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Vision, Narrative, and Wisdom in the Aramaic Texts from Qumran

Essays from the Copenhagen Symposium, 14-15 August, 2017

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Edited by Mette Bundvad and Kasper Siegismund

The Aramaic Dead Sea Scrolls from Qumran have attracted increasing interest in recent years. These texts predate the “sectarian” Dead Sea scrolls, and they are contemporary with the youngest parts of the Hebrew Bible. They offer a unique glimpse into the situation before the biblical canons were closed. Their highly creative Jewish authors reshaped and rewrote biblical traditions to cope with the concerns of their own time. The essays in this volume examine this fascinating ancient literature from a variety of different perspectives. The book grew out of an international symposium held at the University of Copenhagen in August 2017.

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Donald W. Parry

In Exploring the Isaiah Scrolls and Their Textual Variants, Donald W. Parry systematically presents, on a verse-by-verse basis, the variants of the Hebrew witnesses of Isaiah (the Masoretic Text and the twenty-one Isaiah Dead Sea Scrolls) and briefly discusses why each variant exists. The Isaiah scrolls have greatly impacted our understanding of the textual history of the Bible, and in recent decades, Bible translation committees have incorporated a number of the variants into their translations; as such, the Isaiah scrolls are important for both academic and popular audiences. Variant characterizations include four categories: (a) accidental errors, e.g., dittography, haplography, metathesis, graphic similarity; (b) intentional changes by scribes and copyists; (c) synonymous readings; (d) scribes’ stylistic approaches and conventions.

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Edited by John J. Collins and Ananda Geyser-Fouché

This volume contains 17 essays on the subjects of text, canon, and scribal practice. The volume is introduced by an overview of the Qumran evidence for text and canon of the Bible. Most of the text critical studies deal with texts from the Dead Sea Scrolls, including sectarian as well as canonical texts. Two essays shed light on the formation of authoritative literature. Scribal practice is illustrated in various ways, again mostly from the Dead Sea Scrolls. One essay deals with diachronic change in Qumran Hebrew. Rounding out the volume are two thematic studies, a wide-ranging study of the “ambiguous oracle” of Josephus, which he identifies as Balaam’s oracle, and a review of the use of female metaphors for Wisdom.

Dead Sea Media

Orality, textuality and memory in the Scrolls from the Judean Desert

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Shem Miller

In Dead Sea Media Shem Miller offers a groundbreaking media criticism of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Although past studies have underappreciated the crucial roles of orality and memory in the social setting of the Dead Sea Scrolls, Miller convincingly demonstrates that oral performance, oral tradition, and oral transmission were vital components of everyday life in the communities associated with the Scrolls. In addition to being literary documents, the Dead Sea Scrolls were also records of both scribal and cultural memories, as well as oral traditions and oral performance. An examination of the Scrolls’ textuality reveals the oral and mnemonic background of several scribal practices and literary characteristics reflected in the Scrolls.

Kritik des Wachstumsmodells

Die Grenzen alttestamentlicher Redaktionsgeschichte im Lichte empirischer Evidenz

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Benjamin Ziemer

Mit seiner bahnbrechenden preisgekrönten Kritik des Wachstumsmodells plädiert Benjamin Ziemer für einen Paradigmenwechsel in der alttestamentlichen Literaturgeschichte. Er untersucht in detaillierten Einzelstudien einen repräsentativen Katalog empirischer Beispiele für Redaktion, vom Gilgamesch-Epos über das ägyptische Totenbuch bis hin zu biblischen Büchern (Chronik, Jeremia, Daniel, Esther) und Qumranschriften (Tempelrolle, Sektenregel). Er zeigt, dass die durch Textvergleich nachweisbaren Redaktoren ihre Vorlagen nie nur durch Neues erweitert, sondern immer auch zugleich Formulierungen angepasst oder vervielfältigt, heterogenes Material eingearbeitet oder eine kürzende Auswahl getroffen haben. Bislang dominieren im kontinentaleuropäischen Forschungskontext Fortschreibungs- und Ergänzungshypothesen, nach denen man ein beliebiges Textelement nur der richtigen Entstehungsschicht zuweisen müsse, um seinen ursprünglichen literarischen Kontext wiederherstellen zu können. Dieses Modell stufenweisen »literarischen Wachstums« ist, so Ziemer, wissenschaftlich nicht mehr haltbar.
With his groundbreaking award-winnig study Kritik des Wachstumsmodells, Benjamin Ziemer is arguing for a change of paradigm in Old Testament literary criticism. He examines a representative list of empirical examples of editorial processes, including the Gilgamesh Epic, the Book of the Dead, books of the Bible and Dead Sea Scrolls. He shows that redactors who can be identified by external evidence never confined themselves to adding new material. Rather, they simultaneously adjusted or duplicated parts of the text, incorporated material from elsewhere or shortened their source texts. Until now, the bulk of redaction critical studies in Europe adhere to the presupposition of textual or literary »growth« – assuming that multiple previous layers are to be found intact in the final texts. With Ziemer’s study, this model of growth is no longer tenable.

