A Palaeographic and Codicological (Re)assessment of the Opisthograph 4Q433a/4Q255

Ayhan Aksu*

*Corresponding author for this work

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    Abstract

    A consideration of both the palaeographic and material features of a scroll provides scholars the opportunity to investigate the scribal culture in which a particular manuscript emerged. This article examines the papyrus opisthograph from Qumran containing 4QpapHodayot-like Text B, 4Q433a, and 4QpapSerekh ha-Yahad(a), 4Q255, on either side. There has been scholarly disagreement about this opisthograph with regard to a number of questions: (1) which of the two compositions was inscribed on the recto, (2) how the two compositions should be dated, and (3) which of the two texts was written first. This article looks at both compositions by means of palaeography and codicology. From this combined approach I deduce that 4Q433a was written first, on the recto of this papyrus manuscript. 4Q255 was added later, on the verso. Both compositions can be dated to the early first century BCE. This reconstruction makes it plausible that 4Q255 was a personal copy.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)170-188
    Number of pages19
    JournalDead Sea Discoveries
    Volume26
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Jun-2019

    Keywords

    • Dead Sea Scrolls
    • opisthograph
    • scribal practices
    • palaeography
    • codicology
    • personal copy
    • SCROLLS

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