[b-hebrew] 5 scrolls or 1

Ken Penner pennerkm at mcmaster.ca
Mon Aug 22 08:29:58 EDT 2005

A few clarifications:

First, the name "Pentateuch" signified "5 scrolls" in Greek. This Greek word
is attested as early as the 2nd century CE, in the Gnostic Ptolemy's Letter
to Flora 4.1.

Second, by far most of the Dead Sea Scrolls containing parts of the Torah
attest only *one* of the five books per scroll. There are a few exceptions,
where parts of two books come from the same scroll.

Third, although I'm not sure precisely which "regulations" in the "rabbinic
literature" Yigal is referring to, let's remember that "the second century
CE" is really the limit of how *early* the date for this literature might be
stretched. It would have been helpful to also mention what the *latest* date
for these rabbinic statements might be. Assumptions regarding what might
have happened "by then" can safely be made regarding that latest date, but I
would hesitate to make them regarding the second century CE.

Ken Penner

> The "regulations" all appear in rabbinic literature, written, at the
> earliest, in the second century CE. By then, we can assume, 
> the Torah was
> written (at least in some circles) on a single scroll like it 
> is today, and
> the tradition of Mosaic authorship of the whole Torah was 
> firmly established
> (in fact, it is assumed by Josephus and Philo).
> Yigal

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