The Verb גער “to Exorcize” in Qumran Aramaic and Beyond

in Dead Sea Discoveries
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In the Genesis Apocryphon (1Q20 20:28–29) the verb גער “to rebuke” refers to the expelling of an impure spirit. A similar usage occurs in later magical amulets. Developing the hunch of earlier scholars such as Felix Klein-Franke and André Caquot, the present paper argues that the verb גער acquired a specialized meaning “to exorcize” because of the frequent use of Zech 3:2 in exorcisms. The usage is “delocutive”, גער means: “to say: ‘May the Lord rebuke you.’ ”

The Verb גער “to Exorcize” in Qumran Aramaic and Beyond

in Dead Sea Discoveries




See e.g. E. Y. Kutscher“The Language of the Genesis Apocryphon: A Preliminary Study,” in Aspects of the Dead Sea Scrolls (Scripta Hierosolymitana 4; Jerusalem: Magnes1958) 1–35; K. Beyer Die aramäischen Texte vom Toten Meer (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht 1984) 23–71; E. Cook “Qumran Aramaic and Aramaic Dialectology” in Studies in Qumran Aramaic (ed. T. Muraoka; Abr-Nahrain Supplement 3; Leuven: Peeters 1992) 1–21; M. O. Wise “Accidents and Accidence: A Scribal View of Linguistic Dating of the Aramaic Scrolls from Qumran” in Studies in Qumran Aramaic 124–67; J. Joosten “Hebrew Aramaic and Greek in the Qumran Scrolls” in The Oxford Handbook of the Dead Sea Scrolls (ed. T. H. Lim and J. J. Collins; Oxford: Oxford University Press 2010) 351–74 esp. 362–68; T. Muraoka A Grammar of Qumran Aramaic (Leuven:Peeters 2011); A. Koller “Four Dimensions of Linguistic Variation: Aramaic Dialects in and around Qumran” in The Dead Sea Scrolls in Context (ed. A. Lange E. Tov and M. Weigold; vtSup 140; Leiden: Brill 2011) 199–213.


See S. E. Fassberg“Salient Features of the Verbal System in the Aramaic Dead Sea Scrolls,” in Aramaica Qumranica: Proceedings of the Conference on the Aramaic Texts from Qumran in Aix-en-Provence 30 June–2 July 2008 (ed. K. Berthelot and D. Stökl Ben Ezra; stdj 94; Leiden: Brill 2010) 65–81 on p. 67.


J. C. Greenfield“The Genesis Apocryphon. Observations on Some Words and Phrases,” in Studies in Hebrew and Semitic Languages Dedicated to the Memory of Prof. Eduard Yechezkel Kutscher (Ramat-Gan: Bar-Ilan University Press 1980) xxxii–xxxix esp. xxxvii.


See e.g. J. A. MontgomeryAramaic Incantation Texts from Nippur (Philadelphia: University Museum1913) texts iii 12; v 5; xvi 14; xxvi 2–3; Naveh and Shaked Amulets and Magic Bowls texts A 1 5–6; B 11 5–6.


See e.g. J. Joosten“(Hebrew in) Egypt: in Antiquity,” in Encyclopedia of Hebrew Language and LinguisticsVolume i(ed. Geoffrey Khan et al.; Leiden: Brill2013) 790–91.

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