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Re: pNahum: Kittim in the first column
> What is actually there? Is it that the word is not clearly visible or
> not there? Are any of the letters visible or is the Kittim reading based upon
> nothing at all other than the logic of the modern translator?
> -David Jay Kaufman
> HUC-JIR Jerusalem
> Rabbinical Student
In the earliest column of pNah, numbered col 2 of Frgs 1-2,
all editions show one or more "Kittim" usually marked
as restorations. However in line 2 most editions will
transcribe "K[ittim]". The alert reader in English will
notice the brackets and assume there is a reading of a
Kaph (K) followed by a restoration of the rest of the
word Kittim, giving "'the seas'--these are all the K[ittim]."
But there is no Kaph there. There is not even a
speck of a Kaph there. There is a He (definite article
"the") followed by a tear and lacuna without any ink
from the next letter. I have studied all available
photographs on this matter very closely.
How then do all authorities transcribe a reading of Kaph
when there is no Kaph there? It is an illustration of
a phenomenon in secondary literature in which a first
transcription gets copied and repeated in later
secondary literature. Allegro in 1968 (first publication
of this column) marked the Kaph as an uncertain reading.
Later secondary literature dropped the "uncertain" mark
and just transcribed it as a reading. More Kittims
were happily restored in every available lacuna in the
rest of the column, on the assumption that the column
was talking about Kittim.
If you look at the photograph in DJD 1968, with a
magnifying glass you can see a tiny speck just after
(that is, off the upper left of)
the He. In this photograph this looks like it could be
ink. When I first saw it I thought, "So this is where
everyone is reading a Kaph. From this tiny speck." I
did an analysis of letters that would be consistent with
that speck. Instead of 22 letter possibilities (if there
was no ink at all), one of which could be Kaph, there
were only 10 letters consistent with that speck, one of
which could be Kaph. From the speck was generated the
Kaph. From the Kaph was generated the rest of the word
"Kittim". From this "Kittim" were generated some more
Kittims in this column. From these illusory Kittims
which do not exist in the artifact was reinforced
an interpretive framework for pNah.
The Brill photographs show that the DJD photograph speck
is not ink but is like many other specks which come from
the photographic process. The "speck" is in from the
edge and is tinier and less black than specks of real
ink on edges. There is no evidence that any of the other
transcriptions of the Kaph were done on the basis of
study of the artifact, as opposed to following Allegro.
But what about Allegro? Maybe Allegro saw something which
from the photographs we are not today able to confirm?
Allegro's first claim of seeing this Kaph was not
in the 1950's but in 1968 in DJD. But more importantly,
thanks to the kindness of George Brooke, I have been able
to study Allegro's working notes on pNah, in Allegro's
handwriting, from the 1950's and 1960's. These notes
show three sets of handwritten transcriptions in both
Hebrew and English. These notes show development, with
marginal notations, as Allegro worked out the text. The
three sets of notes can be clearly placed in a relative
sequence on independent grounds. In the first transcription
Allegro did not transcribe either the Kaph or Kittim.
In the second and third set Allegro transcribed an
uncertain reading of Kaph and restored "Kittim".
There is a beautiful series of photographs in the Allegro
Qumran collection edition supplement to the Brill microfiche
edition showing Allegro at work on 4QpNah (28A4 through
28C6). In photographs B7, B8 (also B3) one can see the
edge of the column in question and the lack of the Kaph
If there is not even a speck of evidence for a reading
of Kittim, is Kittim a reasonable restoration? It is
not (as I argue in my dissertation) for three
reasons. First, there is no sign in the rest of 4QpNah
that the Kittim are a topic of interest in this text,
(apart from one passing mention at 3-4 i 1);
therefore in the absence of evidence it should not be
assumed that the Kittim are a topic here. Second, the
definite article "He"; there is no other instance in
the Qumran corpus of "all the Kittim" with He. However,
there are several dozen routine uses of "He" with "GWYM", which
I believe is the more probable restoration. Third, study
of the space after the He appears to rule out virtually
all letter possibilities except Gimel for the next letter.
(Though I have not seen 4QpNah in Jerusalem and need to
confirm or disconfirm this point.)
The indicated word, so far as I can tell, appears
to be H-[GWYM], "the [nations]". Unlike "Kittim", the
GWYM are a central focus of interest in the rest of the
With the collapse of a basis for the first Kittim, the
following Kittims in this column, which are complete
insertions into holes in the text from imagination, are
of no basis either.