Between Imitation and Interpretation:Reuse of Scripture and Composition in Hodayot (1QHa) 11:6‐19

In: Dead Sea Discoveries
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  • 1 1School of Divinity, University of St Andrews South Street, St. Andrews, Fife, KY16 9JU United Kingdom, Email:

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1QHodayota 11:6‐19 exemplifies some of the techniques by which an author could, successfully, imitate biblical language without, simultaneously, implying that the reuse was exegetical. Seven scriptural texts—each crafted around themes of life, death, or the sea—dictated the poem’s themes and much of its vocabulary (Jonah 2:3‐7; Ps 77:17‐18; 107:23‐27; Isa 66:7; Jer 10:13/51:16; Job 36:16‐17; 41:23). The author of 1QHa 11:6‐19 mimicked the biblical idiom of these sources, but, to avoid evoking the sources too clearly, the author broke up and/or adapted many of the most rare and distinctive of the borrowed locutions. In those cases where the author reused multiple locutions from a single source-text, the borrowed elements were separated from one another, scattered widely across the new poem. The outcome was a new text that reflected biblical expression and style, yet it did not offer or imply any interpretation of the sources of that style.

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