O’Callaghan’s Identifications: Confirmation and Its Consequences -- By: William White, Jr.

Journal: Westminster Theological Journal
Volume: WTJ 35:1 (Fall 1972)
Article: O’Callaghan’s Identifications: Confirmation and Its Consequences
Author: William White, Jr.

O’Callaghan’s Identifications:
Confirmation and Its Consequences

William White, Jr.

As soon as Dr. O’Callaghan’s identifications1 were announced through the Religious News Service a number of interested persons began work on the photographic record of the fragments as published in the editio princeps.2 This was some time before the text of Dr. O’Callaghan’s article in Biblica had reached North America. By simply working from the photographs previously published in the edito princeps and utilizing only the verse locations, it was possible to locate almost all the decipherable letters within an hour or so of study.

Eternity Magazine was able to acquire a full set of original photographs taken by a Time Magazine photographer, David Rubiger, in Jerusalem. These proved to be a good four to five magnitudes better than the printed version. Close examination of these prints, which show the fragments several times their original size supported the original readings of O’Callaghan. Thus a secondary and exceedingly precise reassessment of the whole identification has been accomplished. In addition, exact stichometries have been worked out and some advanced topological methods have been employed for possibly the first time on ancient papyri. The Westminster Theological Journal will report on this effort in the near future.

These preliminary studies have pointed to confirmation of Dr. O’Callaghan’s identifications. But there are many other considerations which lend support to those identifications. Support is in fact given by at least ten important lines of evidence.

1. The fragments were uncovered by a formal and highly expert archaeological expedition, mostly consisting of Israeli specialists in scroll preservation, stratigraphic methods, and military engineering practices. Without a doubt Israel is foremost in the world in fielding and staffing such expeditions.

2. The fragments were partially deciphered, but unread by independent scholars not associated with the actual excavation. O’Callaghan follows in all but a mere seven cases the decipherment of the letters as offered by the editio princeps. One of these changes is clearly preferable, and the other six are as plausible as the readings of the editio princeps.

Out of 71 letters offered in the editio princeps for fragments 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, and 15 (49 firm, 22 uncertain):

O’Callaghan agrees on 59 (including his preference for editio princeps marginal readings of epsilon [1....

You must have a subscription and be logged in to read the entire article.
Click here to subscribe
visitor : : uid: ()