Dissertation journal (day 6)

Quick update this evening. I’m preparing to make a drive to Duke tomorrow (there and back, 6 1/2 hr round trip), hopefully going to leave by 6 am. I’ve got a list of books to get and I already put in requests for storage retrieval for a handful. The goal is to fill out my Jonah commentaries and monographs, and to look through a lot of reference materials. This should be the only trip I’ll need for the Jonah chapter.

I was at UNCA today picking up some books at the library and wrote there for 4 or 5 hours. The writing has been slow, but towards the end of my library stay it started to pick up. I’m going to lose some writing ground this week, but should be back to full speed Wednesday.

Here are the problems I am working through right now:

  1. How to talk about irony in terms of plot and sequences of events, especially when taking the old fashioned structuralist approach (which I find helpful for the issue of events)?
  2. How to describe the character of Yahweh in Jonah. My working hypothesis is that his actions are like those of a heroic lover who is trying to win over a beloved.
  3. The idea of “overdetermination” in narrative. In particular, why Jonah has the sailors discover that Jonah is to blame through divination.

I hope I’m not getting sick…

Today’s Word Count
~500…erased a lot

Dissertation journal (day 5)

Just a quick update tonight. Today was Saturday and it was family day. Went to the gym, had a picnic at the playground and played for a while, and went by the library. Tonight I read some theory (Culler, Structural Poetics) and got some good ideas for the chapter, so I wrote just a little bit. Went to bed at 11 but couldn’t sleep, so I’m back at it. I’ve written over 18,000 words in under 2 months, and the pace should pick up a bit. This is the kind of thing where, I know everyone is pulling for me and wants me to he successful (get a good job), but I feel like I’m writing to prove everyone wrong about me and that I’m actually doing something great. I don’t feel like I am contributing something small and ultimately not very meaningful. I believe in this a lot and think that nobody else can do what I can do. It only took me 8 years to get to this point…

Today’s Music

Miles Davis, On the Corner

Dissertation Journal (day 4)

OK at it again, and Friday night to boot! Not moving along as fast I would have liked, am still stuck in the earlier parts of Jonah 1. Not quite spinning my wheels, however. Got sidetracked today with some text criticism and looking up manuscript images online. I love doing that, and its a good thing the Friedberg Geniza site wasn’t working, because I was about ready to come through about 30 fragments of Jonah. This was a good week of work, which really got underway Tuesday (tied up loose ends Monday). I feel a real drive to keep working (which is why I’m sitting here Friday night at 12:02 AM). Nothing has made me seriously doubt the current approach I am taking (how to analyze the plot of Jonah), although I do worry about over-reading. But I’m writing so much that there will be plenty of room to cut things back later and simplify.

Today’s Hours Worked
~8 (the last two this evening were pretty slow…still trying to break that 10 hr mark!)

Today’s Word Count
1,032 (thought I would write more, but had a few substantial footnotes)

Today’s Texts
Jonah 1:4-6

Today’s Books and Articles
Kennicott and de Rossi’s catalogues of MS variants
Hendel, Steps to a New Edition of the Hebrew Bible 
Tov, Textual Criticism
Magonet, Form and Meaning (Jonah studies)

Today’s Music (LPs)
Boards of Canada, Geogaddi
Oneohtrix Point Never, Replica (Saoirse saw the cover when she got home from school and it gave her the heebie jeebies)

Jonah 1:6 in Harley 5709 (British Library)

Since the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered, much less emphasis has been put on variant readings in medieval Masoretic manuscripts of the Hebrew Bible. Most are uninteresting, but occasionally they are intriguing. Here is a page from Harley 5709, a parchment codex from the 14th century inscribed in France and held in the British Library (see catalog entry). it contains the Pentateuch, Haftorah (selections from the Prophets), and the Megilloth. Highlighted below is the word וַיִקרָא in Jonah 1:6, “He cried out to,” which replaces the usual reading וַיִּקְרַב “He approached.” What does it mean? Here, one of the crew members of the ship Jonah boarded for Tarshish comes below during a storm to get Jonah to help. He finds him sleeping: “What are you doing, sleeping? Get up and cry out to your god!” (1:5). While the most reliable versions of Jonah have the crew member simply approaching Jonah and haranguing him, this copy here encourages us to see him having to wake him up! Most would (probably rightly) say this is a scribal error, though it is found in several other copies. For comparison, see the clear ב in stead of א on MurXII, a parchment scroll with the 12 minor prophets found among the Dead Sea Scrolls that can be dated to the 1st century.

jon 1.6 in harley 5709
Jon 1:6 in Harley 5709
jon 1.6 in MurXII
Jon 1:6 in MurXII (from the Dead Sea)