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The abstracts of the EAJS Lab 2016 | Manuscripta Bibliae Hebraicae

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Eajs lab 2016 abstracts
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The abstracts of the EAJS Lab 2016

Dead Sea Scrolls Session

Anna Busa

Title: Analysing phylacteries from the Judean Desert – A survey of linguistic features, textual content and the question of provenance

Abstract: Among the various discoveries of biblical scrolls from the Dead Sea nearly forty phylacteries have been discovered to date. Whereas most phylacteries from Qumran display high textual variation and diversity, so-called vulgar orthography and certain scribal styles, phylactery finds from other Judean Desert sites such as Muraba’at and Nahal Se’elim show textual choices and an orthography identical to the Classical Biblical Hebrew of the Masoretic Bible, and a production of the scrolls prescribed by later rabbinic sources.  This has led to the suggestion that the provenance of finds which stem from Qumran could be determined through their distinctive scribal practices. Yet, further phylacteries from Qumran as well as Nahal Hever exist, which display a mixture of the aforementioned characteristics and hence blur the clear-cut hypothesis with its opposing categories. Therefore, the genre of phylacteries presents an important link that gives a unique insight not only into the transmission process of the text of the Hebrew Bible and the development of the Hebrew language against the backdrop of a multilingual cultural environment, but also highlights the variety of Jewish religious practices during the Second Temple period.

The paper examines in an all-encompassing analysis the paleography, the linguistic features and the scribal practices (orthography, morphology, phonology, syntax) of the phylacteries as well as their textual content. These results are put into relation to the later prescribed (scribal and textual) rabbinic norms in order to contribute to the debate of the (non-)likelihood of a locally determinable and unique Qumran scribal practice.


Gilles Dorival

Title: LXX, between textual criticism and redactional criticism

Abstract: Can the LXX improve our knowledge ot the oldest Hebrew text? Sometimes, this is the case. But as a rule, the differences between MT and LXX cannot be explained in terms of textual criticism. Redactional reasons, that are literary/theological ones, must be taken into account.


Drew Glenn Longacre

Title: Methods for the Reconstruction of Large Literary (Sc)rolls

Abstract: In working with the Dead Sea Scrolls, scholars are confronted with a complex data set that is materially fragmentary, textually pluriform, and generally lacking in uniform scribal conventions. In such scholarly environments, material reconstructions of (sc)rolls play an especially important role, and many recent studies of the DSS and the Herculaneum papyri have attempted such reconstructions with great effect. In this paper, I will survey the methods utilized by scholars for reconstructing ancient literary (sc)rolls, focusing on the possibilities and limitations of the use of patterns of deterioration evident on the material remains for reconstructing the sizes, contents, and sequences of (sc)rolls. I will further propose several methodological refinements necessary for reconstructing large literary (sc)rolls, such as “biblical” manuscripts. I will also suggest that such methods have great potential for understanding the important fragmentary evidence from the so-called “silent period” between the DSS and the well preserved manuscripts of the 10th century and later.


Matthew Monger

Title: 4Q216 and the Creation Account at Qumran and in the Greek and Syriac Chronicles

Abstract: In this paper I present a material philological analysis of 4Q216 (4QJubileesa) fragments 12ii–18, and discuss ways in which the text of this manuscript is an important part of the reception of the Creation account both among the Dead Sea Scrolls and in the works of the Greek and Syriac Chroniclers.

The first part of the paper studies the manuscript as an artifact and discusses questions related to the nature and purpose of the manuscript, proposing that 4Q216 may originally not have been more than the Jubilees creation account, transmitted separately from the rest of the work. The second part of the paper places the text of the Jubilees creation account within the context of the Dead Sea Scrolls, showing that texts such as 4QInstruction and 11QPsalmsa Hymn to the Creator show more affinities with the Jubilees creation account than with Genesis 1-3. The final part of the paper looks at the longer lines of the importance of the Jubilees creation account in the reception of creation in the Greek and Syriac Christian Chronicles.


Antony Perrot and Matthieu Richelle

Title: The Dead Sea Scrolls Palaeo-Hebrew Script: Its Roots in Hebrew Scribal Tradition

Abstract: Although it is less attested than during the Iron Age, the Palaeo-Hebrew script nevertheless appears in later epigraphical sources. The relevant Persian period inscriptions have recently been studied by G. Hamilton ("Paleo-Hebrew Texts and Scripts of the Persian Period", in J. A. Hackett and W. E. Aufrecht, "An Eye for form": Epigraphic Essays in Honor of Frank Moore Cross [Winona Lake 2014]: 253-90), while J. Dusek has written a new analysis of important texts from the early Hellenistic period (Aramaic and Hebrew Inscriptions from Mt. Gerizim [Leiden/Boston 2012]). In light of these new works and others, and thanks to detailed palaeographical analyses based on digital images, this paper will explore several crucial questions regarding the origins of the Palaeo-Hebrew script attested in the Dead Sea Scrolls manuscripts. Is the latter a "re-creation" from the Hellenistic period for copying literary texts, and if so, which older set of ductus was used as a model to relaunch the Hebrew scribal tradition? Or was the Qumran script the continuation of an uninterrupted Hebrew scribal tradition that can be traced back to the Iron Age? Could manuscripts like 4QpaleoJob or 11QpaleoLeviticus, for instance, be copies of earlier scrolls from the Persian period already written in Palaeo-Hebrew script?


