepted Master text. The size and the script state that this edition itself was an Accepted Master text. We are justified in assuming that these scrolls were the authoritative Accepted Master text from which private editions were to be made.
|Still, we also know from textual evidence that there were conflicting Judaisms during these centuries. The textual evidence is supported from the writing systems, for we have fragments of two other authoritative texts; one Pentateuchal and one "Davidic."
|As interesting as the Paleo-Hebraic fragments are, these other fragments of the Pentateuch and the Psalms are even more relevant for what they tell us. Both were written by professional scribes attached to an authoritative writing room, quite possibly the temple. We are referring, of course, to the fragments of Exodus from Wadi Murabba'at and 11QPs.
|These two documents are of critical importance to our understanding of the writing world of the DSS. They are the authoritative documents from which editions were to be made. The two documents are our controls. They allow us to determine the status of other documents from among the DSS through the information given by the official hierarchies of script, format, and size.
|Before proceeding, there are two points that must be mentioned. The first is the very important point that we cannot date a document from its script or font alone. Scripts are not merely collections of various available forms. Only when viewed from a distance of millennia can scripts be said to develop. Development implies a continuum; it suggests that one letter form changes here, another there, until finally a totally new script arrives. Scripts, however, are finite systems and are deliberately designed as an integrated whole intended to work within a writing system. Scripts do not develop; methods develop -- scripts mutate.
|There may be an unfinished quality to random shards, but formal or official or authoritative inscriptions, tablets, scrolls, and codices display fully formed graphic symbol sets designed to work within their respective writing systems. As we have already noted, without exception, there first must be an authoritative or official script (the class) from which non-authoritative (cursive fonts) descend.<18> Thus, we can only know when a script or font came into popular use, not when it was designed or first used.
|To muddle matters even more, authoritative and official scripts are constantly being dusted off, modified slightly, and employed by a new ruling power to borrow authority from the past. Nor can we date a script or font by slight changes to the design. Different versions are around at the same timedepending upon where someone learned the script or font. On top of this, while private individuals rarely need to know more than one font -- they generally write the font they were taught whatever their schooling, professional scribes have large repertoires of fonts. A professional scribe might have to learn as many as 20 scripts and fonts.
|Even when dealing with professionals, we can not compare the scripts and fonts in use at writing room X with the scripts and fonts in use at writing room Y. What was popular at X may have been in use at Y one hundred years earlier -- or later. There are stringent requirements to dating mutations of a font or a script. We can follow the mutations and changes if, and only if, we have a continuous, dated record from one writing room. In the West, there is precisely one such continuous, dated record from one writing room prior to the seventeenth century CE. We do not have such a record among the DSS. Unless we have ancillary data that narrows down a date, we must allow a margin of at least 100 years plus/minus to the dates of the scripts and fonts we see in the DSS.<19>
|Second, it must be stressed that the proportions of white space to writing area in formal documents have not changed in more than 2500 years. The proportions used in the authoritative documents among the DSS are the same proportions used in quality books to this day.<20>
|Formulas exist, recorded in scribal handbooks, that may be used to reconstruct the original size of a damaged document. To do so, we need at least one full margin (any of top, bottom, or inner) to apply them. Unfortunately, on the Exodus fragments, only one inter-column margin remains, and while clearly large, it is not "full." Nevertheless, as the Exodus fragments are written in the authoritative script, in the authoritative narrow column, by professionals, and as spoken, this strongly suggests that the original height would have followed the Semitic hierarchy of sizes. The writing area would have been 14 inches in height per column excluding margins. Other than by the professionalism of the execution, the original size cannot be verified; however, the format and script are there for us to see.
