begin-title / end-title

Banyai Michael banyai at
Fri Feb 2 10:20:39 EST 2001

Lee R. Martin wrote:
> Dear Michael,
> I do not think your theory is reasonable.  An introductory word at the
>  beginning of a
> scroll is understandable, but the concluding repetition would be unnecessary.
>   Also,
> the content of ten verses is not long enough to fill a scroll.
> I am not and expert on scrolls, so I will concede that the practice of
>  inclusio was
> done if you will point me to some examples from extant scrolls.

I see your argument and it is a serious objection to my theory. But, since
I find
the idea worth to be pursued, I´ll propose to your attention following 
the sequence title - end title might very well make sense, since usually
by any
scroll, the beginning, which is scrolled to the exterior is much more
than the rest of the text. It might therefore in many cases be damaged,
either by
rodents or by humidity. So what do if we´ve lost the important
classifying the document? Than take a look at the end, if there is
anything left
of, to get the information about the nature of the document. 

So is the example of Michael DePangher,of Gen. 1,1 and Gen. 2,4a (not 2.4b
Jonathan D. Safren objected) interesting :
Gen 1,4a "These are the creations of the heavens and the earth when they

But we have many much more concludent begin-title/end-title examples. So
Numbers 6,13 with 6,21. From such an example we can see that the redactor
Numbers seemingly incorporated some foreign source to his text, which he 
implemented by 6,1 till 6,12. To notice is that following 6,12 the style 
and subject matter changes.

Another example is in 5,29, which is the end-title of an previous source
by the same redactor, but in which case he dropped the introductory

We see in fact the redactor of Numbers as in first line glueing together
juridic or adminstrational mini-texts, which previously lacked the epic
glue of
the Moses story and the rest anecdotic detail. All anecdotes concerning
and the circumstances as the laws were given are the redactional glue
making of
dry, impersonal law or administrational texts, an apparently unitary

The begin-text/end-text sequences are for me markers for older texts.

Trevor Peterson wrote:

> This certainly sounds like a fascinating hypothesis, but I'm curious
> whether you have any evidence to support it.  (I'm not trying to be
> antagonistic, BTW.  I would genuinely like to know.)  About all I see in
> your presentation here is the practice of titling biblical books. 
> Granted, your conclusion is generally plausible, but I don't quite see how
> it in any way rules out the possibility of a "stylistic device."  Do we
> have any concrete examples of these sources and their citation elsewhere
> (or at least more clearly identifiable sources that could be cited
> elsewhere or citations that could have such sources)?  Do we have, for
> instance, cuneiform texts that clearly exhibit such citations?  (Although,
> I wonder if such an example might not complicate more than it solves,
> since your presentation here starts from the premise that we're talking
> about scrolls.  You can't unroll a clay tablet, and I haven't studied them
> enough to know whether there is a parallel titling convention.)
> In short, is there extrabiblical support for this practice?  (I'm assuming
> that we don't really have any clear examples of both source and citation
> within the Hebrew Bible itself.)  And if there is, how would you
> distinguish a use of the formula that genuinely cites a prior source from
> one that adapts the formula for other stylistic purposes?

So far I know not. The practice seems to have been abandoned by later
since while names of late documents are still given following to this
(the first line in the document) but they not anymore reflect the
intention to
make a resumé of the document. So no chance to find this practice in
which is late, either.

Of course cuneiform documents are little help, but compare this practice
with the
practice of closing official documents in clay envelopes repeating on
outside the contents of the protected text inside. Naturaly could this
some similar intentions. 
So, since you couldn´t seal the scrolls off in some "overscroll" you had
to see
at least outside on the scroll, what the text inside is. This could of
only by a short summary at the beginning of the scroll. Once this became a
regular practice, it didn´t make any difference how big the papyrus scrap
which one wrote was (so whether it could be indeed called scroll or not).
Bureaucracy is not practical. This may have become a standard
practice also for papyrus scraps.

The best one could do, is to concentrate on stylistical changes like those
between Num.6,1-6,12 and the ensueing Num. 6,13-6,21 to prove the later
ones are
older inserts.

I feel this to be indeed an important subject, touching the creation and
the historicity of the bible, but I have personally to concentrate
on other subjects.

Best regards,

Banyai Michael

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