The Question of the So-Called Qumran Orthography, the Severus Scroll, and the Masoretic Text
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Contrary to common opinion, this article argues that the Severus Scroll was not another witness to the baroque orthographic system known from several Dead Sea Scrolls. Isolated baroque orthographic features in codex MTL make it nevertheless likely that next to the conservative orthography of MT baroque orthography was common during the (late) Second Temple period. It was thus not characteristic of Essene texts. In addition to baroque and conservative orthographies, remnants of other orthographic approaches are preserved in the consonantal text of MT as well. A comparison of individual orthographic features in various biblical books demonstrates that the orthographic systems of the biblical books differ inside the text of MT. These irregularities are the result of an orthographic revision which overlooked isolated features of other orthographies. As a result, the orthographic and textual standardization of the proto-Masoretic text created a canonical text that was orthographically conservative but that contains irregular occurrences of other orthographies.