Classifying the Aramaic texts from Qumran : A Statistical Analysis of Linguistic Features
Author(s): John Starr
Analysis of the scroll fragments of the Qumran Aramaic scrolls has been plentiful to date. Their shared characteristics of being written in Aramaic, the common language of the region, not focused on the Qumran Community, and dating from the 3rd century BCE to the 1st century CE have enabled the creation of a shared identity, distinguishing them from other fragments found in the same place at the same time. This classification, however, could yet be too simplistic as here, for the first time, John Starr applies sophisticated statistical analyses to newly available electronic versions of these fragments. In so doing, Starr presents a potential new classification which comprises six different text types which bear distinctive textual features, and thus is able to narrow down the classification both temporally and geographically.
Starr's re-visited classification presents fresh insights into the Aramaic texts at Qumran, with important implications for our understanding of the many strands that made up Judaism in the period leading to the writing of the New Testament.