|We cannot date these fragments of Exodus, although an educated guess places them between the 4th and 2nd centuries BCE. Fragment number 4 contains part of Ex 4:28-31 and fragment number 5 contains the last syllable of Ex 6:5 and most of Ex 6:6. (DJD II, Plate 1 -- for those with access to the DJD.) The format is the narrow column of authoritative and official texts in the Semitic hierarchy of formats.<21> The fragments are written in the authoritative Monumental Square Script, the script class, and there were at least two scribes.<22> Although the script has been called "Herodian," this design is the script class, the model from which the cursive fonts used in the DSS descend, and the design itself dates back to around the 6th-5th century BCE.
|As all official scripts, this Square Script requires a large number of graphs requiring multiple strokes (pen lifts). (The 'A' of the very square official Augustan Roman Capitals requires 6 strokes.) In addition, although the script is written with a square-cut 'nib' and is essentially a monoline design, there are many wedges (the 'chip' of a starter stroke made by starting just below and to the side of the beginning of the main stroke), imitative of the cuneiform thick-wedge to thin-leg starter strokes, as in the central stroke of the sin and shin or the starter stroke of the lamed. (Serifs are mutations of these cuneiform wedges.<23>) Each wedge is an additional stroke. Formal, authoritative, and official script designs incorporate many pen lifts; these pen lifts have one primary purpose -- to slow the scribes down in order to protect the authoritative words from being garbled in transmission.
|Writing is both hard work and time consuming; senior scribes come up with short-cuts -- ways to cut down the number of pen lifts and cut the writing time. These short-cuts are called scribal ideographs. Only senior scribes have ideographs. Apprentices and people unaccustomed to writing on a day-to-day basis do not have consistent and repetitive ideographs. Hence, in documents produced by "amateurs," even though the "amateur" may be literate, we find variety and inconsistency in the graph forms. In documents produced by professionals, though, these ideographs are individual, consistent, and repetitive; they identify a scribal hand. The "two-stroke" bet we see in the Exodus fragments is an example of scribal short-cuts and, as we can also see, show two different scribal ideographs -- even in this authoritative script (Figure 1).
|The mutations of this official square script, the everyday cursive fonts used in the majority of the DSS, are designed for speed. Everyday cursive fonts lack these built-into-the-design speed controls. Most of the DSS are in the everyday cursive fonts, the font used for a private editions. Some, though are in bookhands.
|Formal cursive bookhands incorporate features of the official model. Descendants of the Square script, for example, incorporate an abbreviated form of the cuneiform wedge (called a "hook" or "loop" in DSS paleography). There was, however, an intermediate stage: we have one angularized consolidated font that combines features of Paleo-Hebraic with Square Script and clearly is an authoritative font. It is also the authoritative cursive model from which the angular formal and semi-formal "Herodian" bookhands descend.
|Obviously, we do not have the space for a careful examination of every document but must limit ourselves to a small group of texts. We first need our controls, and we have them: the Exodus fragments and 11QPs. Private commentaries are the most common and have the most in common; hence, we will look at only 1QIsa(a) because it is representative of the group as a whole. The other documents are the products of bookshops chosen simply because these professionally written documents are the most revealing.
|Our first step is to define whether a document is authoritative or non-authoritative. Figure 2 shows two line from several documents compared to the authoritative format and script of the Exodus fragments and the authoritative font of 11QPs. We can then readily see the distinction between the authoritative narrow column format and the non-authoritative broad column, as well as see the differences between the authoritative script, an authoritative formal font, and the non-authoritative bookhands and everyday cursives (Figure 2).
|11QPs is written in a consolidated Paleo-Square font design. Consolidated fonts are quite difficult to design, and this is very professional work. The font incorporates features of Monumental Paleo-Hebraic and the authoritative Square Script designs to make a formal, authoritative font. We should not be surprised to find Paleo-Hebraic insertions in the text; the font is deliberately designed to use Monumental Paleo-Hebraic for xenographic exchange. The left leg of the shin/sin, for example, imitates the exact angle of the uprights of monumental Paleo, as does the ayin. The right-hand angles imitate exactly the down-strokes, as on the Paleo-Hebraic heh (Figure 3).
