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…
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 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)
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.
Still doing this thing! Was mostly a writing day, starting my verbal description of my Bremond-influenced schemata of the plot of Jonah. I worked only on the storm episode, and found a way to discuss the way the ship’s captain (if that’s what the word means) tries to get Jonah to help.
I don’t feel like I got too much done this evening, although I solved a few small problems and worked on a footnote. The morning felt very good and optimistic. At that time, I thought maybe in a week’s time I’ll have a draft of the entire “plot” section of the chapter. I think that’s still doable.
I need to dedicate more time to reading and note taking. There’s sort of a mania that sets in to write and pursue the part of the chapter you are working on relentlessly.
I made it to the gym and didn’t eat too much crap today. Had a trip to the grocery store with Saoirse after we dropped Nora off at her dance class. Nora wanted to wear a headband with a crown but I didn’t think that was a good idea…now I regret it, and want to give her the chance to enjoy her imagination tomorrow.
A few weeks ago we moved into the basement of our home, and gave the upstairs to Theresa’s parents. The quarters are tight (2 rooms for 4 people) and there’s only one window (in the kids’ room), but I’m grateful to have a space (our bedroom + family room + office) that is able to be shut off from the rest of the house. There’s ongoing construction upstairs. I am feeling the effects, even after a week or two, of dedicated space and uninterrupted time, coming just a few weeks after (for the first time ever) both kids are in school. The amount of work I’m getting done has gone way up. It helps that my office is also my living space, so I might as well sit at the desk and look at the chapter DOC, right?
Today’s Hours Worked 7
Today’s Word Count
1,373. Was a good writing day, did most of it in the first few hours of the morning…I should try to get in some writing before the kids wake up.
At the Oriental Institute in Spring 2018, I discovered an unpublished and, except for a few mentions in publications and in in-house materials, unknown manuscript of the Samaritan Pentateuch/Torah, which turned out to be two missing folios from an important trilingual codex, from Genesis (pictured here). Later that year, I was kindly notified of another manuscript containing three folios of Leviticus. I am currently working on a full edition of these, but in the meantime, have written a short article about them (and about the Samaritans and the Samaritan Torah in general) for the Oriental Institute’s members’ magazine News and Notes. You can read it here. The entire issue can be read here.