[b-hebrew] 5 scrolls or 1

Yitzhak Sapir yitzhaksapir at gmail.com
Sat Aug 20 17:51:41 EDT 2005

On 8/17/05, Jim West wrote:
[quoting me] 
> > the Samaritan practice, ..   the DSS, there are scrolls of
> > Genesis-Exodus and Leviticus-Numbers, which again suggests that originally there
> > was just one scroll, and then it was split into three (Genesis-Exodus,
> > Leviticus-
> > Numbers, Deuteronomy) and then each of the first two was further
> > divided, all for
> > apparently convenience reasons.
> What strikes me as interesting here is that the possibility exists,
> doesn't it, that practice amongst various strands of Judaism may have
> collected scrolls differently?

First, I think it is anachronistic to use the term Judaism as applied to
Samaritans, and perhaps even to Qumran.  Secondly, the DSS, where
it provides us texts from the late Biblical period, does not provide us
attribution.  They may include documents from all varieties of sects,
for example, documents of converts to the Qumran sect that were 
placed in the Qumran library.  So it appears to me problematic to make 
a claim in this regard from the contents of the Qumran library of biblical 
books to the Qumran methods of dividing the books.

But beyond that, is there any evidence for more than one method of
division?  Only the 3-fold method in Qumran and the 5 fold method
known from Qumran, modern Jewish tradition, as well as the
Septuagint.  I don't know if there is any evidence that the Samaritans
divided their Pentateuch at all.  And the 3 fold method appears to be
an earlier incarnation of the 5 fold method.  In fact, is there a 3 fold 
method?  Perhaps the Genesis-Exodus and the Leviticus-Numbers
scrolls are actually "whole Pentateuch" scrolls of which only a portion

I have also received the following in reference to your mention of Tov's book 
and the "five scrolls" from Carla Sulzbach:  "I checked my copy, and indeed, 
on p. 4 he speaks of Five Megillot. However, that is in a section on the order 
of the books in the "Hagiographa", the Ketuvim, and ... he does not refer to 
Torah scrolls, five or any other number, but to Shir ha-Shirim, Ruth, Eicha, 
etc."  I don't know.  In the Hebrew edition, he doesn't seem to discuss 
methods of order of the books at all, at least not where I could see it, so 
perhaps it is an addition in the English version.

Yitzhak Sapir

More information about the b-hebrew mailing list