|The Square Script cuneiform wedge would be quite unsuitable with the sans-serif forms of monumental Paleo-Hebraic and the wedge is not incorporated -- although there could well be political reasons behind this deliberate omission. Consolidation fonts show up as attempts to satisfy differing needs of a diverse population. The use of a Babylonian technique, that is, writing the name of a god in an "archaic" authoritative script, i.e., Paleo-Hebraic, is yet another sign of an attempt to satisfy divergent demands.|We should mention that this consolidated font design requires a professional scribe. The effect depends upon the careful retention of the exact angles of the square design in relation to the Paleo-Hebraic. The font is quite difficult for an amateur to execute and is difficult to forge, unless, that is, one is a professional scribe. Professional scribes usually had better things to do. In general, we are fairly safe in assuming that any documents we may find that use this font correctly and consistently was an authoritative text.
|Aramaic was the commercial language and would have been widely known among merchants, artisans, and traders. We do not know how long it took from the Return until a large proportion of the population found it easier to read cursive Square script. It was unllikely to have been immediately after the Return, but it may well have been by the 2nd Syrian War.
|This consolidated design probably dates from between the mid 3rd to second quarter of the 2nd BCE. Rather than late, this font, with wedges added, is the model from which other bookhands, such as the "vulgar semi-formal Herodian" descend; hence, 11QPs requires a close examination.
|11QPs consists of one large (almost 4 meters) length of thick tanned skin, and five fragments A-E. 27 columns plus the blank rod-column are on the main scroll. We are examining the main scroll.
|The thickness of the skin indicates that the scroll was intended for frequent use, such as we would find in an authoritative edition meant as the text from which to make private editions. The thick skin together with the consolidated font, strongly suggests that we are looking at an authoritative text. When we turn to the execution, format, and the size of the document, this impression receives further confirmation.
|The scroll was written by at least two scribes<24> and is a very professional example of book production, as we could expect from the font. The upper margin is consistent and the inter column margins vary only in the portion that contains Psalm 119, which is written verse by verse.
|Sanders gives the height as an average of 18.5 cm. Unfortunately, averages are not particularly useful. In order to determine the original height we have to work backwards, that is, we have to calculate what is the average number of lines per column. (Count the total number of lines and divide by the number of columns.) This turns out to be a trace under 16 lines per column. Then we measure the upper margin, which turns out to be the equivalent of 2 lines of text. Now we add 16 plus 2 (the upper margin) and can determine that 18 logical lines equals 18.5 cm.
|The bottom of the scroll is badly decomposed; however, because Psalm 119, the long acrostic Psalm, is included on the scroll, and the verse divisions follow the MT, we know exactly how many lines there are to a column.
|The Psalm is written with one line spacing between verses. Column 11 on the main scroll contains 17 lines of which the lower half of line 8 of the Samech verse is missing from line 17. The 8th line of the Ayin verse appears at the top of column 12. Therefore, seven lines of the Ayin verse and one spacing line equals 8 lines. This gives us a total of 17 plus 8, or 25 lines to a column. To this we add the measured upper margin of 2 lines plus the lower margin, which would be the equivalent of 3 lines. We now have a total 30 lines to a column. We know that 16 written lines plus the upper margin equal 18.5 cm, therefore, the original height was 30.8 cm. (12.14 inches).
|While giving the appearance of being written as prose, musical texts are written sung phrase by sung phrase. Although two or more phrases can be, and frequently are, written on one line, a musical phrase should not be broken in the middle. Thus, some of the lines run into the inter-column margins, even in Psalm 119 -- which is also written by sung phrases. Nevertheless, we can determine that the inter-column margins fall right into the correct proportion of white space to text for an authoritative text: 2.5 to 3 cm.
|The size tells us that this is an authoritative writing; the font tells us that it is an authoritative text. The document is written in the broad column format used for authoritative or Accepted Master text editions, but not originals. 11QPs has status as an authoritative master edition.
