Monday, January 22, 2018

Newly deciphered calendrical DSS

RECONSTRUCTED AND DECODED: UNIVERSITY OF HAIFA RESEARCHERS DECIPHER MYSTERIOUS DEAD SEA SCROLL. “An important peculiarity of the present discovery is the fact that the [Qumran] sect followed a 364-day calendar" (Daniel K. Eisenbud, Jerusalem Post).
They [the Qumran sect] wrote numerous scrolls, a small number of them in code – including the 60 relics on parchment that Dr. Eshbal Ratson and Prof. Jonathan Ben-Dov of Haifa University’s Department of Bible Studies were able to translate.

The researchers spent a year painstakingly studying the tiny fragments from the second-to-last scroll, some which measured smaller than one square centimeter.

“The reward for their hard work is fresh insight into the unique 364-day calendar used by the members of the Judean Desert sect, including the discovery for the first time of the name given by the sect to the special days marking the transitions between the four seasons,” the university said in a statement on Sunday.

Although an earlier researcher who examined the 60 pieces postulated that they came from several different scrolls, Ratson and Ben-Dov proved in an article recently published in the Journal of Biblical Literature that the fragments actually constitute a single scroll.
The JBL article is available on JSTOR, but only to subscribers. The abstract is at the link.
A Newly Reconstructed Calendrical Scroll from Qumran in Cryptic Script
Eshbal Ratzon and Jonathan Ben-Dov
Journal of Biblical Literature
Vol. 136, No. 4 (Winter 2017), pp. 905-936
Bit by bit, a letter at a time, whatever it takes. Until we're done.

UPDATE: The JBL article is available at here. HT Joseph I. Lauer.

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