Daniel Stökl Ben Ezra (keynote speaker)


Cairo Genizah Session

Samuel Blapp

Title: The Importance of the Classification of Standard Tiberian Manuscripts

Abstract: For almost a century the scholarly world concerned with the Hebrew Bible from philology to theology has solely relied on the BHS and its basic manuscript Leningrad Codex B19a. Thus, many studies have been published concerning the Hebrew Bible without ever seriously questioning the status of this manuscript from the Firkovich collection. In this paper I shall show how B19a fits into the history of the Standard Tiberian tradition of biblical Hebrew by comparing some its peculiarities to more accurate Standard Tiberian manuscripts such as A and BL Or 4445.


Philippe Cassuto

TitleThe Four Great Oriental Manuscripts, a Family?

Abstract: Can the four great oriental manuscripts, Oriental 4445, Cairo, Aleppo and Leningrad codices be regarded as a family? Are this four manuscripts an exception in the transmission of the hebrew text of the Bible? Are the differences between Ben Asher and Ben Naftali a reality or a construction?


Viktor Golinets

Title: Biblical Manuscripts from the Collections of the National Library of Russia and Their Place in the Textual Research of the Hebrew Bible

Abstract: The Cairo Genizah has preserved a great amount of biblical manuscripts. These manuscripts belong to three linguistic traditions of the Biblical Hebrew, i.e. Babylonian, Palestinian and Tiberian, and they belong to different types texts: Hebrew Bible text alone, model codices with Masora magna and parva, Hebrew text with Targum, “substandard” copies for private reading and learning. The texts are kept in many libraries around the globe. Some of these texts have been used during the 20th century in producing scholarly editions of the Hebrew Bible. There have been, however, no systematic evaluation of the text‐critical value of these manuscripts and of the relation of the textual traditions and variants they comprise with other textual witnesses like medieval Hebrew codices of Orient and Europe and Qumran scrolls. The aims of this paper are, firstly, reviewing the use of biblical manuscripts from Genizah in the textual criticism of the Hebrew Bible, secondly, suggesting typology of their text‐critical significance, and, thirdly, evaluating their textological value in connection with other textual traditions of the Hebrew Bible. Special attention will be paid to the Sitz im Leben of different types of Genizah biblical manuscripts and, accordingly, to their value for reconstructing the biblical textual history. Their Sitz im Leben and their belonging to different socio‐cultural contexts of medieval Jewry accounts for the different grades of the quality of their text. In this respect, Genizah manuscripts remarkably differ from other sources of the Hebrew Bible. The review of the use of the Genizah manuscripts in the last century will discuss manuscript studies, Bible editions and contemporary (electronic) research tools.


Geoffrey Khan (keynote speaker)


Elvira Martin-Contreras

Title: MS. T.S.D. 1, 61 REVISITED

Abstract: In 1966 Bernard Keller published the description, text, translation and commentary of the fragment T.S.D. 1, 61 (“Fragment d’un traité d’exégèse massorétique”, Textus 5, 60-83). According to the author, the fragment contains original masoretic material formed by masoretic notes (formulated without the abbreviations used in the Masorah) and their exegetical explanations (with similar techniques to those used in the Talmud and the Midrashim). The study of this material using a new integrating methodology that combines philological and hermeneutic research (Cf. E. Martín-Contreras, “Rabbinic Ways of Preservation and Transmission of the Biblical Text in the Light of Masoretic Sources” in E. Martín Contreras – L. Miralles Maciá (eds.), The Text of the Hebrew Bible. From the Rabbis to Masoretes, Journal of Ancient Judaism, Supplements; Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht [2014] 79-90) has resulted in a different interpretation. Moreover, the finding of parallel documents suggests a new description of the fragment. This paper presents both a new interpretation and description.


Ben Outhwaite (kenote speaker)

Title: Variation Within the Standard Tiberian Masoretic Tradition

Abstract: At least in the field of Biblical Studies, the Tiberian Masoretic Tradition is generally perceived to be a firmly monolithic edifice, frequently equated with the contents of codex B19a (the socalled Leningrad Codex). Notwithstanding, closer examination reveals myriad intramural currents, trends and diverges. This paper outlines some of the most significant aspects of variation within the Standard Tiberian Tradition, explores the potential historicalcultural value of these subtraditions, and considers the unique role of the Genizah Bible fragments in this field of research.