|As we can see in Figure 2, unlike either the Exodus fragments or 11QPs, which clearly were written by scribes attached to an authoritative writing room and are authoritative texts, none of the other documents have such status. All are in the broad column format of non-authoritative documents. None are written in an authoritative font. There is one other point, the products of book shops display multiple hands; private editions are in one hand.
|Private editions have a great deal in common. They use a broad column format, they are generally in everyday cursive fonts,<25> and there is only one hand. Sizes appear to vary within the appropriate range depending upon the skins bought to make the private edition. Just about every space-saving technique known is used, as these techniques save on materials, hence reduce the cost. These editions vary tremendously in the skill of execution. Hands range from people accustomed to writing the everyday font to what can only be called semi-literates who were struggling to make an edition for private use. Hence, private editions tend towards "errors" and "emendations" of a text. 1QIsa(A) is a typical of a private edition.
|1QIsa(A) is made of 17 sheets of sheepskin of varying width. It has a total of 54 columns and it is very long, 7.34 meters in length. As we can see from Table 1, an authoritative or Accepted Master edition of a Naveh would have been 12". 1QIsa(A) averages 26.2 cm (10-3/9") in height and 29 lines per column. While averages are not particularly useful when examining official or authoritative documents, this is not as important when looking at private editions. Private editions will not be in an authoritative or official size. Nevertheless, 26.2 cm in height for an average of 29 lines of text does require some explanation.
|The text is essentially complete and the inter-column margins are generally intact. This is not the case for outer margins which were truncated. Truncated margins appear regularly in private and Class 3 bookshop editions. One way to save on materials is to minimize inter-column margins and to truncate the upper and lower margins, that is, begin the text one or two lines higher and use the lower margin to write an additional two to three lines. Both the upper and lower margins of 1QIsa(A) clearly were truncated and the intercolumn margins are minimized. Another way to save space is to write very broad columns. The text is written in very broad columns indeed; an average of nearly 6 inches. While these space-saving (i.e. material saving) practices were used, particularly on editions, this is hazardous. The purpose of the margins is to guard the written text from damage. The truncation of these protective margins results in the loss of text at top and bottom. As rolling and unrolling a scroll put stress on the skins and results in splitting, truncating the inter-column margins can result in loss of text as well. So, we should not be surprised that so many of these private editions have suffered a loss of text due to truncation.
|The font is an everyday cursive, with no special features aside from its very ordinariness (Figure 4).
There is only one hand. While there may be variation in a form, the angle of attack, the approach stroke, never varies in the hand of a professional scribe. Here, the variations are primarily in the approach strokes. Hence, the document was written by a literate amateur, not by a professional scribe.
|There is another point: when producing a document, the professional would use the correct size, format, and font for an edition, but he would not change spelling or wording. While we are not examining textual evidence, we should note that the writer of this scroll had no compunctions about modernizing orthography, replacing sections with what is essentially a pesher on the text, or using what he considered "better" near-synonyms for a word. This is additional evidence that the document is a private edition.
|1QIsa(A) is a good example of private editions. The broad format, smaller size, truncated margins, one hand, everyday cursive fonts, and "variants" occur in all the private editions. We can compare other non-authoritative scrolls to 1QIsa(A) and determine if it is a the product of a private individual or the product of a bookshop. 1QH, 4QMMT, 1QM, 1QS, and 1QSa are products of bookshops.
|The products of a bookshop vary considerably in execution depending upon what the customer ordered, or rather, how much he was willing to pay. Class 1 books were very expensive; Class 3 books were cheap in comparison. The differences between classes of book stand out clearly when we look at these scrolls. 1QM, 1QH, and 4QMMT are second class books; 1QS and 1QSa are third class books.
|1QH consists of two larger and some smaller fragments from Cave 1 (1QHa and 1QHb); other fragments of what appear to be similar Hymns were found in Cave 4; most are written on leather (4QHa-e), but one is written on papyrus (pap4Qf). 1QH is too fragmentary to be able to reconstruct its height, but its broad format is quite clear. Equally clear are the three hands used to write this one scroll. There was no attempt to hide scribal differences. Scholars have been able to see which lines were written by each of the three scribes. When we can easily distinguish hands, we would expect a third class copy, but the script is a semi-formal bookhand. Hence, 1QH may be classified as a Second Class book.
|The font of 1QH is shown in Figure 5.
