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The Greek Minor Prophets Scroll from Nahal Hever.

Dominique Barthelemy's 1963 preliminary publication of the Greek Minor Prophets scroll (popularly known as the kaige text, after the characteristic translation of the Hebrew [UNKNOWN TEXT OMITTED] as kaiye, but referred to here as`R') in SVT X was one of the milestones in modern LXX research, both for the far-ranging implications he deduced from his study of the scroll as well as the future studies his analysis spawned. It was a major factor in putting to rest Kahle's `Greek Targum' theory - now but a distant memory.

When Barthelemy was unable to complete the work for the DJD volume, he requested that Tov assume the responsibility. This has proved a felicitous arrangement, not only for Tov's text-critical skills in general, but also for his expertise in the emerging field of translation technique which he brings to bear on the text.

The surviving pieces of the scroll found in the `Cave, of Horror' in Nahal Hever (Wadi Habra) in 1952 and 1961, contain portions of Jo (easily confused with Joel in the two-letter system used), Mi, Na, Ha, Zp and Za. In the light of his own and previous research, Tov accepts that the fragments were originally from one scroll, although written by two different hands. On comparison with scripts from Egypt, Herculaneum and the Judean Desert, P. J. Parson, one of two contributors, dates the scroll to the later first millenium B.C.

Although the volume is divided into eight sections, A through H, there are two separate, but interrelated interests: the extant text and the reconstructed text, sections B and C, respectively. In preparation for these, the introduction examines the physical aspects of the scroll, such as the size and height of the columns, the number of lines per column, the average number of letters for the preserved lines, the characteristics of the preserved margins, the consistency of the styles of the scribes, and the state of preservation, the last being furnished by R. A. Kraft, the second contributor.

Sections D (notes on paleography and identification), G (index) and H (plates) relate directly to the extant text; while sections E (notes on the reconstructions) and F (translation technique, orthographic peculiarities and textual relations) relate to the reconstructed text, although to a limited extent section G relates to both texts since it contains all words, including reconstructions, that have at least one letter preserved in the scroll.

How does one utilize a volume like this? There are the obvious ways: to study paleography, to study the texts, to study reconstruction. Ironically, to go beyond these it is necessary to retrace the steps taken by Tov. First, compare and contrast R with the LXX (Tov used and recommends the Gottingen text over either Rahlfs or a single manuscript) and the MT. Second, compile lists of all differences. Third, study these for relevance and significance. Though an excellent guide is provided in section F, it is incomplete, with no indication of what was omitted because irrelevant for reconstruction.

The introduction points out some features - the divine name in paleo-Hebrew, the use of `open' and `closed' sections similar to the later MT, the sequence of books in line with the MT against the LXX. However, the focused scope has precluded much information, especially differences between R and the other sources. Thus, while Tov's reconstructed text updates Barthelemy's, the latter's analysis is still the best available. Regrettably, it has long been out of print. Now that over a quarter of a century has passed since its publication, there is a crying need for reevaluation and reassessment in the light of the publication of this definitive edition of the text, and all that has been learned in the interim.
COPYRIGHT 1992 American Oriental Society
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Author:Taylor, Bernard
Publication:The Journal of the American Oriental Society
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jul 1, 1992
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