Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Doctoral Thesis Posted Online

I have posted online the final version of my doctoral thesis A Contextualized Approach to the Hebrew Dead Sea Scrolls Containing Exodus for the University of Birmingham under Charlotte Hempel, which I successfully defended on 25 February 2015 without corrections. I welcome corrections and comments from interested readers.

Update: The University of Birmingham has hosted a permanent URL http://etheses.bham.ac.uk/5780/ for the thesis. The full text will be available at this link from 1 July 2015.


  1. Hi Drew. Your work looks impressive. I have one question about the DSS. Have you ever observed any manuscript with accents? I am looking for evidence that the te'amim predate Aleppo. Thanks.

  2. Hi Bob. The te'amim are clearly much later than the DSS. The only thing even remotely similar is that there appear to be verse division markers in a few DSS, but this is very much exceptional. At this early stage, there are no Masoretic traditions reflected in the manuscripts. Occasionally you find reading aids and such in other traditions (e.g., Greek), but they are very rudimentary in the early stages and not related to the work of the Masoretes.

    As far as the precise time when the accents were developed, this is controversial, but probably sometime in the 7th-8th century. They are clearly much older than the Aleppo Codex, which is the pinnacle of the Masoretic tradition, rather than its beginning. I would look at Kelley et al.'s "The Masorah of Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia" and the more detailed Yeivin's "Introduction to the Tiberian Masorah" for more specifics about the earliest manuscript and literary evidence. And look into the Cairo Genizah, as some of these texts document early stages in the development of the Masoretic tradition. These are far more helpful for understanding the accents than the DSS. Hope that helps.