Epiphanius, born (c. 315) in the vicinity of Eleutheropolis near Gaza, founded a monastery at Eleutheropolis and headed it for thirty years. He later (in 367) became bishop of Salamis on the island of Cyprus, but still kept in close touch with Palestine personally and through correspondance. In his Haereses (written in 374–377) he told much about the Jewish-Christian sects; in his De Mensuris et Ponderibus (“On Weights and Measures,” written in 392) he compiled a Bible dictionary dealing with the canon and versions of the Old Testament, measures and weights in the Bible, and the geography of Palestine.


This work is extant in its first part in late Greek manuscripts, and in whole in Syriac translation in two manuscripts of the seventh and ninth centuries.


The Bible does not specify where the mark was placed, but most probably it was on his forehead. The Hebrew word translated “mark” (ot) in Genesis means letter. Which letter? A cross-mark taw?


In Hebrew the word Genizah means “hiding” or “storage place;” it refers to a depository for worn manuscripts which Jews did not want to profane by destroying them.



J. L. Teicher in Journal of Jewish Studies 5 (1954), pp. 53f.


A. Dupont-Sommer, The Jewish Sect of Qumran and the Essenes (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1955), pp. 160f.


cf. Jonathan A. Siegel in “The Evolution of Two Hebrew Scripts,” BAR 05:03.


Further on the equivalence of the Taw and Chi see Saul Lieberman, Greek in Jewish Palestine (New York: P. Feldheim, 2nd edition 1965).


Scrolls from Qumran Cave I, The Great Isaiah Scroll, The Order of the Community, The Pesher to Habakkuk (Jerusalem: The Albright Institute of Archaeological Research and The Shrine of the Book, 1972).


In Columns 27 and 33.


In Columns 5, 7, 8, 21, 22, and 32, tabulated in Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research (BASOR) III, p. 9. Three similarly complex signs occur in the Order of the Community (in Columns 5, 7, and 9).


This sign occurs six times. As to its placement, in Columns 28, 32, 38, 43, and 49 it appears to be in the right margin and to refer to the text at the left. In one case where it is in the space between Columns 34 and 35 it is so close to the line at the right that it may he considered to be in the left margin of Column 34 and refer to the text at its right.


In Columns 26, 35 (twice), 36, 38, 41, 45, 46 (twice), 48, and 53. As in the case of the “ankh” sign, the placement of the present sign appears also to he in the right margin, with reference to the text at the left. The sign which is at Line 6 from the bottom in the margin between Columns 45 and 46 constitutes the one possible exception to this. It is so close to the end of the line in Column 45 that it can be interpreted as positioned in the left margin and as referring to the text at its right. In the Habakkuk Commentary (1QpHab) a similar but smaller mark occurs frequently, but its position is regularly at the end of a line which does not reach the margin, and it may he omitted from the present consideration.

In addition to the above signs, there are numerous short horizontal lines, some with a slight downward band on the left, which are usually found on the right edge of the columns, and appear to be used to set off passages of a few lines each. These are found in columns 7, 8, 10, 11, 16, 19, 23, 24, 34, 36, 37, 38, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 48, 50, 51, 52, 53, and 54.


Each cross mark seems to refer to the text at its left to which it is adjacent in the right column (with the possible exception between Columns 45 and 46).


Epiphanius also lists signs very similar to those appearing in the Dead Sea Scrolls and resembling the ankh. In the Greek manuscripts of Epiphanius’ work the ankh sign does not appear but a different sign which occurs earlier in the list does appear. Perhaps the original sign was reproduced incorrectly. In the Syriac manuscripts the ankh sign does occur except that the loop is formed in a rectangular manner. In both the Greek and the Syriac texts Epiphanius says that the significance of the ankh is that it marks passages that foretell future events. This explanation agrees with the content of the passages so marked in the Isaiah Scroll and listed above. Almost all are plainly of eschatological import, and even the first one (in Column 28), which is historical, may be supposed to have had some eschatological interpretation.


Solomon Schechter, Documents of Jewish Sectaries (Ktav Publishing House, 1970), Hebrew Text B, p. 19, Line 12.


Against Marcion III, 22.


Jacob Leveen, The Hebrew Bible in Art (London: Oxford University Press for the British Academy, 1944), pp. 49f; Erwin R. Goodenough, Jewish Symbols in the Greco-Roman Period (Bollingen Series 37, Pantheon Books, 1964), 10, p. 190.