"Q" = The Great Isaiah Scroll 
Introductory Page

Updated February 2006
I. Seams
II. Lacunae
III. Rips and Tears in The Leather
IV. The Seventeen Strips of Leather: that Make up the Scroll
V. Lines and Creases and Splitting not Due to Tearing on the Pages
VI. Spelling Peculiarities that will be Encountered in the Qumran Manuscript
A. Waw Stands for Any Vowel
B. Waw and Yod are interchanged:
C. Yod added to Feminine Suffixes and sufformatives:
D. Yod is Added to Some Feminine Singular Nouns Before 3ms Suffix.
E. Aleph and "He" endings added
F. "HE" is added to Many Suffixes and Sufformatives
VII. Double "He" May Be 5th Stem:
VIII. Aramaic Spelling
IX. More than One Scribe:
X. Editorial Additions and Marks
XI. The Use of Dots for corrections:
The Most Unusual Dots in the Scroll
Incredibly Miniature Notations
XII. Kituv and Qerey
XIII, Fingerprints:
Controversial Marks and Editings

I. Seams

The Isaiah Scroll is made up of 17 strips of leather that were sewn together to make the scroll. Some of the seams that join the 17 sections are in very good condition and some have been repaired and some have places where the sewing has unraveled and has not been repaired. Some have almost completely lost the sewing material. The material between the 16 and 17th strip (the last joint) is completely gone

II. Lacunae

There are a few lacunae or pieces that have broken away and left gaps in the text of the scroll. These are places where pieces of the leather have disintegrated and fallen out. Lacunae can be found on pages 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 12, 15, 16, and on 17, (where the lacuna is due to surface chipping) and page 38. Most of these gaps in the text encompass a word or a part of a word which can be restored from the M text and they are in all cases consistent with the surrounding text.

III. Rips and Tears in The Leather

Some rips in the scroll are due to natural usage and wear and tear. And some are due to trauma of careless usage or accident.. Those rips and tears that are due to wear and tear and natural splitting of the material can be seen on pages 1 to 4 and 9, 10, 15, 17, 37, 39, 43, 53, and 54. The worse accidental tear or rip is seen on page 12 where the repair extends almost the whole of the vertical span of the page. Other rips due to careless handling are on page 18 and 38.

IV. The Seventeen Strips of Leather: that Make up the Scroll

The sections are of varying sizes and have differing numbers of pages on the 17 strips that were sewed together . There are 54 pages divided on the 17 strips. Ten strips have 3 pages; five have 4 pages and two have 2 pages each.
The strips with 3 pages are strip numbers: 1, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 13, 14, 15, and 16.
The strips with four pages are: 2, 3, 4, 5, and 12.
The strips numbering two pages are: 8 and 17.

Or a further analysis of the individual strips and the pages on them follows:

Strip 1.---- 3 pages: 1 - 3
Strip 2 ---- 4 pages: 4 - 7
Strip 3 ---- 4 pages: 8 -11
Strip 4 ---- 4 pages: 12 - 15
Strip 5 ---- 4 pages: 16 - 19
Strip 6 ---- 3 pages: 20 - 22
Strip 7 ---- 3 pages: 23 - 25
Strip 8 ---- 2 pages: 26 - 27
Strip 9 ---- 3 pages: 28 - 30
Strip 10 --- 3 pages: 31 - 33
Strip 11 --- 3 pages: 34 - 36
Strip 12 --- 4 pages: 37 - 40
Strip 13 --- 3 pages: 41 - 43
Strip 14 --- 3 pages: 44 - 46
Strip 15 --- 3 pages: 47 - 49
Strip 16 --- 3 pages: 50 - 52
Strip 17 --- 2 pages: 53 - 54

