“The Final Priests of Jerusalem” and “The Mouth of the Priest”: Eschatology and Literary History in Pesher Habakkuk

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This article argues that 1QpHab 2:5–10 and 1QpHab 9:3–7 are later additions to Pesher Habakkuk. As these are the only passages in Pesher Habakkuk which explicitly refer to “the latter days,” I propose that these additions constitute an explicitly eschatological literary layer, which was presumably added to Pesher Habakkuk in the Herodian era. This literary development of Pesher Habakkuk demonstrates that the Pesharim are no static entities, but partake in a living and fluid interpretative tradition.

“The Final Priests of Jerusalem” and “The Mouth of the Priest”: Eschatology and Literary History in Pesher Habakkuk

in Dead Sea Discoveries



  • 1

    See e.g. Emanuel Tov“The Writing of Early Scrolls: Implications for the Literary Analysis of Hebrew Scripture,” in L’Écrit et l’Esprit: Études d’histoire du texte et de théologie biblique en hommage à Adrian Schenkered. Dieter Böhler Innocent Himbaza and Philippe Hugo obo 214 (Fribourg: Academic Press2005) 355–71; Reinhard G. Kratz “Innerbiblische Exegese und Redaktionsgeschichte im Lichte empirischer Evidenz” in Das Judentum im Zeitalter des Zweiten Tempelsfat 42 (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck 2013) 126–56; idem “Das Alte Testament und die Texte vom Toten Meer” zaw 125 (2013): 198–213; Andrew Teeter “The Hebrew Bible and/as Second Temple Literature: Methodological Reflections” dsd 20 (2013): 349–77.

  • 3

    Hanan Eshel“The Two Historical Layers of Pesher Habakkuk,” in Northern Lights on the Dead Sea Scrolls: Proceedings of the Nordic Qumran Network 2003–2006ed. Anders K. Petersen et al. stdj 80 (Leiden: Brill2009) 107–17.

  • 6

    See generally Philip R. Davies“What History Can We Get from the Scrolls, and How?” in The Dead Sea Scrolls: Texts and Contexted. Charlotte Hempel stdj 90 (Leiden: Brill2010) 31–46.

  • 8

    See Jutta Jokiranta“The Prototypical Teacher in the Qumran Pesharim: A Social Identity Approach,” in Ancient Israel: The Old Testament in Its Social Contexted. Philip F. Esler (Minneapolis mn: Fortress 2006) 254–63; eadem Social Identity and Sectarianism in the Qumran Movementstdj 105 (Leiden: Brill2013) 175–82.

  • 10

    Berrin (Tzoref)The Pesher Nahum Scroll215.

  • 20

    Cf. Pieter B. Hartog“Pesher as Commentary,” in Proceedings of the Eighth Meeting of the International Organization of Qumran Studies: Munich 4–7 August 2013ed. George J. Brooke et al. stdj (Leiden: Brill forthcoming); idem “Interlinear Additions and Literary Development in 4Q163/Pesher Isaiah C 4Q169/Pesher Nahum and 4Q171/Pesher Psalms ARevQ (forthcoming).

  • 29

    See e.g. George J. Brooke“The Pesharim and the Origins of the Dead Sea Scrolls,” in Methods of Investigation of the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Khirbet Qumran Site: Present Realities and Future Prospectsed. Michael O. Wise et al. anyas 722 (New York: The New York Academy of Sciences1994) 339–53; Jokiranta Social Identity and Sectarianism.

  • 37

    Cf. García Martínez“Beyond the Sectarian Divide” 241.

  • 43

    So also DaviesThe Damascus Covenant123.

  • 64

    This is suggested by Steudel“אחרית הימים” 235–36. She draws on Stegemann’s view that the Essenes had calculated the end to come in 70 bce; see The Library of Qumran 123–25 128–29.

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