This paper evaluates the attitudes toward the contemporary Jerusalem priesthood and cult on evidence in the Visions of Amram. To the extent that this issue has been treated, scholars have generally argued that the Visions of Amram originated among groups that were hostile to the Aaronid priesthood. Such treatments, however, have left some of the most germane fragments unexamined, several of which deal directly with matters pertaining to the cult, Aaron, and his offspring (4Q547 5 1–3; 8 2–4; 9 5–7; 4Q545 4 16–19). My study incorporates these fragments into the larger discussion, and in so doing demonstrates that many of the views expressed in the secondary literature require revision. My analysis shows that, though the social location of the Visions of Amram is difficult to determine, we should not be too quick to dismiss the possibility that the writer was a supporter of the contemporary status quo in the temple, given the elevated status afforded to both Aaron and his eternal posterity throughout the text.
Omission is a common strategy in ancient texts that rework biblical narratives and the author of the Book of Jubilees frequently employs the strategy. Particularly striking is the omission of chronological material, for the dating of events is a primary feature of Jubilees. This essay examines two cases in which Jubilees omits biblical chronological data. One involves the age of Noah; the other the ten years that Abram is living in the land. In each instance ambiguity within the Jubilees-created chronology accompanies the omission. In the matter of the age of Noah the created ambiguity responds to incongruities in the biblical text and supports a reworked chronology. By contrast, in the matter of the ten years the created ambiguity responds to postbiblical interpretation of the biblical text.
Scholars have argued that 11QTa and CD view stone vessels as susceptible to impurity. Chalk vessel finds at Kh. Qumran have presented a challenge to this idea, and solutions to date have been unsatisfying. The recent publication of final reports on these finds invites us to reconsider both the archaeological and textual evidence relating to the ritual status of stone vessels at Qumran. The typological profile of the Kh. Qumran assemblage parallels that found at Jewish sites elsewhere. It will be argued that both 11QTa and CD viewed stone vessels as unsusceptible to most kinds of ritual impurity—apart from corpse impurity. The pentateuchal basis for this understanding will be elucidated, and it will be argued that the position of 11QTa and CD on the matter was common among contemporary Jews. The foregoing will allow an investigation into the origins of the chalk vessel industry in the late 1st century BCE.
Pentateuchal source criticism has shown that the primordial narrative in Genesis 1–3 is a redactional juxtaposition of Priestly (Gen 1:1–2:3) and non-Priestly (Gen 2:4b–3:24) accounts. A wide variety of Second Temple literature appears to have detected this disunity, telescoping the two accounts into unified retellings. This essay argues that 1QS 3:13–4:26 (the “Treatise on the Two Spirits”) can be more fully understood within this pattern of ancient exegetical engagement with Genesis 1–3. The Treatise addresses the place of evil in the cosmos by framing the non-Priestly account of humanity’s lapse in terms of the Priestly emphasis on divine order in Gen 1:1–2:3 and other Priestly texts. It claims that the opposition of good and evil, manifest in the children of light and darkness, is part of God’s perfect creation. This exegetical approach has implications for the mutual relevance of Qumran studies and the study of pentateuchal composition.
Biblical scholarship has concentrated almost exclusively on cases of unintentional metathesis, particularly as a tool of textual criticism. But metathesis is not only a result of accidents and mistakes; it can also be deliberately employed as a literary-stylistic device. Accordingly, this study addresses all three of these categories of metathesis in the biblical literature, but focuses particularly on Literary-stylistic metathesis that is an intentional form of metathesis, in which an author or editor has deliberately chosen to use two or more words that share the same characters in inverse order.
Scholarly interpretation of the encounter between the prophet Amos and Amaziah, the priest of Bethel (Amos 7:10-17), has thus far focused on the issue of prophetic authority and legitimization. This paper seeks to shed light on the issues at the heart of the dispute between Amaziah and Amos—issues of boundaries and identity, insiders and outsiders; belonging to and being banished from Israel, the land and the people. Amaziah insists that Amos is an outsider who may speak freely, but only “there”, not “here”. Amos counters by predicting the priest’s own loss of social framework, in life and in death. The fact that, unlike many other reports of prophetic confrontations, this story does not indicate the consequences of the dispute—whether the expulsion of the prophet from the Northern Kingdom or the fulfillment of the curse of Amaziah—is another indication that the issue of prophetic authority is neither the only, nor the major concern of this showdown.
This paper deals with the use of lunar imagery in the book of Ben Sira. The scribe of Jerusalem refers to the moon on four occasions: Sir 27,11; 39,12; 43,6-8 and 50,6. With the exception of Sir 43,6-8, in the other texts he refers to it metaphorically. While in Sir 39,12 and 50,6 he shows a positive image of the moon, in Sir 27,11 it serves a negative one. From the analysis of these texts the author draws the following conclusion: lunar imagery, which at first sight might seem a mere ornamental embellishment of the text, constitutes a powerful tool used by the sage to transmit his teaching convincingly and to enhance his authority as a teacher of wisdom.
This article argues that Song of Songs 3:7-11 is a mocking song about King Solomon and was not originally connected with 3:6. After presenting aspects of 3:7-11 that might convey criticism of Solomon, the thesis is further substantiated by observations showing that taking Solomon as a cipher for the nonroyal human lover or a divine lover does not work in this passage. The article concludes by pointing out some consequences of this analysis for the overall understanding of the Song.
Amongst Hebrew Bible scholars the question of the understanding of biblical key terms and concepts pertaining to the human condition has attracted a fair amount of interest. And amongst those key terms and concepts it is the concept of nefeš that has proved to be particularly attractive and challenging. New light is thrown on the biblical concept by the recent discovery of the Katumuwa stele in Zincirli. The present article examines the evidence and draws conclusions with regard to the history of the concept of nefeš in the Hebrew Bible and in North-West Semitic literature and religion generally.
This paper examines various ways in which ancient Israelite texts speak of the relationship of divine spirit to human bodies. Methodologically, it takes its cue from recent work in cognitive anthropology, specifically the study of cultural cognitive models. This approach pays attention to keywords, metaphors, and aspects of syntax and grammar to attempt to elicit implicit assumptions that lie behind and enable the discourse itself. With respect to divine spirit and human bodies the texts reveal a particular focus on the modalities of the relationship. Although the two major models are “wind-against-object” and “breathwind-in-container,” a surprising number of expressions featuring spirit-as-liquid are attested. Moreover, certain aspects of how death is modeled become clearer when one distinguishes a rûaḥ model of vitality from a nepeš model. Implications for further research in the areas of selfhood and personal agency are suggested.