Orthography fluidity

Greg Doudna gdoudna at earthlink.net
Sun Mar 11 01:57:10 EST 2001

Ezra seems a bit early for this, Peter. The Qumran texts show
great fluidity in orthography. By the first century CE at
Masada and early 2nd with the Bar Kochba finds a case
could be made that an MT-type text was standardized, but
this certainly wasn't the case 1st BCE (unless one wants to
argue that some subset of the Qumran variety represented
a standardization which not everyone else yet accepted).
On fluidity of orthography in copying biblical texts
see Kutscher 1974 on 1QIsaA, Horgan 1979 on the
pesharim, DJD editions, etc. etc.
Qumran has got to be considered the evidence for what was
happening 1st BCE, rather than considered non-
representative of what was happening.

Greg Doudna

> I would surmise that after a certain date copyists took extreme care not
> modernise the orthography, perhaps because they developed a very high view
> of Scripture, that no letter may be changed. This is in fact more than a
> surmise, for we know that later on such a view was held, and we also know
> that the texts were not all modernised to orthographic uniformity. I won't
> try to speculate on dates, though the name Ezra springs to mind.
> Peter Kirk

More information about the b-hebrew mailing list