Kim Phillips

Title: Two New Fragments from the Scribe behind the Leningrad Codex (B19a)

Abstract: Early in the 11th century, in the city of Fustat, Egypt, the scribe Samuel ben Jacob completed his labours on a full Bible codex. As was his custom, he wrote and pointed the entire manuscript himself, and added Masoretic notes thereto. Little could he have known that that manuscript was destined to acquire inestimable significance. Apparently by historical accident, B19a (the label later applied to this manuscript when it became part of the vast Firkowich collection) is the oldest complete Masoretic Bible. This fact, together with the excellent quality and accuracy of the codex, prompted BHK, BHS and BHQ to use this manuscript as their base text. Consequently, today B19a is unquestionably the most widely used Masoretic Bible manuscript. Nonetheless, relatively little is known of Samuel ben Jacob himself, or of his scribal habits, or of the rest of his scribal oeuvre. This article examines two Bible fragments from the Cairo Genizah, demonstrating that they, too, are the work of Samuel ben Jacob. The purpose of the article is therefore twofold: first, to present these two important fragments; second, to outline the several criteria on which this identification was made, with the hope that these criteria will then be used to identify many more remains of his work.


European Genizah Session

Javier del Barco

Title: Catalogues of Hebrew Manuscripts and the Cataloguing of Hebrew Fragments

Abstract: In the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century, pioneering catalogues of Hebrew manuscripts—including both codices and fragments—focused mainly on the description of texts. By the mid-twentieth century, the birth of codicology as a historical discipline focused on the codex as historical object, and led to the production of the first catalogues based on an “archaeological” study of manuscripts—meaning here codices. Since then, different theoretical and methodological approaches have shaped the many different types of catalogues of manuscripts up to the present, ranging from quantitative catalogues to neo-historical ones, from descriptive inventories to detailed studies of individual codices. What is the effect of changes in the form and function of catalogues of Hebrew manuscripts in general on the study and cataloguing of Hebrew fragments in particular? Is the cataloguing of fragments subject to the same methods of study and interpretation as that of codices? What aspects, if any, should be addressed differently? By addressing these questions, I will try to describe and situate methodological approaches behind the cataloguing of Hebrew fragments vis-à-vis Hebrew codices.


Judith Kogel

Title: Identifying the model of a copy: the case of Colmar’s Biblical fragments

Abstract: Beside the codicological and paleographic analysis that can help us to locate and date a copy, some elements in the text itself may also serve as markers. For the Bible, the presence of pertinent variants is clearly an indication of the model employed by the scribe. Nevertheless, one must be careful and distinguish between different types of variants which tell us about how the copyist was working: those already present in the model or models employed, the scribal errors and the variants introduced at a later stage, either when vocalizing or rereading the text with another witness. When trying to reconstruct a Pentateuch whose numerous fragments are glued on the board of Colmar’s and Strasbourg’s incunabula, I tried to link the textual tradition they contain to some of the manuscripts described by Kenicott and De Rossi and it is this work that I wish to present in this paper.


Judith Olszowy-Schlanger (keynote speaker)


Mauro Perani

TitleThe Rediscovery of an Extant Entire Sefer Torah at the Bologna University Library.  A Rare Witness of the Masoretic Babylonian Graphic and Textual Tradition

AbstractThe Scroll of the Pentateuch is a very rare Babylonian Sefer Torah, whose copyist, as far the Tagin is concerned, copied it around the 12th century following for the 80% the Masoretic manual Sefer Tagin composed in Babylonia during the 8th century. It is in Bologna since the year 1304 when, according an ancient written tradition, it was donated by some Jews to the Dominican Friar Aimerico Giliani, apparently in Toulouse (Spain) when he was appointed as general master of the Dominican Order, and coming to Bologna, he brought there the ancient Sefer Torah. After the 14th and 15th century, several scholars knew it, as for example in the 16th century Arias Montano. In the 17th  and 18th century it was known to all the most important biblical scholars of Europe and studied by Benjamin Kennicott in his Variae lectiones Veteris Testaments (1780), who dated it to the 11th century, and to Giovanni Bernardo De Rossi, who dated it a little later to 12th beginning 13th century. Fortunately, in 1700 Bernard De Mountfaucon, travelling in northern Italy in search for Hebrew manuscript treasuries, was able to see and describe it in his Diarium italiacum, published in Paris in 1702, including a report of its history, written in Latin in a note that sewn in the back at the mid-roll.

