The Palaeo-Hebrew Biblical Manuscripts
from Qumran Cave 4
In 1955, Patrick W. Skehan published a preliminary report on a fragmentary Qumran manuscript that can claim a place as one of the most significant biblical manuscripts in this already spectacular collection of scrolls.1 It was inscribed in the palaeo-Hebrew script, which made one automatically think that it might be connected with the Samaritan Pentateuch, and in fact Skehan
1. P. W. Skehan, “Exodus in the Samaritan Recension from Qumran,” JBL 74 (1955) 182-87 [= col. XXXVIII, Exod 32:10-30]. For a detailed analysis of the significance of the scroll, see J. E. Sanderson, An Exodus Scroll from Qumran: 4QpaleoExodm and the Samaritan Tradition (HSS 30; Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1986). I wish to acknowledge the part that both Skehan and Sanderson have played in the editions and, by extension, in this article. The work is truly one of homogenized collaboration by now, and a number of the ideas and formulations contained in this article are theirs. I also thank Emanuel Tov and Esti Eshel for a number of helpful corrections and clarifications in this article and in the editions of the palaeo-Hebrew manuscripts.
It is a pleasure to thank the Institute for Advanced Studies at the Hebrew University, Jeru-
salem, whose invitation, efficiency, and cordiality made possible a serious advance in the
publication of the scrolls, and also the University of Notre Dame and the National Endow-
ment for the Humanities for their support of the long-term work which this paper repre-
The editions of the manuscripts treated below have been published in P. W. Skehan,
E. Ulrich, and J. E. Sanderson, Qumran Cave TV, Palaeo-Hebrew and Greek Biblical Manu-
scripts (DJD 9; Oxford: Clarendon, 1992). As a service to scholars interested in these texts,
generous amounts of the descriptions of these scrolls have been excerpted or digested
from those editions.