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MEDIEVAL-RELIGION  September 1998

MEDIEVAL-RELIGION September 1998

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Subject:

Re: A Brief History of the Bible -1

From:

Bill East <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

[log in to unmask]

Date:

Fri, 25 Sep 1998 10:55:52 GMT

Content-Type:

text/plain

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text/plain (72 lines)

Thank you for your kind comments!  May I make one or two observations?


>
>1. Papyrus codices were in wide use once the codex format came into use in
>the 2nd century ce. 

You are quite right, and I have over-simplified here.  There were papyrus
codices;  but so far as I can see the more usual format for papyri was the
scroll.  Codex format and vellum both came into use in the early Christian
era, and tend to go together.

>
>2. Where did the elaborate story of the filling out of the minor prophets
>come from? I've never heard it, in all my years in the field! I can't
>imagine that there is any evidence to support it -- the minor prophets
>were together as a roll very early, where evidence of such detail is
>virtually non existent.

Yes, the minor prophets were in a roll very early.  But any commentary will
tell you that the concluding chapters of Zechariah were tacked on.  Cf.
David L. Petersen, "Haggai and Zechariah 1-8:  A Commentary", The Old
Testament Library, Westminster Press, Philadelphia 1984 p. 109, "In my
commentary I follow the critical judgment of scholars over the years who
have discerned a fundamental division between Zechariah 1-8 and 9-14".  On
the question he cites in a footnote Otto Eissfeldt, B. Otzen and J. Baldwin.
Cf. also Peake's Commentary on the Bible, p. 651, "The second part of the
book [of Zechariah] consists of two groups of material introduced by the
heading 'Oracle'.  The same heading appears at Mal. 1:1 and since the book
known as Malachi is also anonymous, it appears that three collections of
prophetic material have been placed at the end of the 'Book of the Twelve'."
Cf. also the Jerome Biblical Commentary, p. 389, "there is now almost
universal agreement among scholars that the second part [of Zechariah] is to
be traced to a different and later source."

I have elaborated the story only by supposing that those who put the minor
prophets on one scroll intended them to number twelve.  The arrangement
adopted was the only way to achieve this.  Had the three oracles been left
as separate pieces,  the number would have been fourteen.  Had they been
left out altogether, the number would have been eleven.  


>3. As has become clear from the Dead Sea Scroll findings, Hebrew was far
>from dead at the turn of the era. The majority of the scrolls are in
>Hebrew, and date from that period. Other, less literary discoveries
>contemporary with the scrolls also attest the use of Hebrew as well as
>Aramaic. 

Yes, this is an interesting point.  However, the fact remains that many
Palestinian Jews needed a Targum, and the use of a Greek translation seems
to have been normal in the Diaspora.  The Christians, as we shall see, used
a Greek translation almost exclusively.  


>Forgive me if I tune in for the second installment, since the Greek
>translations of Jewish scriptures are even more up my academic alley!
>Please don't treat the LXX/OG materials as homogeneous in origin or in
>transmission!
>

I certainly won't!  In fact the very point of my writing is to make it clear
to the unwary that our path is littered with red herrings, which we must nip
in the bud. But as you are au fait with the Greek translations, why not
"teche us yonge men of youre praktike"?  My knowledge of the subject is
decidely amateur.

Oriens.



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