V. Lines and Creases and Splitting not Due to Tearing on the Pages

First Probable Cause
A number of pages have visible vertical lines that would not have been apparent in the original scroll for the first century or more. The vertical lines that now appear as splitting of the surface of the leather are possibly due to two causes. The first and most obvious is that the original scribe may have drawn lines to create a straight right margin. A short perusal will make the very straight right margin apparent. After finishing the text this line would have been erased and would not have been visible for a length of time. But as the centuries of use and storage went by the impression made by the original line began to appear and a splitting appears in the margin of a number of pages. Some pages have this mark from top to bottom and some are partially visible which would be due to the different pressure placed on the page when drawing the line. A left margin guide may also have been drawn making the impression that shows up on the left side of some pages. Notice in the first page that material that has fallen away corresponds to the margin. Fortunately none of the text is lost as the leather split away at the margin.
For examples of these lines see pages 1, 2, 3, 4, 5,
esp. 6 and 7, and 27, 38, 41, 45, 46, 52, and 54.
For an illustration of guide lines in a Dead Sea Scroll see the Pesher to Habukkuk.

Second Probable cause
A second cause of some of the vertical markings, (that actually are lines too straight not to have a discernible reason) is folding. This may account for some of the center-page vertical lines and for most, if not all of the center page horizontal lines. The original material would have been folded before being used and being sewed into the scroll. These original folds would not have been visible in the material for the first century or more of use; but after time, weathering and use, lines would have begun to appear at the place of the folds. This is the apparent reason for the horizontal lines most of which are in the center of the page.
Examples of these horizontal lines can be seen on every page 1 through 27. and 41 and 42. The absence of the lines after 27 may be accounted for by less oxidation affecting the scroll in the tighter inner roll.
Examples of vertical creases appearing possibly due to original folding can be seen on pages 10, 11, 21, 24, 27, 41, 42, 51, 53, and 54.

VI. Spelling Peculiarities that will be Encountered in the Qumran Manuscript

A. Waw Stands for Any Vowel
There are vowel additions that are meant to help pronunciation and identification of forms that are peculiar to the Q scribes. Just as the Masoretes invented pointings to indicate vowel sounds so the Q scribes have added some semi-vowels to the text. The use of yod, waw, and "he" are frequent. Insertion of aleph as a semi-vowel is less frequent but not unknown. Waw is used in a very general way and a Biblical Hebrew reader is used to the "o" and "u" sound being attributed to waw. But the Q scribes are more general with the use of waw and they employ it with great frequency to stand for any vowel sound from scheva to qamets etc. Another example of waw = scheva page 27, line 1. It will be found to stand for any vowel sound. For a discussion of where this concept is important in identifying a word see the notes on "Siniym" on Scroll page 41 in notes under line 12. Follow the link there to the variations of Hezekiah's name. See also a note on Scroll page 24 where waw stands for qamets.

B. Waw and Yod are interchanged:
The waw and yod are interchangeable. Where you would expect to find yod a waw will often be written and a yod where a waw is expected. This is also frequent in Q.

C. Yod added to Feminine Suffixes and sufformatives:

The 2fs suffix usually has simply the kaph but there are a few occasions where a yod is appended to 2fs suf (including kaph and "he" and this is a Q usage. that is "kiy" may sometimes indicate 2fs. In the first pages the 2mpl suf is written as in M as "kem" but in the latter pages there is a change and the same form is usually written "kemah" and 3mpl "hem" is usually "hemah." Qal pf 2fs (qatalte with schva in M) is written "qataltiy" and will be mistaken for 1cs but context will show that 2fs is meant. The yod may be added to avoid confusing the form without the yod with several other forms i.e.. 3fs or plu or fem part., etc. Illustrations of adding yod to fem. endings can be seen on page 2 line 9 and 3rd word, (for "he") then look on page 39 and see notes under lines 25, 26 and 30 and after that line 25 for several illustrations of "tiy" verbal endings being 2fs. The 2fs suf is simply kaph if preceded by a yod or a theoretic vowel and is kiy if preceded by a consonant. 2ms suf is usually "kah." The 2fs pronoun is " 'at" with schva in M. The Q scribe frequently adds a yod to the 2fs pro-noun. An example (among others) may be seen in the 5th word in line 25 on page 42 which is Isa 51:10. A further example, among many others, can be seen on page 50. The illustrations and their locations in the text are discussed under the heading of "Q Scribal Spellings."

