[b-hebrew] 5 scrolls or 1

Heard, Christopher Christopher.Heard at pepperdine.edu
Sat Aug 20 23:30:48 EDT 2005

Sujata, your reasoning in (b) is erroneous for this reason: people  
don't always actually do everything that is within their  
capabilities. Lack of capability can be evidence against something,  
but capability is not evidence for it. Right now I have the  
capability to set fire to my condominium and burn it down, but I am  
not going to do it (it would prove most inconvenient). God could have  
made human beings amphibious, but didn't. Capability does not prove  
actuality, and it is a logical fallacy to default to "if it can be  
done, somebody did it, unless it is proven that somebody didn't do  
it," as your point (b) implies.

We do in fact have _hard evidence_ that the books of the Torah were  
at least _sometimes_ written on individual scrolls in Hasmonean-Roman  
times. That evidence is the manuscripts from the Dead Sea Scrolls,  
for example, 11Q1 (Paleo-Leviticus). I apologize for not being more  
precise but I am not sure when 11Q1 is dated as a physical production.


On Aug 20, 2005, at 5:28 PM, Sujata wrote:
> co-exist in any given time period or b) evidence
> should be provided that it was beyond the capabilities
> of people of that time to sew together (or carry) a
> single scroll that could carry the entire Torah. I saw
> a Torah scroll for sale weighing 25 pounds which
> shouldnt be too much for a man to carry.

R. Christopher Heard
Assistant Professor of Religion
Seaver Fellow in Religion
Pepperdine University
Malibu, California 90263-4352
Professional Web Page: http://faculty.pepperdine.edu/cheard
Internet Resource Index: http://www.iTanakh.org
Personal Web Page: http://www.heardworld.com

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