81. sihT daeR naC uoY epoH I

By the end of this blob, I hope you can read its title. I also have other high hopes for you today.

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving celebration with people you love; I hope you had much to give thanks for; I hope your team(s) won their football game(s); I hope you had too much to eat; I hope you got to take a nap; I hope you didn’t have to do the dishes; and I hope you appreciate all those semi-colons that helped you wade through this sentence.

Punctuation.  What would we do without it?

How do you suppose anybody has been able to decipher the Dead Sea Scrolls which were written from right to left with absolutely NO PUNCTUATION (except for an occasional paragraph indentation)?

The Dead Sea Scrolls have been called the greatest manuscript discovery of modern times. They were discovered between 1947 and 1956 in eleven caves along the northwest shore of the Dead Sea in an arid region near Jerusalem, 1,300 feet below sea level.

I didn’t pay that much attention at the time because husband Gene and I had other fish to fry.  During those years, we were busy being pregnant and delivering the first four of our seven offspring:  sons Mark and Matthew, and daughters Lisa and Susy. That was all the excitement we could handle during those years.

The Dead Sea Scrolls are comprised of the remains of approximately 825 to 870 separate scrolls. Fragments of every book of the Old Testament have been discovered, except for the book of Esther. Now identified among the scrolls are 19 fragments of Isaiah, 25 fragments of Deuteronomy and 30 fragments of the Psalms. The virtually intact Isaiah Scroll, which contains some of the most dramatic Messianic prophecy, is 1,000 years older than any previously known copy of Isaiah. Most of the texts are written in Hebrew and Aramaic, with a few in Greek.

I missed a lot of monumental revelations during the 10 years I was barefoot and pregnant, but this one tops them all.  Wow. What a knock-your-socks-off discovery.  Even without punctuation.  It wasn’t the the old-timers’ fault the good Sisters weren’t around to teach them the rules of good written composition or the Palmer handwriting style.

I wish I could read the scrolls but there are three reasons why I can’t.

1.  I am passably fluent in English and Pig Latin, but Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek are not among my lexicons.

2. Apple has failed me. I can’t seem to download the scrolls on my iMac.

3. I got used to reading from left to right and expecting punctuation, or to put it another way — noitautcnup gnitcepxe dna thgir ot tfel morf gnidaer ot desu tog I

All the rabbis and other scholars who continue to unravel the language of the scrolls are probably permanently dyslexic by now, but I hope they go straight to heaven when they die.  They deserve it.


If you’ve never seen the old movie “To Sir, With Love”, you missed a good copy editing exercise.  The professional wordsmiths in our family — daughter Lisa and granddaughter Elizabeth — would appreciate the scene where Sidney Poitier is teaching his rambunctious teen-age students the importance of punctuation.  He writes these words on the blackboard.

That that is is that that is not is not is that it it is

He manages to get the attention of his students, but nobody gets it.  Until he re-writes the message with punctuation.

That that is, is.  That that is not, is not.  Is that it?  It is.

Well, that’s all the blob for today.  Congratulations for your persistence in reading backwards. Period.

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5 Responses to 81. sihT daeR naC uoY epoH I

  1. A relative says:

    I teg eht gnitirw esuaceb I od gnihtyreve sdrawkcab yawyna. tuB ton erus eht gninaem fo si si. evaH ot rifnoc htiw lliB notnilC no taht eno. dioireP

  2. A relative says:

    this might be my last response. just to much pressure. maybe spilling isn’t oen fo ym string sobjects. best of luck. it’s all relative.

    • Octo-woman says:

      That does it, young man. I know who you are. I’m going to have to report your spelling problems to Sister Mary Agatha. She’ll get you straightened out in no time. But it won’t be pretty.

  3. Joan Fitzpatrick says:

    O Come on !!!!!! Give him a break !!!!! That is hard work. I wouldn’t try it.

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