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RE: [textualcriticism] Vanderkam finds Arabic numbers on Isaiah scroll

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  • Harold P. Scanlin
    The subject line on this thread is probably quite misleading. A careful reading of the quote from Vanderkam does not say that he agrees with the thesis
    Message 1 of 9 , Jun 14, 2004
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      The subject line on this thread is probably quite misleading. A careful reading of the quote from Vanderkam does not say that he agrees with the thesis presented in the Kansas City Star article. I do not have firsthand knowledge of Jim’s views, but unless he wants to lend his support to the thesis it should be made clear that he is not expressing his agreement.

       

      Some of us have spent long hours on the phone with the author(s) only to find that our opinions are clearly misrepresented in their publications. Incidentally, the hypothesis regarding medieval markings has been put forward by them in the popular press for many years now, although the Arabic numerals notion is relatively recent. The academic community has carefully considered these scribal anomalies and has offered plausible evidence for their early occurrence. To my knowledge Altman and Crowder have yet to offer any response to these arguments.

       

      Harold P. Scanlin

      41 Waldheim Park

      Allentown, PA  18103

      voice  610-791-9146

      fax  610-791-0439

      harold.scanlin@...

       

      -----Original Message-----
      From: Jack Kilmon [mailto:jkilmon@...]
      Sent: Monday, June 14, 2004 5:19 AM
      To: textualcriticism@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: Re: [textualcriticism] Vanderkam finds Arabic numbers on Isaiah scroll

       

      ----- Original Message -----
      From: "Wieland Willker" <willker@...-bremen.de>
      To: <textualcriticism@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Monday, June 14, 2004 1:51 AM
      Subject: [textualcriticism] Vanderkam finds Arabic numbers on Isaiah scroll


      > Have a look at:
      >
      > I have put this online, for some days only:
      > http://www-user.uni-bremen.de/~wie/Vanderkam.pdf
      > (copyrighted material, do not forward)
      >
      > The article appeared in the "Kansas City Star", Sat, Jun. 12, 2004
      >
      > I think, these are just accidental spots, scribbles.  Especially the "x"
      > does not seem to be associated with the "3". I think it's nothing (just
      > my offhand judgment).
      >
      > Best wishes
      >     Wieland
      >        <><

      I think its all about nothing also.  There are lots of marks on the scrolls
      and even if some are recent, there are explanations other than the silly
      medieval thing.  The original scroll scholars were NOT very careful about
      maintaining the integrity of the scrolls nor conserving them.  The Isaiah
      scroll bounced around for about 6 or 7 years before Yadin bought it.

      Jack



    • Wieland Willker
      ... careful ... The article states: he was startled recently when he noticed what appeared to be the Arabic numerals 3 and 2 written between lines and in
      Message 2 of 9 , Jun 14, 2004
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        > > http://www-user.uni-bremen.de/~wie/Vanderkam.pdf
        > The subject line on this thread is probably quite misleading. A
        careful
        > reading of the quote from Vanderkam does not say that he agrees
        > with the thesis presented in the Kansas City Star article.

        The article states:
        "he was startled recently when he noticed what appeared to be the Arabic
        numerals "3" and "2" written between lines and in the margins of the
        documents supposedly written more than 2,000 years ago."When could that
        have been put on there?" the veteran scholar wondered ..."

        If the article is not misrepresenting VanderKam's views, then he
        apparently thinks that there are Arabic numerals. What really struck me
        was that I immediately thought, "no, that's nothing, just scribble or
        blots", but that he, respected scholar VanderKam thinks otherwise.


        Best wishes
        Wieland
        <><
        ------------------------------------------------
        Wieland Willker, Bremen, Germany
        mailto:willker@...-bremen.de
        http://www.uni-bremen.de/~wie
        Textcritical commentary:
        http://www.uni-bremen.de/~wie/TCG/index.html
      • Wieland Willker
        J. VanderKam replied to me: I of course think that Altman s views are nonsense, and I did not say what I am apparently quoted as saying. I did say to Altman
        Message 3 of 9 , Jun 14, 2004
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          J. VanderKam replied to me:

          "I of course think that Altman's
          views are nonsense, and I did not say what I am apparently quoted as
          saying. I did say to Altman that some marks to which he directed my
          attention resemble Arabic numerals but I added that this resemblance
          did not mean they were in fact Arabic numerals and that the only way
          to check would be to look at the manuscript itself, not just at
          photographs. I firmly believe that the Isaiah scroll dates from ca.
          100 BCE."

