Sukenik and the Dead Sea Scrolls, Part IV Sekirah Aleph

War Scroll

War Scroll

We shall now look at views of Sukenik on the individual scrolls that he discussed.

In Sekirah Aleph he presented some discussion and sample facts from the War Scroll.  He first discussed technical details of the physical state of the scroll.  He dated its compositions to the pre-Hasmonean period, but dated the copy to some time before the destruction of the temple in 70 C.E.  He understood the phrases Kittim of Egypt and of Assyria to refer to the Ptolemies and Seleucids, but the use of כוהן בראש led him to date the composition of the text to pre-Hasmonean times.

Sukenik, in considering the War Scroll, turned at the same time to some similarities with the Zadokite Fragments.  He thought that this “Damascus Covenant” (ברית דמשק) had apparently been copied in Damascus.  After surveying the arguments that had taken place regarding this text, Sukenik indicated that in working on the War Scroll, he immediately realized the similarities between the texts.  One of his examples was ף in the sense of period, known to us as a regular feature of Qumran lexicography.  He quoted similar usage in Ezekiel 7:6, Job 16:3, and also in Rabbinic usage.  He then pointed to examples of this usage in the Damascus Covenant, contra S. Schechter, but following L. Ginzberg.  He then turned to the usage of בעול in the Damascus Document which had been a clue for Schechter and Ginzberg.  Here he compared the usage in the War Scroll which meant “accustomed, experienced, trained,” as in בעול לשמוע קולות.  This meaning fit easily as well into the Damascus Document passage.  He also called attention to the shared use of “רזים” in both texts.

Regarding the Hodayot, he discussed the terrible state of preservation, which we now know caused him to incorrectly order the sheets of the scroll.  To Sukenik, the poems in this text were reminiscent in their style to the biblical Psalms.  He also noted that the columns of this scroll were much longer, about double the size of the War Scroll.  A second scribe had copied a column and a half at the end of one of the sheets.

The first text to be presented in Sekirah Aleph was what we term Isaiah A (1QIsaa).  This is peculiar since he had bought Isaiah B for the Hebrew University.  Yet he had inspected Isaiah A and had it in his possession for a few days, which was enough to transcribe the two chapters (42-43) that he reproduced here.  He commented on the excellent state of preservation of the scroll, as well as its use of spaces to distinguish chapters and the difficulty of distinguishing waw and yud.  He also noted the lack of consistency in use of medial and first letters.  He saw this possibly as evidence of earlier dating when compared to the other scrolls had inspected.  Alternatively, he suggested that the old custom (lack of consistency) may have been continued for biblical scrolls even after the distinction was adopted for non-biblical scrolls.  He noted that the scroll gave no help regarding the sections from which the text of Isaiah had been composed.  This, of course, was an allusion to the number of “Isaiah”s, deutero-, triteo, etc.  He observed that in the time of Ben Sira, the book of Isaiah already included the prophecies of consolation.  He also remarked that from the small number of p? he could check, 1QIsa appeared closer to MT than to LXX.

(He produced two chapters, giving 1QIsa and MT in parallel columns.  He provided three short comments on the text.)

2 Responses to Sukenik and the Dead Sea Scrolls, Part IV Sekirah Aleph

  • John Stuart says:

    Dear Sir

    Does it fit with Onias III as High Priest from 199 – 171 BCE?

    Did the Essene form during these years of 196 BCE and it’s Teacher of Righteousness in 176 BCE?

    What date did the Ptolemies and Seleucids arrive?

    Was there a document called Damascus Rule in the Damascus Document as well?

    Is there a Hodayot attribute to Onias III ?

    Is Secacah (Qumran) on the map of the Second Temple Period?

    What date for Ben Srach when he wrote his Wisdom Book with Onias III?

  • John Stuart says:

    Dear Sir

    Does it fit with Onias III as High Priest and King of the Jews he has the Tradition crown of High Priest and King?

    Do you know about the secret knowledge through Onias III the High Priest coming from outside the Sect none of other Sects like Pharisees and Sadduccees only for Essenes Sect the Dead Sea Sect.

    You should read all of Damascus Document contents within if you pick up a vital clue to a Artificial Calendar trough King’s Calendar this was the evidence in Josephus account on Monarchy to Aristobolus ?


    John Stuart

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