This is the font referred to as a "Herodian vulgar semi-formal script." As we can see, this book font combines features of the authoritative font of 11QPs with the wedge-serif of the authoritative Square Script of the Exodus fragments. If we cannot determine the size of 1QH, we can examine another scroll that uses the same family of semi-formal bookhand and is much better condition: 4QMMT.
|4QMMT is actually a composite of fragments from 6 different scrolls. We are looking at 4Q394 (See DJD, Qumran Cave 4, vol. V). While the scroll is written on thin leather, damaged or not, 4Q394 is in good condition -- considering everything. The size, format, and script are very clear.
|Whoever prepared the leaves for writing, marked the writing area in drypoint. The scroll is 16.6 cm (6-1/2") in height. The upper margin is 11-12 mm (6/16"-7/15"), the lower margin is 21-26 mm (13/16"-1"), and the drypoint lines show that the text width was to be 11.2 cm (4"). The inter-column margins are 12-16 mm (7/15"-7/8"). The upper margin and inter-column margins are smaller than we will find in a first class book, while the lower margin is a trace larger. There are a fixed number of 20 lines per column.
|The width of the writing area is in proportion to the height. On a scroll 14" in height, a writing area 4" in width would be relatively narrow; however, on a scroll only 6-1/2" in height, the width tells us that this is in a broad format. Then we have this semi-formal font.
|We should bear in mind that for a professional scribe to open a bookshop, he must not only know how to prepare the materials for writing -- from drawing guidelines, to preparing pens and inks, he must know the hierarchies of sizes and formats. He had to have samples of "paper," in this case, types of leather sheets, on hand for the customer to pick from. He also had to have a repertoire of fonts. The customer chose which script he wanted from among the fonts available within a price range. Formal book fonts obviously are more time consuming to execute, hence more expensive. Formal fonts are linked to Class 1 books. The fonts of both 1QHab and 4Q394 are second class fonts. The primary difference between the two fonts is that the font of 4Q394 is "curvier," that is, the design calls for added curves, bends, and "ticks" on practically everything in sight. While the staggering technique was used, as we could expect from a professionally run bookshop, there are at least three hands.
|The number of hands suggests that 4Q394 is the product of a medium to large size bookshop; hence non-authoritative. The format tells us that the book is non-authoritative. The leather also says non-authoritative: it is much too thin to have been intended for other than private reading, that is, it was not meant to be rolled and unrolled again and again for editions to be made from it. The customer ordered a Class 2 book and he got it. The semi-formal font says non-authoritative. The size tells us that 4Q394 is fiction, and entertainment reading at that. Still, we have another work of entertainment fiction: 1QM.
|Textually, 1QM is set in the future; hence it is fiction on its face. The size, format, and script also tell us that the book is fiction. While 4Q394 is professionally executed, 1QM gives us a glimpse at a rather different bookshop; one that was unlikely to have stayed in business much longer. This scroll was meant to be a second class book; however. . .
|The scroll is damaged and now consists of 19 columns containing 15-16 lines of written text. There were an estimated 20 lines of text per column; which would seem to be accurate as 20 lines per column for entertainment fiction remained standard through the Medieval period. The upper part of the scroll is 6" (15.14 cm) in height, with the lines running approximately 2 lines per 1 centimetre. (This last can only be approximated as the execution is rather sloppy; the distance between lines varies.) The upper margin equals 3 lines of text. 3 logical lines, plus 16 written lines equals 19 lines. Now we add the missing four written lines and 5 logical lines for the lower margin. this comes to a total of 28 lines at 2 lines equals 1 centimetre. We arrive at an original height of approximately 28 divided by 2, or 19 centimetres. 19 centimetres is less than 7-1/2 inches. The height says "disposable," entertainment.
|The font is a general purpose, semi-formal square book font, and the scroll was written by three scribes (Figure 6).