          Best wishes
          Wieland
          <><
          ------------------------
          Wieland Willker, Bremen, Germany
          mailto:willker@...-bremen.de
          http://www.uni-bremen.de/~wie/
          Textcritical commentary:
          http://www.uni-bremen.de/~wie/TCG/index.html
        • James Davila
          I ve posted another response from VanderKam, saying essentially the same thing with a little additional information, plus some of my own analysis of what
          Message 4 of 9 , Jun 14, 2004
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            I've posted another response from VanderKam, saying essentially the
            same thing with a little additional information, plus some of my own
            analysis of what Altman and Crowder did and how it shows the
            irresponsibility of the media. All here:

            http://paleojudaica.blogspot.com/
            2004_06_13_paleojudaica_archive.html#108722885103448785


            On Monday, June 14, 2004, at 05:59 pm, Wieland Willker wrote:

            > J. VanderKam replied to me:
            >
            > "I of course think that Altman's
            > views are nonsense, and I did not say what I am apparently quoted as
            > saying. I did say to Altman that some marks to which he directed my
            > attention resemble Arabic numerals but I added that this resemblance
            > did not mean they were in fact Arabic numerals and that the only way
            > to check would be to look at the manuscript itself, not just at
            > photographs. I firmly believe that the Isaiah scroll dates from ca.
            > 100 BCE."
            >
            > Best wishes
            > Wieland
            > <><
            > ------------------------
            > Wieland Willker, Bremen, Germany
            > mailto:willker@...-bremen.de
            > http://www.uni-bremen.de/~wie/
            > Textcritical commentary:
            > http://www.uni-bremen.de/~wie/TCG/index.html
            >
            >
            >
            >
            > Yahoo! Groups Links
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >



            Dr. Jim Davila
            Lecturer in Early Jewish Studies
            St. Mary's College
            University of St. Andrews
            United Kingdom
            jrd4@...
            http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/academic/divinity/jrd4.html
            http://paleojudaica.blogspot.com
          • Bryan Cox
            Forgive me if this has already been mentioned, but I seem to remember reading this same article or something very similar in the Dallas Morning News a year or
            Message 5 of 9 , Jun 14, 2004
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              Forgive me if this has already been mentioned, but I seem to remember
              reading this same article or something very similar in the Dallas
              Morning News a year or so ago.

              If my link below works, one can find the article I believe I read
              online at the Dallas Morning News website. Unfortunately, one must
              register and pay a small fee to read the article. If the link does
              not work, the information from a search on their website states the
              following:

              http://nl.newsbank.com/nl-search/we/Archives?p_action=list&p_topdoc=21

              > Headline: Symbols raise doubts about scrolls' age
              > Relevance: 24
              > Writer: NEIL ALTMAN, DAVID CROWDER
              > Published: May 11, 2002
              > Page Number: 4G
              > Word Count: 867
              > Edition: SECOND
              > Summary: Scattered through some Dead Sea Scrolls are Western
              > letters and numbers that are causing some scholars to
              > rethink the assumption that the scrolls were written
              > before Christian times.
              >
              > "It creates suspicion when you see Western letters and
              > numbers on manuscripts attributed to a Jewish sect that
              > existed before the birth of Christ," Peter Pick, former
              > dean of Arts and Sciences at California's Columbia Pacific
              > University, said after looking at anomalies such as a....

              Dallas Morning News: http://www.dallasnews.com/

              I suppose that I rolled my eyes when I read it, thinking there could
              be any number of reasonable explanations for the arabic (or seeming
              arabic) numerals and other signs. However, if this is not just
              another attempt to discredit ancient artifacts, more scholarly
              analysis would be intriguing.

              By the way, Wieland, I am glad to see this website pick up where the
              TC-List left off. As a hobbyist, I am glad for an interactive place
              to come, read, share, and ask questions about one of my favorite
              subjects, textual criticism. Thanks for beginning this list.

              Bryan Cox
              Plano, Tx
              http://dreamwater.org/bccox/index.html

              --- In textualcriticism@yahoogroups.com, "Wieland Willker"
              >
              > The article appeared in the "Kansas City Star", Sat, Jun. 12, 2004
            • Roger Pearse
              ... As a complete amateur, may I offer a thought at a tangent? I recognise that it is irritating when urban legends get started in this way. But can we not
              Message 6 of 9 , Jun 26, 2004
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                --- In textualcriticism@yahoogroups.com, "Bryan Cox" <b_coxus@y...>
                wrote:
                > Dallas Morning News: http://www.dallasnews.com/
                >
                > I suppose that I rolled my eyes when I read it, thinking
                > there could
                > be any number of reasonable explanations for the arabic (or seeming
                > arabic) numerals and other signs. However, if this is not just
                > another attempt to discredit ancient artifacts, more scholarly
                > analysis would be intriguing.

                As a complete amateur, may I offer a thought at a tangent? I
                recognise that it is irritating when urban legends get started in
                this way. But can we not make something of it? After all,
                somewhere in all this is the raw human desire to learn, directed at
                ancient manuscripts. I would like to see the study of ancient and
                medieval manuscripts have a much higher profile than it does, and be
                much better funded. They say there is no such thing as bad
                publicity, after all.

                Rather than us grumbling about the bad reportage, would someone with
                lots of letters after his name like to write to this journal?
                Compliment them on their interest in the topic of the study of the
                scrolls, express hope that they will run more articles, refer to
                interest in manuscripts in pop-culture (think of Buffy, Charmed),
                and suggest that some more stuff would be nice. Mention, in a non-
                combative way, that in fact the 'numbers' are probably just tricks
                of the photographic process; but that more eyes looking can only be
                a good thing.

                I know we risk a rush of cranks -- but so what? So long as we don't
                look like a bunch of jerks determined to exclude the public, any
                publicity would be good. Wouldn't it?

                All the best,

                Roger Pearse
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