D. Yod is Added to Some Feminine Singular Nouns before 3ms Suffix.

Yod is sometimes added to a singular noun construct ending before 3ms suffixes, usually feminine but sometimes also massculine, making it appear (from the Masoretic rules) that the noun is plural with the added yod. This is confusing in Q because the Q scribes are not consistent in this usage, This is illustrated and described on page 51 where illustrations are pointed out under "Variations" in the notes under "Line 5." It is also illustrated with both masc and fem nouns in line 29 of page 48.

E. Aleph and "He" endings added:
Aleph and "he" are often interchanged by the Q scribe. The word for call ("qara' ") has a final aleph.) The Q scribe spells this word with "he" as often as he does with aleph. Aleph is sometimes appended to the end of a word where it is unnecessary and where it makes an extra open syllable and also very frequently "he" is added to the end of words which do not need the open syllable that is created thereby. This may be Aramaic influence since Aramaic has alep frequently the ending to most nouns and thus the Q scribe seems to have an Aramaic "accent." Addition of aleph and superfluous "he" is illustrated best on page 53 under "Q Scribal Spelling" and in notes under "Variations." See an example aleph as a probable Aramaic addition by the scribe adding "he" in hayah in page 4.
Aleph is also added very regularly to conjunctions and prepositions and other negative particles for euphonic and not grammatical reasons. We have called this an "Aramaic accent." Thus "kiy" (because) "miy" (who) "lo" (to him) 'liy" (to me) "bo" (in him) "biy" (in me) and other similar words have aleph added. This is sometimes confusing since the forms for "to him" ("lo' ") and not ("lo' ") are identical. To view a page where there are many aleph additions including one that illustrates the last comment see page 53. Another example of addition of Aleph and "he" can be found on page 37 under Scribal Spelling.
Aleph as a semi vowel Aleph is used as a semi vowel but is more rare. See an interesting use of Aleph as a vowel preceding waw thus making plain the consonentalvalue of waw in that place on page 1. Appended "he" is more often added to indicate an open syllable but in some cases when "he" is the final suffix to be pronounced "ha" the aleph may be added to indicate that sound. For an example see page 24.

F. "HE" is added to Many Suffixes and Sufformatives
The use of "he" is only slightly less frequent as an addition to the end of a word without any change in meaning. It is employed also on the end of many suffixes and sufformatives. It ("he") is added with great frequency to 2ms and 2mpl ("kah" instead of "ka" and "kemah instead of "kem"). It is added to 3mpl suffixes ("emah" or "mah" instead of "em" or "m" and "hemah" instead of "hem"). The 3mpl pronoun becomes "atemah" instead of "atem." The "he" is also added to pf. 2ms verb endings (Q may have "qataltah" instead of "qatalta") For an example of a page with many additions of "he" see page 35 and comments under Scribal Spelling and also page 30 for numerous additions of "he" in the text.

VII. Double "He" May Be 5th Stem:
Some 5th stem verbs have a double "he" added to the end of the verb and this may be a sign of 5th stem in Q.

VIII. Aramaic Spelling:

Consistent Peculiar Spelling of Some Words:
Goyiym is consistently spelled with an aleph after waw.
Clear indication of an Aramaic environment among the Q scribes is the inclusion of some words which have Aramaic spelling or pronunciation. A list of these words here is helpful and we have listed several and their location in the text. There is Aramaic spelling of 2 words on page 1. See the last word on line 18 and the first word on line 19, both of which have Aramaic spelling. On page 40 in the 1st word on line 23 an Aramaic word seems to be substituted as a different word than that which appears in M. It may be from a Chaldean root "hdr" meaning crooked paths. On page 51 a totally Aramaic word is substituted for the reading in M. See notes under line 29 on the Aramaic word "yinaqu." For another instance you will find the Aramaic form of the word "lion" on page 53 line 8: 4th word which differs from the form found in M.
There is an Aramaic peculiarity in the Masoretic text that is not Aramaic in the Qumran Scroll in Isa. 63:3. See further comment on this in the 2nd comment on Isa. 63:3 in my commentary., where it is made clear that the Aramaic in the Masoretic text is a mistake and is not evidence of a "deutero-Isaiah" as some mistakenly conclude. Click the back key to return to this page.
To see the Hebrew form without the Aramaic preformative on the last line on page 50 and the last word in verse 63:3 in Q go to page 50. The word "ga'altiy" is marked with a red star. Follow the link there to the explanation as to the importance of this word in refuting a Dutero-Isaiah theory. Click the back button to return to this page.

