Rezension in: Dead Sea Discoveries 8, 3, S. 312 - 315
Kein Markustext in Qumran: Eine Untersuchung der These: Qumran-Fragment 7Q5 = Mk 6, 52-53, by Stefan Enste. NTOA 45. Freiburg: Universitätsverlag; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprech , 2000. Pp. viii + 163; 13 plates. Price: DM 84.00. ISBN 3-72781286-9 (Universitätsverlag); 3-525-53945-2 (Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht).
This is a very welcome and thorough analysis of the arguments
surrounding the identification of 7Q5 as Mark 6:52-53. It is well balanced,
moves from topic to topic judiciously, and avoids the vitriol which has come
to characterize a considerable part of the recent writing on the topic. After
a brief description of the discovery of 7Q5, Enste provides a detailed portrayal
of the history of research on the fragment, especially since J. O'Callaghan's
tentative identification in 1972. Without unnecessarily belabouring the point,
Enste shows (pp. 18-19) that a substantial part of the recent debate associated
with C.P. Thiede has more to do with his interest in the early dating of the
Gospel of Mark (and thence the veracity of the words and deeds of Jesus as recorded
in the first Gospel) than it does with a desire to reconsider the character
of Palestinian Judaism in the last two centuries before the fall of the Temple
in 70 CE.
The core of the book rests in chapters 5 and 6. In chapter 5 Enste lays out the five arguments used by those who support the identification of 7Q5 as Mark 6:52-53. These revolve around the identification of the certain letters as possibly reflecting the Gospel text, the way in which the space in line 3 can be explained, the stichometry, the ligatures on disputed letters, and the palaeographical dating.
Chapter 6 is a thoroughgoing presentation of the arguments against seeing Mark in 7Q5. First, Enste deals with the general point concerning the likelihood that NT manuscripts might be found in the caves at and near Qumran He considers matters such as the relationship between the Essenes and the early Jerusalem church, the 7Q jar with RWMA on it, and even the possibility that early Christians deposited things at Qumran on their way to Pella. Overall his conclusion is that, though not impossible, it is very improbable that NT manuscripts might be found in Cave 7. He then goes on, secondly, to discuss whether it would be likely for an early Christian composition to be found at Qumran on a scroll. In a detailed review of expert opinion Enste notes that even in the first century Christian scribes would have been likely to have used the codex form, especially for gospel texts; though the writing of the Gospel of Mark on a scroll is theoretically possible, the overwhelming, view based on the certain evidence that survives would suggest that the codex form was more likely to have been used.
Enste's third point involves the computer searches that have been made of existing databases. Even after various adjustments have been made to explain away some of the readings in 7Q5 which are problematic for the Marcan identification, computer searches do not support the reading of 7Q5 as being from Mark 6. Part of the problem concerns a fourth matter, namely, the necessity for proponents of the identification of 7Q5 with Mark 6:52-53 to justify the absence of epi ten gen so that the surviving and emended letters of 7Q5 can be made to correspond approximately with the gospel text. The early insertion of the phrase after the completion of the Gospel of Mark is not likely, even if one supposes that at some point in the first century it became necessary to distinguish between the land and town of Gennesaret. There are no textual witnesses for the phrase's absence and the most plausible reading of the evidence and the Matthaean parallel is that the phrase was there in Mark from the outset.
In fifth place Enste reviews the discussion of the consonantal shift that the Marcan identification requires. It is clear that the word after kai begins with a tau and so the initial letter of Mark´s diaperasantes has to be understood as different through consonantal shift. Such is barely possible, but Enste rehearses very carefully the arguments against such a move in this case and shows how Thiede's arguments on this point are thoroughly circular (p. 108). A case might have been possible, if the fragment had been found in Egypt, where dialectology has noted that this dental shift sometimes occurs under the influence of Demotic phonetics. For a manuscript probably penned in Palestine at the turn of the era, it is highly unlikely that such a shift had occurred. Even if the Septuagint evidence is taken into account, where some Egyptian background might be deemed appropriate, there is no occasion where a word beginning with dia has been so changed. At this point Enste becomes more secure in his assessment and concludes that in this instance both human judgement and papyrological convention refute the identification. But there is yet another issue to be argued out. The Marcan identification also depends on the reading of a v in 7Q5 line 2. On this matter Enste is even more decisive than concerning the improbable consonantal shift. For him, as for several scholars who have argued at even greater length, the reading of a v simply cannot be supported.
What is to be made of all this? It is clear that the strongest support for identifying 7Q5 with a part of Mark 6 has come from a strand of German NT scholarship which has a markedly historicist tendency, as Enste notes (p. 37). We should all be grateful that there is now in German a clear, comprehensive and convincing analysis of the evidence and the arguments. I recommend that it becomes compulsory reading for publishers and journal editors, so that no more paper is wasted in promulgating this highly unlikely identification.
Nevertheless there are some lessons to be learnt. To begin with, it is indeed correct that the character of the deposit in each cave must be analysed for its own sake first Hartmut Stegemann has long argued this and increasingly his view is being accepted. The peculiar character of the manuscript finds in Cave 7 must be considered in their own right. Second, the availability of all the manuscript evidence from Qumran for nearly a decade now has made the detailed reconsideration of the relationship between the scrolls on the one hand and the NT and its early Christian communities on the other a desideratum. As the Qumran community is increasingly differentiated from the rest of Essenism, and the rich diversity of Palestinian Judaism is increasingly appreciated, so direct links between Qumran and early Christian groups, even in Jerusalem, are less easy to define than many might suppose. Thirdly, as to 7Q5 itself, it would indeed be good for a positive identification to be found and several suggestions other than Mark 6:52-53 have been made. But perhaps the chief lesson to be learnt from this small fragment is that faced with so many difficulties scholars need to recognize that in many cases we simply do not know the answers.
