The Samaritan Pentateuch and the Scribal Culture of Second Temple Judaism

In: Journal for the Study of Judaism
Author: Molly M. Zahn1
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  • 1 University of Kansas, Department of Religious Studies, 103 Smith Hall, 1300 Oread Ave, Lawrence, ks
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The Samaritan Pentateuch (sp), along with its Qumran forebears, has deservedly been regarded as a key source of information for understanding the scribal culture of early Judaism. Yet studies have tended to emphasize the relative uniformity of the characteristic pre-sp readings as evidence of a scribal approach distinct within Second Temple Judaism. This article argues that both the uniformity and the distinctiveness of these readings have been overstated: there is more internal diversity within pre-sp than is usually recognized, and similar or identical readings are also preserved in other manuscript traditions. Rather than representing a distinctive scribal approach or school, the readings of pre-sp are better taken as a particularly concentrated example of scribal attitudes and techniques that appear to have been widespread in early Judaism.

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