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Rewriting Scripture in Second Temple Times (Studies in the Dead Sea Scrolls and Related Literature) [Paperback]

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Item Specifications...

Pages   160
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.18" Width: 6.33" Height: 0.42"
Weight:   0.58 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Apr 14, 2008
ISBN  0802847404  
EAN  9780802847409  

Availability  0 units.

Studies In The Dead Sea Scrolls - Full Series Preview
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Item Description...
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.

Publishers Description
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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More About Sidnie White Crawford

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Sidnie White Crawford is Professor of Hebrew Bible and Chair, Classics and Religious Studies, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, Nebraska.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Scribal developments and transitional interpretations extremely relevant during Second Temple period  Sep 16, 2009

Lets face it, once we have read the Penteauch and then read other writings from the Second Temple Period we reread similar stories, themes and ideas in these books. It's soon obvious that scribal copying took place with omissions or additons occuring inside these writings. It's assumed the first five books of Moses (TORAH) was written first then later came these additional books many of which were found in Qumran. Such "Rewritten Bible" texts were first of all termed as such by Geza Vermes (1961) but our author Sidnie White Crawford will prefer "rewritten scripture" due to its nonanachronistic sense of not using "Bible" (as many of these writings had not reached canonical scriptural status and as such much interpretaive fluidity still ocurred. 9 ).

Crawford will focus on five writings she thinks have this rewritten status: "Reworked Pentateuch" (Chapter 3); "The Book of Jubilees" (Chapter 4); "The Temple Scroll" (Chapter 5): "The Genesis Apocryphon" (Chapter 6); and in chapter 7 she discusses "4QCommentary on Genesis A." Of course the Scribes were the ones who either added, subtracted or interpreted previous material. What they did was perfectly the norm according to Crawford and to do, as in the case of the Jeremiah texts we have, was "to rework the existing tradition into a new, perhaps updated, edition" (4). Thus some of the underlying themes Crawford argues for in this book is scribal intervention, interpretation, insertions and harmonization (40). Nevertheless, she argues "their tradition of interpretation was accepted as authoritative by one stream of Judaism in the Second Temple period" (57).

Thus when she discusses the "Reworked Pentateuch" she notes how outside material was brought into these texts along with "a scribal tradition of harmonizing exegesis" (40 & 42). However when we look at Jubilees and the Temple Scroll we see new compositions different from the Pentateuch. Crawford discusses therefore, if these books had scriptural status at Qumran and answers after much important evidence that Jubilees achieved divine, authorititave status among the Qumran sect (82), while the Temple Scroll was composed as a "new book of the law" and was meant to stand beside the Pentateuch as "equally authoritative", "there is no solid evidence that the TS ever gained community a work of Scripture. Its status as Scripture remains at best uncertain." (102)

Crawford spends the remaining pages discussing the Genesis Apocryphon and 4QCommentary on Genesis A because she sees further development and transition taking place. The GA because it was the "farthest removed from the scriptural text being written in Aramiac and it made no claim to divine authority as Jubilees and the Temple Scroll did. 4QCommentary finally is seen utilizing its explicit exegesis of "citation plus comment" later becoming in vogue (130).

All in all Crawford does an excellent service for us in beginning with the text of the Pentateuch and as a narrowing river constantly narrowing, ends her book with stating that Philo's "liber Antquitatum Biblicarum was the latest example of Rewritten Scripture. All other forms disappeared except citation plus commentary as later Jewish texts and the NT proves (142).

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