Septuagint, Targum and Beyond leading experts in the fields of biblical textual criticism and reception history explore the relationship between the two major Jewish translation traditions of the Hebrew Bible. In comparing these Greek and Aramaic versions from Jewish antiquity the essays collected here not only tackle the questions of mutual influence and common exegetical traditions, but also move beyond questions of direct dependence, applying insights from modern translation studies and comparing corpora beyond the Old Greek and Targum, including, for instance, Greek and Aramaic translations found at Qumran, the Samareitikon, and later Greek versions.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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, 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.
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.
S. C. Daley’s book,
The Textual Basis of English Translations of the Hebrew Bible, moves us beyond existing uncertainties about the textual basis of modern Bible translations to a fresh understanding of the text-critical constitution of well-known English translations of the past four hundred years. Most translations depart from the Masoretic Text selectively, and in-depth analysis of their textual decisions leads (1) to the identification of distinct periods in the textual history of the English Bible, (2) to a classification of the translations by eclectic type, and (3) to the observation that each translation is ultimately unique from a text-critical perspective. The study then revisits the topic of the text to be translated in Bibles intended for the wider public.