One scribe writes his shin/sin with a rounded right-hand leg and his lamed with a very straight cross-stroke. Hand 2 writes his shin/sin with a sharply slanted right-hand leg and the cross-stroke on his lamed drops below the full height and returns at an angle. The third hand writes his shin/sin with a slight curve on the right-hand leg that then forms a gentle slope just at the junction with the left hand leg; the cross-stroke angles down and to the right. There are other differences, but we do not have the space to go into the fine details. We can also see that the scribes were working fast, the work is fairly sloppy. The script says non-authoritative and second-class, the sloppy workmanship says third class. Although, as we shall see, this was not was what intended.
|The format is the usual broad column of non-authoritative works. The format stays broad, but varies somewhat as the number of columns per leaf differ. While we do not have a time machine, the scroll tells its own story. The customer probably asked for a second class book, and undoubtedly paid for one, but it is doubtful that he was very happy with the completed job. The variations in the columns are so obvious.
|The width of the columns in the appropriate format is governed by the size of the prepared sheets. However, the sheets are chosen according to the required size, format and font. Allowance is made for a double size inter-column at the join where sheets will be sewn together. The estimator rather clearly told the purchaser that the book would require 5 sheets and the price was settled accordingly. Sheet 1 contains 4 columns with appropriate to Class inter-column margins, but sheet 2 is the wrong width, has 6 columns and the inter-column margin is truncated. At this point, the scribes started juggling the number of columns and the inter-column margins, because they now had to make the written text use up 5 sheets. Sheet 3 has 5 columns, which would not look too bad in comparison, but sheet 4 has only 3 columns and sheet 5 has 1 column. While one blank column is necessary for the scroll reading rod, this sheet has the equivalent of 3 columns left blank. In other words, the estimator goofed. To phrase this another way, if the bookshop estimator consistently goofed on the number of sheets required, the bookshop would not have stayed in business very long. In some cases the customers would feel cheated; in others, the shop would take a loss. From size, format, font, and poor quality bookshop work, 1QM is clearly a non-authoritative text.
|There are other sloppy pieces of bookshop work, but in the two we are looking at the "sloppiness" is deliberate. The customer got what he paid for: both 1QS and 1QSa are third class books.<26> They both are clearly the work of the same bookshop. They were written by four scribes, and the same four hands appear in both scrolls, which is not too surprising as 1QSa was sewn to the end of 1QS.
|1QS averages 24.1 cm in height at an average of 26 lines per column. There are 11 columns of text. The last column at the end of the work runs 22 lines. Columns 1-5, and 9-10 run 26 lines each. Columns 6 and 8 have 27 lines, which would have truncated the lower margin, and column 7 has 25 lines. The spacing between lines is fairly consistent, the lines are straight, and the standard blurring process of staggering hands is maintained.
|Both the upper and lower margins were truncated, as a result, the margins are mostly gone and so is some of the text. One piece of upper margin left is 2 lines in height. the bottom margin would have been 3 lines. The additional 3 lines would only add about 1.5 cms to the height for a total height of 25.6 cms or approximately 10".
|The inter-column margins were also trunctated. The columns are in the broad format of non-authoritative documents: they average more than 5" in width. the font is the everyday cursive of commerce, but well executed (Figure 7 top).