This valuable study concludes with a very detailed bibliography, including thirty items by Thiede. 1 have the feeling that Thiede believes that the more times he says the same thing the more it is likely to become true; 1 suspect also that he has now invested so much of himself in insisting upon the identification of 7Q5 as Mark 6:52-53 that he is unlikely to give it up, even if an entirely secure alternative identification could be made. I would rather trust the NT evidence on other grounds than on the basis of a supposedly early fragment which has so many discrepancies with what is consistently known from other sources: the discrepancies undermine the integrity lish. Stefan Enste has done us all a favour in his book; it would be nice if one day his labours might be further rewarded through his being able to tell us what text really is copied in 7Q5.
University of Manchester GEORGE J. BROOKE
Rezension in: The Catholic Biblical Quarterly 63 (2001)
STEFAN ENSTE, Kein Markustext in Qumran: Eine Untersuchung der These: Qumranfragment 7Q5 = Mk 6,52-53 (NTOA 45, Fribourg: Editions universitaires; Göttingen Vandenhoeck und Ruprecht, 1999 . Pp. viii + 163 + 10 plates. SwF 55.
In a series of articles beginning with "Papiros neotestamentarios
en la cueva 7 de Qumran?" in Bib 53 (1972) 91-100, the Spanish Jesuit papyrologist
Jose O'Callaghan proposed that some of the tiny Greek fragments discovered in
Qumran Cave 7 in 1955, and published in DJD III in 1962, are best identified
as texts from the Greek NT. The most extensive and important example was 7Q5,
which O'Callaghan identified as Mark 6:52-53. To do so, he had to read autoi
as auton equate tau and delta to yield diaperasantes, and
omit epi ten gen to preserve the stichometry. Following the judgment
of C. H. Roberts, O'Callaghan dated 7Q5 to Ca. AD. 50. Thus 7Q5 (with other
Qumran Cave 7 NT texts) would be the earliest extant fragment of the Greek NT.
Some hailed O'Callaghan's identifications as revolutionary, while others counseled caution. Several distinguished scholars (P. Benoit, M. Baillet, Roberts, K. Aland, G. D. Fee, etc.) were sharply critical, and so the controversy seemed to be over rather quickly. In the mid-1980s, however, Carsten Peter Thiede revived O'Callaghan's proposal and promoted the "NT at Qumran" thesis with great zeal in many publications, some intended for the general public and others in scholarly journals.
This volume, which is based on a Diplomarbeit presented in 1998 to the theological faculty at the University of Paderborn, provides a comprehensive critical review of the O'Callaghan-Thiede proposal regarding 7Q5, and argues that the identification of 7Q5 as Mark 6:52-53 is incorrect and based mainly on wishful thinking. After a description of 7Q5, Enste presents a survey of research on the text, takes up the relevance of 7Q5 for dating Mark's Gospel, examines the arguments for and against identifying 7Q5 and Mark 6:52-53, and concludes that 7Q5 = Mark 6:52-53 is not only not proved, but also highly unlikely.
In the course of his presentation E. develops eleven arguments against the 7Q5 Mark 6:52-53 proposal. (1) It involves an unwarranted equation of tau and delta to obtain diaperasantes in line 3. (2) It misinterprets the space before kai in line 3 as a "paragraph" marker separating Mark 6:52 and 53. (3) It arrives at a proper stichometry only by omitting epi ten gen in Mark 6:53. (4) It unjustifiably appeals to links and breaks between letters. (5) The palaeographical dating proposed by Roberts was between 50 B. C. and A. D. 50, with a preference for the first century B. C. (6) Given everything that is known about the Qumran group from the other texts found there, it is highly unlikely that NT texts would have been preserved at Qumran. (7) The earliest NT texts were preserved in the codex format, not on scrolls, as 7Q5 seems to have been. (8) Computer-assisted research on the texts has not confirmed the identification. (9) The textual omission of epi ten gen in Mark 6:53 is unlikely, while its presence destroys the stichometry needed for identifying 7Q5 as Mark 6:52-53. (10) The substitution of tiaperasantes for diaperasantes cannot be justified. (11) The reading auton for autoi (where iota is an adscript) is impossible (see Enste´s article "Qumran-Fragment ist nicht Markus 6,52-53," Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik 126 (1999) 189-94).
Enste has performed a good service to the scholarly community in providing a full dossier of a debate that has gone on for some thirty years, and in exposing the weaknesses of the hypothesis 7Q5 = Mark 6:52-53, which has been the foundation for the broader "NT at Qumran" hypothesis. In most cases he takes up arguments adduced by scholars in the 1970s; but he presents them as part of a comprehensive critique, and especially in response to Thiede's ongoing efforts to promote and expand the hypothesis. He refrains from proposing an alternative identification, though several have been proposed (e.g., Zech 7:43; 1 Enoch 15:9d- 10), and observes that 7Q5 may be part of a hitherto unknown text. His real purpose is to expose the weakness of the hypothesis 7Q5 = Mark 6:52-53, and he has succeeded in showing that this identification is highly unlikely.
Daniel J. Harrington, S.J., Weston Jesuit School of Theology, Cambridge, MA