Napoleon, after he extended his power in northern Italy, in 1802 brought the Bologna scroll to Paris Bibliothèque Nationale, where it remained 13 year. Actually, in 1815, thanks to the anti-Napoleonic restauration, it came back to Bologna. However, having lost its “identity card”, it was not recognised by the librarians of Bologna. They exchanged it with another Sefer Torah written on a similar brown gevil, which was lacking of almost all the first three books of Pentateuch, was copied in the 15th or 16th century and was donated to the library of Bologna by Pope Benedict XIV, Prospero Lambertini, in the 18th century. 

The BUB Sefer’ s textual version is very close to that of the Aleppo codex, which unfortunately, due to the riots against the Jews of Aleppo in 1947, was damaged and lost almost all the Pentateuch. Bologna Scroll, hyperbolically attributed to the Scribe Ezra, not only give back a Pentateuch text very close to that loss of Aleppo, but get also variants readings better than Aleppo according Aron Dotan and Jordan Penkower. Among the peculiarities of the BUB scroll there are some catchwords at the end of some sections (yeri‘ot). The scribe use sometimes graphic fillers and make some erasure and additions in the margins; moreover in it appears 60 times a final nun, known as a very early Masoretic sign, to indicate not a reading variant, as in other ancient Biblical manuscripts, but a graphic variant in the spacing of the open–closed sections.

This re-discovery of BUB scroll give us a new evidence confirming what the scholars already think, namely that in the first millennium the copy of Megillat Sefer Torah for liturgical use was significantly different from the Sifre Torah copied in the last 4 or 5 centuries we know. Until 8th century, there was no Tagin, which later started to be used according the Babylonian tradition, and excluding the text, which should be only consonantal, the scribes used for copying it many scribal devices identical to those used for the other manuscripts. Malaki Beit- Arié, in his pre-publication of his book, Hebrew Codicology, mention a non-entire Sefer Torah coming from an Italian Synagogue, getting a dated colophon from the 11th century. 


Ursula Schattner-Rieser

Title: Targums in the Austrian Genizah – reflections about the transmission and function of the Aramaic Bible versions

Abstract: Austrian libraries and archives host about 100 medieval Targum fragments from Codices embodied in medieval Christian book bindings, dated to the 13th to 15th century. Most parchments contain the Pentateuch; others contain the Targum to the Prophets.

The layout is in most cases similar and of the Ashkenazi type with big leaves, three columns and the text is represented of the alternating type, which means that the Hebrew text is followed by its Aramaic translation verse by verse and often the masoretic commentaries (Masorah parva and magna) are added in the margins. In addition to the fragments we possess two complete 13th or 14th c. codices of the Torah and the Prophets (Göttweig Cod. 10 and 11) alternating the Hebrew and Aramaic text vocalized and accented according to the Tiberian system and written in Ashkenazic square script. Numerous questions arise about the transmission of the text and the function of the Aramaic translation in medieval Ashkenazi Jewry.

The cantillation marks on the Aramaic part and the conclusions to be drawn from these texts is that it seems to have been an authoritative text, which was probably recited during public office. We wish to discuss the Göttweig Codices within the other Austrian Targum manuscripts and to stimulate the common research as initiated by others scholars working in the field.


Roberta Tonnarelli and Elodie Attia-Kay

Title: Biblical Manuscripts and Fragments with Early Italian or Ashkenaz Hebrew Scripts

Abstract: Biblical fragments bearing Italian or Ahskenazic script written before the 13th century are difficult to differenciate, classify, date and analyse. Some scholars claimed that the two scripts were not different at an early stage, and that the Ashkenazic script came out from the early Italian one. To find the moment from when we should speak of two different scripts, a palaoegraphical analysis of each type of script is a necessary issue. This should be made on the basis of some manuscripts and fragments, such as the very discussed Erfurt Tosefta (Staatsbibliothek Berlin), the famous first dated Hebrew Bible (Codex Reuchlinianus, 1105/6) and fragments recently discovered in the European Genizah. The aim of this paper is to resume the paloegrahical features of each type of scripts, Oriental coeval to early Italian and Ashkenazic scripts. Then, specify if there is something in common, or not. Moroever, since most of the Italian earliest fragments shows the vocalization of Codex Reuchlinianus, what can we learn of the Tiberian Masoretic tradition transmitted from Orient to Europe?


Workshop Session

The Digital Future of Hebrew Bible Manuscript Studies

In this session the existing digital tools of each field (DSS, Cairo Genizah and European Genizah) will be presented, discussed and critically evaluated for their usefulness for Hebrew Bible manuscript studies. Thus, the participants will initially make a list of all the available research tools in their respective field. Thereafter, they will discuss and critically evaluate these tools for their limits as well as elaborate possible improvements and transdisciplinary results perspectives. Subsequently the three groups will reconvene and present their results to foster a new network of researchers and connect several scientific partners or institutions. Comments from all participants will be welcomed. A final general discussion on future digital tools and connections between analogue projects will conclude this EAJS Laboratory.