All in all, 1QS is a very professional job.
|When we turn to 1QSa, we see just how professional this bookshop was. The "title" page of 1QSa runs 29 lines instead of the 26 lines of 1QS. The spacing between the lines was reduced by about a millimetre between lines to accommodate this difference. Across the entire column this would bring the column length the equivalent of the 27 lines on columns 6 and 8 of 1QS. We have mentioned the title: as we can expect in a third class book, the incipit is in the same font and only a trace bigger than the body text. The format is the broad column, but even wider than 1QS, and the font is the same commercial cursive used in 1QS (Figure 7b). But, then, 1QSa was written by the same scribes.
|These documents were produced at a very professional bookshop. Having a good bookshop to produce your books, however, does not change the status of a document. Bookshop productions are necessarily never authoritative, and we would know this anyway. The height of 1QS and 1QSa tells us non-authoritative, serious fiction. The format says non-authoritative; the script says non-authoritative. In addition, on 1QSa, even the incipit says non-authoritative.
|The hierarchies of size, format, and script reflect a given document's place in the writing world of the DSS. While we cannot simply separate documents by size, nevertheless we can use size, format, and script to determine the status of a document and to place a given record within the writing world of the DSS. Size, format, and script also tell us the status of a document in the larger Greco-Roman world. Later in time, we can use these same distinctions to place a document within the Christian Churches as well.
|1 Scripts: See David Diringer, The Alphabet: A Key to the History of Mankind Third Edition Completely Revised with the collaboration of Reinhold Regensburger. (London, 1968). 2 vol. Format: See Hajo Hadeler, trs., Robert Bringhurst, ed. Jan Tschichold, The Form of the Book: Essays on the Morality of Good Design. (London, 1991). Sizes: See Leila Avrin, Scribes, Script and Book: The book Arts from Antiquity to the Renaissance. (Chicago, 1991). Complete writing Systems: See Altman, Absent Voices: The Story of Writing Systems in the West. Forthcoming.
|3 Vows and oaths are covenants between a person and his ruler, be it a god or a human; hence, they had to be in the hand of the person making the vow or oath. The Bar Haddad inscription, for instance, is an autograph, a thank you note to the Goddess Moldat. (Incidentally, a man knows his own name, and his name is not Bar Tab Rimon.) The need for a royal document to be written in the hand of the ruler was still alive and well in the Age of Elizabeth. In her letter of April 11, 1572 to Lord Burghley, Elizabeth I writes that this letter "written with mine oun hand" should suffice. Paul complains about forgery, and specifically mentions that a letter is in his own hand. To this day, covenants must carry the signatures (and the signature on a credit charge slip is a covenant), in "mine oun hand" of the parties involved -- and for the very same reason: fraud prevention.
|4 The need for both an official script (class) and unofficial "cursive" fonts (mutations of the class) is the primary reason the graphic symbols in, for example, Sumerian, Etruscan, and Greek graphic systems, show so much variety for the same symbol. This is equally true for the fonts of the DSS.
|15 Examples of the pattern of defeat can be seen in the proliferation of the "Arthurian" literature in English and in English script systems following the erection of the "castles" on the border between Wales and England in the late 14th century. Arthur, we may recall, was Welsh. More modern, we have the recent spate of English literature extolling the virtues of the North American Indians; the same pattern shows up earlier in the twentieth century in British literature on India and in Australian works on the aborigines.
|17 These Paleo-Hebraic fragments are all that have been found thus far, which does not mean that more will not turn up. There are thousands of caves in the Judean hills and less than 300 have been explored till now. Only 52 have yielded documents.
|18 New scripts, the class, are exceedingly rare. All modern Western "Latin" fonts are descendants, mutations, of four, and only four, script classes: Roman Capitals, Rustic Capitals, African half-uncial and Greco-Roman half-uncial. All modern Hebrew fonts are descendants of the official Square Script we see in the Exodus fragments.