See scroll page 44 line 24 where the Q scribe makes the same mistake of substituting a 5th stem preformative "alep" insted of the required Hebrew 5th stem preformative "he."

IX. More than One Scribe:

There is evidence that more than one scribe worked on the original text of the scroll.

Spelling evidence:
Some words are consistently misspelled for a number of pages and then the spelling alternates to a correct form. The initial portion of the book spells particles and conjunctions and prepositions like "lo, kiy, miy, biy, etc. in the same way as M but there is an alternation of leaving off this normal spelling to consistently adding aleph to the end of each of these forms. The breaks in usage are abrupt and other anomalies are associated with the changes in spelling that indicate that a different hand is inscribing the page at hand than the one that did the last page. The spelling of the suffixes "kem" and "hem" just so in the earlier pages and changing to a consistent spelling of "kemah" and "hemah" in the latter pages is further evidence of a different hand and/or a different "accent." Page 12 is a good page to see different hands in editorial additions.

The Number of Mistakes
Although there are variations on every page in Q from the M text there are some pages where the variations are due to carelessness and clumsy inscription that seems to mark a different hand has taken the pen. We will cite these pages in the text.

X. Editorial additions:

Editorial marks:

There were probably several editors over a long period of time indicated by the different shape of script that was added between the lines and in the margins. There are three major kinds of editorial marks that will be found. These are added by editors who personalized the scroll for themselves. These three marks are: 1. horizontal strokes in the right margin, 2. a large X is the left margin, and 3. a mark that I describe as a derby hat. A large O shaped mark is found on two pages, perhaps 3, but there is no apparent reason for the mark.

Horizontal strokes:

Of the first 3 major marks: 1. the first, the horizontal marks are usually paired and mark off a section of text that was important to the reader. These sections may be a few verses long but sometimes encompass most of a chapter.

A large X:

2. The large X in the left margin is connected to the page at the right and denotes to the editor an important passage which he wanted to highlight. This is usually just one verse long, the single X is used as a rule although there is one occasion where two X's set off a beginning and end of a passage. An illustration of x's setting off a section to the right can be seen in the Pesher to Habakkuk.

The "Derby" Hat:

3. The derby hat is always in the right margin of the page. It denotes an important division in the contextual content of the book. The major division of the book is well known i.e. Chapters 1 to 39 and chapters 40 to 66. The "derby hat' is found (among other places) at the bottom of page 32 at the beginning of chapter 40. See page 28 for links to all pages having the "derby hat" mark.

Large O:

Three pages have what looks like a large flattened "O" but there is no apparent reason for the mark. See the mark on Page 17 at the top left of the first line and on page 28 at the end of line 18 which is just before miniature script. Also the mark may appear on page 4 above the only word on line 21 which is the end of a paragraph and section likening Zion to a vineyard. The word it appears over is "tsa'aqah" (a cry) and no editorial addition of any letter to this word would be expected.

There are three other Marks of unusual shape and interest

1. One is described below under dots. Follow the links there to the most unusual of all editorial notations. 2. Then there is an unusual mark that at first resembles a "tsade" between the margins of pages 6 and 7 at line 8. See page 7 for a description of that unusual mark.

3. Then much discussion has been put in print about a mark that to some resembles a Chinese character. See the mark and my discussion of that mark and a simpler explanation than one suggesting the semi-absurdity that the Qumran community may have spoken Chinese on page 22.

Unidentified Marks and Notations

There are several editorial marks in the text for which there is no adequate explanation.
One is found on page 27 at the end of the second line. See the description there.
See a peculiar notation on page 21. On the same page there is an unidentified mark that looks like a Z attached to the top right of a vertical stroke. This page (21) also has the so-called "Chinese" mark in the left margin.

