Contextualizing 4QISA-O (4Q68) in the Textual History of Isaiah Material, Orthographic, and Exegetical Aspects

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Noam Mizrahi


4QIsao or 4Q68 survives in a single—though composite—fragment that preserves Isa 14:28–15:2. The present paper discusses its material, scribal, orthographic, linguistic and text-critical aspects, attempting to contextualize this scroll fragment within the history of the book of Isaiah. Analysis of the material properties and scribal features suggests that they are incompatible with the assumption that the fragment originates in a full copy of the scriptural book. Rather, it may derive from a small-scale scroll containing only a subsection of the book, though its precise scope cannot be determined. A philological analysis of the textual variants witnessed by 4Q68 indicates that they are exegetically motivated, i.e., they reflect a scribal attempt to clarify or disambiguate interpretive cruxes inherent in its (Proto-Masoretic) Vorlage. If so, 4Q68 may contribute to the textual (and perhaps even compositional) history of the scriptural book as well as its interpretive reception in the late Second Temple period.

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