Textual Developments

Collected Essays, Volume 4

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Emanuel Tov

Twenty-eight revised and updated essays on the textual criticism of the Hebrew Bible, the Torah, the (proto-) Masoretic Text, the Septuagint, and the Dead Sea Scrolls originally published between 2010 and 2018 are presented in this fourth volume of the author’s collected essays. These areas have all developed much in modern research, and the author, the past editor-in-chief of the international Dead Sea Scrolls publication project, has been a major speaker in all of them. The topics presented in this volume display some of his emerging interests (the text of the Torah and the proto-MT), including central studies on the development of the text of the Torah, the enigma of the MT, and the Scripture text of the tefillin.

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Edited by Dr. Benedikt Eckhardt

In Private Associations and Jewish Communities in the Hellenistic and Roman Cities, Benedikt Eckhardt brings together a group of experts to investigate a problem of historical categorization. Traditionally, scholars have either presupposed that Jewish groups were “Greco-Roman Associations” like others or have treated them in isolation from other groups. Attempts to begin a cross-disciplinary dialogue about the presuppositions and ultimate aims of the respective approaches have shown that much preliminary work on categories is necessary. This book explores the methodological dividing lines, based on the common-sense assumption that different questions require different solutions. Re-introducing historical differentiation into a field that has been dominated by abstractions, it provides the debate with a new foundation. Case studies highlight the problems and advantages of different approaches.

The Sons of God in Genesis 6:1–4

Analysis and History of Exegesis

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J.J.T. Doedens

In The Sons of God in Genesis 6:1–4, Jaap Doedens offers an overview of the history of exegesis of the enigmatic text about the ‘sons of God’, the ‘daughters of men’, and the ‘giants’. First, he analyzes the text of Gen 6:1–4. Subsequently, he tracks the different exegetical proposals from the earliest exegesis until those of modern times. He further provides the reader with an evaluation of the meaning of the expression ‘sons of God’ in the Old Testament and the Ancient Near East. In the last chapter, he concentrates on the message and function of Gen 6:1–4. This volume comprehensively gathers ancient and modern exegetical attempts, providing the means for an ongoing dialogue about this essentially complex and elusive passage.

Essen im antiken Judentum und Urchristentum

Diskurse zur sozialen Bedeutung von Tischgemeinschaft, Speiseverboten und Reinheitsvorschriften

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Christina Eschner

In Essen im antiken Judentum und Urchristentum untersucht Christina Eschner die Auseinandersetzungen zum jüdischen Gesetz innerhalb des Urchristentums vor dem Hintergrund vergleichbarer Diskurse im antiken Judentum. Ziel ist es, die urchristliche Praxis des Gesetzes in ihrem größeren Kontext darzustellen und ihr gegebenenfalls einen bestimmten Platz im facettenreichen Bild der zeitgenössischen jüdischen Strömungen zuzuweisen. Dabei finden Schriften aus Qumran, dem griechischsprachigen und dem rabbinischen Judentum Berücksichtigung. Der Fokus liegt auf Vorschriften zu verbotenen Speisen, zur Tischgemeinschaft und zur erlaubten Art und Weise der Nahrungsaufnahme. Auch pagane Traditionen werden einbezogen. Damit ist diese Studie besonders interdisziplinär ausgerichtet. Sie bewegt sich an der Schnittstelle zwischen Themenfeldern der neutestamentlichen Wissenschaft, der Altphilologie, der Alten Geschichte und der Judaistik. Sie kommt zu dem Ergebnis, dass die urchristlichen Diskurse zum Essen nicht auf eine vollständige Abschaffung der entsprechenden jüdischen Gesetzesanordungen zielen.

In Essen im antiken Judentum und Urchristentum Christina Eschner examines the Early Christian disputes about the Jewish law against the background of Ancient Jewish discourses on commands of the law, in order to situate the Early Christian practice of the law within its broader context. Jewish sources include the Dead Sea Scrolls, Jewish writings in Greek and early rabbinic texts. This study focusses on rules concerning prohibited food, table fellowship and the permissible way of food intake. Pagan traditions are also considered. Thus, the work has an interdisciplinary orientation, discussing issues at the junction of New Testament studies, Classics, Ancient History and Jewish studies. It concludes that Early Christian food discourses do not aim for the complete abolition of the law.

Law, Literature, and Society in Legal Texts from Qumran

Papers from the Ninth Meeting of the International Organisation for Qumran Studies, Leuven 2016

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Edited by Jutta Jokiranta and Molly Zahn

Reflecting the increasing recognition of the importance of legal texts and issues in early Judaism, the essays in this collection examine halakhic and rule texts found at Qumran in light of the latest scholarship on text production, social organization, and material culture in early Judaism. The contributors present new interpretations of long-lived topics, such as the sobriquet “seekers of the smooth things,” the Treatise of the Two Spirits, and 4QMMT, and take up new approaches to purity issues, the role of the maśkil, and the Temple Scroll. The volume exemplifies the range of ways in which the Qumran legal texts help illuminate early Jewish culture as a whole.