|19 Frank M. Cross's work on the paleography of the DSS is superb. As a pioneer in a new field, he did a wonderful job on distinguishing scripts and fonts. Pioneers do make mistakes, and no blame can be attached to them for this. Cross made only three mistakes, which is remarkably few for a pioneer. One was to assume that scripts develop; the second was the conflation of script class with fonts, mutations, of the class. The third was that we can compare the products produced in one writing room with the products of another. While some corrections are necessary, we owe a very large debt to Cross for creating the base.
|20 See Jan Tschichold, The form of the book Tschichold worked out the formulae for himself; the 9th century hand-book containing the pertinent information was not discovered until after his death. The handbook verifies the accuracy of Tschichold's calculations.
|21 We have rather strong evidence that the narrow column format is the authoritative format in use during the last centuries BCE in Judea. The early Christians writings in both Syriac and Greek use the same hierarchies of format that we see in the DSS. The oldest Greek Bibles use the Ptolemaic tradition of a rotated hierarchy of sizes. By the late fourth to early 5th centuries, the Alexandrian-Roman parties adopted the hierarchies of the Official Imperial writing system. Hence, the bilingual, Greek-Latin, Bezae follows the format and size hierarchies of the Imperial tradition, while the Siniaticus and the Vaticanus follow the Judean tradition.
|23 To this day, for a font to be authoritative, it must have serifs, a sans-serif font is taken as "advertising" or "entertainment. For a study of the importance of the serif in later documents, see Stanley Morison, Politics and Script: Aspects of authority and freedom in the development of Graeco-Latin script from the sixth century B.C. to the twentieth century A.D. The Lyell Lectures 1957. Edited and completed by Nicolas Barker (Oxford, 1972).
|24 A complete analysis of the scribal hands, that is, the preparation of a complete graphic list of scribal ideographs, will require perhaps six months. For the moment, the most striking difference between the two is that one writes his uprights at a slight leftward tilt, while the other consistently is very straight. Examples of both hands are illustrated on Figure 2.
|25 The Kohelet fragment, for instance, is an example of a private edition written by someone marginally literate. It is likely, but not possible to prove, that this edition was from an Accepted Master as the writer mixes commercial cursives with poorly executed formal Square Script.
|26 While it would have been appropriate to include the fragments of CD to compare with 1QS and 1QSa, they are too fragmentary to be able to do very much with. The fonts, though, are non-authoritative.
Reproduction beyond fair use only on permission of the author.
============================================================================ Table 1 Examples of Official/Authoritative Hierarchies of Sizes and Formats ca. 300 BCE-300 CE +---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------+ | Semitic Greco-Roman* | | Height Column Height Column | | Format Format | |---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------| | | | Profane Domain: | | | | Official | | The "Law" of the ruling power 14" Narrow 12" Broad | | Local "Law" 13" Broad 11" Narrow | | Administrative, 12" Broad 10" Broad | | Petitions 10" Broad 8-11" Broad | | Real property transactions | | Sale 8-10" narrow 6-10" Broad | | Lease 8-10" narrow 6-10" Narrow | | Literature | | Serious works 10" Broad 10" Broad | | Entertainment 6-8" Broad 8" Broad | | | | Sacred Domain: Israelite/Judean Early Christian** | | | | Authoritative | | [The Humash (Early)] 4-5' ?? Stele ?? | | The Humash Paleo (?? BCE) 28" ?? Very Broad | | The Humash Square (300 BCE-) 14" Narrow 10" Narrow | | Writings (Ktuvim, Neviim) 12" Broad 10" Narrow | | Scriptural Commentaries 8-10" Broad 6-9" Broad | | | | Literature | | Serious works 8-10" Broad 10" Broad | | Entertainment 6-8" Broad 8-8 1/2" Broad | | | | | | * Non-Christian. | | **Early Greek Bibles, for example, the Siniaticus and the Vaticanus, follow | | the Judean late BCE hierarchies of formats in the sacred domain. | | | +---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------+