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Rewriting Scripture in Second Temple Times investigates the phenomenon of inner-scriptural exegesis in six of the major works found at Qumran: the pre-Samaritan Scripture texts; Reworked Pentateuch; the Temple Scroll; Jubilees; the Genesis Apocryphon; and Commentary on Genesis A. What these works show, contends Sidnie White Crawford, is that there was a spectrum of texts, beginning with the scriptural text, moving to a harmonized scriptural text, and then beyond, to entirely new compositions. All of these texts are the products of a particular understanding of the work of the scribe, which was to not merely copy, but to also interpret, update, and make relevant the Scripture for the contemporary Jewish community. This understanding led to texts that were "rewritten." Interpretation took place within the texts, not separately from them. Propounding a new theory of how these texts cohere as a group, especially in her assertion that they can be identified with the Essenes and that the pre-Samaritan scriptural texts are a product of this interpretive school, Crawford offers an original and evocative work for anybody interested in the Second Temple period.
The biblical manuscripts found at Qumran, contends Sidnie White Crawford, reflect a spectrum of text movement from authoritative scriptural traditions to completely new compositions. Treating six major groups of texts, she shows how differences in the texts result from a particular understanding of the work of the scribe - not merely to copy but also to interpret, update, and make relevant the Scripture for the contemporary Jewish community of the time. This scribal practice led to texts that were "rewritten" or "reworked" and considered no less important or accurate than the originals.
Propounding a new theory of how these texts cohere as a group, Crawford offers an original and provocative work for readers interested in the Second Temple period.
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