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Daniel Stökl Ben Ezra


A comparison of the ideological composition of the Qumran library and Christian libraries from ancient Egypt, reconstructed from pre-Constantinian papyri, reveals a profound difference in the amount of group-specific material: ca. 28% Qumran “sectarian” at Qumran vs. ca. 60% “Christian” books in ancient Egyptian Christian libraries. Even for the second century, where we have much less data, the divide is quite great. If we take Qumran as example for a Jewish sectarian library, still focused largely on the Hebrew Bible and writings shared with other Jews, Christian libraries portray an independent group-specific identity, quite early on.

Jonathan Ben-Dov and Daniel Stökl Ben Ezra

This article proves that the title “Midrash Sepher Moshe,” written in Jewish square characters on the verso of the cryptic scroll 4Q249, is the product of a correction. Initially it had been “Sepher Moshe” which was subsequently corrected to “Midrash Moshe.” This is therefore a rare attestation of canonical awareness on the part of Qumran librarians. The terms “midrash” and “sepher” are discussed accordingly. In addition, the paleography of this title is submitted to close scrutiny, proving that the dating of these words to the early second century b.c.e. in not substantiated. Rather, both the first and second hands should be dated to around 100 b.c.e. like many other scrolls. This fresh analysis has important consequences for the dating of the entire cryptic corpus, which is not as early as previously suggested.


Katell Berthelot and Daniel Stökl Ben Ezra