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In: Jeremiah’s Scriptures


This article discusses the “heart” as part of the terminology for selfhood in ancient Jewish literature. After discussing a couple of criticisms of studies of the self and showing how these criticisms fail to persuade, the paper examines a range of texts in the Hebrew Bible, the Dead Sea Scrolls, and beyond for conceptions of the moral self. Special attention is given to the legal S tradition in the Scrolls as a fruitful illustration of how the self and law are recurring conceptual companions. In this legal tradition, a universalizing conception of selfhood and agency is rooted in local, practical concerns of a community.

Open Access
In: Dead Sea Discoveries


This paper discusses how Ps 40 reflects a widely attested and complex discourse on how legalities relate to the human self—a discourse involving matters such as law’s relation to human flourishing and perfectibility (e.g., Deut 30:6–14; Jer 31:31–34; Ps 19; Wis 6 and 9; Philo; for others views of perfectibility, cf. Gen 6:5; 8:21; Qoh 9:3). Psalm 40 combines praise and lament, with divine law as a key factor in this liturgical text’s logic. After clarifying literary-historical and form-critical issues in studies of Ps 40, it will be argued that whether or not there is a literary relationship to Jer 31, these texts display divergent logic on law’s relationship to human flourishing. The paper contributes to scholarly understanding of legal discourse and lament in Jewish antiquity.

Open Access
In: Vetus Testamentum