Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Alternative Psalms Manuscripts: 4QPs-e (4Q87)

This is the third in a series of posts on the Psalms manuscripts from Qumran that contain psalms known from the MT Psalter but in a sequence that does not correspond to the MT. Today's post covers the fourth of these manuscripts, 4QPse.

4QPse  (4Q87)
  • Date: mid-I CE
  • Preserved contents: 76:10–12; 77:1; 78:6–7, 31–33; 81:2–3; 86:10–11; 88:1–5; 89:44–48, 50–53; 103:22(?); 109:1(?), 8(?), 13; 114:5; 115:15–18; 116:1–4; 118:29; 104:1–3, 20–22; 105:1–3, 23–25, 36–45; 146:1(?); 120:6–7; 125:2–5; 126:1–5; 129:8; 130:1–3, 6. 
  • Reconstructed sequence: Ps 76→77; 78; 81; 86; 88; 89; [103?]→109(?); 114; 115→116; [118(?)]→104[→147(?)→]105→[146(?)] or [106(?)]; 120; 125→126[→127→128→]129→130
  • Alternative sequences: [103?]→109(?); [118(?)]→104[→147(?)→]105→[146(?)] or [106(?)]
The supposed join between Ps 103 and 109 is preserved on frg. 9. I cannot find a picture of this fragment online. The photo (plate XI) in DJD 16 shows that it is exceedingly small, and the reconstruction on p. 79 shows that it preserves parts of only three words.

Here's a (not great) scan of the fragment.

scan of DJD 16, plate XI, frg. 9
The second line contains the words לדו]יד מזמו[ר, clearly a superscription, attributed by DJD to Ps 109, because "[o]nly three Psalms that fall within the preserved range of this scroll (76–130) have a superscription containing the two words preserved in this fragment," those being Psalms 101, 109, and 110, but on the other fragments of this scroll we have portions of Psalm 109 but not the other two. Obviously, this reconstruction is very speculative, especially in light of the fact that the DSS sometimes have superscriptions where the MT does not (as proposed later for this very scroll--see on Ps 104--and, e.g., in 4QPsk, to be discussed in a later post).

In the first line of frg. 9, only a few ink traces are visible.
While these traces are somewhat consistent with the bottom tip of nun and the waw in צרינו at the end of Psalm 108, they are better read as the two legs of the he in [the Tetragrammaton] which ends Psalm 103. The combination of Psalm 103→109 is also the most likely sequence in 11QPsa. (DJD 16, p. 79) 
The connection to 11QPsa is pretty important for the DJD reconstruction of the entire scroll of 4QPse. Here's a passage from DJD 16, pp. 74–76: 
Although very fragmentarily and badly preserved, 4QPse appears to be textually affiliated with the Psalter represented by 11QPsa (and 11QPsb) since the preserved pieces share some features with the large Cave 11 scroll. 4QPse contains several differences in arrangement from the received text; most notably, Psalm 104 in frgs. 14–16 cannot be followed by Psalm 105 in frgs. 17–24 given the location of the two column tops on frgs. 15–16 and frgs. 18 ii, 20–24.
And here are the relevant fragments.
4QPse frgs 15–16 (Ps 104:20–22) 

4QPse frg 18; col. i = Ps 105:3; col. ii = Ps 105:36–45 + 146:1(?)
4QPse frg 20; Psa 105:36–40
It's fragment 20 here that actually preserves the column top, along with frgs. 15–16. According to DJD 16 (p. 81): "A text of approximately 15 lines would be required between the two compositions [Ps 104 and 105]; the only ancient source incorporating such a text is 11QPsa, where Psalm 147 is placed between Psalms 104 and 105." 

As for Ps 146 rather than Ps 106 following Ps 105 on frg 18--the final word visible on frg 18 is a hallelujah, immediately preceded in the previous line by the end of Ps 105 (v. 45). While DJD 16 (p. 82) admits that this hallelujah could be the one found at the beginning of Ps 106 in MT, "it more likely denotes the beginning of Psalm 146 (as originally in 11QPsa)."

Now, back to the beginning of this sequence. The DJD reconstruction identifies Ps 118 as preceding Ps 104. This idea is based on the evidence of frg. 14.
4QPse frg. 14
This fragment contains 4 lines of text. Lines 2–4 correspond to Ps 104:1–3. In line 2, the first letter that is visible (at least to my eye and based on the above photo) is the yod in ברכי, which is the first word of MT Ps 104. (The DJD reconstruction proposes a superscription לדויד based on spacing considerations in the fragment. MT does not have this superscription.) The fragment continues on line 2 with נפשי את, then the Tetragrammaton followed by the yod of another Tetragrammaton (and DJD thinks it can also see the first he). So, anyway, we have Psalm 104 here. Line 3 contains almost the end of v. 2, and line 4 shows the very end of v. 3. The top line contains some writing that DJD identifies as טוב כי לע[ולם, and reconstructs the line as the end of Ps 118, "since in the received text this ending for a Psalm occurs only at 118:29, which also precedes Psalm 104 in 11QPsa" (p. 81).

As a general conclusion to the discussion on this scroll, Willgren (p. 100) says: "Although intriguing, the quite extensive reconstructions have been questioned, and other scholars have chosen a more cautious approach, stating that the argument can be neither confirmed, nor refuted" (citing Jain, p. 104).

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