As the product of a textual community imbedded in an oral culture, the War Scroll can be rewardingly approached as a composition intended for a community of hearers. Indeed, this article demonstrates that 1QM retained an orally fluid textuality and preserves a variety of textual indicators of performativity: hints of oral engagement, accumulation of imitable practices, and reliance on rhetorical techniques suited to the ear. In examining the performative potentials in the War Scroll’s prescriptive (cols. 1–9), prayer (cols. 10–14), and dramatic (cols. 15–19) material, I argue that 1QM can be understood as a spoken text, one which lends itself to performance and embodiment.
A consideration of both the palaeographic and material features of a scroll provides scholars the opportunity to investigate the scribal culture in which a particular manuscript emerged. This article examines the papyrus opisthograph from Qumran containing 4QpapHodayot-like Text B, 4Q433a, and 4QpapSerekh ha-Yaḥada, 4Q255, on either side. There has been scholarly disagreement about this opisthograph with regard to a number of questions: (1) which of the two compositions was inscribed on the recto, (2) how the two compositions should be dated, and (3) which of the two texts was written first. This article looks at both compositions by means of palaeography and codicology. From this combined approach I deduce that 4Q433a was written first, on the recto of this papyrus manuscript. 4Q255 was added later, on the verso. Both compositions can be dated to the early first century BCE. This reconstruction makes it plausible that 4Q255 was a personal copy.
Among the enduring enigmas of 4QMMT are the organizational principles which govern its halakhic section. Focusing primarily on the halakhah concerning skin disease in B 64–72, this article argues that the arrangement of MMT’s halakhot was influenced, at least in part, by similar collocations of topics in Leviticus 21–22 and possibly Ezek 44:15–31. It seems that the selection of sources is attributable to a specific focus on priestly conduct in the halakhah. By recognizing the nature and extent of this dependence it is possible to better understand MMT’s origin and the writers’ exegetical and halakhic methods.