XI. The Use of Dots:
If an editor, or perhaps the original scribe, felt that the wrong word was in the text he would place a dot over or under each of the offending letters and then usually but not always write the proper reading in the space between the lines.
See page 3 and 5th and 6th lines from the bottom for an example of dotted words with corrections written between the line.
An example of a later editor making such corrections can be seen on Scroll page 33 between lines 6 and 7 where the editor's script is obviously different from the scribe's.
An example and explanation of dots placed under and over two words not belonging in the text, most likely done by the original scribe, can be seen on Scroll page 10 in line 23 (4th and 5th words). See the notes there under the heading Scribal Mistakes.
Another interesting correction using dots can be seen on scroll page 40 in line 9, Read the description under the heading Editorial Additions to the Text.
Page 26 Line 10 There is a superflous mem which is marked with perhaps 3 dots to show it is a mistake.
Page 28 has an unusual number (4) of dotted entries on one page.
On page 29 there are two entries that are dotted and no attempt is made to write between the lines indicating that the dotted words do not belong in the text.
On page 23 line 12 there is a single letter dotted. This is very likely an editorial mistake rather than a scribal mistake.
On page 3 line 6 at the end of the line there are 2 dots that I have no explanation for.
On page 31 there is an interesting dotted letter in which more than one editor confused a correction. The original scribe wrote the word order shin beth which should have been reversed to be correct. See this on page 31, Line 5: 9th word.

The Most Interesting Series of "dots" is really a miniature notation.

On page 35 there is an interesting use of dots where the name of God YHWH is missing from the Q text where it is found in the M text. The scribe indicates the omission by what at first appears to be the use of the dots but he did not rewrite the missing word as is normal. But on further investigation of the "dots" one finds there is the most unusual miniaturization of writing in this place. The dots turn out to have definite shape and are a form of notation. Not only is the notation of great interest but the method of writing such small yet distinct shapes raises interesting questions. The most popular explanation of the "dots" is that the marks are remnants of the divine name (YHWH) that were erased or abraded and that the erased strokes are barely able to be seem. Simple investigation seems to prove that a faulty explanation. Have a look and please express your opinion. This can be seen on scroll page 35. There are other similar examples of miniaturization noted in the next section.

Miniature Notations

Miniature notations like the one mentioned in the last section can be found on several pages. See what appears to be another miniature notation on page 9. See also page 21 line 20 where the notation is semi-readable and on the same page there is another notation between lines 23 and 24; and see also page 30 for a notation of 2 lines. And see the most important notation on page 35 described above. It is difficult to say how it was done and some can not be read or even guessed at. This certainly is worth further investigation. See also what may be a notation connected to an omission of 10 words in page 18.

XII. My Notes include:

Kituv and qerey
The Masoretic text is the "received text." It contain some known errors. When an error is identified it ordinarily is footnoted and the proper reading is inserted in the footnote. The erroneous reading in the received text is called "kituv" (that which is written) and the proper or corrected reading which is in the footnote is called "qerey" (that which is read). Some modern texts place the "qerey" in the text and the "kituv' in the footnote. In those places in Isaiah where there is a kituv-qerey in M we may notice whether the Q scribe agrees with one or the other.

XIII, Fingerprints:

A very clear fingerprint of the scribe can be seen on scroll page 44 between lines 10 and 13. You will find links there to other pages with finger prints. Read the comments under the heading: Physical Characteristics. Other pages have marks that may be fingerprints put on by a careless scribe. See page 11 line 28; page 26 line 12; page 33 line 4; and page 40 line 28.

Controversial editings There are very controversial markings edited into the scroll. Some of these are listed under miniature editing above, but there are edited marks that put in doubt the time ascribed to the scroll's being placed in the Qumran caves. There are arabic numerals, masoretic vowel pointings and other medieaval symbols that had been edited in the scroll. These could not have been edited in the scroll until well after the first century BC to first century AD period ascribed to enscribing the Scroll and placing it in the sealed jars in the Qumran caves. These controversial marks are not being listed here on line but can be seen on my CD in this place. If interested in the CD click here

If any reader has insights that might add to these observations I would like to see them.

email me your response

Go to First "Q" Scroll Page

Return to Scroll Directory

Go Back to Moellerhaus Homepage