The essays in
Sacred Texts and Disparate Interpretations cover an array of core themes from various areas of Qumran studies, including textual criticism of the Hebrew Bible, Second Temple history, philology, paleography, Wisdom and religious poetry.
Contributors to this volume generally consider these themes from a historical perspective, trying to find new solutions to old questions and entering in constructive dialogue with the opinions of other scholars. Paleographic investigations, textual criticism as well as literary and philological approaches make this volume a valuable contribution to the variegated and often highly specialized directions of inquiry into the contents and historical background of the Dead Sea Scrolls.
In the myth of the fallen Watchers (1 En. 6–11) the giants, illegitimate offspring of the fallen angels, are depicted as exceedingly violent beings that consume the labour of all the sons of men. They also kill men, devour them, and drink blood. Finally, they sin against all the animals of the earth. The violent behaviour of the giants in 1 En. 7:2–5 continues in 1 En. 15:11 where the spirits of the giants attack humanity, thus it appears that the spirits behave in a manner similar to that of the giants. The present article argues that the description of the giants in 1 En. 7:2–5 and their spirits in 15:11 is modeled after the violent behaviour of the demons found in the Mesopotamian bilingual series Utukkū Lemnūtu. The giants, therefore, are not to be identified with the Mesopotamian warrior-kings, but their behaviour rather indicates that they actually are violent and evil demons.
This volume deals with the Aramaic Levi Document, also known as Aramaic Levi or the Aramaic Testament of Levi. Chapter one contains a systematic reflection on the content of this Aramaic work, situates it in the historical context of the Second Temple period, and looks for an answer as to its literary structure and genre. Then in chapter two the manuscripts from Cairo Genizah, Mount Athos, and Qumran are edited together with their English translation, paleographical notes, and philological comments. Chapter three comments on each literary unit of the Document, its relation to the biblical text, pseudepigraphic Jewish literature, and scribal school practices in ancient Mesopotamia. At the end of the book, the reader may consult Aramaic, Greek, and Syriac concordances. Sixteen plates of photographs of all the manuscripts facilitate the reader’s reference to the originals. The photographs of the Mount Athos manuscripts are published here for the very first time.