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From lingua franca to lingua sacra: The Scripturalization of Tobit in 4QTobe

In: Vetus Testamentum
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  • 1 Trinity Western University, Department of Religious Studies, British Columbia, Canadaandrew.perrin@twu.ca
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In light of the growing consensus that the book of Tobit was originally penned in Aramaic, the fragmentary Hebrew copy 4QTobe is a singularly unique literary artifact of Second Temple Judaism. While a cluster of other Aramaic works were read and received as authoritative literature by at least some Jews at this time (e.g., Daniel 2-7, the booklets of 1 Enoch, and Aramaic Levi Document), Tobit alone was translated from the common language of the ancient Near East into the traditional Israelite mother tongue. This study explores how the shift from Aramaic to Hebrew should inform our conception of the status and reception of Tobit in ancient Judaism. By virtue of the new linguistic overlay given to 4QTobe, this manuscript should be considered a literary edition in its own right, with an ostensibly higher level or different degree of authority than its Aramaic language counterparts.

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