Re: Dead Sea Mark

From: Nichael Lynn Cramer (
Date: Sat Apr 25 1998 - 15:22:07 EDT

Daniel Ria–o wrote:
>Nichael Cramer wrote:
>>Actually, the situation is rather worse than this. As W. Slaby has shown,
>>if we restrict a computer search to match only the ten sure letters of 7Q5,
>>the only possible identification is Lk 3:19-21. (See n17, p 198 of Graham
>>Stanton's book for more information, including a full reference.)
> If this is correct, I agree that *that* is an argument. I must
>recognise that I don't know the work of W. Slaby alluded, but I'll see
>where or how I can read it, as well as Graham Stanton's book. Thanks to
>Nichael for the reference (What exactly is the title of W. Slaby's work).

First, to give a bit more context here: O'Callaghan's (and Thiede's)
identification of 7Q5 only works if we accept their (several) hypothetical
identifications of partial and damaged letters. For example, of the twenty
or so characters read by Thiede, only 10 are certain. Stanton referred to
the Slaby's work while discussing this issue.

The full reference from Stanton's book is:

W. Slaby, 'Computerunterstu:tzte Fragment-Identifizierung' (see
particularly pp 83-8) in Bernhard Mayer (ed.), "Christen und Christliches
in Qumran?" Eichstu:tter Studien, Neue Folge Bd 32, Regensburg, Pustet,

>>>> ... /Biblica/ only has a limited circulation, so he wrote
>>>> to /The Times/ (London) about his discovery (16th March 1972).
>>Assuming this to be an accurate depiction of the events, this fact alone
>>would be sufficient to allow the unbiased reader serious doubts about such
> I can't see what is the fact alluded: the publication in Biblica,
>the diffusion by the Times or both things taken together. What's the
>argument here? [...]

No, you're right; my irritation got the better of me at this point, and I
got clumsy.

I was aware of both points --publications in "Biblica" and the discussion
in the "Times", although I didn't know the latter didn't originated with a
letter from O'Callaghan.

My point was that we have lots of reason to be suspicious any time a
scholar attempts an end run around the normal scholarly channels and
appeals directly to the public in this way.

In short, it's hard to think of a single significant example in which this
gambit was attempted in which the instigator wasn't in fact dead wrong.
I was just playing the odds here.

Rather, History has shown --all breast-beating aside-- that the legend of
the lone genius who suffers endless years of supression at the hands of the
entrenced "guild" only to emerge victorious and to be shown to have been
"right all along" is virtually always exactly that: a fairy tale.

Nichael Cramer Gather the folks, tell the stories, break the bread. -- John Shea

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