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Once more, the antiquity of the book of Samuel

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  • Jeffrey B. Gibson
    List Members will recall that in response to (a) Tom Simms denial that there existed in the DSS a sufficiently large body of text to support ... the view
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 3, 2000
      List Members will recall that in response to

      (a) Tom Simms' denial that there existed in the DSS a sufficiently "large body of
      text to support ... the view" of " the whole text [of 1 & 2 Samuel] being known
      over the Turn of the Era and being common knowledge until the Opus of Samuel was
      completed" AND

      (b) his notice that should such evidence be produced, he would change his mind on
      this matter (cf. his " Now, show me whole sections of the work surviving and watch
      me change my mind")

      I pointed to the fact that 4Q51[4QSam(a)] was just such evidence since, as Strugnell
      and Milik pointed our some time ago, the Scroll -- which could be seen as having
      contained 37columns, 33 of which were devoted to 1 Samuel and 24 of which to 2
      Samuel -- was originally a MSS of the entire book of Samuel, and that it testifies
      that Samuel as we know it was NOT a relatively late construct, since even in its
      present fragmentary state the scroll contains samples (sometimes very extensive)
      from **every chapter of** our present 1 and 2 Samuel.

      I also noted that since

      (a) another Samuel manuscript, 4Q52 [4QSam(b)] -- a manuscript which, given its
      contents, also testifies to knowledge at Qumran of something as extensive as and, in
      content, very similar to our canonical Samuel -- had been dated by F.M Cross (on
      paleographic grounds) as having been written towards the end of the third century
      B.C.E, and

      b) evidence from Philo (i.e., his [by my count] nine quotes, spread out in his
      writings, from books 1-10 of 1 Samuel) seems to show not only that Samuel was known
      as a book outside of Palestine before the first cent. C.E., but was accepted as
      Scripture by Jews not associated with Qumran,

      there were good grounds for thinking as invalid any contention such as mooted by Tom
      that there was no BOOK of Samuel until well after the turn of the century or that,
      even if there were, it would not have been widely known before that time.

      Finally, I asked the pointed question of whether Tom had ever actually read 4Q51
      [4QSam(a)]? How about 1Q7 or 4Q52 [4QSam(b)] and 4Q53 [4QSam(c)], for it did not
      seem to me that he could make the assertions he was making if he had.

      I note now that in reply to all of this, Tom posted a response which

      -- instead of (1) confronting head on (as it should have done) my claims
      of what Q451[Q4Sam(a)] contains, or (2) attempting (as good scholarship
      requires) to offer an alternative explanation for the evidence in Philo for
      early and widespread knowledge of the book of Samuel, let alone (as I can
      only guess he is embarrassed to do) of (3) revealing whether or not he
      has actually read 4Q51 [4QSam(a)] or 1Q7 or 4Q52 [4QSam(b)] or
      4Q53 [4QSam(c) --

      consists of nothing more than his underlining the date of the article I had cited
      when referring to Cross' paleographic studies of Q552 (presumably to show that
      because it was written in the 50's its conclusions can't be true) and the following

      > I see now, Jeff, why you got your shorts in a knot so badly over
      > this matter. You, like Goranson, have painted yourself into a
      > corner and refuse to accept what today's scholarship is reveal-
      > ing. I rather doubt you will send this comment to the List or my
      > reply to Goranson's position so I will make sure this post and
      > the one to Goranson is viewed by as many as possible in any case.

      In other words, instead of being an answer or an argument, it's a dodge. More
      importantly, it is a dodge which, in its claim that today's DSS scholarship
      contradicts everything I said above about what the DSS Samuel MSS and the evidence
      from Philo indicate with respect to the issues in dispute, seems to me to be one
      that has no contact with the very studies Tom seems to think support his case.

      For it should be noted that **nothing** in the most recent DSS scholarship denies
      **anything** I noted about Q451[Q4Sam(a)] OR about Q452[Q452(c)]. On the contrary,
      it confirms

      1. That the text of Q451[QSam(a)] was originally long and was a MSS of the BOOK of
      Samuel, let alone one that originally contained the whole of 1 & 2 Samuel and even
      now contains sections from every book known to us from canonical Samuel, is a
      **fact** that is plain to anyone who looks at it. Moreover, it is a fact accepted by
      **every DSS scholar working in the field today**. I have already, in previous
      correspondence, cited Vermes, Barrera, and Abegg on this. I now note that this is
      also the view that is expressed by Ulrich, Collins, and Vanderkaam in their most
      recent work on the Scrolls. Can Tom come up with a quote from anyone who, having
      seen the MSS, says otherwise? Indeed, since Tom seems to imply that modern
      scholarship contradicts what I have noted are the characteristics of these MSS, I'd
      be very curious to see just who the authorities are to whom Tom is appealing on this

      2. That Q452[QSam(b)] is as old as Cross says it is. Check out Vanderkaam (_DSS
      Today_), Shanks, and the latest from Berrera, Martinez, Vermes, Abegg, and Ulrich.

      In addition to this, more and more of recent DSS scholars are pointing to Q4Flor,
      which quotes Sam, as evidence for the fact that Samuel was not only known in its
      entirety at Qumran but was accepted by the DSS community as canonical (see the
      discussion in Vandercamm, _The DSS Today_).

      In the light of this, I'm curious to know: To whom does the charge about the refusal
      to accept what today's scholarship is revealing" about the antiquity and knowledge
      of the book of Samuel really apply?

      Trusting that it's neither myself nor Stephen Goranson, I once again note that if a
      case is to be made against Ted Weeden's thesis that the Gethsemane story is derived
      from ideas in Samuel, it will have to be made on grounds other than the ones Tom has
      been appealing to.


      Jeffrey B. Gibson
      7423 N. Sheridan Road #2A
      Chicago, Illinois 60626
      e-mail jgibson000@...
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