A few Qumran scrolls have some writing in red ink on them (e.g.,
4QNum-b, 2QPs), and in most cases their editors plausibly suggest that
this may indicate a liturgical function (see, e.g., DJD XII, p. 211 for

I was wondering if the use of red ink could additionally suggest that
the scroll was not intended to be a "biblical" scroll, but was a text
copied for expressly liturgical functions? (if such a distinction can be
made) The basis of my query is mMeg 2.2 where red ink/dye [SQR)] is
prohibited for use on biblical scrolls:

"If it were written with paint, or with red dye [SQR)], or with resin,
or with copperas, on paper or on partially prepared hide, he has not
performed his duty, unless it is written in Hebrew on parchment and with
ink [DYW]." mMeg 2.2

Obviously one problem with my reasoning is that it is anachronistic,
applying later Jewish tradition to the Qumran scrolls. But in my own
defense, Tov has demonstrated that many of the latter rabbinic
guidelines for scroll preparation and copying appear to have been
followed with the Qumran scrolls (e.g., his article on the dimensions of
the scrolls).

Also note that I am assuming that the SQR) mentioned is red ink, and
that the ink (DYW) mentioned at the end of the line cannot be red.

Any thoughts?

Tyler F. Williams
Chair, Religion & Theology Program
Assistant Professor of Old Testament/Hebrew Bible
Taylor University College & Seminary
11525 - 23 Avenue, Edmonton, AB, Canada   T6J 4T3
Phone: (780) 431-5217 / Fax: (780) 436-9416

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