1QS srk

RGmyrken at aol.com RGmyrken at aol.com
Thu Sep 12 04:01:37 EDT 2002

Dear Serge,

    Schiffman, citing secondary literature too extensive to cite here, notes 
that Aramaic sarakh (Dan. 6:3-5) likely derives from Avestan sara, "head", 
also attested in Pahlavi.  The ending ka in Sara-ka denotes the doer of the 
action in Old and Middle Persian.  Schiffman suggests that sarkha entered 
into Aramaic as a loan-word from the Persian during the Achaemenid period 
when it denoted an official probably associated with the military.  He 
mentions as additional parallels Ethiopic sirak "line, way" and Biblical 
serokh, "string."  Schiffman doesn't endorse Weinfield's attempt to link 
serekh with the Akkadian risksu (used of "tieing" a covenant).  The meaning 
of the word serekh seems bound up with the idea of ordering, sequence, 
organizing (and hence the late connotation "Rule" of "Order" as in 1QS)
    Several authors have pointed out that the full range of meanings of 
serekh is paralleled with the Greek word taxis / tagma, which refers to a 
military formation, a series or ordering, etc.  This plausibly implies a 
historical context in which a Greek military manual was translated to Hebrew 
and the range of meanings associated with taxis applied to its preferred term 
of translation, serekh.  
    Hope this helps.

    Best regards,
    Russell Gmirkin

>  Dear Russell,
>  Thank you very much.  Unfortunately the book of L. Schiffman is unavailable
>  to me.  I am trying to figure out from where they (the sectarians or, for
>  that matter, the Maccabeans) took this word. Does it have Semitic 
>  Or is it a borrowing from Persian? – Is it the very term used in a 
>  meaning in Dan 6:3 ff. (<Pers. sa:raka ‘an der Spitze stehend’, HALAT
>  1753b)?  The semantic shift  “commander”> "battle array, order, 
>  (as L. Schiffman seems to suggest) does not look like a very common one.
>    Serge Lyosov

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