The eighth meeting of the International Organization for Qumran Studies (IOQS) was held jointly with the meeting of the International Organization for the Study of the Old Testament (IOSOT) in Munich from 4–7 August, 2013. For this meeting, the secretary and steering committee of the IOQS invited papers on any topic relating to the Dead Sea Scrolls that explicitly addressed, or reflected upon, issues of methodology and theory, whether classical, modern, or post-modern. In the area of classical methods, this could involve how methods that are used in biblical scholarship, such as textual criticism and its objectives or redaction and recension criticism, have to be rethought in light of the scrolls—or, reversely, how more recent developments of those methods in biblical and literary scholarship could (or should) affect the study of the Dead Sea Scrolls.
As regards new methods, the call for papers suggested that papers could reflect on the application of literary and linguistic methods—e.g., modern genre theory, semantics, or metaphor study—to the scrolls. One could also think of theories and approaches drawn from the social sciences. Other approaches that gradually are being applied in the study of the scrolls include cognitive science, performance theory and ritual studies. Post-modern approaches, lastly, could include insights from gender studies, including masculinist studies, or post-colonialism.
Behind this theme lay the question how the study of the humanities can contribute to the study of the scrolls, and how scrolls studies participate in the modern study of the humanities. The organizers strongly expressed the wish that papers include more than a discussion of method or theory and move beyond theory to offer readings of particular texts.
Papers at the Meeting
Some of the papers at the meeting dealt with issues of literary methods as applied in biblical scholarship and Qumran studies, and how these two could have an impact on one another. Reinhard G. Kratz delivered the keynote lecture for this meeting. His paper “Sources, Fragments, and Additions: Biblical Criticism and the Dead Sea Scrolls” is included in this volume. Hindy Najman covered the names and designations of scrolls, observing that these often use terms that express relationships to the corpus of the Hebrew Bible. In an attempt to sidestep some of the problems with the concept “Rewritten Scripture”—most notably the fact that the concept mixes up reception and composition—Hans Debel explored the possibilities of Gérard Genette’s notions of hypotext and hypertext. Hanne von Weissenberg reflected on the terminology of “authoritative” texts, and Armin Lange discussed his and Russell Fuller’s joint work on the textual criticism of allusions and quotations in the scrolls. Corrado Martone revisited and assessed Dominique Barthélemy’s theory that the Naḥal Ḥever Minor Prophets scroll is the missing link between pre-masoretic fluidity and masoretic uniformity. Kipp Davis and Torleif Elgvin presented Schøyen fragments and correlated this to issues of multiple literary editions and the process of canonizing the Megillot. Davis’s paper on 4Q70 (4QJera) is included in this volume. Andrea Ravasco surveyed methods in the reconstruction of 4QSama. Matthias Hopf proposed a reading of 4QCanticlesb as a dramatic text on the basis of the signs in the manuscript (see the paper included in this volume). Larry Schiffman, finally, reflected broadly on the fundamental methodological issues involved when one comes to study a non-biblical Dead Sea Scrolls text.
Many scholars dealt with new methods, both literary and linguistic ones, or the use of theories or categorizations in scrolls scholarship. Martin Abegg presented a generative syntactic analysis of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Eibert Tigchelaar surveyed the application of the concept anti-language to Qumran Hebrew. Drew Longacre dealt with the treatment of defective exemplars in past and present. Elisa Uusimäki demonstrated the value of material construction as applied to 4QBeatitudes. Bennie H. Reynolds raised the problem of the category “demons.” Matthew Goff examined to what extent anthropological and religious studies approaches to “myth” could contribute to interpreting the “myth of the watchers” in the scrolls and 1 Enoch. Bärry Hartog explored how a discourse-focused approach to commentaries could further our understanding of the pesharim. Revised versions of Tigchelaar’s, Longacre’s, Goff’s, and Hartog’s papers are included here.
Modern approaches, including social-scientific ones, were applied by Jutta Jokiranta and Samuel Thomas. Jokiranta focused on ritual theories drawn from the cognitive science of religion, Thomas on metaphor and ritual in Qumran liturgical texts. Samuel Adams demonstrated the relevance of post-colonial theory for understanding the scrolls, and Ana Barbulescu applied Peter L. Berger’s sociology of knowledge to the Damascus Document. Alison Schofield applied critical spatial theory to the Yahad. Adams’s and Schofield’s papers feature in this volume.
Several lectures did not address method or theory directly, but offered other studies on the scrolls. Ananda Geyser-Fouche spoke on Chronicles and Qumran. Simone Paganini dealt with the book of Jubilees as narrative (see his paper in this volume). Paul Heger addressed the question whether women were members of the Edah-Yahad. Marcus Tso compared virtue ethics in 4Q298 and Galatians. Yoram Erder spoke on Karaite biblical exegesis and the Qumran sect. Liora Goldman argued that the Damascus Document can be defined as a thematic pesher. John Kampen addressed the relation between sectarianism and wisdom. Devorah Dimant talked about pesharim terminology in the Hodayot. Shani Tzoref surveyed exegetical representations of “gentiles” in the pesharim. Annette Steudel reflected on the relationship between D and S. Finally, Ulrich Dahmen and Heinz-Josef Fabry presented some theological and lexicographic results of their work on the Theologisches Wörterbuch zu den Qumrantexten.
Only a handful of the papers presented at the IOQS meeting have found their way into this volume. In the period between the meeting in Munich and the appearance of this volume, many scholars have included the work they presented in Munich in other publications. The original team of editors of this volume—consisting of George Brooke, Alison Schofield, Samuel Thomas, and Eibert Tigchelaar—has peer-reviewed and given feedback to all the papers submitted to this volume. All papers have subsequently been revised by their authors. Thanks are due to Maartje van Veluw, who assisted in preparing the indices to this volume.
The result is a multi-faceted volume, which captures the breadth of topics addressed and methodologies presented at the Munich conference. Unsurprisingly, the connection between Qumran studies and traditional methods in biblical studies is well-represented, with Kratz, Davis, and Longacre all addressing methodological aspects of textual criticism. Adams, Goff, Schofield, and Tigchelaar address the advantages and pitfalls of applying approaches common in the humanities, but comparatively new in the study of the scrolls (post-colonial theory, structuralist analysis, spatial theory, and sociolinguistics), to the Qumran corpus. Hartog and Hopf, finally, take their cue from the study of specific types of text in classical studies and the humanities (commentaries and dramatic texts) and attempt to integrate texts from the Qumran corpus within this wider framework.
The papers in this volume offer an invitation to cross-fertilization, addressed to Qumran scholars and scholars in adjacent fields like classics, archaeology, ancient history, literary studies, and others. The study of Qumran has long been isolated from academic debates within the humanities and social sciences. Ahead of Qumran scholarship lies the task to remedy this situation and to demonstrate the importance of the scrolls for the study of culture and religion more broadly.